Reviews

Film Reviews

Staff Picks: The Sensational Stanley Kubrick

Today marks the birth of one of the looming legends of the modern motion picture, American director Stanley Kubrick. To commemorate this occasion, we at A Fistful of Film have chosen to examine a fair portion of his filmography, from his early studio pictures to his acclaimed latter-day output.

License to Review #9: The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

James Bond will return to cinemas this November with his twenty-fifth adventure, No Time to Die. In preparation, David Alkhed will take a look at all the previous entries in the franchise and see which ones are deserving of praise (shaken) and which ones aren’t (stirred). There is a tendency amongst the James Bond filmsContinue reading “License to Review #9: The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)”

License to Review #6: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

James Bond will return to cinemas this November with his twenty-fifth adventure, No Time to Die. In preparation, David Alkhed will take a look at all the previous entries in the franchise and see which ones are deserving of praise (shaken) and which ones aren’t (stirred). Sean Connery had quit the James Bond franchise followingContinue reading “License to Review #6: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)”

The Good, the Bad, the Weird (2008) – A Fistful of Holy Shit

I’ve reviewed two South Korean films for this website, Memories of Murder and House of Hummingbird. One of them is a darkly comical detective mystery and the other one is a coming-of-age drama. In the review for the latter I mentioned my desire to watch additional Korean films that weren’t genre-films and I hope toContinue reading “The Good, the Bad, the Weird (2008) – A Fistful of Holy Shit”

Jesus Shows You the Way to the Highway, (2020) – The Craziest Film of the Year, and Maybe the Best

There’s a sentiment I often hear at the moment, that there’s a certain era of filmmaking that’s past. Where you could just stumble across a masterpiece and when genuinely strange and brilliant films could get released. People basically jacking off the nostalgia of the 60s and 70s tell me this. I’m looking at you Quentin,Continue reading “Jesus Shows You the Way to the Highway, (2020) – The Craziest Film of the Year, and Maybe the Best”

A Certain Sacrifice (1985): Madonna’s surreal and ‘borderline’ insane debut

By random chance, I got curious about Madonna’s filmography besides Dick Tracy, Evita and Swept Away. So I went to check her filmography on Wikipedia and started to skim through it. Then I noticed this little oddity, placed right before Desperately Seeking Susan, which should make this Madonna’s big-screen debut. I enter it’s Wikipedia page,Continue reading “A Certain Sacrifice (1985): Madonna’s surreal and ‘borderline’ insane debut”

The New York Ripper (1982): All Vice, No Virtue

“The New York Ripper” takes two of my favorite niche styles of crime cinema and fuses them into one superb display of vice and violence. On one hand, you have a superbly stylized 80s giallo. On the other hand, it has the attitude & grime of a 70s urban crime flick.

High and Low (1963): Crime and Punishment between Heaven and Hell

Whenever the cinematic legacy of Akira Kurosawa gets brought up, there is a tendency amongst cinephiles to focus squarely on the numerous samurai films he made with Toshiro Mifune. You know the ones I’m talking about, Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, Throne of Blood, The Hidden Fortress etc. Whilst it’s most certainly true that Kurosawa made manyContinue reading “High and Low (1963): Crime and Punishment between Heaven and Hell”

The Favourite, (2018): Yorgos Lanthimos, Tralfamadorians, and Rewatching Movies

There are a few things that give me faith in the film industry; Parasite winning best picture, Knives Out making all of the money ever, and the fact that The Farewell even exists at all rank among them. Another is the fact that a film so unabashedly challenging and weird as The Favourite was soContinue reading “The Favourite, (2018): Yorgos Lanthimos, Tralfamadorians, and Rewatching Movies”

House of Hummingbird (2018): Confident, cohesive and coming-of-age at it’s best

For some strange reason, coming-of-age films tend to be some of the most universal films around and some of the easiest to sell internationally. Or maybe it isn’t that strange really now that I think of it, since coming-of-age can be something very unique and personal yet also universal at the same time. We allContinue reading “House of Hummingbird (2018): Confident, cohesive and coming-of-age at it’s best”

