Only God Forgives (2013)

Only God Forgives is not a pleasant experience. Watching it is akin to letting viscous ichor fill your veins. It’s like a David Lynch take on a spaghetti-western tale of revenge; the deep rumbling bass tones, thick shadows and vibrant, hellish reds channel Lynch’s style. The dark, labyrinthine corridors that contain Julian (Ryan Gosling)’s Bangkok…

Dressed to Kill (1980)

Brian de Palma’s work always has gigantic quotation marks about. He doesn’t tell stories; he makes “cinema.” His larger-than-life, garishly coloured style is best suited to big movies, stories of sex, violence and oversized emotions. On paper, his style seems perfectly suited to the lurid psychosexual thriller-cum-horror movie Dressed to Kill. There are some thrilling…

Wolf Children (2012)

Let’s be honest: when you’re talking about classic movie monsters, werewolves are basically a cut-rate version of vampires. They’re an incarnation of all the same fears – loss of control, the savage nature of man, fear of sex (specifically, venereal diseases) – while being, for the most part, more ridiculous than scary. There are some…

Homeland – “The Star” (Season 3, Episode 12)

Whatever failings season three of Homeland had, at least it ended well. “The Star” is an emotional, subdued finale that succeeds by remembering one of the key themes that made Homeland’s first season work. Beyond the spy hijinks and the Carrie/Brody romance, season one was motivated by a sense of powerlessness. Both Carrie and Brody…

American Hustle (2013)

American Hustle reminded me of a scene from another, very different 2013 movie. About halfway through Spring Breakers, gangster-rapper (emphasis on the former) Alien, played by James Franco, bursts into a memorable, consumerist rant. “Look at my shit!” he cries, roving around his expensive bedroom, festooned with gold-plated guns and a television playing Scarface on…

The Friday the 13th Series

Yesterday was Friday the 13th, and I took the opportunity to maximise my school holidays by sitting down with a few beers to watch the entirety of the Friday the 13th slasher series. Well, the first eight films at least: I left out Jason Goes to Hell, Jason X, Freddy vs Jason and the execrable…

Frances Ha (2013)

Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha is a curious blend of universality and specificity. It tells the tale of young Frances Halliday (Greta Gerwig), an aspiring dancer, as she bounces from apartment to apartment in New York City. We follow her successes and her failures, and watch her orbit through and around various friendship groups, moving away…