That was the year that was – We take a look back at some of 2020’s best films

1 min read

As we say farewell to 2020, and hello to 2021, join us as we take a look back at some of our favourite movies of the year. These are the films that stood out from the crowd in a tumultuous year; making us laugh, cry, think, and reflect on the world around us. So from blockbusters too LGBTQ+, indies and documentaries, take a trip back through some of the best films of 2020.

Dare to Dream (Traumfabrik) – The feel-good film we all need as 2020 comes to an end

Dare to Dream (Traumfabrik) is released on all major digital platforms 14th December 2020 In the Spring of 1946, the East German DEFA company took over the famous Studio Babelsberg. The vast complex that had given birth to Fritz Lang’s Metropolis caught up in the segregation of Berlin. However, up until 1961, the studio continued to act as a conduit between east and west, both in employment and filmmaking. But, as the cold war between Russia and the USA increased in its intensity. Germany became a focal point for tensions, with an iron curtain finally descending in 1961. With families

County Lines – A vivid, urgent and timely exploration of social exclusion, coercion and control

County Lines is released nationwide on 4th December in cinemas and on-demand via BFI Player and Curzon Home Cinema. County Lines is a term used to describe gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs into one or more importing areas [within the UK], using dedicated mobile phone lines or another form of “deal line”. They are likely to exploit children and vulnerable adults to move [and store] the drugs and money, and they will often use coercion, intimidation, violence (including sexual violence) and weapons. – The National Crime Agency The best social drama comes from a deep

Spree – All eyes on me, I want to be seen

Spree is available to rent or buy now on all major platforms At what point does fiction become a reality, and where does privacy start and stop? In an online world of clickbait content, personal blogs and viral videos, this question has never been more challenging to answer. Our lives now embedded in the viral world of social media and its strange mix of fantasy vs reality. While at the same time, social media influencers bathe in advertising revenue, product placement and staged reality. Each fame-hungry individual striving for subscribers, likes and follows as they cling onto their brief slice

Summer of 85 – The intoxicating joy of first love and gut-wrenching pain of loss

Summer of 85 is now showing in Cinemas nationwide and on Curzon Home Cinema Benjamin Disraeli once said, “The magic of our first love is our ignorance that it can never end”. And anyone looking back on those first intense feelings, wrapped in a shield of invulnerability, could hardly disagree. With youth itself surrounded by an impenetrable bubble of hope, freedom and desire. The effect of our first uncontrollable need for another laced with envy, sex, jealously and joy. But, as any world-weary adult will tell you, those first feelings of love rarely find longevity, as the realities of life

Benny Loves You: We talk to writer, actor and director Karl Holt

Benny Loves You is showing at FrightFest Saturday 24th October We all had that one cuddly toy as a child that had pride of place at our side. And if you didn’t, then, to be frank, you are simply abnormal and probably a psychopath. For me, as a child, that special furry friend was ‘Charlie’ the monkey. His extra-long arms and legs and big soft belly acting as my ‘go-to’ comfort every time I climbed into bed. And once there, all snuggled up; Charlie would serve as my protector, friend and safety net from the big world around me. In

Cocoon (Kokon) – A delicate, yet vibrant portrait of youth

Cocoon will be released nationwide in selected cinemas and on-demand from the 11th December. As the sun beats down on Berlin, Leonie Krippendorff laces the heat of summer with the uncontrollable fever of adolescence. In a delicate, yet vibrant portrait of youth that pulses with the heat, desire and trepidation of teenage life. With one unforgettable summer changing the rules and social structures surrounding two sisters; both held in the cocoon of adolescence. But, as sex, relationships and sexuality penetrate through the cushion between childhood and adulthood, the buds of new life emerge. At the tender age of 14, Nora

Cicada – Love and companionship open the door to rebirth and recovery

Cicada is currently awaiting a nationwide UK release date There are approximately 3,000 species of Cicada in our world; their lives spent mainly underground before emerging into the light to mate, and fly free. In their debut feature, director’s Matt Fifer and Kieran Mulcare reflect the lifecycle of this delicate yet complex insect. In a film, where the darkness of emotional repression finds freedom through partnership. The emergence into the light a soft yet vibrant rebirth for two men. I have often spoken in past reviews about the repressed emotions men hold onto tightly—the fear of appearing weak, leading to

