Archive for September, 2015


My Month in Films: September 2015

September 30, 2015

Good Men

21 films, 19 first time viewings

Best first time viewings
1. Good Men, Good Women (Hou Hsiao-Hsien, 1995, Taiwan/Japan)
2. L’argent (Robert Bresson, 1983, France/Switzerland)
3. A City of Sadness (Hou Hsiao-Hsien, 1989, Taiwan/Hong Kong)
4. Runaway Train (Andrey Konchalovskiy, 1985, USA)
5. Greed (Erich von Stroheim, 1924, USA)
6. A Summer at Grandpa’s (Hou Hsiao-Hsien, 1984, Taiwan)
7. The Time to Live and the Time to Die (Hou Hsiao-Hsien, 1985, Taiwan)
8. The Boys from Fengkuei (Hou Hsiao-Hsien, 1983, Taiwan)
9. The Puppetmaster (Hou Hsiao-Hsien, 1993, Taiwan)
10. The Martian (Ridley Scott, 2015, USA)

Best rewatches
2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968, USA/UK)
Side Effects (Steven Soderbergh, 2013, USA)

Live From New York! (Bao Nguyen, 2015, USA)
Legend (Brian Helgeland, 2015, UK/France)



The Martian (Ridley Scott, 2015)

September 29, 2015


In the space of Ridley Scott’s Alien, no one can hear you scream. In the space of Scott’s The Martian, all you can hear is disco…

Full review for Vague Visages


Mia Madre (Nanni Moretti, 2015)

September 27, 2015

Mia Madre

In Italian director Nanni Moretti’s latest effort, Margherita Buy plays a filmmaker with the same first name, in production on a politically charged drama. She’s a figure that, based on Mia Madre’s script, one suspects makes films like Moretti’s own socially engaged hits (The Son’s Room, Dear Diary). While she’s having a creative crisis on set, even before her self-centred American star (Turturro) turns up to the shoot, a personal crisis is ensuing off set, as she’s trying to come to terms with her mother dying in hospital.

Moretti (who has a screenplay credit and also plays Margherita’s brother) has a tricky balancing act to manage with Mia Madre, being that he swerves from dying parent melodrama to film-shoot comedy. For the most part, it’s a trick he pulls off well. With a precise grasp of his film’s tone, the shifts are gentle and never jarring; as events unfold, the two shorelines feel like appropriate bedfellows, despite their apparent unsuitability. Part of their successful gelling comes from their thematic similarity: micromanaging and passive-aggressive outbursts might prevent a hitch when making a movie, but they can’t prevent or slow down the death of a loved one…

Click for the full review for


Horse Money (Pedro Costa, 2014)

September 17, 2015


To offer a reductive description of Pedro Costa’s Horse Money for those unfamiliar with it or him as a filmmaker, imagine the following: Labyrinth, except Jennifer Connelly is now an elderly Cape Verde immigrant named Ventura, the labyrinthine dream world is a succession of purgatorial hospital hallways and broken streets, the Jim Henson puppets are replaced by the sorrowful ghosts of lost Portuguese souls, and the looming presence of David Bowie is instead the spectre of Portugal’s socio-political climate. That old, familiar tale…

Click for the full review for The Skinny


The Overnight (Patrick Brice, 2015)

September 15, 2015


The Buñuelian meets the Duplassian in The Overnight, a chamber comedy of social and sexual manners from director Patrick Brice (2014’s Creep). In its exploration of sexual tension when one couple’s faced with a more “enlightened” one in a Los Angeles setting, savvy viewers might draw a link to 1969’s Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, though Brice (also behind The Overnight’s screenplay) brings in enough contemporary concerns to prevent his film coming across like a decades-later echo of the earlier one…

Click for the full review for Vague Visages


Sleeping with Other People (Leslye Headland, 2015)

September 9, 2015


Writer-director Leslye Headland’s Sleeping with Other People is, it’s fair to say, a lot less acerbic than her debut feature, Bachelorette, but there’s still a degree of raunchiness and vulgar bite to make this stand out from considerably tamer romantic comedies. Many early festival reviews have been keen to compare it to When Harry Met Sally (or give it the moniker “When Harry F**ked Sally”), and although there’s still a considerable gap in quality between the two, the comparison is not too off-base. It’s a worthy 21st century successor, with a similarly strong pair of leads at its centre, albeit a more disreputable, often mean-spirited duo than Harry and Sally…

Click for the full review for Vague Visages