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Feature Reviews Widescreen

No Utopia: On Wyatt Rockefeller’s Settlers (2021)

According to SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk, the company’s proposal to colonize the planet Mars is “about believing in the future and thinking that the future will be better than the past.”  The vision is of a self-sustaining Mars-based city home to one million inhabitants. The relative ease and cheapness of the SpaceX Starship and Falcon […]

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Feature New Release Reviews

New Release: The Banshees of Inisherin

I believe in reading as a creative experience. The Reader comes to the work with their intellect, imagination, expectations, wants and needs, and sets out, consciously or not, to forge their very own “version” of the original text, however sacred. And that “version” will be different from yours, mine or anyone else’s. As with The […]

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Brilliant Failure Reviews

Brilliant Failure: Heaven’s Gate (Michael Cimino, 1980)

A scene in Michael Cimino’s epic Western, Heaven’s Gate (1980), always reminds me of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 ­– the fall of the Twin Towers, man’s almost primitive need for contact in a time of extremis (extremis most of us could never imagine), his endless fight for survival. Much has already been said and […]

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New Release Reviews

New Release: Prey

Dan Trachtenberg’s Prey (2022) simultaneously pays respect to and gently subverts the 1987 Arnie vehicle to which it is a loose prequel. On the one hand, it grounds the franchise in the simple premise that made John McTiernan’s Predator so effective to begin with: two creatures – one human, one extraterrestrial – going head-to-head in […]

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New Release Reviews

Blu-Ray Review: Umberto D (Criterion)

The opening scene of Vittorio De Sica’s neorealist masterpiece Umberto D. is of a bustling city street with commuters and pedestrians going about their daily business, before a group of elderly protesters is seen marching down the main road; angrily waving placards and chanting slogans in full voice.   The protesters are a group of Italy’s […]

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New Release Reviews

Blu-Ray Review: Rock ’n’ Roll High School (101 Films)

Released in the sweet spot for late 1970s early 1980s American high school comedies it is hard to see why 1979’s Rock ’n’ Roll High School is not held in higher regard. Directed by Allan Arkush (with acknowledged but uncredited ‘support’ from Joe Dante) the film is certainly no worse than its contemporaries including Animal […]

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New Release Reviews

Blu-Ray Review: The Shaolin Plot (Eureka Classics)

“Lost” masterpieces can be catnip for serious movie buffs and collectors. Now you can properly worship at the feet of kung fu action spectacular The Shaolin Plot (1977, directed by Huang Feng), a seldom-seen Hong Kong picture from the Golden Harvest production company. Celebrated martial arts actor, stuntman and filmmaker Sammo Hung worked with director […]

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New Release Reviews

New Release: Il buco (The Hole)

We often associate progress with height – look no further than the post-World War II boom in skyscrapers. In a pre-credits scene from Michelangelo Frammartino’s Il buco (The Hole, 2021), a group of Italian villagers, huddled around a staticky television outside a café, watch footage of a newsman touring one such building. “We are climbing up […]

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New Release Reviews

New Release: Listen

Ana Rocha’s Listen (2020) begins quietly, with shots of clotheslines and tree branches swaying in the breeze: a rare moment of solace in an otherwise breathless family drama. Clocking in at under 80 minutes, the writer-director’s feature debut doesn’t waste any time immersing viewers in what must be one of the most gut-wrenching experiences a […]