X (2022)

Ti West doesn’t quite tread new ground in his grindhouse horror pastiche X, and yet he considers the religious puritanism and rebellious counterculture of 70s America with pulpy retrospection, examining the exploitation that runs deep in both and leaves older generations to wither away in violent, vengeful resentment.

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Empire of Light (2022)

There is a tragic, hidden beauty affectingly mirrored between Hilary’s passionless life and her once-glorious cinema in Empire of Light, and with Roger Deakins’ radiant photography at Sam Mendes’ disposal, both are united under a rose-tinted conviction of film’s raw, inspiring power.

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Argentina, 1985 (2022)

Argentina, 1985 takes creative liberties in dramatising the first legal conviction of a military dictatorship, but there is a sincerity baked into its performances and direction which offer its subjects a forthright compassion, reframing the nation’s political legacy as one of democratic victory over fascism.

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Aftersun (2022)

There is incredible subtlety and depth to Charlotte Wells’ character work in Aftersun, as one woman’s ruminations over a vacation she went on with her deeply troubled father effectively takes off the rose-tinted glasses of her childhood, and retrospectively pieces together a fragmented portrait of his stifled, internal suffering.

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Women Talking (2022)

The discovery of a horrific secret within the isolated Mennonite colony of Women Talking leaves some difficult decisions to be made by its female population, and through Sarah Polley’s bleak yet sensitive direction, she transforms it into a nuanced allegory of patriarchal exploitation at large, pushing it to a terrifying, unpredictable tipping point.

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Knock at the Cabin (2023)

The existential dilemma one small family must make to either sacrifice one of their own or unleash Armageddon drives a taut tension through Knock at the Cabin, and by wrapping this home invasion story up in a stifling visual style, the cosmic stakes of M. Night Shyamalan’s psychological horror feel both arrestingly claustrophobic and dauntingly apocalyptic.

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