Unfrosted Film Review: Tastes Tart, Lacks Pop

Jerry Seinfeld’s corporate satire Unfrosted fails to bring many effective jokes or a strong message to the (breakfast) table.

Thankfully, Unfrosted is just that. Director/co-writer/star Jerry Seinfeld is the world’s best-known connoisseur of breakfast cereal (Can you think of any others?), and opts to take a curious side-eyed look at the creation of that snack that you might recall having a few times as a child, but haven’t given an active thought to in decades. No-one was screaming out for Unf

DIFF 2024 Review | Do Not Expect Too Much From the End of the World is Consistently Funny and Shockingly Intelligent

You shouldn’t judge a film by its title any more than you should judge a book by its cover, but the ethos of Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World is summed up in that title. Radu Jude’s masterful exploration of modern malaise is despairing but wise, trying to make sense of the modern world’s woes. The title evokes another woebegone exploration of the contemporary world, T.S. Eliot’s poem ‘The Hollow Men’. Like the modernist Eliot, Jude trades in provocative imagery and caustic commen

Disconnect Me Film Review: Phones It In

Well-intentioned but unoriginal, Disconnect Me reminds us how addicted we are to our phones, but offers no solutions.

There’s a good chance you’re reading this review on a smartphone. The ubiquity of iPhones, Androids and the like is only matched by their addictiveness, and it is the latter of these phenomena that Australian writer/director Alex Lykos seeks to explore in his well-meaning but frustratingly unoriginal documentary Disconnect Me. In his examination of this most modern of vices, Lyk

Eureka Review: Alonso Hypnotises us Again

In Eureka, Lisandro Alonso delivers another meditative and surprising examination of humanity and the nature of film itself.

A director like Lisandro Alonso is a rare thing. He invites viewers to take leaps of faith, because you can’t be sure where his films are going to go, or what they might say. His films can take leaps through time, but his fans will know to expect his usual fixation on characters driven by their own obsessions, desires and sometimes inexplicable needs. You’ll often find Li

Bright Star: Film Review

Abbie Cornish and Ben Whishaw dazzle in Bright Star, Jane Campion’s sumptuous tale of a simple romance that inspired great art.

As a director, Jane Campion is surprisingly hard to pin down. She is one of the world’s most acclaimed female film directors, and champions the feminine in her films, but she’s never bogged down by staying in one mode or genre. 2009’s Bright Star was her first feature in six years, and was defiantly different from the features that preceded it, the violently ragged In

#Review: Wonka

In the opening scene of Wonka, Willy Wonka (Timothée Chalamet) arrives in an unnamed town in an unspecified year, and hops off his boat with a spring in his step and a dream in his heart, namely to set up shop in a renowned galerie of chocolatiers and make his fortune. He skips along with a pep in his step and a knack for illusions and tricks. Walking behind the credits floating onscreen, this new Wonka feels more like a magician than a candyman, and is lighter and more approachable than any ver

Anselm: Wim Wenders Film Review

Wim Wenders introduces the artist Anselm Keifer to a broader audience in Anselm, an insightful portrait of a most unconventional creative.

It’s just typical: you wait ages for a good Wim Wenders movie, and then two come along at once. The German filmmaker’s most ardent fans have to concede that his work’s varying quality is a feature, not a bug. Even when starring the likes of James McAvoy, Alicia Vikander or James Franco, Wenders’ more recent narrative features have struggled to get distribu

High and Low - John Galliano: Film Review

High and Low – John Galliano is a compelling, honest and intelligent examination one man’s meteoric rise and self-inflicted fall.

“I’m gonna tell you everything” says John Galliano at the beginning of Kevin MacDonald’s new documentary High and Low – John Galliano. If ever a man has experienced highs and lows, it’s him. Having brought haute couture down (or up, if you like) to his level as creative director of Givenchy and Dior, he was brought down to Earth with a thump by his own excesses. Ma

#Review: That They May Face The Rising Sun

The cinema of Pat Collins is defined by thoughtfulness and calm. Whether making a documentary or a narrative feature, consideration goes into every frame’s meaning, and each scene unfolds at its own unhurried pace. Collins’ oeuvre could be categorised as ‘slow’ cinema, but that tag has the potential to undermine what the films try to say. In Collins’ latest, That They May Face The Rising Sun, the slow pace doesn’t change the fact that people are busy, lives are being led, and emotions are being

Daaaaaali!: LFF Film Review

Daaaaaali! is sublimely nonsensical fun, not at all to be taken seriously, yet with some clever commentary at play too.

At this year’s autumn film festivals, first Venice and now London, biopics of all shapes and sizes showed that this often-predictable genre is capable of taking risks and unleashing surprises. While the likes of Ferrari and Priscilla play things safe, you’ll also find the likes of the hilarious Hit Man or the deeply felt Ryuichi Sakamoto | Opus to challenge expectations. Eve

The Eternal Memory: LFF Film Review

The Eternal Memory is a moving portrait of the pain of Alzheimer’s Disease, but it desperately needed more context and depth.

Early on in The Eternal Memory (La Memoria Infinita), its subject, former journalist and writer Augusto Góngora, asks the eternal question: “What are we doing here?” It’s a question none of us can answer, but the answer is particularly elusive for Augusto, as he is slowly succumbing to the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease. The pain of the illness lies in watching a perso

Baltimore (2023): LFF Film Review

Try as the cast might, Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy‘s film Baltimore fails to get under the skin of a determined firebrand.

In their 2022 film essay The Future Tense, husband and wife filmmaking duo Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy took stock; of themselves, their careers, their country. Though London-based, the pair retain a distinctly Irish point of view in their films, either setting them in Ireland, or at least featuring characters from the diaspora. One of the throughlines of The Futur

Day of the Fight: Venice Film Review

Day of the Fight has ambition and some good performances, but it lacks the originality to stand out from other sports movies.