Wolfwalkers – Undoubtedly one of the best animated movies of the year

Wolfwalkers premieres on Apple TV+ December 11th, 2020 The year is 1650, the place Kilkenny, Ireland, where Oliver Cromwell’s puritanical subjugation of the Irish is well underway. With villages controlled through the iron-like grip of the English, slowly growing into towns; eating the once ancient woodland around them. It is here where we meet Bill (Sean Bean) a robust, northern English man, dispatched to Kilkenny with his young daughter Robyn (Honor Kneafsey). His mission to rid the woods surrounding the growing settlement of the native wolf; a creature seen as a vicious predator and pest. While at the same time

Supernova – An intimate and stunning portrait of love in the face of loss

Supernova will be released nationwide on November 20th 2020 In 2015, Harry MacQueen’s directorial debut Hinterland wowed critics with an intimate and delicate portrayal of love. The naturalistic style of the film surrounded by the human need for emotional connection. And now he is back with Supernova, his second feature film in the director’s chair. A film that not only builds on the style of his debut but does so with a heartfelt and compelling level of intimacy and emotion. As the deep and enduring love of an older gay couple faces the crushing loss of early-onset dementia. With one

Shirley – An enthralling and captivating trip into social psychology

Shirley is showing in cinemas nationwide and on Curzon Home Cinema from 30th October What happens when you subvert the classic biopic by mixing in elements of fantasy, fiction and psychological drama? The answer is the deliciously dark, utterly enthralling and compelling Shirley. A film that dovetails the alcohol-fuelled, and tobacco-stained genius of Shirley Jackson with a fictional young couple. Both of whom, are sucked into the devilish psychological games of the horror writer and her husband, Stanley. In a film that has no intention of playing by the rules of the classic biopic. A rather befitting trait, considering the

I Am Samuel – Director Pete Murimi talks to us about his poignant, brave and urgent new documentary

I Am Samuel is showing at BFI London Film Festival from 10th October to 13th October In 2019 Kenya’s High Court ruled against LGBTQ campaigners seeking to overturn archaic laws that criminalised gay sex. The case filed in 2016 marked a watershed moment in LGBTQ representation. However, despite the efforts of brave campaigners, their bid for equality failed. But, the very fact the case was heard marked a big step forward in LGBTQ liberation in Kenya. The gates tentatively opened in the exploration of laws imposed by the British and embedded into independence in 1963. However, while opening the door

The Italian Boys: A five-star collection of beautiful Italian short films

The Italian Boys is released on all major streaming platforms from 18th October 2020 From the rugged coastline of the Adriatic to the clear blue waters of the Mediterranean, The Italian Boys threads together a rich tapestry of enthralling LGBTQ stories. With each film in the NQV collection emanating the neorealist beauty and diversity of Italian cinema at its very best. The result, one of the finest collection of curated short films released by NQV to date. The complex and enthralling collection delving into a broad range of themes from regret to early desire and a new for freedom. While at

Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets – An unforgettable, alcohol-fuelled night out

Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets is released nationwide on Curzon Home Cinema 24th December Many of us will have had one or two pubs or bars in our life that became a centre of community and friendship. The doors a gateway to familiar faces, political debates, tears and drunken laughter; the bar staff celebrating the creation of an alcohol-fuelled family. For me, that place was the Rainbow and Dove. A gay local that became a second home to me for many years. Every face offering a familiar smile; every conversation laced with humour and every bar stool occupied by the same

Relic – The destructive and irreversible terror of dementia

Relic is showing at BFI London Film Festival 9th – 12th October and FrightFest 24th October The most powerful horror often comes from a reflection of the human experience. Whether that be discussions on racism (Get Out) or the power of grief and loss (The Babadook). However, the horror of dementia and its creeping pain and isolation has primarily remained outside of the genre. But, with her bold debut feature Relic, Natalie Erika James, couples the psychological fear of dementia, with supernatural inspired horror. In turn, creating a stunning debut feature, full of unease, mystery and moments of devastating emotion.

