Tag Archives: Review

Waru (Various, 2017)

In Māori, ‘waru’ means ‘eight’, and appropriately this anthology feature is directed by eight different Māori women. Comprised of eight single-take sequences following different Māori women on the morning of a tangi (funeral) for a young boy, also named Waru, every chapter starts with the timestamp of 9:59am, implying that each sequence is happening concurrently.

But this is not a case of following eight different parties who all just happen to be congregating at the same service. While some segments concern people on the ground at the tangi, including Waru’s two grandmothers, others come nowhere near it…

Full review for Little White Lies

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Mandy (Panos Cosmatos, 2018)

If his 2010 debut feature Beyond the Black Rainbow established Panos Cosmatos as a director whose filmmaking style is hard to define, follow-up Mandy pretty much cements it…

Full review for VODzilla.co

Shirkers (Sandi Tan, 2018)

From Jodorowsky’s Dune to a film about Tim Burton’s cancelled Superman, documentaries about movies that never got made have proved a popular prospect over recent years. Sandi Tan’s energetic Shirkers, ostensibly an entry in this subgenre, differs for a few reasons.

Firstly, it’s directed by the helmer of the original film it concerns, which shares the same name. Secondly, it’s about an independent Singapore-made film the world never got to see, rather than a Hollywood property. Finally, and most crucially, the original Shirkers was actually completed. The reason it was never released is because one strange individual involved in production stole all of the film’s materials once the 1992 shoot had wrapped…

Full review for Little White Lies

MFKZ (Shôjirô Nishimi/Guillaume Renard, 2017)

Scattered throughout animation MFKZ (aka Mutafukaz) – a collaboration between French company Ankama Animation and Japanese studio Studio 4°C (Tekkonkinkreet, Mind Game) – are a number of narrative-interrupting title cards that reflect something about the film’s various eccentricities. Some are posed as questions before expository information, such as in the case of ‘Who Are These Mysterious Wrestlers?’ One, in particular, stands out: ‘The Movies Have Never Seen Sh*t Like This!’ Although you can trace the DNA of a few notable influences, They Live and Akira among them, one might find that an accurate summation of MFKZ as a whole…

Full review for SciFiNow

Maniac (Cary Joji Fukunaga, 2018)

Netflix miniseries Maniac, from Patrick Somerville (The Leftovers) and Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective), is an enticing prospect even before taking the stacked cast into account. Led by Emma Stone and Jonah Hill, it also has Sally Field, Justin Theroux and Sonoya Mizuno (Ex Machina) supporting, with the likes of Gabriel Byrne and Hank Azaria regularly popping up…

Full review for SciFiNow

Twin Flower (Laura Luchetti, 2018)

The meaning of Twin Flower’s title is revealed roughly 40 minutes in: preventing teenage trainee Anna (Anastasyia Bogach) from splitting a double-stemmed flower, a florist insists the plant’s parts are a rare thing that must stay together. As a unit, Anna and the film’s other teenage protagonist, Ivory Coast refugee Basim (Kalill Kone), are similar: two fragile things brought together by chance and stronger as companions in navigating the world…

Full review for Cinema Scope

The Dark (Justin P. Lange, 2018)

Writer-director Justin P. Lange’s debut feature, The Dark, opens with an extended sequence of a wanted criminal on the run. Played by Austrian actor Karl Markovics (The Counterfeiters), the man, Josef, has a fatal encounter with a testy gas station clerk before heading to a woodland area to hide out; in the back of his car is an unseen figure and presumed kidnap victim to whom he mutters some instructions. Where the man arrives is a place cursed by some sort of regular threat, as briefly laid out by the deceased clerk, and, sure enough, Josef is pursued by a cloaked figure through an abandoned property and out among the trees. Nearly 20 minutes long, this tense opening stretch would work well as an isolated short film in its own right (Lange’s earlier short of the same name that this expands from encompasses more of the story that follows in the rest of the full feature)…

Full review for VODzilla.co