The True History of the Kelly Gang (2019), Daddies, Westerns, and Colonialism

What a delight it is to see Justin Kurzel back at it again. After the misfire of Assassin’s Creed, this is his chance to make back his goodwill. When you’re a director you tend to get one absolutely apocalyptic mess of a movie before the public really starts to turn on you. What Kurzel benefitsContinue reading “The True History of the Kelly Gang (2019), Daddies, Westerns, and Colonialism”

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), an Entertaining, but Flawed Crossover Event

Following on from the disaster that was Man of Steel, I was expecting the worst going into the 3-hour extended cut of Snyder’s follow-up film: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (and yes I had to go for the extended version because I want the full experience of these films), but honestly, while it’s farContinue reading “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), an Entertaining, but Flawed Crossover Event”

23 Films To Watch After The Invisible Man

Leigh Whannel’s The Invisible Man has become one of the most celebrated horror films of recent years, (read our review here). Whannel seems to have defined his approach to technology, motivated camera movement, and experiential post-production experimentation that he broke out using with sci-fi action hit Upgrade. The Invisible Man though seems to be aContinue reading “23 Films To Watch After The Invisible Man”

In Conversation With Dan Martin

Saoirse interviews prolific British make-up effects artist Dan Martin. It was a delight He’s the one on the left in the header photo. No, the other one isn’t Saoirse, it’s Tom Hiddlestone.

ANDREI RUBLEV (1966) – TARKOVSKY’S EPIC ODE TO ART AND THE ARTIST

“An artist never works under ideal conditions. If they existed, his work wouldn’t exist, for the artist doesn’t live in a vacuum. Some sort of pressure must exist. The artist exists because the world is not perfect. Art would be useless if the world were perfect, as man wouldn’t look for harmony but would simplyContinue reading “ANDREI RUBLEV (1966) – TARKOVSKY’S EPIC ODE TO ART AND THE ARTIST”

Ivan’s Childhood (1962), the Early Formations of a Prosperous Career

Shot only two years after his diploma film, The Steamroller and the Violin, Tarkovsky embarked on his first feature film; Ivan’s Childhood. A frank and brutal depiction of the human cost of war, adapted from a short story by former soldier Vladimir Bogomolov, Tarkovsky highlights the terrors of war through a young orphan utilised onContinue reading “Ivan’s Childhood (1962), the Early Formations of a Prosperous Career”

Man of Steel (2013), An….interesting way to launch a franchise.

Kicking off the DC comics extended cinematic universe, Man of Steel was meant to be the answer to the ever-growing popularity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Produced by The Dark Knight director, Christopher Nolan, the film was eventually directed by Zack Snyder, known for his previous comic-book adaptations; Watchmen and 300. Despite a lacklustre criticalContinue reading “Man of Steel (2013), An….interesting way to launch a franchise.”

YEAR OF THE DRAGON (1985) – CIMINO’S SPRAWLING, UNEVEN, ILL-DISCIPLINED YET COMPELLING AND ENJOYABLE COP THRILLER

“Dragons are strong and independent figures, but they yearn for support and love.”   That quote could apply to both Stanley White, the main character of Year of the Dragon played by Mickey Rourke, and its director Michael Cimino. I have a morbid fascination with Cimino. Perhaps the reason lies in the fact that soContinue reading “YEAR OF THE DRAGON (1985) – CIMINO’S SPRAWLING, UNEVEN, ILL-DISCIPLINED YET COMPELLING AND ENJOYABLE COP THRILLER”

Yojimbo (1961), Kurosawa Aiming Squarely for Thrills and Hitting the Mark

Akira Kurosawa is today, correctly remembered as an artist. His meditations on morality, mortality, and identity like Ikiru, Ran, and Kagemusha: Shadow Warrior are correctly hailed as visual feasts rich with themes and lessons that are timeless. It’s important to remember though that it was Rashomon that first broke Kurosawa internationally, although some of hisContinue reading “Yojimbo (1961), Kurosawa Aiming Squarely for Thrills and Hitting the Mark”

