Select Page

Unworldly Views

Latest

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...

read more
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...

read more
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...

read more
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...

read more

White Bird In A Blizzard

This adaptation of Laura Kasischke's young adult novel finds director Gregg Araki in less than full-on mode, and my first impression, such is the uncertainty of tone here, is that when he isn't in full-on mode (eg: Nowhere, Kaboom) he doesn't know what he's doing. But...

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...

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...

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...

BFI London Film Festival 2014: Hard To Be A God

What better way to ease yourself gently into a film festival than with a nearly-three-hour black and white Russian film based on an sf novel I've never read? Aleksei German's film (based on a novel by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky)  is set on a planet which has been...

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...

The Red Queen Kills Seven Times (1972) / Effie Gray (2014)

Before he (apparently) disappeared into thin air, Emilio P. Miraglia made a couple of films blending the giallo with the Gothic, 1971's The Night Evelyn Game Out of the Grave, and this, his last film. The giallo and the Gothic are simultaneously very different (the...

Frightfest 2018 – The Cleaning Lady, Braid and Piercing

THE CLEANING LADY Frightfest is now 'owned' by Arrow Video, which makes sense. The only difference I could see was that there were a lot of free DVD's lying around, which I certainly wasn't complaining about (I'll save that for when I watch them). The first two films...

mother!

The release of Darren Aronofky's latest film was preceded by a director interview by Trevor Johnston in Sight & Sound urging viewers not to read it until they'd seen the film, since (even more than is usually the case) the more you knew about this film in advance...

The Secret of Dorian Gray (1969)

Ah, Valentine's Day – my favourite feast day, since my single status means I don't have to observe it. Nevertheless I was moved to recognise it to the extent of braving rail replacement services to get to the Barbican, where film programmer Josh Saco (aka Cigarette...

Some more reviews.

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...

The Angry Red Planet (1960)

The Angry Red Planet (1960)

There's often a sense in SF films, especially those of the 50's, that the real subjects of interest are not giant mantises or bug-eyed aliens but women. This is made explicit in director Robert Gordon's 1955 film It Came From Beneath The Sea (1955) where Faith...

LFF 2019: Queen Of Diamonds (1991) / Krabi 2562

LFF 2019: Queen Of Diamonds (1991) / Krabi 2562

QUEEN OF DIAMONDS (1991) Showing in the 'Treasures From The Archive' section at the LFF, Nina Menkes’ Queen of Diamonds features her sister Tinka playing a character who, in the director’s words, ‘hasn’t learned to say hello’. In keeping with her air of diffidence,...

London Film Festival 2019: Tremors / La Llorona

London Film Festival 2019: Tremors / La Llorona

TREMORS According to writer-director Jayro Bustamente only about four films are made in Guatemala per year. I have now seen two, which pretty much makes me an expert in Guatemalan cinema. I could probably write a book on it. Not to be confused with a Kevin Bacon film...