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The dog, Charlie, Kat and Lou on the sofa

Marry Me

Unlikely but theoretically possibly, Marry Me is not to be confused with a 2011 Lucy Liu film with the same title. That said, this Marry Me doesn’t much care how familiar it looks, feels and plays. From the moment it starts to the final disappearance of the last credit, it’s recognisable right down to its … Read more
Oskar bangs his drum

The Tin Drum

The Tin Drum won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1980, as well as the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1979. Not everyone was enamoured, though. While the Los Angeles Times thought it “a masterwork of cinema” and the New York Times slightly less effusively reported that it “compels attention,” Roger Ebert of … Read more
Sebastian Cavazza as Milutin

AI Rising

Seen any good Serbian sci-fi lately? How about AI Rising, a film that works wonders with two main actors, a couple of sets, some clever lighting, moody music and a small team of special-effects artists who know their stuff. If there’s a criticism – let’s get this out of the way straight away – it’s … Read more
James Mason and Joan Bennett

The Reckless Moment

Melodrama lush and silk-wrapped in The Reckless Moment, a typically opulent film from Max Ophüls, billed almost inevitably as Max Opuls in the four films he made in the USA, of which this was the last. He’s best known for Lola Montes and La Ronde, and for a strange fascination with female characters whose name … Read more
Kali Reis as Kaylee

Catch the Fair One

Catch the Fair One is a game of two halves kind of movie, absolutely the wrong metaphor for a story incidentally set in the world of boxing, and starring a boxer in her acting debut. Kali Reis not only plays the similarly named Kaylee, but also co-created the story, with director Josef Kubota Wladyka. Who … Read more
Captain Kronos rests against a tree

Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter

There’s a bat stuck “splat!” on to someone’s face at a certain point in Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter, which just about sums up this film made in 1972 (released in 1974), an attempt by writer/director Brian Clemens and his crew to breathe new life into the vampire genre and the Hammer Studio’s output. Clemens was … Read more
Stefani and Zola

Zola

A nasty-ass neo-noir, Zola is based on the true story of Detroit dancer and waitress A’Ziah King, Zola to her friends. Over 148 tweets written in a clear and vivid prose style she laid out how her new stripper friend Stefani had tricked her into taking a job as a prostitute. Tweet one starts, “Y’all … Read more
The entomologist and the Woman in bed

Woman in the Dunes

Whether you call it Woman in the Dunes, Woman OF the Dunes, or go with the original Japanese title, Suna No Onna, Hiroshi Teshigahara’s wildfire success from 1964 (arthouse wildfire – it’s relative) is surely unique in being the only absurdist erotic Japanese drama. Tarkovsky rated it as one of his top ten films, and you … Read more
Jay, Malik and Bobby

Encounter

Close Encounters? No, just Encounter, though the choice of title is deliberate. Instead of Richard Dreyfuss on the road, heading towards alien contact, Encounter offers Riz Ahmed’s Malik on the road with his two sons, heading towards something… or perhaps something else… or perhaps nothing at all. It’s all a massive tease, really, and it’s Michael … Read more
Joe and Doris at a club

Force of Evil

Though tricked out in an almost offhand way like a film noir, Force of Evil is actually something else entirely, an old school Greek tragedy, featuring a noble hero cursed by a fatal flaw in his character, one which will first be exposed and then cause his downfall. John Garfield plays Joe Morse, a lawyer … Read more
Strawberry and Mikey on a fairground ride

Red Rocket

Red Rocket is the latest news bulletin from Scuzzville USA by Sean Baker, who gave us bitching transexual sex workers in Tangerine (the one “shot on an iPhone”) and the travails of motel-dwelling poor white trash in The Florida Project. Both of those flirted with poverty porn and so does Red Rocket, more literally this … Read more
Charlie plays the piano

Shoot the Piano Player

How do you follow a classic like The 400 Blows? With another one, if you’re François Truffaut. Shoot the Piano Player (aka Shoot the Pianist, or Tirez sur le pianiste in the original French) debuted in 1960, one year after 400 Blows had made Truffaut’s name as a director. Just in case there was any … Read more

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