Mel Campbell

Mel Campbell

Freelance film critic, journalist, author, podcaster and alleged pop culture queen.

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  • Moana

    Moana

    ★★★½

    I liked this but didn't love it. I liked the way the ocean had its own strikingly animated personality, the charming lead performance from debut actor Auli'i Cravalho and I really liked the legendary ships, but it felt very obvious that Disney is caught in a complicated, intersectional balancing act trying to please lots of people while expanding its market.

    As I'm white as the driven snow, this movie wasn't for me on an identity politics level, but I did…

  • Allied

    Allied

    ★★★

    Robert Zemeckis is basically the uncanny valley guy by now, and I guess now we no longer need wonder "What if Casablanca took place in the uncanny valley?" We'll always have Allied.

    I wonder if Brad Pitt had his face digitally youthened for this, because he looked much younger than I was expecting, and than I remember him looking in other recent films. But then this is a film about the play of surfaces, in which trust and duplicity are…

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  • Girl Asleep

    Girl Asleep

    ★★

    I hated this. Like, I left the cinema feeling angry. It reminded me of a certain trend in fringe theatre 10 years ago to make quirky props and sets out of ordinary household objects, and behave zanily as a substitute for a decent script. And this actually began as a fringe theatre production, which is where it should perhaps have stayed.

    Everyone's been jizzing themselves about its Wes Andersony symmetrical shot compositions, retro settings, deadpan acting and block colours. But…

  • Frank & Lola

    Frank & Lola

    ★★★½

    Michael Shannon's magnetic performance (is there any other sort?) elevates this noir. The shifts between Las Vegas and Paris, the air of paranoia and sexual obsession, and the introduction of Michael Nyqvist as an inscrutable, morally ambiguous Euro-villain, made me ponder that this is the kind of movie Roman Polanski might have made if he'd been allowed to continue working in the US.

    If Paul Verhoeven's Elle takes the piss out of Polanski's arthouse neo-noir tropes, then Frank & Lola Sundances them, blending them with the themes of self-actualisation on which American indie cinema tends to dwell.