Shadow Country: A stunning, intricate portrait of human fragility and community segregation

(Krajina ve stínu) Shadow Country is showing at BFI London Film Festival from 14th – 17th October The horror of war on communities, cultures and countries can take many different forms. From the devastation of conflict, through to the erosion of security and safety. But for communities sitting on the borders of countries embroiled in war. The effects are often rooted in segregation and displacement. With border towns and villages, the subject of subjugation as social structures are torn apart. Here in Europe, the countries most affected over the past 70 years have been our Eastern European neighbours. With a history that

The Boys in the Band – Crowley’s sublime play is brought to life in a blaze of dazzling performances

The Boys in the Band is available now on Netflix In 1968 an off-Broadway play by Mart Crowley challenged and changed the portrayal of gay men on stage. Its bravery, intimacy and honest reflection of gay male lives in late 60s America earning it a deserved place in the landscape of gay liberation. While it’s cutting dissection of internalised homophobia and the painful journey to self-acceptance spoke to a whole generation of gay men. Many of whom had kept their lives and loves hidden from friends and family. By 1970 The Boys in the Band had leapt from stage to screen, with

The Devil All The Time: A relentless, twisted and assured Southern Gothic horror

The Devil All The Time is available now on Netflix Based on the relentlessly dark Southern Gothic novel by Donald Ray Pollock. The fourth feature film from director Antonio Campos (Simon Killer) is both stark and enthralling. With a truly stunning ensemble cast offering both gravitas and depth to Pollack’s story; a sweeping, grisly and lurid family drama. One where community intolerance, isolation, abuse and lies are wrapped in the horror of religious extremism. With communities and individuals either blind to the manipulation and control of toxic religious belief. Or willing to use its influence to justify their own sordid and

Hope Gap – Poetic reflections on the birth and death of love

Films reflecting the pain of divorce are, of course, nothing new in cinema, in fact, in the last few years, we have seen both Marriage Story 2019 and A Separation (2011). However, stories of older couples separating remain rare. In fact, apart from the beautiful and haunting 45 Years from Andrew Haigh in 2015, it would be fair to say that older couples rarely gain screentime. The turmoil of divorce and separation a preserve of younger people, who in turn, often have young children in tow. Therefore, writer/director William Nicholson’s new film Hope Gap offers a rare glimpse into the

Two Heads Creek – We talk all things horror, comedy and the macabre with writer and actor Jordan Waller

Now and again a horror/comedy comes along that is both intelligent and creative, while equally gore-filled and fun. These movies are quite rare, many struggling to manage the interface between gore, comedy, and social discussion; never quite balancing all three. However, Two Heads Creek is one of those rare gems that shines within the genre. Its gloriously dark script, energetic delivery, and sublime performances matched with a nuanced discussion on nationalism. Its gore and humour layered with a cutting dissection, of the walls being built around nations. The poisoning effects of nationalist politics, BREXIT and detention centres gloriously fed into

We Die Alone – We talk to Baker Chase Powell about Marc Cartwright’s riveting new short film

How do we meet other people and communicate ideas in an online world where clicks count our popularity? And how does this affect those who lack the confidence to move beyond the digital landscape of our creation? These questions centre on our continually changing relationship with the internet, the very fabric of this virtual realm helping us to escape into personal caves. Where safety and security come from the ability to avoid physical contact and conversation; friendships, lovers and daily life held firmly within a bubble of our control. For many, this control leads them to choose an online world

Boys State – A heady mix of testosterone, politics, and popularity

What makes a world-class documentary? Is it the topic and case studies? The fly on the wall realism and free-flowing discussion? Or the ability of filmmakers to reflect uncomfortable truths and glimmers of redemption and hope? The answer to these questions will, of course, differ for every viewer. But, for me, world-class documentaries reflect all of these traits and more. As filmmakers allow their subject/s to fly free of control; the intricate patterns of life unpicked and sewn back together. Boys State achieves just this, within a documentary that has you swinging from disappointment to hope; anger to sympathy and

