Britney Vs Spears

There is a stark difference between the tragic story of Britney Spears, and the sensationalist stories told about Britney Spears. Trying its hardest to prove its admirable intentions, and hard it does try, this doc still veers towards the latter. And as such, unfortunately, it does not get any closer to the human being that lives behind that perfect smile than an upset, well-meaning article in a fanzine would. [read more] ★★✩✩✩

The Guilty

High-octane director Antoine Fuqua reteams with an always fiercely committed Jake Gyllenhaal for a sombre, stoic, flawed but ultimately harrowing chamber piece dealing with, in essence, the moral dilemma of our times - how much of what we perceive to be going on is our own projection, and how much do we assume about others given only snippets of information, and someone’s subjective interpretation? [read more] ★★★★✩

Woman In The Window

Deserving of a viewing at least as a ravaged treasure of a narrative, hosted within its intensely saturated interior dreamscape one of the favourite stock characters of the contemporary mystery trade - a psychologist with mental health issues, a physician struggling to heal herself. But, half way in, it loses its way, turning a juicy plot into a procedural psycho-thriller, a devil in shallow waters where there should have been the deep blue sea. How it manages to fail, with so much going for it, is a mystery in itself. [read more] ★★✩✩✩

Mank

David Fincher's take on Herman J. Mankiewicz's life made for a story of authorship, fabrications, responsibility, public opinion, great talent, addiction, singing for one’s supper, screwing over of a popular progressive candidate by the Hollywood propaganda machine (before Sanders, there was Upton Sinclair), and finally, the making of Citizen Kane. A rare tribute to the importance of writing in film, and one of the most honest and subdued depictions of Hollywood that Hollywood delivered. Inevitably, shot in 1930s monochrome. [read more] ★★★★✩

Rebecca

A fan of Wheatley's work, I came into this wide-eyed and curious at what a filmmaker of his calibre and mercurial style would bring to the ur-ghost story of cinema, an intrinsically woven and menacingly erotic depiction of an entire narrative demonically possessed by a missing protagonist. And the answer is: nothing. With apologies to the superb Kristin Scott Thomas, apparently the only one on set who understood what film she's in. An attempt to deconstruct the institution of marriage, and the British class system, through rendering a passionately subversive classic entirely soulless, failing, epically. [read more] ★✩✩✩✩

The Trial Of The Chicago 7

Sorkin's ultra topical, traditionally rapid-fire narrative response to the current Molotov cocktail moment in US politics seems rushed and too close to the heart of the filmmaker to be more grounded in living history than in personal sentiment, but it has Mark Rylance to hold that balance, as saving grace. It also brings forth a worthy central premise - celebrating elements in US society, in the Vietnam War era, protesting America's imperial policies, as well as its internal injustices. And justice, like revolution, cannot be compartmentalised. [read more] ★★★✩✩

What Did Jack Do?

David Lynch, as hard-boiled noir detective, interrogates a fugitive monkey suspected of murder in a crime of passion. As if fished from a hypnotic opium dream, yet fitting the P. Marlowe canon perfectly, it takes a Lynch to restore one’s faith in film as medium, and its capabilities as an art form to once again transform into something mysterious, illuminating, and worthy of awe. [read more] ★★★★★

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