• Spirited Away

    Spirited Away

    ★★★★

    Haunting, magical, poignant, whimsical and cathartic in equal measure.

  • On the Rocks

    On the Rocks

    ★★★★

    One of the most common criticisms levied at the films of Sofia Coppola is that they tend to focus on ultra-rich white people and their vapid lives and problems that seem innocuous to those of us in the 99%, struggling to make ends meet whilst these millionaires suffer from mid-life crisis’s despite having access to whatever material needs they may desire. On the Rocks does nothing to sully those complaints (although this film does feature her most diverse cast yet)…

  • Hell's Island

    Hell's Island

    ★★★½

    Phil Karlson was a prolific director known for his tough crime dramas which managed to fit cohesive interweaving narratives and three-dimensional characters into modest running times. He remains underrated to this day and his influence on filmmakers like Michael Mann and William Friedkin is undeniable. Although this was definitely inferior to the two other films I've seen by him so far (Kansas City Confidential and Scandal Sheet), it remained a worthwhile watch. One particularly innovative sequence involved the lights going…

  • Lost and Found

    Lost and Found

    ★★★★½

    What a beautiful oddity. Melancholic and downright dreary in terms of the subject matter, but in execution the 3 charming leads and dynamic Wong Kar Wai esque direction turn this into a ludicrous delight. Full of dynamic camera work, from the metropolitan streets of Hong Kong to the grass hills of a Scottish archipelago. A film bursting with humanity, unafraid to wear its heart on its sleeve.

  • Bamboozled

    Bamboozled

    ★★★★½

    Spike Lee is arguably the most well known African American filmmaker of all time. Despite his fame and his prolific output, he has consistently been undermined by white film critics, who often disregard him as being a serious auteur due to quibbles such as his being too didactic, excessive style or content, and preaching messages with a lack of subtlety. But I’d argue that his more direct approach is a result of passion, of not being heard, and a desire…

  • Blacks Britannica

    Blacks Britannica

    ★★★★★

    I don't typically rate documentaries but this was nothing short of phenomenal.

    A rousing call to arms and powerful condemnation of colonial Britain's transformation into a contemporary lack of apology for that brutal history which focused on ignoring the atrocities of white people and continuing to oppress black people for simply daring to exist. As well as holding a revolutionary spirit though, this film has a tender heart, with moving depictions of people who just want to live their lives…

  • Tokyo Melody: A Film about Ryuichi Sakamoto

    Tokyo Melody: A Film about Ryuichi Sakamoto

    Perhaps not as in depth or complete as CODA, the latter film has the added benefit of 30+ years life and work experience for Sakamoto, but as a look at the creative process of one of the most ingenious artists of our time, the slice of life approach that Tokyo Melody employs is wonderful. We follow his musings on music, time, technology, life and bear witness to intimate performances and behind the scenes work, following him through the gleaming metropolis…

  • Coffee and Cigarettes

    Coffee and Cigarettes

    "The Earth is a conductor of acoustical resonance."

    Segments ranked:

    Cousins? - Alfred Molina, Steve Coogan
    Delirium - RZA, GZA, Bill Murray
    Twins - Joie Lee, Cinqué Lee, Steve Buscemi
    Somewhere in California - Iggy Pop, Tom Waits
    Cousins - Cate Blanchett & Cate Blanchett
    Renée - Renée French
    Champagne - William Rice, Taylor Mead
    Those Things'll Kill Ya - Vinny Vella, Joe Rigano
    Strange to Meet You - Roberto Benigni, Steven Wright
    No Problem - Alex Descas, Isaach de Bankolé
    Jack Shows Meg His Tesla Coil - Jack White, Meg White

  • Funeral Parade of Roses

    Funeral Parade of Roses

    ★★★½

    Undoubtedly important and influential but it didn't really click with me for the first hour or so due to the deliberately obfuscating style. I grew more partial to its considerable charms as time wore on though. My ambivalent reaction was partly due to lack of concentration and I believe a rewatch would iron out any inconsistencies. As it is, great to see something from 1969 that is more progressive on sexuality than most films made today and the crisp, ravishing b&w cinematography along with the non linear editing make this an enticing piece of experimental cinema.

  • Strange Days

    Strange Days

    ★★★★★

    LA as the city of lost angels on the precipice of apocalypse. Dizzying dehumanising vision of a near future society on the brink of all out urban chaos (streets on fire, rioters at every corner) at the turn of the millennium as the main antagonists turn out to be white supremacist law enforcement desperate to cover their blood-stained tracks by any means necessary. A virulently anti-establishment action epic, justifying its length through impeccable pacing and deep characterisation. Through the pure…

  • Comrades: Almost a Love Story

    Comrades: Almost a Love Story

    ★★★★

    Wonderfully sincere in its dedication to a heightened sense of melodrama with a deft, playful touch, which creates a heartwarming romance full of delightfully bizarre moments. As a story of two young adults struggling to navigate the bustling metropolis of Hong Kong, Comrades excels. Leon Lai is the new arrival from rural China who can barely speak Cantonese or English and struggles to adapt to big city life, but he meets the more streetwise Maggie Cheung and together the two…

  • I Walked with a Zombie

    I Walked with a Zombie

    ★★★½

    Dreamlike black & white imagery suffuses the alluring atmosphere of I Walked with a Zombie, which gives a gothic glow to the tropical surroundings of an island with many secrets. An abstract work which leaves many questions unanswered, one senses the ambiguity shall become less obfuscating and more intoxicating upon rewatches.