Archive for July, 2013


One. Two. One (Mania Akbari, 2011)

July 23, 2013


I originally reviewed Mania Akbari’s brilliant film for Sound on Sight last year, as part of my coverage of the Edinburgh International Film Festival. The film has just received its world premiere on DVD through UK distributor Second Run, who sent me a copy to review for The Skinny. I revisited the film and produced a new review accordingly.

New DVD review for The Skinny
Original festival review for Sound on Sight


Seen Your Video #22: Minutely Detailed Details

July 20, 2013


On the latest episode of Seen Your Video, we take a break from the usual format in a show devoted entirely to new releases: Richard Linklater’s Before Midnight, Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring, Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim, and Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s directorial debut This Is the End.

Stream the episode here.
Alternatively, you can download the episode or subscribe to the podcast by looking up Seen Your Video on iTunes.


Pacific Rim (Guillermo del Toro, 2013)

July 11, 2013

Pacific Rim

Fantasy man Guillermo del Toro’s latest, Pacific Rim, is a large-scale love letter to Japanese sci-fi, but also an accessible blockbuster imbued with delightful eccentricities amid its broad elements…

Click for the full review for The Skinny


Play (Ruben Östlund, 2011)

July 11, 2013


Play is a frequently harrowing and thoughtful film about manipulation, bullying, identity, race and customs. Primarily rooted in uncomfortable ambiguity, it is based on a series of real cases of bullying and robbery that occurred in Gothenburg, Sweden a few years ago. Set against the inner city backdrop of that city, the main narrative details an elaborate scheme known as the “little brother number”. Involving elaborate role-play and rhetoric rather than threats of pure brute force, the con of a gang of youths, like the film itself, is reliant on subtle, implied menace…

Click for the full review at Sound on Sight


Beyond the Hills (Cristian Mungiu, 2012)

July 9, 2013


The following review was written as what was intended to be my last submission to Subtitled Online. I was sent a screener by Artificial Eye and the review was to be produced so as to coincide with the film’s early June release on DVD and Blu-ray. The review has yet to be published over a month after both my submission and the release date, and so I am now posting it here. If it does eventually appear on Subtitled Online, I will edit the post so that it links to there. The review was written to conform with that site’s house style, hence quite a lot of plot synopsis. Read the rest of this entry ?


EIFF 2013: Natan (David Cairns/Paul Duane, 2013)

July 8, 2013


When a person is murdered and the body burned, all that is left is a name and a sum total of everything said about them; distort the shape of their life’s outline and the truth will become lost. Cairns and Duane’s documentary implies that early film innovator Bernard Natan died a second death through becoming largely forgotten and misremembered through exaggerated misinformation, spread both during his life and much later. An inventively told film, Natan seeks to rehabilitate the image of an arguable giant of French cinema, who once had ownership of the still prominent Pathé Studios and advanced colour and sound filmmaking….

Click for the full review for The Skinny


EIFF 2013: Three Sisters (Wang Bing, 2012)

July 7, 2013


Wang Bing’s epic-length documentary is an intimate depiction of childhood in the context of extreme poverty, providing an observational portrait of a Chinese peasant family. In a remote mountain village in China’s Yunnan province, which borders Burma, the every-day lives of the three youngest members of a multi-generational farming family consists of aiding their grandfather and operating an existence that should be well beyond their years. The eldest of the three girls, ten year-old Yingying, has the most responsibility and is the most stretched in terms of sadly necessary physical demands. Her sisters – aged four and six respectively – are largely spared of most tasks for now, but their lives are little more than just the process of surviving each day. Their mother has abandoned the family, while their father is attempting to find work elsewhere in cities far away; places less stuck in time and that receive considerably more attention from those who run and revamp the country. The vast majority of the film takes place on the farm and in the surrounding homes and mountains, though there are some diversions to the school Yingying is sometimes able to attend…

Click for the full review at Sound on Sight


My Month in Films: June 2013

July 2, 2013

This Is Martin Bonner

44 films, 34 first time viewings
Most of those viewed at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, hence the very heavy 2012/2013 leaning of this month.

Best first time viewings
1. This Is Martin Bonner (Chad Hartigan, 2013, USA)
2. A Story of Children and Film (Mark Cousins, 2013, UK)
3. Quadrophenia (Franc Roddam, 1979, UK)
4. Leviathan (Lucien Castaing-Taylor/Verena Paravel, 2012, France/UK/USA)
5. Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction (Sophie Huber, 2012, Switzerland)
6. Three Sisters (Wang Bing, 2012, Hong Kong/France)
7. From Tehran to London (Mania Akbari, 2012, Iran)
8. Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2012, USA)
9. Man of Steel (Zack Snyder, 2013, USA/Canada/UK)
10. Chronicle of a Summer (Edgar Morin/Jean Rouch, 1961, France) Read the rest of this entry ?