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Features Lost Classics Reviews

Lost Classic: the overlooked brilliance of Paul Schrader’s Hardcore

Writer-director Paul Schrader is both insider and outsider. His screenplays for Martin Scorsese include the masterpieces Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, while as director he encapsulated the decedent aesthetic of the 1980s with American Gigolo, simultaneously carving out a lucrative career as a studio script doctor. Although considered to be one of the ‘movie brats’ of […]

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Brilliant Failures Reviews

First Snow (Mark Fergus, 2006)

Mark Fergus’ debut feature First Snow initially appears to have much in common with Christopher Nolan’s breakthrough success Memento (2000): both are neo-noirs with Guy Pearce in the lead role, while the central protagonist in each film becomes increasingly unstable due to never having quite enough knowledge to make sense of his predicament. First Snow, […]

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Brilliant Failures Reviews

Brilliant Failure: The Minus Man (Hampton Fancher, 1999)

An oddly memorable late-addition to the serial killer cycle of the 1990s, The Minus Man has maintained curiosity value beyond its brief theatrical release largely due to being the only directorial credit to date for Blade Runner (1982) screenwriter Hampton Fancher. It also boasts a solid cast led by an actor who would become a […]

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Lost Classics Reviews

Lost Classic: Chan Is Missing (Wayne Wang, 1982)

In most accounts of the rise in mainstream popularity of American independent cinema, Wayne Wang’s culturally inquisitive neo-noir Chan Is Missing often serves as a footnote rather than as a prime example, perhaps because Wang arrived too early for the party. 1984 is usually cited as a banner year for American independent cinema, which is […]

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Features Screengems

Screengems: Maggie Cheung’s catsuit (Irma Vep, 1996)

In the French film industry satire Irma Vep, the Hong Kong actress Maggie Cheung plays herself, an Asian movie star who has arrived in Paris to star in a remake of Louis Feuillade’s classic silent film serial Les Vampires (1915) as eccentric director Rene Vidal (Jean-Pierre Léaud) believes that no France actress can match the […]

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Recommended: The Message (Chen Kuo-fu, Gao Qunshu, 2009)

Asian film enthusiasts will surely find their interest piqued by East Winds: A Third Window Film Festival which takes place at the Warwick Arts Centre from February 11-13 and includes titles from China, Japan and South Korea. The closing film of the festival will be Chen Kou-fu and Gao Qunshu’s excellent espionage thriller The Message, […]

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Features

Recommended: The Housemaid (Im Sang-Soo, 2010)

Following its European premiere at Cannes in May, Im Sang-soo’s classy thriller The Housemaid is a much-anticipated addition to the schedule of the 2010 London Korean Film Festival. The event is held at various venues in London starting from today and running up to November 14, with selected films screening at participating cinemas around the […]

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Recommended: Hotel (Jessica Hausner, 2004)

In the age of commercial chains and franchise operations, most hotels are anonymous environments that would seem to offer little in the way of inspiration for filmmakers looking for an appropriate location to stage an exercise in unease. The Bates Motel in Alfred Hitchock’s Psycho (1960), the Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980), […]

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Brilliant Failures

Brilliant Failure: Dust Devil (Richard Stanley, 1992)

According to Richard Stanley, the idea for Dust Devil came to him in a dream whilst studying at Cape Town Film School, and the roots of the project are evident in the vividly realised opening sequence that is mostly free of dialogue and drenched in a feverish atmosphere reminiscent of Dario Argento at his peak. […]