Tim Burton’s Monument To Mediocrity


Tim Burton’s directorial style has never been very sophisticated or subtle. That’s fine; neither was Ken Russell’s, but he combined sound and imagery brilliantly. Burton started out with the childlike colour explosions of ‘Pee Wee’s Big Adventure’ and ‘Edward Scissorhands’, and only fell down when he reined in his sense of the absurd. ‘Sweeney Todd’ […]

It’s Going To Be A Box-Set Christmas


It’s been a strange year for film, with mainly weak blockbusters, no decent Hollywood comedies and no strong horror movies. A further retreat into sequels and reboots has set the pattern for the future, and only Universal is doing something fresh, ditching the 30 year-old idea of the tentpole release to concentrate on a smaller, […]

It’s Worth Getting Into The Shadows


You would think there’s no more fun to be wrung from the vampire genre. Then along comes this New Zealand comedy, an absolute gem of a movie from the ‘Flight of the Conchords’ gang (itself one of the best comedies in recent memory), nailing the horrific/comic possibilities of four vampires sharing a house together. The […]

One Film To End Them All


Well, it’s over. Farewell, Hobbitses, and thanks for all the fun. Last night I saw Borimir, Chlamydia, Moulinex, Fafnir, Ariel, Moomin, Thorax Oakenfold and Legoland go into battle for the last time, bringing together an end to a thirteen-year film cycle all the more remarkable for its consistency of tone. This time for ‘The Hobbit: […]

Re:View – ‘Birdman’


You’ll hear much talk of this as we run up to Oscar season, with good reason. Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu, director of ’21 Grams’ and ‘Amores Perros’, has created something so unique in this comedy-drama that it feels he’s pushed the boundaries into a new kind of filmmaking. I ran through his credits on IMDbPro and an […]

Re:View – ‘Nightcrawler’


Writer/director Dan Gilroy’s debut feature is a stylish LA night-noir that comes on like Scorsese and plays out like a cross between Michael Powell’s ‘Peeping Tom’, ‘Network’ and ‘Taxi Driver’. Films with disturbing lead characters are tricky to pull off – how do you make an audience care? Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a bug-eyed, intense, delusional thief […]

Re:View – ‘Interstellar’

NO SPOILERS – FIRST HOUR DISCUSSION ONLY! A friend I love but whose taste is suspect complained to me last week that ‘Interstellar’ was three hours of his life he’d never get back. I loved every minute, but during the comedown afterwards I was hit with the ‘Interplanetary Ming-Mongs’. ‘Interplanetary Ming-Mongs’ is a device named […]

Re:View – ‘The Wind Rises’


Put two men in a room and they’ll eventually talk about drainage. We like discussing the nuts and bolts of invention, and to that extent ‘The Wind Rises’ could be called a boys’ film. But it is also achingly beautiful, surreal, fragile. I first fell in love with the work of Miyazaki Hayao, animation director […]

Re:View – ‘Painless’


NO SPOILERS When everyone else is busy producing sequels and reboots, you can rely on Spain to create genuinely original new genre films. The latest to appear as a subtitled DVD is this, which could be described as a Catalan ‘Devil’s Backbone’ – although it’s not quite in the same league.But if it falls short […]

My Favourite Non-Disney Animated Movies

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As a child I loved Disney animations for their painterly vistas and tight storytelling structures, but there were films from other companies I’ve watched almost as much. I’ve left out the obvious choices – ‘Spirited Away’, ‘The Wind Rises’ and ‘Anastasia’ among them – and am still looking for a decent copy of ‘The Suicide […]