dir Joe Swanberg; with Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson 13/US ***.
As an exploration of a specific point in life, this film is authentic and observant. But it has a tendency to preach at us, overdramatising issues rather than letting them play out organically. At least the cast keeps it raw, creating recognisably realistic characters we can identify with... FULL REVIEW >
dir Adam Wimpenny; with Ed Stoppard, Sophia Myles 13/UK ***.
While playing with every cliche in the haunted house genre, director Wimpenny and writer Hill find an inventive twist in the tale. The key influence seems to be The Shining, with a small family menaced by strange goings-on in an isolated, over-large house... FULL REVIEW >
Cutie and the Boxer
dir Zachary Heinzerling; with Noriko Shinohara, Ushio Shinohara 13/US ***.
While this documentary sets out to explore the colourful life of offbeat husband and wife New York artists Ushio and Noriko Shinohara, it finds its strongest resonance in its observations about marriage itself. It's fascinating to watch their creative processes, especially the long-overlooked Noriko. And their banter is amusing. But it's what holds these opposites together that gets under our skin... [review coming soon]
dir Amat Escalante; with Armando Espitia, Andrea Vergara 13/Mex ****
This rather grim Mexican drama depicts how the tentacles of the drug trade can irreversibly change innocents who get too close to the danger. With moments of staggeringly awful violence and brutality set against an everyday vibe, this clever and skilfully made film is deeply unnerving... FULL REVIEW >
It's All So Quiet
dir Nanouk Leopold; with Jeroen Willems, Henri Garcin 13/Ned ***.
The title of this Dutch drama is almost annoyingly accurate: this is a sleepy, almost silent drama about people who are so repressed that it's the height of enlightenment when they crack the hint of a smile. But the film's beautifully observed by writer-director Leopold and actors who have to convey the characters' feelings without many words... FULL REVIEW >