Showing posts from September, 2018

Review Roundup

Here's a collection of quick reviews of a bunch of recent films I never got around to writing full pieces on. Hope you enjoy! 

First Reformed

Ethan Hawke delivered an extraordinary performance in this stunning depiction of a priest's inner turmoil and religious angst as he battles against both his inner demons and the wider issues within his church. A slow burn thriller with a brilliant script that delicately teased out the gradual meltdown of troubled protagonist Toller (Hawke), First Reformed was an incredibly intelligent depiction of one man's struggle to fight for his morals and also proved to be a subtle expose of blindly diligent religiosity. Director Paul Schrader (writer of Taxi Driver and Raging Bull) also delivered two of the best opening and closing shots of this year, with the ending being both shocking and deeply provocative. 

Leave No Trace

One of this year's standout hidden gems, Debra Granik's (Winter's Bone) tale of a troubled father and his thirte…

American Animals

American Animals opens with the statement "This is not Based on a True Story," the words "not based on" then fading away to instead reveal that "This is a True Story." These first few seconds provide a delicious hint at so much of what makes this film special; this audacious claim that what we are witnessing is one hundred percent the truth is a wonderful presage to the jaw-dropping ingenuity and balls to the wall approach taken by director Bart Layton in his first feature film (outside documentary work). It is a masterclass in how to adapt a true story in a truly captivating and often confrontational style, with the film soon setting out to contradict its initial statement and question our acceptance of what we are told.  

The film explores the real story of four college students (played by a terrific quartet of young actors Barry Keoghan, Evan PetersBlake Jenner and Jared Abrahamson, with Keoghan proving to be the anchor of the film in a magnificently …