Month: November 2020

Marin Ireland

The Dark and the Wicked

  Some horror directors favour the balls-out approach of a high concept, others go down the skill route. Call it art v craft or wit v cunning. Then you get directors who manage both – Sam Raimi went down the the first path with Evil Dead and down the second

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Tsai Chin as lucky grandma

Lucky Grandma

  There’s a silent movie quality to Lucky Grandma, the story of a Chinese grandmother in New York’s Chinatown who gets tangled up with the Triads and somehow (OK, improbably) comes out on top. But first let’s meet Grandma, played superbly by Tsai Chin (86 when this was made, though

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Old Dolio, Theresa and Robert crouching to avoid being seen


  There’s a lot to like in Kajillionaire, apart from the film itself, since what it boils down to is a story of child abuse told in a tone so wilfully whimsical that it’s hoping to sell itself as a comedy. The abused party is Old Dolio, a bizarre name

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Kindly Yukio stuck in the well


  Gemini director Shinya Tsukamoto was about 30 when he made his most infamous film, Tetsuo, which featured a man turning into a kind of scrapyard monster, complete with gigantic revolving hydraulic penis. Ten years later in 1999, nudging 40, here he is calmed down a touch, but not that

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Bill Paterson and Tilda Swinton

Friendship’s Death

  There’s been a slight revival of interest in Peter Wollen’s Friendship’s Death since the London Film Festival chose it as one of the items they wanted to pluck from obscurity by showcasing it in their 2020 Treasures section, alongside films such as The Cheaters, an Australian silent thriller from

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Wolfboy in pensive mood

The True Adventures of Wolfboy

  The True Adventures of Wolfboy. Sounds like it might be a superhero movie – Wolfboy as a junior Wolverine. Or a supervillain movie – a Mini-Me Werewolf. In fact it’s neither. This is the everyday story of a teenage boy covered in hair, lots of it. And before we go

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Dylan O'Brien and cute dog

Love and Monsters

  I’ve sat through more post-apocalyptic teen adventure flicks – Hunger Games, The Giver, three flavours of Divergent, Maze Runner etc – and not really enjoyed any of them. “They’re not for you,” a mate at work once remarked. And as I whinged some more about one or other of

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Gang Dong-Won as Jung Seok

Train to Busan 2

  Train to Busan 2 goes by a variety of names but the one that works best for me is Train to Busan Presents Peninsula (rather than Train to Busan: Peninsula, or plain old Peninsula), because this best encapsulates what the film is: a film from the Train to Busan

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Emilia Clarke and Jack Huston

Above Suspicion

Above Suspicion is the story of one person – an FBI cop who became a killer when his snitch got too powerful – told as the story of another, the snitch herself. It makes for a messy drama that never quite gets its legs under the table and seems to

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Rashida Jones and Bill Murray in a cab

On the Rocks

  A Sofia Coppola movie with Bill Murray as an agent of misrule? Lost in Translation II is the guiding principle of On the Rocks, though “stars” Rashida Jones and Marlon Wayans might disagree. First up, we’re served Jones and Wayans hot and then cold – an opening scene shows

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