The dead-eyed cast of Roy Andersson's A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (2014) would appear just as home on the streets of London as Gothenburg, or any other city experiencing the dreary decline of late capitalism. Still, their masterful comic timing and pacing make hilariously black viewing pleasure, with a dash of the Brechtian absurd. Don't be fooled by the drained blue-and-beige palette of Andersson's set design either. There is never a dull frame in his obliquely shot scenes of exquisitely composed, static long takes. Incorporating historical anachronism, musical revelry, and unsettling cruelty, 37 vignettes make up the the final part of his trilogy on humanity...More.
Tuesday, 21 July 2015
Thursday, 18 June 2015
When we spot Morag Keil's Leg1 – a looped projection of a giant zebra-striped stiletto – the slow, voyeuristic tracking up the leg reveals that it belongs to a man. To further complicate matters, the male calf in question sports a cheesy softcore tattoo of a pin-up girl. Is a pornographic portrayal of women considered sexist if worn by a transsexual? Whether it is sincere or sardonic is left beguilingly, or frustratingly, open-ended...More.
Wednesday, 10 June 2015
Despite its attempt to subvert the spy genre via the antics of Melissa McCarthy set against a panoply of glamorous international backdrops, Spy (2015) has more in common with Mean Girls than Austin Powers. The film confuses missplaced female empowerment with luxury consumerism and pettily competitive comaraderie, further distracted by gross body humour and contrived plotting. It plays like a high school misfit's rather toothless wish-fulfilment fantasy masquerading as a modern quasi-feminist odyssey. When she isn't busy baking cakes for her CIA colleagues, good naturedly rotund Susan (McCarthy) serves golden-boy agent Fine (Jude Law) as his overeager Girl Friday, maid, and caddie...More.
Wednesday, 27 May 2015
If smugly stereotypical characters, cheap fellatio jokes, and Bridget Jonesy New Year's resolutions - "Put yourself out there, take chances, engage with life, get stronger thighs" - are your thing, you might enjoy this film. With her iconically toothy grin, unlucky-in-love Nancy (Bell) tricks the recently-scorned Jack (Pegg) into thinking he's met his internet-delivered mate...More.
Thursday, 21 May 2015
"I don't like when things are - I can't believe I'm saying this - so black and white," laughs Sheila Vand, the doe-eyed star of Ana Lily Amirapour's stylish and darkly devious feature debut, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014), released in UK cinemas from this Friday by StudioCanal. I chuckle as well, not only because we are discussing the moral ambiguity of her protagonist, but also because the entirety of the vampire indie film is incidentally shot in lustrous monochrome. By night, cloaked in a head-to-toe chador, The Girl shadows and preys on the townspeople of Bad City, a fictional underworld that supposedly takes place in modern Iran, but was actually shot near Bakersfield, California - where Amirpour is from - with a cast of all Iranian-American actors...More.
It's easy to mistake Ana Lily Armirpour's A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) as purely a mash-up of spaghetti western, horror and neo-noir - until a sign appears in Farsi, accompanied by a pile of dead bodies inexplicably dumped in a nearby gulch. In this subversive Iranian vampire flick, the appropriation of pop culture is perfectly suited to Bad City, a disquieting East-meets-West netherworld painted in high contrast monochrome...More.
Thursday, 14 May 2015
This year's Catlin Art Prize finalists pack a power punch of sex, death, and pop ruin. By turns brash, kitsch, and alienating, no one could accuse this talented bunch of recent UK graduate and postgraduate students of being boring. They're here to shake things up...MORE.