The Girl on the Third Floor – or, How Toxic Masculinity Haunts Capitalism

There seems to be an influx at the moment onto streaming services of really interesting genre inflected movies, that start out as one thing and go to very different places as they go on, and I seem to be reviewing them all. It started out with Netflix’s ‘Horse Girl’, continued with Shudder’s ‘Bliss’, and isContinue reading “The Girl on the Third Floor – or, How Toxic Masculinity Haunts Capitalism”

Misbehaviour (2020), a Toothless Retelling of a Historic Moment

I wanted to love this film. I really did. Ever since the first trailer dropped, I was intrigued; the clearly pro-woman/feminist narrative intrigued me, and the topic of the controversial 1970 Miss World contest seemed like a perfect moment in recent history to explore through a modern-day lens. But unfortunately when it came to it,Continue reading “Misbehaviour (2020), a Toothless Retelling of a Historic Moment”

American Pop (1981) – “One Family, Four Generations”

“Ralph Bakshi is an artist who I have grown to adore and respect when it comes to the medium of animation. His blend of stylish character designs, inventive use of both painted and live-action backgrounds, and a wicked sense of humor has made his films both definers of eras in which they are made and simultaneously timeless. Of all the films he has made, the one picture that sticks out in my mind the most has to be his 1981 effort, American Pop.”

Horse Girl – Slightly Less Than The Fascinating Sum Of Its Parts

‘Horse Girl’ is such a strange beast, (ha). It begins as something quite straightforward, a story of a strange girl living a desperately normal life. Early montages show with beautiful observation the bland charm of a hundred midwestern small talks. Alison Brie co-writes and stars as Sarah, a salesman at a crafts store who hasContinue reading “Horse Girl – Slightly Less Than The Fascinating Sum Of Its Parts”

Memories of Murder (2003): Bong Joon-Ho’s Serial Killer Masterpiece

Roughly two years ago, I was doing a marathon of Spike Lee films in preparation for BlacKkKlansman, and one of the films of his I had available through my library was his remake of Oldboy. I fortunately decided to do the smart thing and watched Park Chan-wook’s original film from 2003, and it truly fuckedContinue reading “Memories of Murder (2003): Bong Joon-Ho’s Serial Killer Masterpiece”

Color Out of Space (2019): A Slow But Effective Adaptation of Lovecraft

When you’re talking about the most influential writers in the horror genre, one of the first names to come up is most certainly H.P. Lovecraft. Alongside Edgar Allan Poe, Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker he is without a doubt one of the most influential, and remains a popular author for fans of the genre. DespiteContinue reading “Color Out of Space (2019): A Slow But Effective Adaptation of Lovecraft”

Battle Royale (2000), Kinji Fukasaku’s Modern Day Dystopia

Despite working as a director for 40 years, Kinji Fukasaku only broke through to international recognition and acclaim thanks to his final film: Battle Royale. But despite this, he has a fervent cult following thanks to the extensive praise his films received in his homeland of Japan, which lead to films such as Battles withoutContinue reading “Battle Royale (2000), Kinji Fukasaku’s Modern Day Dystopia”

Parasite (2019), A History-Making Masterpiece

Bong Joon-Ho has been a powerful force in Korean cinema for some time now, with great reception domestically and internationally. Films like Memories of Murder & The Host received critical success both domestically and internationally, which laid the groundwork for his English-language features; Snowpiercer & Okja. But despite the constant buzz around Bong, I’ve neverContinue reading “Parasite (2019), A History-Making Masterpiece”

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020): a Fantabulous Amount of Fun

I have this thing about franchise movies right. ‘Joker’ was meant to be the last one that I go see. I’m just, so, so tired. I’m tired of the reboots, I’m tired of the sequels, I’m tired of the remakes. Coming this fall: ‘Ghoulies: Bite Back’ – the dark gritty reboot of the b movieContinue reading “Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020): a Fantabulous Amount of Fun”

Bombshell (2019): a Bomb of a Script and a Bomb at the Box Office

Content Warning: Discussions of Rape, Sexual assault & harrassment, and mentions of the #Metoo movement are present in this review.  Authors Note: In an effort of full disclosure, I am a cis-man who has never had to experience the terrible things that the women depicted in this movie, and many women in real life asContinue reading “Bombshell (2019): a Bomb of a Script and a Bomb at the Box Office”

