Fear and Desire (1953)

You could probably make an argument that Fear and Desire, Stanley Kubrick’s debut feature film (later described by the man himself as “amateurish”), is some kind of lost masterpiece. The argument would likely involve cherry-picking the film’s rudimentary anti-war themes and include a lot of stills. Unfortunately, when you actually watch the damn thing –…

Under the Skin (2014)

Under the Skin (2014)

Under the Skin is a challenging viewing experience. Those attending entirely off the back of “I heard Scarlett Johansson gets naked in this” will find themselves faced with a film more in tune with Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey than Species. From its opening screen of black inexplicably infiltrated by white lights and rings that…

The Babadook (featured image)

The Babadook (2014)

It’s a rare film that can balance the supernatural and the psychotic. It requires walking the razor’s edge of taut surrealism without toppling into ridiculousness or incoherency. A few films have succeeded – Repulsion, The Innocents, The Shining, Eraserhead. And now, The Babadook. A feature length adaptation of Aussie director Jennifer Kent’s 2005 short Monster,…

Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy, Johnny Depp and Rebecca Hall in TRANSCENDENCE (2014)

Transcendence (2014)

As we were dutifully informed before the preview screening of Transcendence, Wally Pfister not only shot this movie on film, but he also developed the film photochemically rather than digitally. This isn’t surprising for Pfister, acolyte of fervent film fetishist Christopher Nolan, but it is reflective of this cinematographer-turned-director’s old-fashioned approach to the material. Old-fashioned…

The Killing (1956)

The Killing (1956)

The Killing is designed to be confusing. Stanley Kubrick’s third feature concerns a crew of two-bit crooks who plan and execute a heist on a racing track. Their scheme is convoluted enough – six people needing to be in the right place at the right time doing the wrong thing – and is further complicated…

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

It’s easy to imagine an alternative universe where 2001: A Space Odyssey is a cult oddity, a largely-forgotten curio. Where Kubrick’s iconic sci-fi was met with mystified reactions to its glacial pace and its puzzling, almost religious narrative. That universe is perhaps more plausible than our own, where this thoroughly weird, elliptical film is an…

The Innkeepers (2011)

Composed with restraint, obvious talent and populated with believable characters, The Innkeepers is a minimalist version of The Shining. Like Kubrick’s eerie classic, it’s set in a near-abandoned hotel, but here it’s a small inn in a small town. The Yankee Pedlar Inn may not have the intimidating grandeur of The Overlook Hotel, but director…