Hereditary review “What was that ending?”

Hereditary movie posterThe nauseating anxiety triggered by this film has only just receded from my psyche. It’s rare, nowadays, for a film to imbue such writhing terror onto a usually desensitised and skeptical audience.

The jump scares are scarce as the film titters towards a creeping-dread approach to horror; horror that emerges from our inevitable capacity to inflict pain on ourselves and those we love. Comparisons with The Exorcist and The Shining do this film little justice however, as Ari Aster’s directorial debut has much more in common with subdued tension-builders like It Comes At Night and The Witch (both films are also distributed by indie-powerhouse A24). Continue reading

On Chesil Beach review “Brimming with English melancholy”

On Chesil Beach posterThe pebble beaches, brooding grey skies and that familiar reserved English melancholy of Ian McEwan’s novella On Chesil Beach have been meticulously translated into film, adapted by the author himself and directed by Dominic Cooke, this being his debut feature film. Starring Saoirse Ronan and Billy Howle as the polite yet passionately in love pair, it’s a tender ode to what it’s like to fall in love in your early twenties.

On Chesil Beach is the story of Florence and Edward, two young graduates who are about to be married in the summer of 1962. Florence is a fiercely talented and ambitious violinist from a upper-middle class family, daughter to a factory owner (Samuel West) and a philosophy professor (Emily Watson). Edward is just as wickedly smart but from far humbler beginnings. Continue reading

A Quiet Place review “Quietly terrifying”

A Quiet Place movie posterCinema is awfully quiet these days. Todd Haynes’s Wonderstruck and Kim Ki-Duk’s Moebius are among the small but substantial handful of films to have embraced the power of keeping schtum. In the cacophony of modern cinema, silence is an underrated commodity. John Krasinski’s directorial debut A Quiet Place is the latest to hold back on the sound in order to enhance the visual horrors. If ever a film had me inwardly crawling my way into a booby trapped bear pit whilst silently gabbering with fear, A Quiet Place is that film.

There’s been some kind of apocalyptic event, biological or alien that we don’t know, in which humanity (or the US at least) is now hunted by giant, super fast and super vicious reptilian creatures. Completely blind, they hunt with an acute sense of hearing meaning survivors must live in a constant state of silent, fearful anticipation. Even the slightest noise will draw them out and if they hear you, well, you’ll see. Continue reading

Game Night review “Perfect popcorn comedy”

Game Night posterReading that Game Night is by the same guys that brought you Horrible Bosses may seem not sound like a selling point, and you could be forgiven in running as fast as you can in the opposition direction, but please, don’t let it put you off.

Game Night is a (moderately) witty, self-aware, screwball comedy with enough titters and twists to keep you entertained to the end. John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein may have fallen short on Horrible Bosses (they only wrote the screenplay) but prove to be a winning combination in the director’s chair. Continue reading

Phantom Thread review “Anderson is on top form”

Phantom Thread posterPaul Thomas Anderson has built a career on his endless fascination with dysfunctional anthropoid relationships and characters with a masochistic tendency for extreme self-examination or flagellation.

Just a brief glance at his filmography is evidence for this: Philip Seymour Hoffman’s awkward, sexually repressed boom operator Scotty in Boogie Nights, the messed up multi-faceted bunch of unravelling familial ties in Magnolia, the Scientology-esque oppressive cult of The Master and Punch-Drunk-Love’s tortuous fairytale romance. And now he’s back again, hopping across the pond for this tailor-made gothic romance set in the late 1950s, post-war London. Continue reading