Pinocchio – A fantastical and magical return to the Collodi classic

This review is brought to you in partnership with our friends at Vertigo Releasing In 1883 Italian writer Carlo Collodi published The Adventures of Pinocchio; a magical wooden puppet desperate to become a real boy. The rural poverty of Tuscany and emerging industrialisation of Italy sitting at the heart of a story embedded in social change. Since that first publication, the character of Pinocchio has become an icon of children’s literature. However, the journey onto our screens has been less than smooth, with many solely associating the character with Disney’s 1940 film. Disney all but removing the darker themes of

The Painted Bird (2019) and Come and See (1985): The horror of War through the eyes of a child

Back in February, I sat in a press screening room in central London; the film was a comedy/drama. The type of light frothy movie that proves to be a crowd-pleaser in most multiplex’ across the UK. Next to me sat a fellow critic, and as we waited for the screening to start our discussion naturally focussed on recent films we had seen. One of these films just happened to be The Painted Bird, Václav Marhoul’s stark and shocking adaptation of Jerzy Kosiński’s novel. However, our views on this modern masterpiece of filmmaking could not have been more divergent. My fellow

Clemency, Loveless, The Kid, First Reformed, Studio 54, El Angel and Jongens – Quick Read Reviews

August 2020 Edition Looking for something to watch tonight? Don’t worry, we have got you covered with our monthly pick of great movies old and new without the long review. Instead, these quick recommendations offer a summary of our thoughts alongside details of the movies length, certificate and genre. So settle back for this months selection, including Clemency, Loveless, The Kid, First Reformed, Studio 54, El Angel and Jongens (Boys). Clemency (2019) Director: Chinonye Chukwu Cast: Alfre Woodard, Richard Schiff, Aldis Hodge, Wendell Pierce Runtime: 112 minutes Language: English Genre: Drama Certificate: 15 Loveless (2018) Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev Cast: Maryana Spivak, Aleksey Rozin, Matvey

Showbiz Kids – Fame and innocence in an adult world of money and power

After watching HBO’s feature-length documentary ‘Showbiz Kids,’ I found myself immediately taken back to my review of Honey Boy in 2019. During that review, I explored the interface between loneliness, fame, and the demand of unbalanced parental expectations on the child. As the film’s writer and star, Shia LaBeouf laid bare his childhood journey through the fictional character of Otis Lort. Many of those themes now find an increased voice within Alex Winter’s carefully considered new documentary on child actors. With interviews that reflect the joy, pain and emotion of an exciting yet challenging onscreen world. While delicately unpicking the

Us Kids: The bright light of youth activism in a broken political system

On Valentines Day 2018 a 19-year-old ex-student walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Armed with a semi-automatic rifle he proceeded to murder 17 people; 14 students and three staff. The tragedy marking yet another grim milestone in mass shootings across America. Shootings that have surpassed 230 incidents in schools since the horror of Columbine in 1999. The pain, grief, and anger of Parkland once more pulling into question gun control laws across America. While unleashing the anger of a younger generation tired of living in fear. As they wrestled the need for change away from the

Welcome to Chechnya: The atrocities of state orchestrated hate uncovered

Welcome to Chechnya changed the names and facial details of all those victims interviewed. In order to protect their human rights from further state persecution. As someone who has spent my adult life fighting for LGBTQ equality, I watched the growing persecution of LGBTQ people in Russia with horror. The introduction of the 2013 ‘gay propaganda law’ a mere tool for state-sanctioned oppression. As men, teenagers and women found themselves subject to horrific treatment. With victims suffering humiliation, degradation, and abuse at the hands of gangs who aimed to purify Russian society. Many of those victims mere teenagers who could

Days of the Bagnold Summer – Film of the Week

Do you remember the long summer holidays away from school at the tender age of 15? For many of us, we now look back at this time through the rose-tinted specs of adulthood. But the truth is these breaks were often painful, disappointing and challenging for both us and our parent/s. Our hormonal confusion and desire for freedom clashing with relentless boredom and frustration. Leading to uncomfortable conversations, brief moments of pleasure and embarrassing trips to town with our parent/s. Where our burgeoning need for independence was rudely invaded by an adult wish to ‘spend time together’ browsing clothes. However,

