2019 Film Reviews – 34: Elles [dir. Malgorzata Szumowska; 2011]

Although it doesn’t exactly make new observations about relations between the sexes, it cannot be denied that Szumowska’s Elles offers a succinct summary of themes that are always worthy of reappraisal: cycles of exploitation between men and women; gender-based hypocrisy in the sphere of work; sex as a form power. My objection is with the way in which the director has chosen to explore these … Continue reading 2019 Film Reviews – 34: Elles [dir. Malgorzata Szumowska; 2011]

Best Films Of The Year + Hitting The Pause Button

Some of you already know why, in 2011, this blog was devoted almost exclusively to film reviews: various other writing projects have caused me to be extremely busy since about mid-2010 and I needed to think of something that would allow me to keep DariushAlavi.com ticking over and wouldn’t entail my spending hours agonising over what each subsequent post should be about. Film reviews seemed like a neat, … Continue reading Best Films Of The Year + Hitting The Pause Button

Film Review: Attack The Block [dir. Joe Cornish; 2011]

As far as multiplex-friendly, 90-minute long, 80s-inspired alien invasion movies go, Attack The Block does a decent job of ticking all the right boxes: it pushes its plot along at breakneck speed, it sports an excellent electronic score and it features endearingly minimal special effects. It also goes above and beyond the call of genre duty in its decision to set the action on a south London … Continue reading Film Review: Attack The Block [dir. Joe Cornish; 2011]

Film Review: George Harrison – Living In The Material World [dir. Martin Scorsese; 2011]

Although I was brought up in a Beatle-loving household, George Harrison was spoken about only as one of “the other two” members of the band. Scorsese’s documentary of this complex, intriguing cultural figure filled in some of the gaps in my knowledge with considerable finesse. Using new interviews with key figures in Harrison’s life (including Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and his widow, Olivia) as well as expertly … Continue reading Film Review: George Harrison – Living In The Material World [dir. Martin Scorsese; 2011]

Film Review: Carnage [dir. Roman Polanski; 2011]

Polanski’s silver screen version of Yasmina Reza’s acclaimed play is so very stagey, one wonders if the director was actually trying, for some reason unknown to the rest of us, to emphasise its non-cinematic tone and texture. In baldly theatrical fashion, two sets of parents meet to discuss a fight between their children. Cue: lots of trendy, psychobabble-inflected conversations about the law of the jungle versus the … Continue reading Film Review: Carnage [dir. Roman Polanski; 2011]

Film Review: Shame [dir. Steve McQueen; 2011]

Michael Fassbender is without any question one of the finest English-speaking actors working at the moment and I have no doubt that he formulated detailed, intelligent reasons to explain why his character in this particular movie has reached such an extreme degree of emotional isolation. I just wish that this internal planning had been made more overt on screen. Through a series of increasingly tortured … Continue reading Film Review: Shame [dir. Steve McQueen; 2011]

Film Review: A Separation / Jodaeiye Nader Az Simin [dir. Asghar Farhadi; 2011]

With painstaking attention to detail, Farhadi weaves an intricate web of deception and conflicted loyalties based around a middle class man’s attempt to find someone to look after his Alzheimer’s-suffering father whilst he’s away at work. When the woman he employs accuses him of causing her to have a miscarriage, events around the characters become increasingly convoluted. This is cinema at its very best: layered, … Continue reading Film Review: A Separation / Jodaeiye Nader Az Simin [dir. Asghar Farhadi; 2011]

Film Review: Hugo [dir. Martin Scorsese; 2011]

It’s helpful to assess Hugo in terms of what it isn’t rather than what it is: it isn’t manic or frenetic; it isn’t desperate to impress with ironic humour; it isn’t patronising to children; it isn’t afraid to keep its plot simple and linear; it isn’t full of 3D clichés. A charming tale of an orphaned boy who tries to understand the world around him … Continue reading Film Review: Hugo [dir. Martin Scorsese; 2011]

Film Review: The Deep Blue Sea [dir. Terence Davies; 2011]

The stately, almost staccato pace of some of Terence Davies’ films can make them difficult to watch; the technique occasionally feels like a none-too-subtle attempt to imbue scenes with an importance they might not otherwise possess. Fortunately, in The Deep Blue Sea, it works extremely well, helping to punctuate the shift between the past and the present, stave off sentimentality and reflect the main character’s … Continue reading Film Review: The Deep Blue Sea [dir. Terence Davies; 2011]

Film Review: The Future [dir. Miranda July; 2011]

Some films seem to speak to the particular circumstances of one’s life with such startling lucidity that they should either be watched several times or avoided like a double-bill of Titanic and Avatar, depending on how one feels about being shaken out of one’s comfort zone. Miranda July’s The Future is about two people in their mid-30s. It shows them trying to express their creativity within a … Continue reading Film Review: The Future [dir. Miranda July; 2011]