COP CAR

2015; directed by Jon Watts; written by Christopher Ford and Jon Watts; 84 mins

If there is a promising trend in Hollywood at all right now, it’s their newfound habit of picking up indie directors to do blockbuster fare. Much as I am not the greatest fan of superhero movies, it has to be said, they started it and other studios have followed suit. Firstly, Jon Favreau and Kenneth Branagh got picked up by Marvel to do Iron Man and Thor respectively and then, this year, Jordan Vogt-Roberts graduated from teen escapism The Kings of Summer to franchise behemoth Kong: Skull Island. Continue reading

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AFERIM!

2015; directed by Radu Jude; written by Radu Jude and Florin Lazarescu; 101 mins

Billed as a Romanian western (fair enough) but also as a comedy. Hmm. There are comedic elements to it, certainly but it is comedy of the blackest hue! A brutal depiction of brutal characters in a brutal world. Perhaps, in Radu Jude, we finally have the director who can tackle Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian on film. It won’t make any money but it will be a masterpiece. Continue reading

BLACKHAT

2015; directed by Michael Mann; written by Morgan Davis Foehl; 133 mins

He’s been off the boil for a while and I need this to be good! Is it Terry Gilliam? Is it Oliver Stone? No, it’s Michael Mann: director of some great movies back in the day and rubbish ones recently. This bombed, critically and financially but for the most part… I liked it! Continue reading

SLEEPING DOGS

1977; directed by Roger Donaldson; adapted by Arthur Baysting and Ian Mune; 107 mins

Sam Neill on an island! We’ve been here before, haven’t we? Here is the movie that kicked started the entire New Zealand industry and the first to open in the US. It’s a hugely important movie and if you’re a film critic living in the country and you haven’t seen this one: that’s a crime! I have now atoned and watched and am happy to report that it’s really good! Continue reading

AMERICAN HONEY

2016; written and directed by Andrea Arnold; 157 mins

Too long it has taken me to return to Andrea Arnold‘s work! The composer Glenn Branca, in the film Punk: Attitude*, once referred to Patti Smith as “the Queen of the Universe” and that’s kinda how I feel about Andrea Arnold! And, Julien Temple aside, I think she’s the nearest a film director has got to a genuine punk spirit. Not that she gives over an obvious punk look but her films do seem to be made with an anything goes, fuck-it frame of mind. Finding “beauty in not being beautiful” as John Lydon put it.** Continue reading

THIEF

1981; adapted and directed by Michael Mann; 118 mins

Unbelievably, it’s taken this long to get a Michael Mann movie up on the blog but what a way to start! From the beginning – well – movie beginning. He was already a small screen veteran and I understand that his TV prison movie, The Jericho Mile is a great watch but let’s jump straight to the feature films and talk about a film which is the leaping off point for so many of his concerns and themes that would coalesce later on into his greatest crime flicks such as Heat and Collateral. Continue reading

OKJA

2017; directed by Bong Joon-ho; written by Bong Joon-ho and Jon Ronson; 121 mins

A few years ago, I had a chat with a mate of mine, having just found out he was vegetarian. It was a chat that made me realise how full of shit us meat-eaters are. We always moan about; “vegetarians and vegans – always having a go at us!”… Thinking about it for more than two seconds, I’d never had that. Not once. All I’d ever heard was meat-eaters complaining about the tongue-lashings they’d never actually got. In the end, there is no argument against vegetarians and vegans. They are nice people with the courage of their convictions, which is a rare commodity in this day and age. Hasn’t stopped me eating meat. Okja, however, challenged me that bit more in it’s story about a little girl and her pet. Continue reading