• Scream

    Scream

    ★★★★

    Wes Craven shook the horror genre for the second time in his career with this razor-sharp slasher satire that's as witty as it is thrilling. Kevin Williamson's fantastic script plays with genre tropes by following some and subverting others, while providing memorable dialogue full of movie references and self-aware characters that give the film an energy not many others of this style possess. It is aided by a spirited cast, inventive set-pieces, a sense of unpredictability (as characters are killed…

  • An American Werewolf in London

    An American Werewolf in London

    ★★★

    What a bizarre mixed bag of a film An American Werewolf in London is. Merging comedy and horror is usually a precarious balancing act, and when you have a director primarily known for comedy you worry the humour will outshine everything else. Strangely enough, the opposite is true here. The horror aspects are genuinely chilling and well crafted, whereas the comedic elements feel out of place and just aren't that amusing. It starts strong as a quirky tale of lycanthropy…

  • Se7en

    Se7en

    ★★★★

    Arguably one of the darkest mainstream films ever released, right from the wonderfully unsettling open credits of David Fincher's sophomore effort Seven you know you're in for a disturbing ride. The sinister atmosphere is palpable. The nameless city is nearly always in the middle of a downpour and the looming buildings cast deep shadows. The cops are weary and the citizens apathetic. The murders are as chilling as anything you'll see in a horror movie (especially the harrowing one involving…

  • The Wailing

    The Wailing

    ★★★★½

    I can't recall many modern horror films that successfully balance as many styles and ideas as The Wailing. It is equal parts police procedural, foreboding mystery, supernatural thriller, ghost story and heart-rendering human drama. Thematic elements that deal with belief systems, xenophobia and fear of the unknown are worked into the story seamlessly.

    Director Na Hong-jin manages to make all of these converging ideas work by creating a world full of interesting characters and giving the film an emotional core…

  • Dracula

    Dracula

    ★★★½

    A sweeping, operatic adaptation of the classic novel by Francis Ford Coppola that stands out thanks to it's sublime production quality. This is a film of such visual splendour. The set designs, costumes and make-up are all strikingly detailed. The colour palette is rich and vibrant. The special effects, mostly done in-camera, look fantastic. Coppola really succeeds in crafting the ideal gothic tone, not only through the visuals but also with Wojciech Kilar's superb score and a sound design that…

  • The Trial of the Chicago 7

    The Trial of the Chicago 7

    ★★

    A timely but lacklustre effort from Aaron Sorkin. Directing clearly isn't his strong suit given how bland this is visually with flat editing and dull compositions. Even his typically sharp writing style doesn't really work here. The drama feels very sensationalised with all the tropes of the courtroom drama ticked off one by one and the film as a whole ends up feeling weirdly centrist considering the subject matter.

    The performances range from good (Mark Rylance, Michael Keaton, Yahya Abdul-Mateen…

  • Dracula

    Dracula

    ★★★½

    I'll always have a fondness for this film given my grandfather was a big Hammer fan and this was one used to educate (as well as terrify) me on the horror genre as a child.

    As far as takes on the classic novel go this is a solid effort. It is overly condensed and a lot is changed (Dracula's castle is in Carlsbad, Harker is aware of vampirism, character roles are swapped or altered). Yet, like most Hammer films of…

  • Heat

    Heat

    ★★★★★

    Michael Mann's magnum opus. An enthralling crime epic that depicts two intelligent professionals on either side of the law and the juxtaposition of their lives. Almost everything about Heat is immpecable. Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in top form. The incredible supporting cast (Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore, Ashley Judd, Diane Venora, Wes Studi, Mykelti Williamson and Jon Voight to name a few) who add so much substance to their roles. Dante Spinotti's stunning cinematography that captures an enormous city…

  • Miami Vice

    Miami Vice

    ★★★★½

    Michael Mann at his most abstract. Like almost all of Mann's work it reveals itself over time and lingers in the mind. The emotions it produces and the images captured are so distinctive that it needs to be revisited. Miami Vice is less a police procedural, more a lyrical examination of how working undercover demands a loss of identity and creates a sense of living on borrowed time. The sunburnt coolness of the famed TV series is replaced by something…

  • Ali

    Ali

    ★★★★

    Michael Mann delivers one of the most unusual biopics I can recall. Instead of a straightfoward retelling of Muhammad Ali's life he goes for something unexpected by crafting a decade long character study that is more reliant on atmosphere than thrills. It's an understated film that is interested in not only Ali's personal relationships and boxing career, but the things that surrounded him. It examines the uncertainty of the time, what happens when sports meets politics, the influence of the…

  • Collateral

    Collateral

    ★★★★★

    Classic Michael Mann. A seamless blend of dynamic crime thriller and contemplative mood piece. It's possibly Mann's most high-concept work, yet he still manages to weave his thematic interest in professionals who stick closely to their own code into the plot and explore it in the relationship between the two lead characters. Filling those roles are Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx who are outstanding in against type performances.

    This is all of Mann's strengths on display. Exhilarating action sequences. Subtle…

  • Inside Llewyn Davis

    Inside Llewyn Davis

    ★★★★★

    Both ingeniously witty and profoundly melancholy. A fascinating study of the fight for integrity and the grief of losing an artistic partner seen through the eyes of the flawed yet sympathetic titular musician as he struggles with the cyclical nature of his life. A superb lead performance by Oscar Isaac, an excellent supporting cast, fantastic dialogue, clever character building, beautiful cinematography and wonderful songs all convey the bittersweet mood perfectly. One of the Coen brothers very best efforts.