Thoughts on A Dark Song (2016)

A Dark Song (2016), writer-director Liam Gavin’s feature debut, can only be described as a two-hander mood piece in which the mood is dread. The mood, sustained by the acting and typical horror camerawork (shot by Cathal Watters) and score (by Ray Harman), is really the only thing going for it.

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Review of Detective Conan: The Scarlet Bullet (The News Lens International)

My review of Detective Conan: The Scarlet Bullet (Meitantei Konan Hiiro no Dangan / 名探偵コナン 緋色の弾丸 2021) has been published by The News Lens International. Check it out here!

Thoughts on The Kid Detective (2020)

Writer-director Evan Morgan’s The Kid Detective (2020) is the story of a former gifted kid who bears the weight of a community, even nation, on his shoulders.

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Thoughts on She’s Lost Control (2014)

She’s Lost Control (2014), writer-director Anja Marquardt’s debut, follows sexual surrogate (or therapist) Ronah (Brooke Bloom) as shit spirals out of control in her work and personal life. I find this kind of plot artificial and predictable, especially when, as here, the protagonist isn’t mid-crisis when we meet them. Life has a tendency to be one damn thing after another. And the major crisis here is heavily foreshadowed—to me at least; other critics seem to have found the plot twists surprising. Fortunately, there are other pleasures on offer.

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Thoughts on An Affair of Love (Une liaison pornographique 1999)

A wise person on Tumblr once said (before the porn ban) that just because your sexual kinks line up doesn’t mean you should be together. Frédéric Fonteyne’s An Affair of Love (Une liaison pornographique 1999) puts this to the test.

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Thoughts on Camouflage (Barwy ochronne 1977)

Writer-director Krzysztof Zanussi’s Camouflage (Barwy ochronne 1977) is the closest thing to a Jean-Paul Sartre play I’ve ever seen on screen: all confrontational dialogue and overdetermined plot twists, heightened by a roving handheld camera (cinematography by Edward Klosinski) and tied up with a dialectical conclusion. And nothing changes. It’s brilliant.

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Love and Its Discontents: The Park (Le Parc 2016)

Damien Manivel’s The Park (Le parc 2016), cowritten with cinematographer Isabel Pagliai, starts off nice and easy, but it quickly turns bonkers in the best way possible.

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Thoughts on Unrelated (2007)

The most beautiful thing about Unrelated (2007), writer-director Joanna Hogg’s fiction feature debut, is how the romance emerges so naturalistically. Most romances, even good ones like Call Me By Your Name (2017) (also a summer romance), focus overtly on the two leads almost from the beginning, overdetermining the feeling that they’re meant to be together. Here, the film focuses on Anna (Kathryn Worth), the unrelated outsider, but on the other side of the equation is not just Oakley (Tom Hiddleston) but the entire group of vacationing youngsters. The kids do everything together, and the master shots (cinematography by Oliver Curtis) do nothing to draw our attention to any one of them. Rather, it’s the casting that does this: Oakley is apparently eighteen, but Hiddleston was 26 at the time, and that difference gives him a Peter Pan quality, the ringleader of adventure who refuses to grow up long after he should. It makes him stand out, even before his close-ups.

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