Best New Releases. 2014 has been a year that I’ve genuinely struggled to keep up with in terms of new releases. The sheer wealth of material out there and the incessant obsession of online reviewers to desperately be up-to-date has been an interesting but ultimately fruitless exercise to try and mimic. Luckily, I’ve watched a good number of excellent films from all around the world … Continue reading 2014 Review and Top 10s.
Shadows dance upon the walls of Robert Wiene’s Das Cabinet Des Dr. Caligari (1920). The world of shadows and light, edges and angles, the slanted and the macabre, all seem so much more at home in silent cinema as a whole; images that negate sound have a very natural ghostliness to their nature. This is doubly so for a film that nigh on invented horror … Continue reading Das Cabinet Des Dr. Caligari (1920) – Masters of Cinema Restoration.
This reviewer contains spoilers. Robert Altman was a master in critiquing American forms of culture. So many of his greatest renowned work revolves around taking an American form, cultural sect, or problem and portraying their dramatically polar angles of perspective often denied to it (then and now) in mainstream culture. From early documentaries on college football in his debut work Modern Football (1951) and on … Continue reading Nashville (1975) – Robert Altman (Masters of Cinema).
In contrast to other cineastes that I follow online, I really don’t get out that much. While so many excellent film writers seem to be able to see every relevant new release as it comes (even before if they’re lucky enough to have time and money to get thoroughly into the festival circuit), it’s actually a rarity for me to be able to get into … Continue reading 2013 in Film.
There is nothing that gives the illusion of the infinite as a tangible concept quite like the game of chess. Conquering the game has driven several mad and its geeky nature belies the fact that its 64 squares hides a chasm of never ending options and possibilities. This rather philosophical interpretation of the game is the backdrop for Andrew Bujalski’s subtle comedy, Computer Chess (2013), … Continue reading Computer Chess (2013) – Andrew Bujalski.
This review contains spoilers. Fluidity is rife within Antonio Campos’ 2012 film Simon Killer. From its character’s perception of reality to its editing and direction, the film seems in a constant state flux, moving in and out of ideas and emotions as easily as its sociopath protagonist. For a film with such a violent, blunt title, it almost betrays the melancholic, rarely visceral content of … Continue reading Simon Killer (Antonio Campos, 2012) – Masters of Cinema.
Displaying a filmmaking ethic and system that would make even someone as fast-working as prodigious as Rainer Werner Fassbinder seem cautious and slow, Sadao Yamanaka should perhaps be far better known that he currently is in the West. Making twenty two films over his short but highly productive cinema career, Yamanaka can be seen as one of the missing links in great Japanese cinema. His … Continue reading The Complete (Existing) Films of Sadao Yamanaka – Masters of Cinema.
It is an oft stated belief that silence is the most powerful effect in the canon of film sound techniques and tricks; a seemingly obvious nod to the lack of music to the lead the viewer emotionally and also a gentle nudge at the general over abundance of non-diegetic score in film. One of the most stark and allegorical uses of silence can be found … Continue reading Silence as Resistance – Le Silence De La Mer (Jean-Pierre Melville)
This review contains spoilers. For a filmmaker who was supposedly uninterested in visual allegory, Josef Von Sternberg’s The Blue Angel (1930) is full of potential for visuals readings if wanted. One of the first sound films to come out of Germany, it is astonishing how the medium’s relative newness seems to have had little negative effect on the visuals of this pioneering film. However it … Continue reading The Blue Angel – Josef Von Sternberg (1930, Masters of Cinema)
Despite the horrific elements contained within, Kuroneko is ill served by being pigeon holed into the genre of horror. The genre as a whole has a huge spectrum of intelligence and allegory but there’s more to Kaneto Shindo’s film than this, quite malleable, label. It of course gives scares, and Japanese “horror” is well ahead of the western game in terms of sheer scare value but its … Continue reading Kuroneko – Kaneto Shindo (1968)