Category Reviews

Criterion Collection: Jabberwocky

Director: Terry Gilliam

Writer: Terry Gilliam, Charles Alveron (screenplay), Lewis Carroll (poem)

Cast: Michael Palin, Harry H. Corbett, Annette Badland, John Le Mesurier, Warren Mitchell, Max Wall, Bernard Bresslaw, Deborah Fallender, John Bird, Rodney Bewes, Terry Jones, Gordon Kaye

Cert: 12

Running time: 105mins

Year: 1977


Film:
Extras: medium_5


What’s the story: In a medieval kingdom, the peasant Dennis (Palin) finds himself on a wild adventure that leads him to battle the Jabberwocky, a ferocious beast spreading fear, famine and death.

What’s the verdict: Though based on Lewis Carroll’s nonsense poem, from grimy exterior to fantastical core Jabberwocky is pure Terry Gilliam.

His full directorial debut (Gilliam co-directed Monty Python and the Holy Grail with Terry Jones), this birth...

Read More

Justice League

Director: Zack Snyder

Writer: Joss Whedon, Chris Terrio (screenplay and story), Zack Snyder (story)

Cast: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Ciarán Hinds, Joe Morton, Connie Nielsen

Cert: 12

Running time: 121mins

Year: 2017


 


What’s the story: With Superman dead, the world teeters on the brink of social collapse. Bruce Wayne (Affleck) and Diana Prince (Gadot), Batman and Wonder Woman, seek out superhuman recruits for a team of protectors when a cosmic threat looms in the form of Steppenwolf (Hinds).

What’s the verdict: A franchise with no future will always look to its past. Wonder Woman riffed on 1978 Superman’s fish out of water sweetness and noble derring-do. A perfect antidote to Suicide Squad’s cynicism and meanness.

Jus...

Read More

Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Writer: Michael Green (screenplay), Agatha Christie (novel)

Cast: Kenneth Branagh, Michelle Pfeiffer, Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench, Daisy Ridley, Willem Dafoe, Derek Jacobi, Josh Gad, Leslie Odom Jr., Olivia Colman, Lucy Boynton, Sergei Polunin, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo

Cert: 12

Running time: 114mins

Year: 2017


 


What’s the story: As the Orient Express travels through the mountain ranges of the middle east, one passenger is murdered. It falls to famed detective Hercule Poirot (Branagh) to solve the crime.

What’s the verdict: The latest big screen go-round for Agatha Christie’s beloved whodunnit is much like the titular choo-choo. Handsomely decorated, but never building to a full head of steam and derailing halfway through...

Read More

Tears and Laughter: Movie Reviews


Tears and Laughter: Women in Japanese Melodrama runs until Wednesday 29th November at the BFI Southbank. For more information and to book tickets, click here.

To read an interview with season curator and Sight and Sound features editor James Bell, click here.


OSAKA ELEGY

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi

Writer: Yoshikata Yoda (screenplay), Tadashi Fujiwara (dialogue)

Cast: Isuzu Yamada, Yôko Umemura, Benkei Shiganoya

Cert: PG

Running time: 71mins

Year: 1936



What’s the story: To pay off her father’s debts and her brother’s university fees, young switchboard operator Ayako (Yamada) becomes her boss’ mistress. But, when he rejects her she is forced into prostitution.

What’s the verdict: A pre-war film from director Kenji Mizoguchi, the 1936 Osaka Elegy anticipates Japan’s rejection ...

Read More

Criterion Collection: Carnival of Souls

Director: Herk Harvey

Writer: John Clifford

Cast: Candace Hilligoss, Sidney Berger, Frances Feist, Art Ellison

Cert: 12

Running time: 78mins

Year: 1962


Film:
Extras: medium_5


What’s the story: Young organist Mary is the only survivor when her friend’s car crashes off a bridge into a river. As she attempts to start a new life in a different town, a frightening stranger begins to stalk her.

What’s the verdict: British film fans skirting around the age of 40 are likely to have first encountered Herk Harvey’s Carnival of Souls courtesy of Alex Cox. Cox screened it in the summer of 1991 as part of his essential Moviedrome series (and his intro can be seen here).

Those of us who saw it that Sunday night were still reeling from the recently released The Silence of the Lambs...

