EIFF22 · Features

Top 5 Must-See Movies of Edinburgh Film Festival 2022

It’s been a long three years since we’ve had a proper film festival in the capital. After an online 2020 iteration and a clever hybrid version last year, EIFF is back in all its glory its 75th edition in 2022, albeit a little later in the calendar. Split into various strands including Heartbreakers, Night Moves, The Chamber, and Postcards from the Edge, the programme offers an eclectic mix of cinema that should have something to satisfy any film-goer. I’ve perused the brochure to pick out a selection that I have my eye on…

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Features · GFF22

Top 5 Must-See Movies of Glasgow Film Festival 2022

As restrictions are easing once again, Glasgow Film Festival is back, this year with a hybrid model which of course includes its online portal as well as physical screenings across the UK! Opening with Graham Moore’s tailor-made thriller The Outfit and closing with Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic’s tense family drama Murina, the festival boasts an eclectic mix of premieres and retrospectives. I’ve perused the programme to pick out five that I’ve got my eye on…

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Features

Top 20 Films of 2021

In a time in which many thought the medium of cinema was doomed, never to return, there has been a very good crop of films for audiences to enjoy. James Bond finally returned to the big screen after many delays to huge box office success and critical acclaim…from some. As well as that, Denis Villeneuve’s satisfyingly slow-burning Dune franchise took off, and we’ve closed the year out with big nostalgic releases with The Matrix Resurrections and Spider-Man: No Way Home. We’re now fast approaching awards season at the turn of the year, and I pick out my personal crème de la crème of 2021’s releases…

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Features · GFF21

Top 5 Must-See Movies of Glasgow Film Festival 2021

Last year, Glasgow Film Festival was one of the few in the UK largely unaffected by the pandemic, sneaking in weeks before the first lockdown. However, their 2021 edition will be 100% virtual due to the current restrictions in place. Despite the challenges, the lineup is as exciting and eclectic as ever, boasting 62 films in total from around the world and boasting a Country Focus strand on South Korean cinema. The opening picture will be Lee Isaac Chung’s highly anticipated autobiographical drama Minari and the event will close with Suzanne Lindon’s coming-of-age debut feature Spring Blossom. I have handpicked some films that I won’t want to miss…

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Features

Top 10 Lockdown Recommendations You Might Not Have Seen: 2021 Edition

Another year, another lockdown, and so for those of us that aren’t home-schooling, another chunk of spare time on our hands. If you’ve already binged on The Queen’s Gambit, Bridgerton, and any other telly you’ve been told you must see, you might be on the lookout for some film recommendations. I’ve scoured Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, and All4 to put together another list. Some quite old, some quite new, all absolutely brilliant.

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Features

Top 20 Films of 2020

It’s been a year like no other as we face a global pandemic and cinemas have been forced to close their doors up and down the country. However, despite the incredible challenges, the standard of film has been remarkably high. With a shortage of big screens and most of the major blockbusters delayed for the foreseeable, we’ve seen more pictures head straight to on-demand, onto streaming services, or in Steve McQueen’s case, right onto terrestrial television in the form of a mini-series. My favourites of the year are as follows:

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Features

Top 10 Netflix Gems You Might Not Have Seen…Volume 3: Coronavirus Special

In this strange and uncertain time of Coronavirus-induced isolation, we search for answers, toilet roll, and new things to watch on Netflix. I am here to help distract you from the sickness fears, hand-picking some of the best hidden gems Netflix (UK version) has to offer. Don’t worry, I washed my hands first.

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Features

Top 10 Films of 2019

10. Fighting with my Family

“It is far more gripping than its subject matter might suggest. Who ever would believe a story about a wrestling family from Norwich could have quite such heart and resonance”.

Check out The Independent’s review

9. Ordinary Love

“It’s that evocation of the intangible interface between the mundane and the monumental that lends Ordinary Love such universal appeal – the sense of down-to-earth characters quietly wrestling with the cosmic mysteries of life and death, love and grief, with a mixture of sorrow and laughter”. 

Check out The Guardian’s review.

8. Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Can You Ever Forgive Me? is a lively and compelling film with a sharp script and wonderful performances. It offers up no cheap sentiment or overblown emotion but is nonetheless affecting and quietly heartbreaking in its insightful and honest portrayal of loneliness, alienation and unlikely friendships”.

Check out Seensome’s review.

7. Beats

“Amplified by an electric soundtrack that doffs its baseball cap to the likes of techno and happy house, Beats is a taut yet transcendent time capsule of a movie. It’s a rhythmic celebration of our formative years, capturing the reckless essence of youth itself”.

Check out my review.

6. Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood

“The streak of melancholic nostalgia running through Once Upon a Time in Hollywood might have blunted the razor-sharp edge of Quentin Tarantino, but it only emphasises the care he puts into his craft”.

Check out my review.

5. Sons of Denmark

“The film’s big moments are amplified by a prominent but unobtrusive operatic score, and the stylish visuals really help to compliment a script which heightens the sense of frustration and unrest caused by government corruption”.

Check out my review.

4. Mid90s

“Hill writes and directs with a personal passion and his influences bleed through onto the screen and into the superb soundtrack”.

Check out my review.

3. The Souvenir

“A bleak, but richly textured tale of a toxic, tragic relationship between aspiring filmmaker Julie and her obnoxious boyfriend Anthony. The performances are stellar and nearly every frame is carefully composed like a desolate yet delicate painting”.

2. The Irishman

“Presenting the mobster life as a rich tapestry of violence, corruption, and lingering sorrow, The Irishman marks a reflective curtain call in the Scorsese saga of crime movies”.

Check out my review.

1. Marriage Story

“Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver are already held in high regard, and this is arguably the best they’ve ever been. Nicole and Charlie are presented as very real people, both having made mistakes, there’s no immediate side-taking in the couple’s complicated battle”.

Check out my review.

Features

Top 10 Films of 2018

10. A Simple Favour

“A Simple Favor is a film determined to entertain at all costs and that determination is intoxicating. Feig surrounds his neo-noir plot in fun, frothy comedy and together it serves as a playful showcase for the excellent leading ladies at the film’s centre”.
Check out Seensome’s review
9. Lady Bird

“Lady Bird is a warm and wacky love-letter to adolescence which marks an important directorial debut for Gerwig. The identifiable style and substance from her career-to-date has carried through into her craft behind the lens, and her work carries a lot of emotional baggage along with the whimsical humour”.
My full review
8. Dumped

 

“Dumped (Larguées) is brilliantly blithe and full of fun, encapsulating the insouciant essence of a holiday in the sun. Time away from day-to-day trials and tribulations can offer up an opportunity to reflect, and while their trip is initially planned to help Françoise recover from her marital woes, hers isn’t the only emotional baggage that needs to be checked. Lang delivers an entertaining cinematic excursion that you won’t want to come back from”.
My full review
7. Blindspotting

“Blindspotting’s core steeliness can, in fact, be glimpsed early on, as Diggs’s man-with-a-van Collin – out beyond his curfew, two days before his probation ends – witnesses a cop shoot a fleeing suspect in the back. Should he report the incident, and potentially put himself back behind bars? Where a declamatory film would have made this quandary the whole show, director Carlos López Estrada pushes on”.
The Guardian’s full review
6. Kler

 

“Smarzowski attacks the corruption of Roman Catholicism from behind the camera lens with powerful propagandic piece Kler, but it’s a directorial damning that’s delivered with deft deliberation and a darkly dry sense of humour”.
My full review
5. Widows

“Widows is a riveting and rampant thriller that carries heft in its subject matter, but also captures the intrigue and exhilaration of the heist genre. It’s probably McQueen’s most mainstream work to date but doesn’t lack his signature visionary style. His acute artistic flair is as prominent as ever in a vehement, violent Chicago, adding considerable flesh to the bones of Flynn’s compelling screenplay to form a captivating cinematic caper”.
My full review
4. First Reformed

 “First Reformed is a thought-provoking, engaging film that will challenge and shock cinema-goers, and Ethan Hawke brilliantly immerses us into Toller’s increasingly disturbed psyche. Tapping into society’s collective anxieties, Schrader delivers a mesmerising movie that is so strange and unsettling, and yet scarily topical in the craziness of the current climate”.
My full review
3. You Were Never Really Here

“In Phoenix, Ramsay has a major ally in staking her case for bleak psychological artistry. Weighed down with the horrific ballast of things he has suffered and seen – he’s a Gulf War veteran and former FBI agent, too, with the scars to prove it – Joe comes to life in an almost gruellingly subtle and interiorised performance”.
Check out The Telegraph’s full review
2. Phantom Thread

“Phantom Thread is a grandiose tale of toxic love that is completely bizarre in its brilliance. With stunning orchestral sounds leading us through the turbulence and the tension of Reynold and Alma’s relationship, Paul Thomas Anderson pulls the strings from afar, masterfully conducting a svelte swansong for leading man Daniel Day-Lewis”.
My full review
1. Molly’s Game

“Molly’s Game is a modern-day Goodfellas but with the bullets tucked up its sleeve, and Chastain delivers a turn that really ups the ante of her unsurmountable talents. Through the extraordinary woman the tabloids labelled as the ‘poker princess’, Sorkin has achieved the crowning glory of his cinematic career to date”.
My full review