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Monday, 16 April 2018

Custody - Dir. Xavier Legrand

A late addition to 2017’s autumn festival circuit, Custody went on to pick up awards at Venice, San Sebastián and Miami film festivals on its way to UK cinemas. Expanding his Oscar nominated short, Xavier Legrand writes and directs a story of the bitter fight between two parents and their two children caught up in the torrent of animosity.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

The Third Murder - Dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda


Not content with producing a recent string of deceptively perceptive dramas that any director would be envious of, Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda has changed gear for his latest picture. The Third Murder (a seemingly innocuous but very deliberate title) may technically be a murder mystery but in Kore-eda’s hands, it plays as a much more unconventional take on that familiar genre: a story in which the neatly tied loose ends are thoroughly unravelled.

Factory worker Misumi follows his boss down to the riverbank one evening, a hammer in hand. Once the violent blows have been dealt and the body burned, Misumi is promptly arrested and confesses to the murder. Having already served time in prison for a double murder some years ago, he’s almost certain to receive the death penalty. His defence attorney Shigemori (Masaharu Fukuyama) begins searching for any detail or technicality that might spare his client from his fate, but soon begins to question Misumi’s apparently certain guilt.




Sunday, 31 December 2017

Top 20 Films of 2017

To go out on a limb (although all are welcome to join), I would say that 2017 has been the best year of film releases in as long as I've been deliberating each 'year in film'.

Not only in terms of the quality but also in the range of genres, styles and voices. I'll limit myself to 20, but I could've easily gone to 30+ and found films that I have a lot of time for and may have made lists from previous years.

As ever, I've gone by UK release dates (theatrical where available). Full reviews (where available) are linked in each entry.


Monday, 13 November 2017

BFI LFF 2017 - THELMA - Dir. Joachim Trier

A father and his daughter Thelma walk across a frozen lake; she pauses momentarily to watch the silvery fish slinking through the icy water below. Later, a fawn crosses their path; the father raises his rifle to shoot, but turns it towards his daughter just ahead of him. He holds his aim but can’t bring himself to pull the trigger.

It’s a brilliant opening – one of the year’s best – to Norwegian director Joachim Trier’s fourth film Thelma, his first foray into genre cinema. It’s unsettling and gives Trier a blank canvas on which to map out his chilling sci-fi drama; the unexpected should be expected at every turn.


Monday, 9 October 2017

BFI LFF 2017: EX LIBRIS - THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY (Dir. Frederick Wiseman)

A three and a quarter hour documentary about a library may not sound like the most enticing of prospects and yet, Frederick Wiseman’s glimpse into the comings, goings and inner workings of the New York Public Library is riveting and absolutely worth taking the time to savour.

As libraries go, the New York Public Library with its 209 branches is a million miles away from the stuffy village sites that would spring to my mind. Wiseman takes his camera to many of the locations found on the streets, corners and in the suburbs of the continuously unfurling city. He’s there simply to observe how people use the facilities available to them and how the management work to continually provide their patrons with the means to live, learn and connect with the wider world.