Saint Frances Film Review

Saint Frances – A refreshingly honest and lovingly crafted comedy/drama

This review is brought to you in partnership with our friends at Vertigo Releasing While the thematic base of Alex Thompson’s debut feature film ‘Saint Frances’ may sit within the familiar territory of thirty-something disillusionment. His film transcends the usual comedy/drama tropes of the subject, by embracing a frank, honest and loving exploration of the female experience. Layering this with a brave and cutting dissection of modern neoconservative beliefs. Ensuring more than a few Trump supporters will collectively spit their popcorn at the screen in disgust. Ultimately this ensures Saint Frances walks a different road to any similar films. Dovetailing

In My Blood It Runs – Film of the Week

Across our globe, there is a darkness that sits at the heart of every criminal justice system. An inescapable truth deeply embedded within the walls of every juvenile detention centre and prison; the link between those who suffer oppression and incarceration. Back in 2016, this darkness was uncovered in media reports, relating to the abuse and humiliation of young people at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in Northern Australia. An establishment solely inhabited by Aboriginal young people who had no voice or community power in challenging their abuse. Their plight only further highlighting the link between institutional discrimination, educational

Dating Amber – Friendship, love and acceptance in 90s Ireland

The 1990s offered a period of large scale change in both the U.K and Ireland, as the social structures of the 80s were challenged by a newly emerging social confidence. In Britain, this led to the birth of Brit Pop and political change, while across the Irish Sea young people began to question the beliefs of their parents, government, and church. Looking to the future and not the past in defining what it meant to be Irish in the latter part of the 20th Century. It is within this landscape that writer-director David Freyne’s new film Dating Amber shines a

Fanny Lye Deliver’d – The shackles of religion shattered but not forgotten

This review is brought to you in partnership with our friends at Vertigo Releasing Thomas Clay’s third highly anticipated film ‘Fanny Lye Deliver’d’ has had a long and challenging journey to the screen. Languishing in post production for almost three years due to funding pressures. However, after much delay it premiered at the BFI London Film Festival in 2019. With Vertigo Releasing now bringing the film to a wider audience via streaming services. But was it worth the extended wait? The simple answer is yes! as Thomas Clay brings us a delicious and complex take on 1970s folk horror. Layering

Moffie (Review) – Repression, desire and social control in 80s apartheid South Africa

Political regimes built on segregation and hate are multi-faceted in their use of control, violence and indoctrination. Often forcing both internal and external discrimination and oppression based on an ideology that fears any difference. In turn, using divide and conquer governance, in ensuring people who do not fit their idealised mould are targeted whether they be internal or external to the state. This has been the case throughout human history. From the persecution and murder of Germans daring to identify as LGBTQ during the Nazi regime through to the public hangings of young gay men in Iran. However, this internalised

Why Don’t You Just Die! (Review) – A devilishly dark and blood soaked chamber piece

‘Papa, sdokhni’  From the very first scene Kirill Sokolov’s debut feature Why Don’t You Just Die sets out its devilishly dark stall. As twenty-something Matvei (Aleksandr Kuznetsov) arrives at the apartment of his girlfriend Olya’s (Evgeniya Kregzhde) parents, armed with hammer. Only to be met by Olya’s father Andrei (Vitaliy Khaev) a brutish, controlling and decidedly corrupt police officer. His large sausage eating and vodka swilling frame dwarfing Matvei’s delicate and athletic figure. As he proceeds to question the reason for the young mans unannounced arrival. While Matvei nervously attempts to hide the hammer gripped tightly in his hand. As both

Love, Antosha (Review) – The artistry, life and legacy of Anton Yelchin

When a young actor dies before their time, their memory can often find itself attached to the manner of their death. Rather than the talent, energy, spark and creativity of their short life. This obsession with the final moments of a public figure has haunted the memory of actors ranging from River Phoenix to Paul Walker and Heath Ledger. With the tragic loss of Anton Yelchin in 2016 from a random accident no different. A solitary jeep and gate erasing one of the brightest lights in modern film in a devastating moment. But Love, Antosha has no intention of dwelling

And Then We Danced (Review) – Shattering the personal, cultural and artistic chains of homophobia

