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Cop au Vin

Bienvenue à Cop au Vin, a rare example of a French film that didn’t use its original title (Poulet au Vinaigre) in English-speaking territories when it was released in 1985 but instead went for a different French title. Poulet is slang for cop. Cop in vinegar? Shrug. Actually, it’s everyone else who’s in vinegar in … Read more
Colin Farrell in a dark room

After Yang

Philosophical (ie moody) sci-fi movie After Yang picks up on Philip K Dick’s sci-fi reflections on the possibility of consciousness in bots. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, and all that. Dick’s stories tends to arrive on screen dark – Blade Runner, Total Recall, A Scanner Darkly, Minority Report – but director Kogonada decides to … Read more
A fearful Leona on the phone

Sorry, Wrong Number

Sorry, Wrong Number, made in 1948, is a superbly melodramatic drama taking the brittle, “dangerous dame” image of its star, Barbara Stanwyck, for a protracted ride. Four years earlier Stanwyck had starred in Double Indemnity as the manipulative minx persuading poor schmuck Ed McMurray to kill her husband, and here she is in Sorry, Wrong … Read more
Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman

Licorice Pizza

Paul Thomas Anderson’s quest to make the perfect 1970s movie continues with Licorice Pizza, a living, breathing simulacrum of the sort of film that stalked the landscape before George Lucas came along with changed/ruined (according to taste) everything with Star Wars. Ironically, another Lucas film, American Graffiti, might have served as a moodboard for his … Read more
Woman in Blonde Wig with Cop 223

Chungking Express

Written on the hoof while shooting on his previous film, Ashes of Time, was paused, Wong Kar-Wai’s Chungking Express is one of the defining films of the 1990s and, thanks to Wong’s remarkable approach to storytelling, one of the great films of all time. It’s two stories in one, or one story told two ways, … Read more
Manu and Jean-Gab

Mandibles

Mandibles (Mandibules in the original French) is a film by Quentin Dupieux, the guy who in 1999 gave the world Flat Eric, a nodding glove puppet with deadly comic timing originally designed to sell Levi’s Sta-Prest clothing. Aspects of the manic, affectless, idiot-savant spirit of Eric (if you don’t know him, here’s an example) can … Read more
Ray Milland and Charles Laughton

The Big Clock

The IMDb description of The Big Clock succinctly tells the story of what happens – “A magazine tycoon commits a murder and pins it on an innocent man, who then tries to solve the murder himself” – while remaining silent about the massive irony at the centre of the story. The further the man advances with … Read more
The pigeon Dr Bird with James on a couch

Dr Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets

Dr Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets starts off in voiceover. “My father, The Brute, said reading Walt Whitman is a waste of time, despite sharing the same name,” says James Whitman (our teenage sad poet, played by Lucas Jade Zumann) lying on his back in a sulk on his lonely bed. He glances over at … Read more
Jeff and Kathie

Out of the Past

You can run but you cannot hide is the sentiment driving Out of the Past, Jacques Tourneur’s bleak film noir masterclass from 1947. Just when you think you’ve got clear of something, so the story goes, up it comes from your history and bites you in the ass. Robert Mitchum plays Jeff, a private detective … Read more
Kat and Michael hug

Drunk Bus

“Inspired by real shit,” it says at the beginning of Drunk Bus, a nineties/noughties-style coming-of-age comedy taking its cues from a host of (good) films. The setting actually is “inspired” – the late-night bus on the Campus Loop taking students back to wherever they live – driven invariably by late-20s Michael (Charlie Tahan), a guy … Read more
Sheila screams

Mad Doctor of Blood Island

There’s no point pretending that Mad Doctor of Blood Island is any good. It isn’t. It has its moments but on the whole it’s a waste of time unless you watch it as intended – in your car at the drive-in playing tonsil hockey with whoever. The Filipino grind-em-out production house Hemisphere Pictures as good … Read more
Inspector Buron and Louis

Keep an Eye Out

Keep an Eye Out (Au Poste! in the original French), from Quentin Dupieux – who gave us the film Rubber, about a sentient car tyre, and Deerskin, about a man who becomes possessed by a suede jacket – looks at first like one of the writer/director’s less weird films, as long as you ignore the … Read more

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