Read More

Jailbreak (2017)

Director: Jimmy Henderson

Writer: Jimmy Henderson, Michael Hodgson

Cast: Jean-Paul Ly, Dara Our, Tharoth Sam, Celine Tran, Dara Phang, Savin Phillip, Sisowath Siriwudd, Laurent Plancel, Eh Phoutong

Cert: 15 (TBC)

Running time: 92mins

Year: 2017



What’s the story: A Special Forces unit escorting a high value informant to prison must fight for their lives when the inmates break out of their cells.

What’s the verdict: If Assault on Precinct 13 were a martial arts movie, it would be Jailbreak. Picking up the gauntlet thrown down by Ong-Bak and The Raid, Cambodia based Italian director Jimmy Henderson delivers an amped-up explosion of kinetic kick-ass.

Assisted by lead actors Jean-Paul Ly and Dara Our on fight choreography duties, and MMA champion Tharoth Sam as a no-nonsense female cop.

Read More

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Director: Martin McDonagh

Writer: Martin McDonagh

Cast: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Lucas Hedges, Caleb Landry Jones, John Hawkes, Peter Dinklage, Samara Weaving, Amanda Warren

Cert: 15 (TBC)

Running time: 115mins

Year: 2017


medium_5


What’s the story: A year after her daughter’s brutal murder, Ebbing resident Mildred Hayes places signs on the roadside goading the town’s sheriff for not catching the killer.

What’s the verdict: There wasn’t much love for Martin McDonagh’s Seven Psychopaths. We liked it, mind, but three rather than seven is writer/director Martin McDonagh’s lucky number.

This astonishing crime drama is set to receive a lot of love. Caustic, profane, hilarious and heartbreaking, it could be the equal of Calvary, the five-star movie McDonagh’s bro...

Read More

You Were Never Really Here

Director: Lynne Ramsay

Writer: Lynne Ramsay (screenplay), Jonathan Ames (novel)

Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Ekaterina Samsonov, Alessandro Nivola, Alex Manette, John Doman, Judith Roberts

Cert: 18 (TBC)

Running time: 95mins

Year: 2017


medium_2


What’s the story: Troubled private investigator and enforcer Joe is charged with finding Nina, the daughter of a US senator trapped in an underage sex ring.

What’s the verdict: The sun must have boiled a few brains on La Croisette at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. That is the only explanation for the praise heaped on Lynne Ramsay’s achingly arthouse redressing of 80s action thrillers.

Winner of Best Actor for Joaquin Phoenix, (shared) Best Screenplay for Ramsay and Palme D’Or nominated, we’re crying a case of Emperor’s New Clothes with You Were Neve...

Read More

Brawl in Cell Block 99

Director: S. Craig Zahler

Writer: S. Craig Zahler

Cast: Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Carpenter, Marc Blucas, Udo Kier, Don Johnson

Cert: 18

Running time: 132mins

Year: 2017


 


What’s the story: Drug runner Bradley Thomas is incarcerated following a bungled drug pick-up. Inside the big house, Bradley is told he needs to perform a specific job or bad things will happen to him and those he loves.

What’s the verdict: Gothic horror Western Bone Tomahawk is possibly the best underseen film of recent years. Hopefully, Brawl in Cell Block 99 will reach a wider audience because writer/director S. Craig Zahler’s prison movie is a hell of a one-two punch… followed by a knee to the nose… and heel to the throat.

We’re trying to say it makes an impression.

The plot is as B-movie simple as the t...

Read More

The Shape of Water

Director: Guillermo del Toro

Writer: Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor

Cast: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg

Cert: 15

Running time: 119mins

Year: 2017


 medium_5


What’s the story: In 1960s Baltimore, as the Cold War heats up, mute Elisa Esposito is a lowly cleaner at a government research laboratory. She falls for an amphibian creature in one of the labs. When discovering what government agent Strickland plans for her new love, Elisa plans a daring break-out, calling on her friends for help.

What’s the verdict: The Shape of Water begins in an aquatically themed dream. Fitting, for water is the stuff of which dreams are made in Guillermo del Toro’s latest adult fairy tale.

Del Toro fans will also be in a dream world when immersed in the ...

Read More