I have often commented on the bravery of bringing LGBTQ stories to our screens from those countries where oppression is still rife. But when this bravery is coupled with a mission to break down the stereotypes and perceptions leading to segregation and discrimination. While exploring culture, identity and history that directly influences homophobic actions. Film can not only open doors to understanding, diversity and cultural change. But also enable wider discussion and reflection on the interface between a countries history and embedded discrimination. And that is exactly what is achieved through Swedish filmmaker Leven Akin’s new film And Then We

Onward (Review) – Brotherly love in a world that’s lost its magic

It is hard to believe that Toy Story burst on to our screens 25 years ago, changing animation forever. While equally embedding the wonderful worlds created by Pixar into our collective conciousness. However, as time has passed has the magic of Pixar slowly diminished? And can Pixar still find original stories that engage and inspire new generations of children and adults alike? Well based on their first original story since the emotionally complex delights of Coco, the answer is a resounding yes. As the magical world of Onward explores core themes of grief, male relationships and brotherhood. In a colourful

The Invisible Man (Review) – The hidden horror of domestic abuse

From the award winning success of Get Out through to disappointing paint by numbers horror of Ma. Blumhouse Productions has provided a mixed bag of quality and innovation since its launch in 2010. However, nobody could dismiss the shear creativity of the modern horror platform that Blumhouse has created. One that has ensured horror in all its forms has continued to thrive on the cinema screen. And with its latest picture Blumhouse has returned to the socially reflective horror of Get Out. Not only bringing HG Wells The Invisible Man into the 21st Century. But also wrapping the rebirth in

True History of the Kelly Gang (Review) – The hormonal energy of rebellion in a brutal new world

History is full of figures who have fought institutionalised oppression by breaking laws and even taking lives only to become legends of folklore, from Dick Turpin to Jesse James. With those who target the foundations of a countries inequality often raised onto pedestals long after their death. In Australia, Ned Kelly and The Kelly Gang have become a part of the countries turbulent formation. Reflecting the anger and oppression that swirled during the birth of a nation under colonial rule. And the rebellion and anger oppressed communities, and individuals could only attempt to wield in the face of Empire. However, despite the folklore surrounding

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Review) – An exquisite journey into memory, desire, love and sisterhood

‘Portrait de la jeune fille en feu’ Writer and director Céline Sciamma is renowned for her beautiful and nuanced coming of age films. With a back catalogue filled with stunning reflections on the transition to adulthood, from Water Lilies to Tomboy. However, with her latest film ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’, Sciamma breaks with her own convention. While equally demonstrating that the urgency of love and belonging is not just a preserve of teenage life. In turn, bringing us a film that not only shines with the power and intensity of hidden love. But also offers a classical reflection

A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood (Review) – An affectionate journey into forgiveness and healing

Anyone living outside of the United States could be forgiven for not knowing who Fred Rogers was. His status as a US national treasure born from his children’s TV show, ‘Mister Rogers Neighbourhood’. A show that ran from 1968 to 2001 on the PBS network. It may therefore, come as no surprise that Marielle Heller’s new film ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood’, may not immediately not jump out to British or European viewers. However, Heller’s film inspired by the 1998 Esquire article written by Tom Junod offers far more than a traditional biopic. Providing the audience with a heartwarming,

The Personal History of David Copperfield (Review) – Dickens classic finds a new voice

Placing Charles Dickens’s classic novel David Copperfield into the hands of Armando Iannucci (The Death of Stalin) may sound rather audacious. But Iannucci’s love of all things Dickens found itself highlighted back in 2012. With the fabulous BBC documentary ‘Armando’s Tale of Charles Dickens.‘ In which the writer/director explored Dickens’s work with a contemporary social eye. While equally focussing on the wit and charm inherent in Dickens writing. Therefore, A Personal History of David Copperfield, in many ways, feels like an extension of the subject matter the director explored back in 2012. Taking Dickens’s classic novel into a far more

Waves (Review) – A wave of colour, sound and emotion that ripples through the mind

Undoubtedly his most bold and ambitious film to date. Director Trey Edward Shults (It Comes at Night) new film Waves, oozes creativity and emotion in equal measure. While embracing its audience in a kaleidoscope of colour, sound and movement. Ensuring each person watching feels a part of the action on screen. In a sweeping family drama that not only creates moments of devastating emotion, but also manages to sing with scenes of youthful joy. Focussing on a single year in the life of the Williams, a middle class black American family. Waves is split into two distinct halves, the first

