• Green Book

    Green Book

    ★★★★

    I’ve avoided this since release, largely because I was afraid I might like it. Alas, my shameful preconceptions were right. When you put titans like Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali together, the amount of culturally tone-deaf, virtue-signalling bullshit it can excuse is concerning. This smacks of enough white-saviour detritus to legitimately infuriate me, and yet, it doesn’t, mainly for the simple fact that its heart is in the right place. 

    Realistically, Green Book should have been one hot mess, but…

  • Blood and Black Lace

    Blood and Black Lace

    ★★★★½

    No giallo looks better than this. From the first few moments of the opening titles I knew that I was in for something special; a montage of shifty faces basked in neon light, the alluring, whodunnit-type suspicion to their expressions pulling me into its orbit as Carlo Rustichelli’s Bond-esque score flows over the images. Bava takes the Hitchcock formula and kickstarts the beginning of an entirely new genre, crafting a gothic, texturally unrivalled classic, with an underbelly of realism in…

  • Planet of the Apes

    Planet of the Apes

    ★★★★½

    If you’re as senseless as me and haven’t seen this since it was on TV when you were seven, I’ve got news for you, you haven’t really seen it at all. Lady Liberty and humans in cages have always been burnt into my brain, but nothing of what makes this film so important. There’s no articulating the awe-inspiring nature of the panoramic locations, not to mention the presence of the most precisely blocked nude sequence ever put to film, but…

  • Stoker

    Stoker

    ★★★★

    Park Chan-wook’s Shadow of a Doubt. Everything is in place for this to be the perfect terrain for Chan-wook; thematic audacity, vampiric undertones, a proclivity for incestuous bloodlust. Visually it’s a treat, with swooping camera movements and match-cuts galore, accompanied by some sensually charged music by the great Philip Glass. It’s a shame it can’t break past the surface, even when it so desperately wants to, the oddly handled acting dynamics and surprisingly inconsequential ending leaving a lot to be…

  • Little Women

    Little Women

    ★★★★

    Feels like home. Despite the overcooked sentimentalism of the 30s, George Cukor’s Capra-esque Hollywood formula renders the first feature take of Little Women a warm and cosy affair, even if it is a bit sickly-sweet at times. On the technical side things are still shifting into gear, with offbeat editing and contrived line deliveries making it feel that little bit too much like theatre, but it’s a worthwhile early RKO entry all the same. Katharine Hepburn is a joy to watch, as ever.

  • Who Killed Captain Alex?

    Who Killed Captain Alex?

    ★★★½

    A micro-budget DIY mixtape of the craziest kind. Playing more like an audiovisual DJ set than it does a movie, Who Killed Captain Alex? is as gleeful as it is intoxicatingly absurd. Being that it’s essentially a meme movie (unpopular opinion: I loathe memes), I did struggle to stick it out until the end, but there’s no denying the raw talent on display here. Shot in Uganda in the midst of a civil war, all types of people come together…

  • Demons

    Demons

    ★★★★½

    Wow, I haven’t had this much fun with a movie in a long time. This shit is like a cocktail of Evil Dead II, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Dawn of the Dead, and Suspiria. Lamberto Bava knows the ropes, toying with the splatter formula first laid down by his father Mario, imbuing it with a pulsing neon radiance and doing everything within his God-tier power to make the blood and guts feel real. Stacked with gag-worthy gore, from neck-gnawing to eye-gouging to…

  • Tenebre

    Tenebre

    ★★★★½

    Always wondered why this Argento film in particular was one of the UK’s famously banned video-nasties, and now I know. This one is really bloody, and unlike the fetishised format of the murder scenes in some of his previous films (most notably Deep Red), Dario takes a different tac here, rooting the atmosphere in a deeper, more realistic sense of terror. Complete with a killer Goblin soundtrack, black leather glove POVs, copious torrents of Savini-esque blood and out-of-sync dubbing, this…

  • Midsommar

    Midsommar

    ★★★★★

    Outside of The Lighthouse, this is A24’s crowning horror achievement. I first saw Midsommar at a rooftop cinema screening in Downtown LA whilst I was stoned out of my mind, so I’ve been wanting to revisit it in the case it might’ve been glorified under the circumstances. Nope, this is still a bonafide masterpiece, flaunting all the cult eeriness of The Wicker Man but with none of that shaky, on-the-fly feel. Every incremental movement is exactly where it needs to be,…

  • Pulse

    Pulse

    ★★★★½

    J-horror, jilted romance and apocalyptic sci-fi all rolled into one. As usual, Kiyoshi Kurosawa is in a world of his own here, traditional narrative taking a backseat as the distant, bone-chilling atmosphere holds our gaze. Many would mistake this for an example of style over substance, but with Kiyoshi the style is the substance, proving that cinema doesn’t always necessarily have to make sense, and that the evocation of emotion is ultimately what constitutes the integral component. 

    As a prophetic,…

  • [REC]

    [REC]

    ★★★★½

    Found-footage doesn’t get a good enough rep in my opinion. If you take a second to consider everything the formula has amounted to over the years, it really starts to add up. After Cannibal Holocaust and The Blair Witch Project made the initial jumps, the new millennium gave rise to a reformation of documentary-style cinema, with thunderous romps such as Paranormal Activity, Cloverfield, District 9, Creep and Host all stretching the sub-genre to its limits. Enter [REC], a film I’ve…

  • Dirty God

    Dirty God

    ★★★★

    Invigorating, female-led British indie. Real-life burn survivor Vicky Knight takes the reins here, giving a sensational performance in a film that’s obviously very close to home. Not enough films focus on London’s acid-attack epidemic, director Sacha Polak’s intimate examination of urban subculture fully supporting the story, even if the sympathy-vote feels somewhat forced at times. By the end it manages to overcome its few conventions, with a powerful and hopeful message at its centre: there’s a whole lot more to people than what meets the eye. Fresh in every regard.