• Kill!

    Kill!

    ★★★½

    2nd Kihachi Okamoto (after Blue Christmas)

    You know what I would have preferred? If the end of this film was actually the start. Where our ex-samurai hero battered and bedraggled after a long day's fighting, finds himself accosted by his farmer mate, a servant and six ex-prostitutes who the mate has promised to lead back to their homes. The next two hours are a proper Western as we follow our exhausted heroes transverse the mountains and forests of 19th century…

  • Miss Lonely

    Miss Lonely

    ★★★★½

    7th Nobuhiko Obayashi (after Hausu, School in the Crosshairs; His Motorbike, Her Island; The Little Girl Who Leapt Through Time and The Rocking Horsemen)

    As I see more Obayashi, I’m constantly impressed by his generosity of spirit towards teenagers and their emotional worlds. There’s never the sense that he’s looking at them with a derisive snicker as they bumble their way around the vagaries of love and adulthood. He treats them with a warmth and depth that marks his films…

  • Four Roads

    Four Roads

    ★★★

    1st Alice Rohrwacher

    My first Rohrwacher is a delightful experience, but somewhat different to her features from what I can tell. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed this little slice of quarantine life, certainly a peaceful way to spend the previous year. Using a 16mm camera, some expired film stock and a zoom lens, Rohrwacher gives us a brief insight to those who live close to her in the wooded countryside of Italy. This includes a boisterous family, a loner who looks…

  • The King and the Mockingbird

    The King and the Mockingbird

    ★★★

    2nd Paul Grimault (after Turning Table)

    Rightly more famous for its status as a labour of love than a brilliant piece of animation. I've come to the realisation that Grimault and I simply don't get on. I find his style of animation here overly rubbery and unsettling, like slow moving elastic that won't snap back. There's just something about the way the King moves which sets my teeth on edge. Grimault's choice of subject matter, a Hans Christian Andersen fairytale,…

  • Visit, or Memories and Confessions

    Visit, or Memories and Confessions

    ★★★½

    6th Manoel de Oliveira (after Doomed Love, Francesca, Aniki-Bóbó and The Strange Case of Angelica)

    At once a portrait of a house and an autobiography of its owner. Made in 1982, De Oliveira held it from release until his death in 2015, significantly longer than probably even he imagined. Why he did so is unclear. The film suggests that it's to preserve the memory of a house, one that Oliveira lived in for forty years. It's evident that the location…

  • The Coca-Cola Kid

    The Coca-Cola Kid

    ★★★★

    3rd Dušan Makavejev (after WR: Mysteries of the Organism and Sweet Movie)

    Great Director Misfires- 14/27

    A film that's gotten more potent as time has gone on. Like Makavejev's other two I've seen, this pivots around the twin axis of desire and consumption, extending the anti-American critique of Sweet Movie into less scatalogical and more economical terms. It's a lot less hostile a viewing experience, almost functioning as a sweet fish out of water comedy. The comedy comes from the…

  • The Manxman

    The Manxman

    ★★★½

    33rd Hitchcock film

    Hitchcock's last fully silent film isn't a bad film by any account. If it had been made by a lesser director then we would talk about this as one of the unjustly forgotten English silents. But it's Hitchcock, and the towering successes that came after this rightly put it in the shade. While Zig, my friend on here, is right to point out that Hitchcock was a very capable Romance director, this tale of a Manx love…

  • The Heron and the Crane

    The Heron and the Crane

    ★★★½

    5th Yuri Norstein (after Tale of Tales, Hedgehog in the Fog, The Battle of Kerzhenets and Fox and the Hare)

    Something of a disappointment in the Norstein canon, though I wonder whether that was more to do with the quality of the image I saw than anything else. The Heron and the Crane was made with a technique that Norstein perfected for Tale of Tales and Hedgehog..., that of placing multiple glass panes around his cutouts to simulate multiple layers…

  • Tobacco Road

    Tobacco Road

    7th John Ford (after Stagecoach, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, My Darling Clementine, The Searchers, Young Mr. Lincoln and The Long Grey Line)

    Great Director Misfires- 13/27

    I hate this film. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. I hate every loud yammering second of its infantile stupidity. Why is this film so fucking loud? I believe that a circle in Hell has this played on repeat with the volume on max, so that the unlucky sinners…

  • Senso

    Senso

    ★★★½

    6th Luchino Visconti (after The Leopard, Ludwig, The Innocent, Ossessione and The Damned)

    A pithy review of this film would probably run something like 'When the dick is so good it makes you betray your country', but sadly I have never been one for pith. This was Visconti's first real film in his mature style, one that blended an incredible eye for historical detail with an emphasis on the luxuries of emotional masochism to an unfeeling figure of domination. He…

  • Farewell, My Lovely

    Farewell, My Lovely

    ★★★½

    1st Dick Richards

    Ah, the slouched hat and rumpled suit of the private eye noir. Existing on the periphery of ACAB in their upholding of a law but without the power afforded to them by the badge itself, Phillip Marlowe and his ilk lollop through whatever city they may inhabit (usually the sun kissed scum-hole that is LA) with a cynical sense of humour and a packet of smokes, a voiceover immersing us in their jaundiced interactions with the highballers…

  • Cat Soup

    Cat Soup

    ★★★★½

    1st Tatsuo Satō

    This film very nearly made me cry. Very nearly, mind. Crying was something I culturally learned to stop doing at a very young age, and so I bottled all the feelings up. But sometimes they leak out at the edges, and I just about held them in here. Somehow, this surreal story of a little cat venturing out to find the missing part of his sister's soul really did make me melancholy, especially in the final few…