1917 (Review) – A breathless and vivid journey into the hell of war

The horrors of the First World War have long been a staple of cinema. However, in more recent years film has begun the process of reflecting this horror from a new perspective. Dovetailing the innocence of the young people who fought, with the apocalyptic brutality of a war with no visible end. In turn combining the anti war narrative of Lewis Milestone’s All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) with the horror of lost innocence. In recent years this has led to films ranging from the underrated Journey’s End (2017), to the haunting documentary They Shall Not Grow Old (2018).

Parasite (Review) – A tour de force in modern cinema

 ‘기생충’ Winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival this year. Korean director Bong Joon-Ho‘s new movie, Parasite is as close to cinematic perfection as I have seen during 2019. Creating a film that ebbs and flows with deliciously dark humour, shocks and drama in equal measure. While taking the audience on a rollercoaster ride of twists and turns. Living in a squalid basement flat, the Kim family; Father Ki-taek (Kang-ho Song), mother Chung-sook (Hye-jin Jang) and college aged kids Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik) and Ki-jung (Park So-dam) live a life on the verge of poverty. Each family member

Saint Maud (Review) – Visceral horror of the highest order

Religious fervour mixes with mental illness in a film that takes you to the very edges of psychological horror. Director Rose Glass’ debut feature providing visceral terror of the highest order. In turn, wrapping its audience in a nerve-shredding world of mental decline. The escape door firmly closed as we follow a deeply troubled young care worker into a dark tunnel of spiritual torment and madness. The resulting film creating not only one of the best debut movies in a generation. But also one of the most impactful horror films I have seen this decade. Saint Maud is nothing short of

The Lighthouse (Review) – How long have we been on this rock?

Waves batter an isolated rock, while hungry gulls circle for their next meal. The beaming torch of the barnacled lighthouse providing safety for travelling sailors. While its thick stone walls hold two ‘wickies’ prisoners of the sea. Their relentless maintenance and isolation surrounded by empty bottles of booze. As both men search for meaning and purpose beyond the light of the tower looming over them.   Following on from his 2015 horror masterpiece The Witch, Director Robert Eggers once again delivers a tour de force in nightmares. With a deliciously dark, comedic and different maritime horror that dazzles the viewer. Using a claustrophobic

Jojo Rabbit (Review) – A stunning satirical dissection of hate and fascism

Lampooning fascism and Nazi ideology in a film can be a tightrope walk for any Director. With the sensitivities of history still raw and full of emotion for many viewers. Hence creating a need to balance humour with the real horror of war and hate. And with Jojo Rabbit, Director Taika Waititi manages to walk this tricky tightrope by layering the film’s humour with cutting social commentary. Taking square aim at the indoctrination of youth, while mixing it with a classic coming of age tale. Ultimately creating a sharp and humorous dissection of 1930s and 40s fascism. It would be

Matthias and Maxime (Review) – A beautiful portrait of male love and friendship

Friendships change over time, especially the ones born of childhood and adolescence. Sometimes those friendships hide the true feelings of the journey from boy to man (or girl to woman). While sometimes, they hide, repressed desires that surface on the road to adult life. These are all themes that Xavier Dolan’s latest film explores with tenderness and ease. Bound together with a nuanced exploration of masculinity, love, and emotional repression, in Matthias and Maxime. Dolan’s 10th film sees him return to the role of leading actor and director, for the first time since his 2013 film Tom at the Farm. Creating a

Rialto – A lifetime of emotional containment released

Peter Mackie Burns’ latest film, ‘Rialto’, offers a stunning and nuanced journey into emotional containment, belonging, and identity. While at the same time, creating an unlikely safe space in the relationship between a teenage rent boy and a father whose life is spiralling out of control. With both men sitting on the precipice of society, one through necessity, and one through a need for inner peace. Colm (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor) has spent his life working the docks of Dublin. His very existence ground into the fabric of the containers he cares for; each steel-clad unit, symbolic of a life lived trapped in emotional seclusion. Following

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