• 22 Jump Street

    22 Jump Street

    More of the same, but more - yet somehow less.

    Yes, still winningly performed, but stretches some of the virtues of its predecessor far further than necessary. The Bromance/romance parallels are at times excruciatingly played-out (the counselling scene in particular really ought to have been more concise and less laboured), and where the first film quickly and wittily dealt with the business of franchise resurrection early on, here the new target of sequel-itis is far too frequently whack-a-moled with the…

  • Her


    OS! Be Like a Wife! (Mikio Naruse, 1935)

  • American Hustle

    American Hustle

    If you want a vision of the future, imagine a camera dollying into actors' faces - forever.

  • Prisoners


    Hard to take seriously a film which, in its first 10 minutes, features both a reading of the Lord's Prayer and a (albeit mangled) rendition of the Star Spangled Banner (yeah, we get it, this is about BIG IMPORTANT THEMES). Fortunately the film's increasingly absurd narrative twists, plus Jake Gyllenhaal's Method Blinking™ render this otherwise portentous hokum curiously entertaining (and c.f. the dreary MYSTIC RIVER, at least things are lit brightly enough to be able to see what's going on)

  • No One Lives

    No One Lives


    [For @20thCFlicks] When a ruthless hillbilly gang menace an itinerant couple at a remote roadside bar, they get considerably more than they bargained for: the mysterious man, referred to only as 'Driver', just so happens to be a near-superhuman killer, and after they discover a strange secret hidden in the boot of his car, the would-be robbers are duly terrorized themselves in increasingly gruesome fashion. As anyone who has seen Kitamura's previous films is likely to attest, he is a…

  • In Fear

    In Fear


    Rural horror vigorously tense when rooted in ambiguity, suspicion & mistrust, but really drops the ball post-reveal

  • I Spit on Your Grave 2

    I Spit on Your Grave 2

    “Your honour, the accused has returned to admit to extra charges of xenophobia & breathtaking ineptitude”

  • Frankenstein's Army

    Frankenstein's Army

    Steampunkish alt history concept interesting, story less so. Found footage aesthetic oddly anachronistic

  • Curse of Chucky

    Curse of Chucky

    Modest aims, partially achieved: frequently amusing, likeably knowing, if never greatly suspenseful

  • V/H/S/2


    Snappier than predecessor, though some problems remain: gimmicky nature of segments, and limp link narrative

  • We Are What We Are

    We Are What We Are


    Irons out wrinkles of original, elegant Southern Gothic restyle teeming with Old Weird America resonances

  • Beyond the Hills

    Beyond the Hills


    Austere, meticulously equivocal examination of the slow yet lingering perniciousness of institutionalisation. Shattering.