Spectre (Sam Mendes, 2015)

The latest James Bond film, Spectre, is named for its revival of the sinister SPECTRE organisation, the group behind the source of much of the world’s woes in the series’ earlier entries. That is the objectively true reasoning behind the film’s title. Upon viewing Sam Mendes’ second Bond outing, however, the title takes on a different layer. Spectre is an appropriate title because there’s only a glimmer of a pulse in the film’s 148 minutes…

Full review for Vague Visages

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Crimson Peak (Guillermo del Toro, 2015)

Why do you watch horror? If it’s solely about preying on your primal fears through a high-concept premise, it’s possible you might not get a great deal out of Guillermo Del Toro’s gothic opus Crimson Peak.

If you’re after jump scares, then you’ll probably hate it. If, however, you’re attuned to and appreciative of the ways in which some of the best horror films can not be about boogeyman scares, but instead cover a wide array of different emotional concerns, then proceed with less caution…

Full review for The Skinny

Live from New York! (Bao Nguyen, 2015)

Anyone looking for a really meaty documentary on a still on-the-air television show may be put off when hearing of extensive involvement of the head honchos behind said property. Even more worrying is also finding out that the 40-year portrait of the series only runs 78 minutes (despite what IMDb may tell you), which doesn’t exactly sound like the most ideal length considering that the documentary is about Saturday Night Live, a television show riddled with myriad controversies, success stories and career implosions over those 40 years. If you have a hunch that Live from New York! might play like little more than a hagiographic, superficial skip through self-serving sound-bites, then… well, you’re absolutely right…

Full review for Vague Visages

In the Room (Eric Khoo, 2015)

Love and lust across a century form the backbone of In the Room, the latest film from director Eric Khoo (TatsumiBe with Me). An anthology feature with five main vignettes (titled “Rubber,” Listen,” “Change,” “Search,” and “First Time” in the end credits) and a few recurring revisits to the exploits of characters who have come and gone, the entire film is set within the confines of one Singapore hotel room, bar the occasional meet-cute or tearful lament in the corridor right outside…

Full review for The Film Stage

The Corpse of Anna Fritz (Hèctor Hernández Vicens, 2015)

World famous Spanish actress Anna Fritz (Alba Ribas) has suddenly died. On the night of the death, young mortician Pau (Albert Carbó) takes a photo of the dead celebrity and sends it to his friends, Ivan (Cristian Valencia) and Javi (Bernat Saumell), who promptly turn up at Pau’s hospital while on their way to a party. After doing some coke by the hospital’s bins, Pau and Ivan think it a good idea to have a look at the body up close in the morgue; the comparatively mature Javi is disturbed by the idea but tags along anyway. Down in the morgue, Ivan feels an apparent need to touch the beautiful starlet, and also observe her fully nude form. Ivan then also feels an apparent need to defile her body. And then so does Pau. And then, ignoring Javi’s disgusted protests, they proceed to do so.

If you’re still reading this review after that initial plot dump, let it be known that the remainder of this piece will not shy away from spoilers, as The Corpse of Anna Fritz, the feature debut of director Hèctor Hernández Vicens, is difficult to discuss without divulging information beyond, say, the 20-minute mark of the film. It is vital to discuss where this film gets at least a little interesting, as the opening 20 minutes which encompass those cited plot points are, frankly, hideous without the context of what follows (and are still a rough enough ride even with the next developments). Ready? Okay…

Full review for Vague Visages

Scotland Loves Anime 2015: Preview

Now in its sixth year, October’s Scotland Loves Anime festival is not just the region’s leading exhibitor of Japanese animation on the big screen (where so much of it begs to be seen, but infrequently is in the UK), but is also now a key time on the film calendar for more offbeat Asian fare of the live-action variety, sandwiched as it is between the big Edinburgh and Glasgow film festivals of June and February. To name one highlight of the last few years, SLA offered the only UK cinema showings of madman maverick Takashi Miike’s Ace Attorney, a bonkers live-action adaptation of the popular Phoenix Wright video games. Appropriately enough, given the festival’s widening scope and growing reputation, the 2015 instalment will see it expand beyond its usual homes at Glasgow Film Theatre and Edinburgh Filmhouse, with Aberdeen’s Belmont Filmhouse getting its own taste of the animated action…

Full feature for The Skinny

Fidelio: Alice’s Journey (Lucie Borleteau, 2014)

Undoubtedly the sexiest film set on a freighter since Captain Phillips, Fidelio: Alice’s Journey, the French feature debut of actress-turned-writer-director Lucie Borleteau, is a riveting exploration of sexual relationships, everyday sexism, and seafaring struggles (with a touch of sex)…

Full review for VODzilla.co