1950; directed by Luis Buñuel; written by Luis Alcoriza and Luis Buñuel; 77 mins

The eye-slicing bit from Un chien andalou really put the shits up me when I accidentally saw it at the age of 12, so consequently, I shied away from watching Luis Buñuel films. Still! This one turned up for free so I figured I’d give him a go. Turns out this is one of his least surreal films – not without its bizarre moments but pretty close to the era’s definition of a docudrama. Continue reading



1994; directed by Oliver Stone; written by Richard Rutowski, Oliver Stone and David Veloz; 122 mins


If someone asked; “what were the 90s like?”, you should sit them down with the VHS of this and leave them alone for 2 hours. However, here is a film that’s gone way down in people’s opinion, almost to the point of being a whipping boy, for many, of every excess that was bad about that decade and also about its director. Certainly, if the stories of its making are anything to go by – which are scurrilously and thoroughly entertainingly documented in producer Jane Hamsher‘s book Killer Instinct – then it was a production that almost lived it’s own film. It’s a film that was at the pinnacle of the taboo-busting, “ultraviolent”, early Tarantino glut that came in the wake of Reservoir Dogs but its sheer surreality and bald-faced bombast also came at the tail end of the ten-film decade (1986-1995) of Oliver Stone. A film about media over-exposure that was released around the culmination of his own media over-exposure and escalating visual and narrative style. It’s all but forgotten today but I think it is a near-masterpiece, a deceptively well made movie and one of my ten favourite films of all time. Continue reading


2016; directed by Oliver Stone; adapted by Kieran Fitzgerald and Oliver Stone; 134 mins

Having followed Stone on Facebook for a while, it was abundantly clear that he adores Edward Snowden and what the man has achieved, so the idea of Stone being the director to bring this story to the big screen as a feature drama was very exciting. Not just because of it’s contemporary resonance and immediacy, which, ideally, is the director’s ballpark but it really felt like, after quite a few years off the boil, the story had got him fired up and this could be the comebackContinue reading


1989; directed by Richard Donner; Written by Jeffrey Boam, Shane Black and Warren Murphy; 114 mins

Absence makes the heart grow fonder and so this must’ve seemed par for the course back when it came out but looking at these older Hollywood crime flicks, it amazes me just how damn good they really are. This isn’t going to be a review about how everything is shit now, though. We’re going through a really great period of action films with things like The Raid, John Wick, The Bourne movies and Atomic Blonde but films like Lethal Weapon 2 do have a something that the new ones don’t. Continue reading


2015; directed by Agnieszka Smoczyńska; written by Robert Bolesto; 92 mins

Polish cannibal mermaid musical. If nothing about those four words is exciting to you then piss off and don’t come back. As is almost inevitable these days, this film came nowhere near cinemas in NZ (well, near me anyway) so I bought the Criterion DVD instead. So glad I finally did because, alongside films such as Embrace of the Serpent and the works of Roy Andersson, this shows that there are still brilliant, intelligent and – crucially – original movies out there. Continue reading


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


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