Review: Nightcrawler

The glittering lights of night-time LA provide the backdrop to the opening credits of Nightcrawler; as dawn arrives, the city’s landscape is swamped in the suffocating noise of the mass-media, with radio and cable-TV stations unflinchingly reporting the sordid details of the night just passed. Dan Gilroy’s directorial debut hums with electric energy. (more…)


Trying out Coronation Street

For all the trashy TV I have watched over the years, soaps have never drawn me in. There is something about joining a story midway through that is unappealing, and I never had much of an interest in the sort of stories they tell. That is not to say that I wasn’t aware of them (I often catch the end of EastEnders when I’m waiting for something more exciting to start), but I had never sat down and watched a whole episode. At least until Friday, when I gave Coronation Street a try. (more…)


Review: Interstellar

Set in the near future, Interstellar predicts the effects of humankind’s rapacious materialism: raging dust storms tear through the land, crop yields are an annual disappointment, and the earth is no longer capable of sustaining its six billion inhabitants. Matthew McConaughey is Cooper, a former NASA astronaut turned corn farmer and inspirational father to Murph (Mackenzie Foy, later Jessica Chastain) and Tom (Timothée Chalamet, later Casey Affleck). Cooper wants his children to be inquisitive and ambitious, despite being part of a ‘caretaker generation’, burdened with the responsibility of finding a new home for mankind but destined never to reap a reward for their efforts. (more…)


Review: L’Année dernière à Marienbad

A camera tracks through the ornate hallways of an empty French hotel. A narrator describes the things we see – the thick carpets, the potted ferns, the stifling decorations,  all captured in crisp, gorgeous black and white. But where are the people who populate this chateau? Why does it feel like a place suspended in time? The narrator starts again, about the carpets, the ferns, the decorations. We move inside the chateau’s theatre, where dozens of glamorously dressed guests sit in total stillness as a woman delivers a monologue on stage. The play ends, the audience claps, and suddenly we’re taken into the intrigues of the hotel’s guests. (more…)


Sharks and wires: Unsolved mysteries in European cinema

For the past fifteen years or more, the European art cinema scene has increasingly come to be dominated by one outstanding and frequently controversial director: the Austrian Michael Haneke. Other directors have produced films just as distinctive and just as widely praised – Lars von Trier and Béla Tarr spring easily to mind – but nobody else has such a consistent record of rich, original, and provocative critical successes. (more…)

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