Road (featured image)

Road (2014)

Motorcycle racing requires a precise balance – both the physical balance necessary to navigate tight corners at high speeds, and the psychological balance of the exhilaration of extreme risk and the fatal consequences of pushing that risk too far. Unfortunately, motorcycle racing documentary Road, which chronicles the sharp turns of the Dunlops, an Irish family…

Why Don't You Play in Hell (featured image)

Why Don’t You Play in Hell? (2013)

Sion Sono throws everything he’s got at Why Don’t You Play in Hell? “Everything” includes duelling yakuza clans, a ragtag crew of wannabe filmmakers called the “Fuck Bombers”, a budding actress packing an incredibly catchy toothpaste jingle and the querulous young man who pretends to be her boyfriend. The film’s introduction is necessarily a bit…

Finding Fela (featured image)

Finding Fela! (2014)

Finding Fela!, a documentary from Alex Gibney (The Armstrong Lie, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) about legendary Nigerian singer/political dissident Fela Kuti, follows the model popularised by the Oscar-winning Searching for Sugar Man. That model, found in the likes of Finding Vivien Maier, The Last Impresario, A Band Called Death – tends to…

Lyle (featured image)

Lyle (2014)

Rosemary’s Baby is arguably a perfect film; it stands to reason that Stewart Thorndike’s low-budget lesbian riff on Polanski’s classic would fall short of its source material. Her adaptation, Lyle, doesn’t follow Rosemary’s Baby to the letter – the couple is composed of two women, they already have a child when they move into a…

The Gambler (featured image)

The Gambler (2014)

The Gambler has earned its fair share of criticism for being yet another film about the problems of a rich white dude. That’s more of an observation than a criticism, since the film is interrogating the idea of how one can deliberately erode this privilege. A fairer remark would be to note that, unfortunately, The…

Fifty Shades of Grey (featured image)

Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)

A movie about sex – kinky sex – is in cinemas, and as a film critic, and therefore a noted arbiter of good taste (bear with me), I’m expected to regard this adaptation of a smutty bestseller with derision or, at best, suspicion. But let’s take a different tack, shall we? Why not approach the…