Day of the Fight shows that no genre is more beholden to its tropes that the sports movie. This isn’t inherently a bad thing. People like a familiar story they can latch onto, but there are only so many times films can re-use the same plot devices. The best ones (Raging Bull is still cream of the crop) lay down the best way to do it, while clever exceptions only prove

In The Land of Saints and Sinners: Film Review

In The Land of Saints and Sinners has some fine performances and scenery, but it can’t decide on a tone, with awkward results.

In The Land of Saints and Sinners is led by three prominent Irish actors, all acclaimed, all Academy Award nominees. Liam Neeson has been a star for over thirty years at this point, while Ciarán Hinds and Kerry Condon have seen notable successes in recent times (Belfast, The Banshees of Inisherin). Seeing all three together in an Irish-set drama should have been inter

Ryuichi Sakamoto | Opus: Film Review

Ryuichi Sakamoto | Opus is an elegant and moving tribute to (and from) a world class musical talent.

When the death of Ryuichi Sakamoto was announced in March this year, his loss was rightly mourned by music fans around the world. Sakamoto ultimately succumbed to cancer but, taking a leaf out of the books of David Bowie and Leonard Cohen, he decided to leave a record of his work for the world to appreciate before he passed. Thus, we get Ryuichi Sakamoto | Opus, a simple but beautiful tribute

Coup de Chance: Venice Film Review

With Coup de Chance, Woody Allen proves he’s still capable of delivering a short and sweet charmer, even in a new country and language.

With Coup de Chance, Woody Allen proves that a change is as good as a rest. He fulfils a long-held ambition to make a film in France with a Francophone cast, and the gambit pays off. Despite the new setting (dictated by necessity as much as anything else), the familiar speech patterns, elegant settings and wry humour are firmly in place. Even the opening cred

#Review: The Killer – Venice Film Festival 2023

An assassin has to be a ruthless and efficient machine. No distractions, no, misgivings, no room for error. It’s a discipline that Christian (Michael Fassbender) reiterates time and time again in The Killer (His repeated mantra is, “Stick to the plan.”). The same rigorous efficiency applies to David Fincher. No matter what the film, whether the playful nonsense of The Game or witnessing the birth of the future in The Social Network, Fincher commits to bringing the story to life with precision an

#Review: Maestro – Venice Film Festival 2023

It takes creativity to talk about creativity. Leonard Bernstein was one of the most consistent and engaging creatives of the 20th century. As composer and conductor, his influence continues to inspire, and not just in the world of music. Maestro was a longtime project on Steven Spielberg’s roster but, while remaining a producer on the final film, he opted to hand over the reins of the film to Bradley Cooper. The success of his remake of A Star Is Born was due in no small part to his effortless b

#Review: El Conde – Venice Film Festival 2023

Pablo Larraín is a man on a mission to question how we interpret history. This is not to suggest that he’s questioning the facts of the past (Plenty of people are doing that without him joining the pile-on). Instead, Larraín is playing with historical form rather than content. When retelling the stories of historical figures, whether it’s Pablo Neruda, Jackie Kennedy or Princess Diana, Larraín emphasises their heightened nature, forever hinting that these stories merely reflect truths, without n

#Review: Frank Capra: Mr. America – Venice Film Festival 2023

Frank Capra (1897-1991) was unquestionably one of the great American directors. From an impoverished immigrant family, he rose to create some of the most beloved films in Hollywood history. The man behind It’s A Wonderful Life and It Happened One Night was driven to entertain the masses that might have felt his regrets, resents and need for hope. Matthew Wells’ new documentary Frank Capra: Mr. America offers some insight into why he felt a need to create these happy visions, but it does so in a

Aggro Dr1ft: Venice Film Review

Aggro Dr1ft is an irritating, confrontational and dreadfully adolescent attempt at experimentia. For sadomasochists only.

A good critic will try to give Aggro Dr1ft a fair shout. We should be open to attempts at experimentation in filmmaking. Like any other language, the way we tell stories on film evolves over time. Welles and Coppola made their careers on challenging existing film form.

However, with Aggro Dr1ft, Harmony Korine is only interested in challenging his audience’s patience. Kor

#Review: Poor Things – Venice Film Festival 2023

Few people can do what Yorgos Lanthimos does. With one film after another, he confounds expectations of genre and manners to shocking and oft-dazzling effect. From hiding sly sci-fi ideas in the demented drama of Dogtooth, to the sapphic political intrigues of The Favourite, we simply cannot take a Lanthimos film at face value. If you tried it with Poor Things, the overwhelming sensory experience the Greek auteur has created would perplex and fascinate in equal measure, but Lanthimos has a lot o

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar: Film Review

Short but very sweet, The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar is a concentrated dose of Anderson’s symmetrical style.

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar is the second Roald Dahl adaptation directed by Wes Anderson, but the basic plot sounds like something Anderson might have come up with himself. When a wealthy playboy (Benedict Cumberbatch’s titular Mr. Sugar) seeks out the methods of a guru to help him cheat at gambling, one can imagine any number of things going awry, all so that Mr. Sugar can

#Review: Ferrari – Venice Film Festival 2023

A name like Ferrari demands something special. It is less a brand or a name than a symbol of a lifestyle most can only imagine. Enzo Ferrari (1898 – 1988) was an innovator in the world of motor racing. To tell his life story onscreen, you could do far worse than Michael Mann. Not for the first time, Mann is working with the familiar formula of the biopic, but with Ferrari, he proves yet again that familiarity needn’t breed contempt. Mann has had considerable success with true stories before (The
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