Se7en (1995): A Descent Into the Inferno of Humanity

“Ernest Hemingway once wrote, ‘the world is a fine place and worth fighting for’. I agree with the second part”. Those are the final lines of dialogue uttered in David Fincher’s serial killer classic Se7en from 1995, spoken by Morgan Freeman’s character detective Somerset. Not only is the line incredibly profound, it speaks to theContinue reading “Se7en (1995): A Descent Into the Inferno of Humanity”

Staff Picks: David Lynch’s World of Dreams

David Lynch needs no introduction, but perhaps his filmography does. Each of our staff picks a film by the master of surrealist filmmaking, whose filmography never ceases to amaze. Eraserhead (1977), introduced by Saoirse Selway ‘Eraserhead’ is a really important movie to me. It’s so stupidly formative to me as a critic and filmmaker thatContinue reading “Staff Picks: David Lynch’s World of Dreams”

L’Ange (1982): The Soul of Cinema is Alive and Well in This Movie

I wish to specify that while I don’t think this film is perfect, I say that begrudgingly. It’s only because there’s one scene in a library that goes on a bit long for my taste. That being said though trying to judge or critique this film is somewhat of a fool’s errand, not that IContinue reading “L’Ange (1982): The Soul of Cinema is Alive and Well in This Movie”

Us (2019): The Spirit of George A. Romero Lives On

After this movie, I’m going to have to read that Master/Slave dialectic again I suppose. Y’know, it’s surprising, the real Argento film filmmakers seem to return to these days for inspiration, isn’t ‘Suspiria’, (which has been stripped of all possible influence and left at the bottom of the ocean like a discarded whale carcass), itContinue reading “Us (2019): The Spirit of George A. Romero Lives On”

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992): The Blood is Life

What Dario Argento’s Suspiria did for witches, and what Nobuhiko Obayashi’s Hausu did for haunted houses, Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula does for the titular vampire: create a film as out-there as the myths & tales themselves. Dracula is a character immortalized in pop culture, born out of the 1897 novel by Irish author Bram Stoker and adapted into a string ofContinue reading “Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992): The Blood is Life”

The Plague Dogs (1982): “Can’t You See It? Our Island!”

Animation is a medium that has fascinated us to no end. Whether the artist wields paints, pencils, clay, or even a computer, animation affords us near-limitless possibilities for telling stories and crafting images. Animation of maturity is not a rarity as some would assume, granted that the bulk of Western animation is dominated by largeContinue reading “The Plague Dogs (1982): “Can’t You See It? Our Island!””

Abigail’s Party (1977), or Who’s Afraid of the Middle Class

In the throes of Mike Leigh’s career at the BBC devising and directing tele-plays for Play for Today, came Abigail’s Party one of the most talked about and impactful of all of the plays produced. With a lasting legacy that launched the career of leading lady Alison Steadman, and solidified Mike Leigh’s status as aContinue reading “Abigail’s Party (1977), or Who’s Afraid of the Middle Class”

Last Christmas (2019): A Saccharine Car Crash of Colliding Good Intentions

Where to begin unpacking this strange, strange beast. First of all, does Paul Fieg even direct his camera at all? That seems to be the most annoying trend in contemporary blockbuster comedy, no one is making use of their camera to enhance their movie. I mean, at least there are pure black values in thisContinue reading “Last Christmas (2019): A Saccharine Car Crash of Colliding Good Intentions”

First Love (2019): Takashi Miike Hasn’t Lost His Ability to Surprise in the Best Way

It’s just ridiculous how Miike is pushing 60 now, he’s made over 100 films and he’s still making films with that joyful, youthful verve. He’s making the kind and variety of movies that Quentin Tarantino forgot how to do when he hit puberty. Ironically though, this does in a way feel like Miike’s ‘Once UponContinue reading “First Love (2019): Takashi Miike Hasn’t Lost His Ability to Surprise in the Best Way”


Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.

%d bloggers like this: