• CODA

    CODA

    ★★½

    50/100

    Schematic, melodramatic and predictable. But well made, I guess …

    My ranked list of 2021 releases https://boxd.it/bkU6u

  • Azor

    Azor

    ★★★★

    72/100

    Azor, we’re told, in Bankers' patois means ‘be quiet’ and/or ‘careful what you say’, and the film itself takes this quite literally, being elliptical, quite subtle and pungent. It is a claustrophobic film, with an oppressive mood that permeates everything as it looks at how easily ones' morals can start to fray in the face of promises of personal and financial gain. The fact that it does so in the context of the milieu of the Argentinian Dictatorship of…

  • The Lost Daughter

    The Lost Daughter

    ★★★½

    69/100

    The Lost Daughter, a psychograph of a bad mother and possibly a bad person, adapted from Elena Ferrante’s celebrated novel of the same name, is a heady exercise in restraint by almost everybody involved. Maggie Gyllenhaal, making her seriously impressive debut as writer-director (not strictly speaking true, as she directed a few episodes of The Deuce), trusts the audience to engage with an enigmatic and occasionally unlikeable central character whose behaviour is thrilling and appalling at the same time.…

  • Introduction

    Introduction

    ★★★½

    61/100

    If there is a constant to this short-ish diversion from Hong (wherein he returns to immature and commitment-shy males), it is the uncertain relationship between young couple Youngho and Juwon, who appear in twosegments together. In the other segments other characters gravitate around them. Predictably in jumbled up chronology. In the first section, Youngho is goes to his doctor father’s clinic in Seoul, only to be left sitting liminally in the waiting room. In the second, he flies to…

  • The Eyes of Tammy Faye

    The Eyes of Tammy Faye

    ★★

    40/100

    This is quite misguided, and especially in the performances of the two leads and D’Onofrio as Jerry Falwell. And Chastain is the biggest culprit. Buried under makeup of steadily increasing thickness, prosthetic jaw padding that makes her look ridiculous and a Midwestern warble that it gives the phrase over the top a whole new meaning, she goes at assaying the titular role of Tammy Faye Messner/Bakker with both guns blazing. 

    Chastain was on a hiding to nothing from the…

  • Belfast

    Belfast

    ★½

    29/100

    No. Just no. There is almost nothing here to like. Maybe the two main adult leads and that’s about it. It's airbrushed, decidedly middle-brow, cliche-ridden, inoffensive, choc-a-block with gormless needle drops, decidedly middlebrow, directed as if by a hack, dull-looking and, well, dull. I am quite dumbfounded by the fact that this is getting such positive reviews by the mainstream media.

    My ranked list of 2021 releases https://boxd.it/bkU6u

  • Zola

    Zola

    ★★★½

    64/100

    “Y’all wanna hear a story about why me and this bitch here fell out?! It’s kinda long but full of suspense." This is not entirely true on either count, despite being lifted verbatim, from what I understand, from the 144 tweets in which, on 27 October, 2015, Aziah “@_zolarmoon” Wells detailed a falling out between herself and a woman named Jessica during a last-minute road trip from Detroit to Florida, and on which ZOLA is based. It’s not that…

  • The Worst Person in the World

    The Worst Person in the World

    ★★★★

    73/100

    TWPITW has been invariably described, aptly, as a millennial romance. In fact the clear implication by the goings-on in it is that the title does not actually refer to its’ flighty protagonist but, rather, it is an allusion to the feeling that “poor” millennials, with their decidedly first world issues and neuroses, frequently experience when they let someone down or are casually cruel with their words or actions.

    Structured as a story in 12 chapter with a prologue and…

  • Memoria

    Memoria

    ★★★

    60/100

    Memoria, is a film about about being attuned to the vibrations of the past, of other times and other lives. It might be “Joe” s first film set outside his native Thailand, but Colombia, a country with a long history of violence and lush jungle, is quite similar so it’s hardly a stretch. 

    Memoria is obviously intended to lull you into its’ rhythms while giving you the sparse outline of an intellectual framework, but the problem is that it…

  • Red Rocket

    Red Rocket

    ★★★½

    67/100

    Sean Baker take a bow! This is pretty good. 

    It tells the story of a hustler with huge entitlement issues who causes havoc wherever he goes, and uses it as an obvious metaphor for the state of the American nation and Trumpism. It’s not exactly subtle but it has soul and energy (as did his two previous films) and he continues favouring bright colours, snappy and outrageous dialogue (which surprisingly always feels authentic and organic) and flirting consistently with…

  • Quo vadis, Aida?

    Quo vadis, Aida?

    ★★★½

    70/100

    “Will anyone in the world witness this tragedy, this unprecedented crime?” a voice pleads on a radio near the beginning of this powerful, deeply moving film about the Srebrenica massacre in July 1995. Essentially it is a film about the spectre of humanity’s failure to prevent an atrocity by looking away from it. Which is driven home by itself “playing” with either looking away or focusing at people(s faces) at crucial junctures. And fittingly it finishes with an unblinking…

  • Parallel Mothers

    Parallel Mothers

    ★★★★

    71/100

    It is by now axiomatic that Almodovar has an unparalleled understanding of women’s psyches as well as an exemplary grasp of melodrama (which in the past decade or so, he tends to cloak in thriller tropes and a knack of making this feel as if it is the most natural combination). And guess what? Here we go again on both fronts! Plus Penelope Cruz on fire, in a career best performance.

    Parallel Mothers is a predictably gorgeous looking, bright-coloured…