Category Archives: Review

Svengali Review – Filmoria

Svengali

Dixie – Johnny Owen’s plucky Welshman at the centre of this music biz romantic dramedy – is a well observed creation; an endlessly likeable schmo with a passion for music and an insatiable need to make it big managing a band. He moves to London with his girlfriend Shell (the just-as-pluckyVicky McClure) to bring superstardom to a talented but juvenile online discovery, The Premature Congratulations, but his idealistic, naïve temperament soon comes to blows with the ruthlessness of the big city scene…

Read my full review at Filmoria

Wolf of Wall Street Review

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The fifth Scorsese/DiCaprio collaboration is the latest in a slew of vibrant yet disenchanted depictions of American consumerism gone horribly wrong. The story of real-life-Gordon Gekko Jordan Belfort, is an all singing, all dancing, all snorting indictment of the immoral pursuit of money on 1990s Wall Street.

Jonah WolfAlready notorious for its contentious depictions of sex and drugs, the film has the rebellious air of early Scorsese and the New Hollywood, right down to the editing which refuses to play by basic continuity rules whenever anyone is high. Annoyingly, the indulgent script allows for some scenes and comedic sequences to be stretched thin, and there is a yacht-load of filler which could have easily been cut. Nevertheless, with an excellent cast headed by a bug-eyed DiCaprio as the drug-addled, prurient Belfort, and a superlative Jonah Hill, this is a riotous picture whose hefty three hour runtime zips by. That’s maximum ROI.

Pain and Gain

Pain and Gain

Director: Michael Bay
Screenwriter: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Cast:  Mark Whalberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthonie Mackie
Runtime: 129 mins
Certificate: 15
Release Date: In Cinemas 30 August

PAIN AND GAINMichael Bay detractors will have a field day with Pain and Gain, a true-crime black comedy which shamelessly wallows in fetishised displays of consumerism and the slow-mo flexing of sun-kissed abs. Positioned by Paramount as a debauched romp across the muscular beaches of Miami, it is apt to assume that Bay’s latest outing – and first film since 2005 not brought to you by Hasbro – is a masturbatory love-letter to testosterone fuelled dominance. But is it?

Read my full review at Rhythm Circus

Blood Simple

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The debut from The Coen Brothers (youngest sibling Ethan was barely 26) feels as though it has oozed from a crack in a hot Texas tarmac road. “Down here, you’re on your own”, drawls M. Emmet Walsh’s lurid private investigator in voice over, introducing a sweaty, lurid, pitch black tribute to film noir and the novels of James M. Cain. Funded by independent investors (the brothers went door-to-door asking for cash at the suggestion of friend Sam Rami) Blood Simple is a low-budget commercial thriller with art house tendencies, a pop mixture of low- and high-culture…
Get sticky with my full review at Rhythm Circus…

Evil Dead

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Sam Rami’s icky 1981 schlocker The Evil Dead is a hallowed text, regarded by aficionados of grue as an excitingly juvenile exercise in excess. What exists of a story is chopped to bits within twenty minutes, leaving the deadites – evil spirits that possess the living – to a dizzyingly inventive, gore-drenched assault on Bruce Campbell’s idiot hero, Ash. 2013, and Evil Dead (the ‘The’ eschewed for today’s no-nonsense cinemagoers) offers a retooled version with less humour, more conviction, and a Hollywood sheen. An assured poster campaign promises “the most terrifying film you will ever experience”, but the initial fear is of something far more tangible: the word ‘remake’…

“Joooooin usssssss” at Rhythm Circus for the full review…

In Cinemas from Thursday

Crawl – Review

Crawl

Director: Paul China
Screenwriter: Paul China
Cast: Georgina Haig, George Shevtsov, Paul Holmes
Runtime: 80 mins
Certificate: 15
Release Date: On DVD & BD Now

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An old car pulls into an auto-shop on a lonely road on an ordinary day and a man emerges. We meet him iconography first, slowly donning his large-brimmed hat as if he knows there’s a camera perfectly framing the back of his head. His boots clip-clop towards the door with precision and a bell ding-a-lings in close-up to announce his entrance, all scored to a Jaws-riffing tension-builder. The cowboy – European and sparing with dialogue – Anton-Chigurh’s his way through an enigmatic encounter with the shop’s owner, eventually leaving him as a crimson splatter, dribbling down the back wall…

Read more @ Rhythm Circus

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Shell – Review


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Director: Scott Graham
Screenwriter: Scott Graham,
Cast: Chloe Pirrie, Joseph Mawle, Iain De Caestecker, Michael Smiley
Runtime: 90 mins
Certificate: 15
Release Date: In Cinemas March 15

Scott Graham’s first feature is as bleak as its Scottish Highland setting. Confined almost entirely to a remote petrol station, this is a frustrating struggle of a picture which considers the effects of isolation, depression and illness on the relationship between a father (Joseph Mawle) and his daughter, the eponymous Shell (Chloe Pirrie).

The Scandinavian influences are well pronounced, Yoliswa Gärtig’s widescreen digital photography capturing the harsh beauty of the landscape and picking out the fragility of Shell’s world which rumbles and rattles as lorries pass along their highland road. With a careful use of close-ups and diagetic sound we are forced into a tactile relationship with this uncomfortable world that will make you shiver, wince and gasp. The narrative also echoes the Dogme movement, events unfolding laboriously with a focus on tedium and the kind of jobs that get dirt under your fingernails. With its slight nature, lack of sensational material or use of music (a few lovely key moments aside), this is low-key storytelling that manages to be enthralling in its own way … Read more @ Rhythm Circus

Shell is screening in selected cinemas from tomorrow. Buy tickets here.

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