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Apples / In The Earth

Apples / In The Earth

APPLES Who on earth, returning to the cinema after – well OK, during – a global pandemic would go and see a film that is about the pandemic, even if obliquely? About six people (including me) is the answer, if this afternoon showing is anything to go by. Apples seems...

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In Pictures

In Pictures

BLOOD AND BLACK LACE (1964) Mario Bava's The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963) is said to be the first giallo, but of Bava's films it is this that feels like the ur-giallo, a template for everything that came after – not just 70's gialli, but 80's slasher films as well....

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Screen Time

Screen Time

MYSTERIES OF LISBON (2010) Lockdown was a good time to finally sit down, maybe even lie down, and watch those films whose running time demanded an entire day devoted to them, and their extras. The Chilean director Raúl Ruiz, in the extras on the New Wave Films DVD of...

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Downton Abbey (2019) / Ray and Liz (2018)

Downton Abbey (2019) / Ray and Liz (2018)

DOWNTON ABBEY For many years the TV series Downton Abbey, created by Julian Fellowes, mined the Sunday night craving for reassurance about the past, presenting it as a world in which everyone knew their place. The past, at least the past we never knew personally, is a...

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L’il Quinquin

My jaw dropped when I heard that divisive auteur Bruno Dumont's next film would be a comedy about cops, and remained in that state throughout the three-hour plus length of the film (actually a four-part TV series, served up in a single showing at the London Film...

Frightfest 2018 Part Two: Awks

KILLING GOD In this Spanish offering from directors Caye Casas and Albert Pintó, various members of a family gather in an old dark house for New Year's Eve, only to be joined by a dwarf who emerges from the toilet (the room, not the bowl – at least as far as we can...

In Pictures

BLOOD AND BLACK LACE (1964) Mario Bava's The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963) is said to be the first giallo, but of Bava's films it is this that feels like the ur-giallo, a template for everything that came after – not just 70's gialli, but 80's slasher films as well....

Frightfest 2017: Evil Twins

FASHIONISTA As regular readers would know (if they existed), Frightfest usually marks the one time in the calendar year where I don't go to the cinema alone: Dave comes along. Or at least he does for part of the time before he has to duck out due to work commitments...

LFF 2019: Jallikattu/Saint Maud

Ah yes, the London Film Festival. I remember that. Well it did happen this year, it was just 'different' – they even tried to suggest that the festival we had (mostly online) represented some kind of exciting innovation rather than an attempt to pretend that a film...

The Devil Outside / Permanent Green Light

THE DEVIL OUTSIDE In writer-director Andrew Hulme's second film (after gangster drama Snow In Paradise, which I haven't seen but will be sure to catch up with – no doubt on London Live - one day) our adolescent hero Robert (Noah Carson) finds the disconnect between...

Frightfest 2014: Open Windows, Nekromantik and Der Samurai

OPEN WINDOWS In an age when you can watch films on your phone, here's another novelty – going to the cinema to see a film whose action takes place entirely on someone's laptop screen. I think it did, anyway – I was frankly a little befuddled by the end. Bear in mind...

Frightfest 2015 Day One

The Rotten Link Raulo and Roberta (Luis Ziembrowski and Paula Brasca) are two unlikely siblings: a simple-minded hulk, he looks old enough to be her father while she is a pretty young thing barely out of her teens. But they fit into their isolated Argentinian...

London Film Festival 2016 – Further Off The Beaten Track

EYES OF MY MOTHER This curious little black-and-white number, from America, has received some acclaim but to these eyes was not quite curious enough. It's the story of Francisca, who at the start of the film is a young girl leading an idyllic existence in a remote...

The Wolf Of Wall Street

Mere seconds after rogue stockbroker Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) appears in Martin Scorsese's film, I was eagerly awaiting his comeuppance, if not actual slow death by steamroller. Unfortunately I had to wait nearly 3 hours and even then (SPOILER ALERT) it...

Some more reviews.

LFF 2019: Jallikattu/Saint Maud

LFF 2019: Jallikattu/Saint Maud

Ah yes, the London Film Festival. I remember that. Well it did happen this year, it was just 'different' – they even tried to suggest that the festival we had (mostly online) represented some kind of exciting innovation rather than an attempt to pretend that a film...

Phantoms of the Opera

Phantoms of the Opera

IL MOSTRO DELLA OPERA (1964) In the days before the cities became tombs and the cinemas morgues I went to a showing of this obscure Italian film at the Barbican on a Saturday morning, only to discover that I was encroaching upon a Phantom Of The Opera symposium. Who...

Rabid (1977) / Black Magic 2 (1976)

Rabid (1977) / Black Magic 2 (1976)

RABID (1977) I watched this (on Arrow Video Blu-Ray) quite early on in lockdown, before the later symptoms of COVID-19 like frothing at the mouth with blue foam and biting people in the neck appeared. Oh no wait, that hasn't happened yet has it? Nevertheless this is...

Privilege (1967) / Duck Soup (1933)

Privilege (1967) / Duck Soup (1933)

PRIVILEGE On this BFI DVD you get a couple of early short films from director Peter Watkins, one of which is 1961's The Forgotten Faces, an urgent, authentic-seeming account of the 1956 people's uprising in Hungary, filmed in Canterbury. Therein lies the moral of much...

LOCKDOWN! The Giant Claw (1957)

LOCKDOWN! The Giant Claw (1957)

How often have I fantasized about the government forbidding me to leave the house so that I am finally compelled to watch all the DVDs I have accumulated over the years? Well never, since that would have been absurd, even for a fantasy. Nevertheless here we are. Or at...

The Burning (1981)

The Burning (1981)

CAUTION: Contains unlicensed film theory Carol Clover's Men Women and Chainsaws is most famous for drawing our attention to the figure of the Final Girl. Clover had been struck by the way that slasher films, aimed (as she saw it) at an audience of adolescent males and...

In Fabric / Little Joe

In Fabric / Little Joe

IN FABRIC Peter Strickland's follow-up to the excellent Duke Of Burgundy is a bumpier ride, but you get to enjoy that after a while. Apparently it's set in 1993 – I read this on the Sight and Sound letters page – but it seems to be taking place in some kind of...

Horrors Of The London Film Festival 2019

Horrors Of The London Film Festival 2019

DEERSKIN Horror films have fielded some unlikely 'monsters' over the years and director Quentin Dupieux has already supplied a notable one with 2010's Rubber, whose 'villain' was a spare tyre. His new film explores the malign potential of a jacket. Filling it out, and...

Burke And Hare (1971)

Burke And Hare (1971)

This is director Vernon Sewell’s last film and there’s something fitting about that: after two ventures into the more fantastical side of horror (The Blood Beast Terror and The Curse Of The Crimson Altar from 1966 and 1968 respectively) neither of which went out of...