• CODA

    CODA

    ★★★★

    CODA is coming-of-age story that plays a familiar tune in a fresh and interesting way. Second-time filmmaker Siân Heder (Tallulah) has adapted a French drama into a simple but hugely affecting story about a girl from a deaf family torn between her commitments at home, and following her dreams. Teasing superb performances from her cast, Heder overcomes the more generic, and stereotypically ‘Sundance’ elements of the tale to swing for the emotional fences with an earnest and authentic depiction of disability that makes up for some storytelling shortcuts

    Review for The Wee Review

  • The Kid Who Would Be King

    The Kid Who Would Be King

    ★★½

    The Kid Who Would Be King is a film for our times indeed, being about the radicalisation of inner-city schoolkids by a charismatic madman spouting dark age superstition.

  • On Chesil Beach

    On Chesil Beach

    ★★

    Ian McEwan has made a career of writing about seemingly small moments that turn out to be pivotal. From a chance reading of an explicit letter in Atonement to a fateful meeting during a ballooning accident in Enduring Love, he’s acutely interested in the psychological impact that these instances have on his protagonists. These character studies have been adapted for the screen with mixed results, and On Chesil Beach sadly jettisons the taut, agonised regret of McEwan’s novella for earnest melodrama, clumsy symbolism, and an unforgivably contrived conclusion.

    Full review for The Wee Review here.

  • Aquarius

    Aquarius

    ★★★★

    The second film by film critic turned filmmaker Kleber Mendonça Filho demonstrates the eye of a portraitist and the brain of an architect. It gives Sonia Braga a starring role that comes along all-too-rarely towards the twilight of an actor’s career, and is both a languid character study and a rapier poke in the eye to the current Brazilian government.


    Full review for The Wer Review here.

  • Baby Driver

    Baby Driver

    ★★★★★

    It appears that Edgar Wright has crafted the first ever car-chase musical.  The characters may not burst into song with each shift of gear, but rarely has there been such a symbiotic coalescence between music and visuals in an action film.



    Full review for The Wee Review here.

  • Stockholm, My Love

    Stockholm, My Love

    ★★★

    In the wake of recent terrible events, there has been much reflection by those who live in the cities affected by such public trauma.  “London is stronger than this,” we’re told. “This is Manchester, we do things differently here.”  It’s as if these outrages have been an affront against the cities themselves, rather than the citizenry.  Mark Cousins’ fictional debut, Stockholm, My Love contemplates this symbiotic relationship between a city and its inhabitants, pulling the focus in tight to one woman.


    Full review for The Wee Review here

  • Letters from Baghdad

    Letters from Baghdad

    ★★★

    It’s perhaps due to the enduring appeal of David Lean’s epic that T.E Lawrence “Of Arabia” remains an iconic cultural figure.  But there was another person who achievements as a political officer and administrators, as well as traveller, writer and archaeologist, shaped the modern middle-east region as we know it.  That person was the trailblazing Gertrude Bell, whose unique perspective and knowledge of the tribal factions of Mesopotamia was utilised by the British government in creating the state of Iraq


    Full review for The Wee Review  here

  • The Other Side of Hope

    The Other Side of Hope

    ★★★★

    Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki has carved out an extremely singular, idiosyncratic niche for himself over thirty years.  He depicts an almost otherworldly, out-of-time Helsinki of endless cigarettes smoked in seedy bars, to a soundtrack of jangly fifties rock performed live by weathered, charismatic old men.  A world of hope and kindness muted by a morose and mannered deadpan presentation.  It could seem parochial, even determinedly insular, but recently he’s allowed the outside world to infiltrate.


    Full review for The Wee Review here

  • Evil Ed

    Evil Ed

    Homage isn’t an unusual thing in film, particularly when it comes to sci-fi and horror. When a film speaks to you, especially if its appeal has eluded the mainstream, it’s a beautiful thing.  When done well, the result can be classics in their own right.  Think of Tim Burton’s heartfelt mid-nineties gems Ed Wood and Mars Attacks!, peons to the wobbly, campy sci-fi of the fifties; or Peter Jackson’s early love letters to the era of the video nasties, Bad Taste and Braindead.  However, sometimes you just end up wishing you were watching the beloved originals.  Evil Ed falls into that category.


    Full review for The Wee Review here

  • Spotlight on a Murderer

    Spotlight on a Murderer

    ★★★

    Every now and then a vintage film is restored and given a new release to charm an all new generation of film fans.  Occasionally, one of these films have the generation who were around at its original release looking baffled and shrugging.  Georges Franju’s Spotlight on a Murderer is such a film, having shrunk into obscurity after a initial indifferent release.  That it has been mostly forgotten until now is strange, it being the next film Franju made after the masterful gothic horror Eyes Without a Face, which is still justifiably celebrated.


    Full review for The Wee Review here

  • McLaren

    McLaren

    ★★★½

    Chances are even though with even the most cursory knowledge of motor racing will be familiar with the McLaren Formula One team.  After Ferrari, they’re the longest-running and arguable most famous constructor in the sport, even if they are enduring a period in the doldrums currently.  To the general public, less is known about the man who founded the team.  Fellow Kiwi Roger Donaldson (The World’s Fastest Indian) sets out to tell the story of the racing and engineering genius who achieved much before his untimely death at Goodwood in 1970 at the age of only thirty-two, but whose legacy is immeasurable.


    Full review for The Wee Review here.

  • Cops vs. Thugs

    Cops vs. Thugs

    ★★★★

    The filmmaker Kinji Fukasaku is best known to western cinema audiences for his final completed film, the operatically violent Battle Royale, which featured an island full of school kids forced to fight  to the death.  In Japan, he was known for his yakuza gangster thrillers, dramatising real-life incidents and focussing on the murky mix of murder and honour between gangsters.  He was a huge influence on the likes of Miike Takashi, who rode the same wave of far-eastern extremism into the occidental consciousness in the late nineties and early years of the new century.


    Full review for The Wee Review here.