James White (2015)

Along with another one of last year’s directorial debuts – John Magary’s The Mend – Josh Mond’s James White signals a new direction for New York indie cinema. Inspired by the improvisational energy of early Cassavettes and Jarmusch’s calculated coolness, James White offers an unconventional coming-of-age narrative that incorporates tragedy without allowing it to sublimate…

BAPFF: Atomic Heart (2015)

If Iranian cinema has a home, it’s the automobile. Like Abbas Kiarostami’s Taste of Cherry and Ten, Jafar Panahi’s Tehran Taxi, Rakhshan Bani-Etemad’s Tales, Ali Ahmadzade’s Atomic Heart is a road movie without any particular destination in mind, drifting idly through Tehran’s twilight streets, through conversations about atomic mothers and dormant dictators. But where those…

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014)

There’s a tendency for debut directors to treat their first films as a highlight reel, collecting every great shot they’ve ever imagined, referencing every great film and emphasising this is what I can do over this is what I have to say. Ana Lili Amirpour occasionally falls into this trap in A Girl Walks Home…

Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)

Revisiting Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)

Given how much time I waste compiling lists, it’s hard not to be disappointed when mistakes are made. So it was with last year’s list of my favourite 20 films of 2013, which crucially omitted Only Lovers Left Alive – which was technically an Australian 2014 release, but I caught the film at BIFF (rest…

Taika Waititi in What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

Who wouldn’t want to be a vampire? Save the minor inconvenience of hyper-photosensitivity and a rarely quenchable thirst for human blood, you gain the ability to fly, to transform into a bat, and to carry an aura of lascivious sexuality to go with your extended incisors. Not to mention the whole immortality deal, which turns…

Dead Man (1995)

Like the paper flowers that William Blake (Johnny Depp) finds absent natural scent, Dead Man is built on self-conscious artificiality. Jim Jarmusch’s neo-Western is as influenced by woodcut animation or a matinee performance of a silent-movie serial; where Sergio Leone’s post-modern approach the Western exaggerated the cinematic tropes of the genre, Jarmusch filters those conventions…