Filmview

Reviews

Vintage review for Machine Mean, looking back at the early '80s classic from today's standpoint: "Watching An American Werewolf in London now, one of the first things that strikes you is how long ago 1981 was, and how much the world – specifically England – has changed since then."

Tarantino’s eighth film bears a marked resemblance to his first and features many of his 'usual suspects' in the cast. Heavy on dialogue and violence and very funny in parts, it contains some great character acting but does rather paint itself into a corner by the end.

Walter Salles’ adaptation of Kerouac's classic novel is a hit-and-miss affair, its faithfulness making the material seem dated by today's standards. But Viggo Mortensen's portrayal of William Burroughs is terrific. 

Now released on Blu-ray, this classic 1945 portmanteau chiller, combining supernatural and psychological horror with nightmare ambience, has lost none of its eerie power.

This Swiss-made feature-length documentary gives a general overview of LSD's history, using rare archive footage and revealing interviews with Albert Hofmann, Stanislav Grof and others.

Anthony Hopkins plays the great man in this anodyne biopic, centering around the making of Psycho and featuring Helen Mirren as wife and muse.

Denzel Washington stars in this air disaster-cum-alcoholism movie that's good on spectacle but tends to slip into formula and cliché.

Kathryn Bigelow's controversial epic on the War on Terror eschews action-movie schmaltz and instead goes for a compelling documenatry realism.

Combining disablement issues with sex surrogacy proves a winning formula in this lightly comedic and moving study of one man's important quest.

Meryl Streep's mimicry is note perfect, but much of this biopic has a lightweight feel — too skimpy on the political career whilst overly dwelling on the humdrum details of dementia. 

Lars von Trier's metaphorical, science-fiction take on depression makes for a singular and thought-provoking viewing experience — a true auteur's vision of a coalescence of beauty and darkness. 

An Oscar-winner and crowd-pleaser it may be, but with fine acting from Firth and Rush, it still packs considerable dramatic punch.

 


Please see Recent Archive and Features Archive for more pieces, or visit Roger Keen's full Digital Fix Archive.

Further archive content will be posted presently.

Features

From Arrow Academy, 4K restoration featuring a reversible sleeve and a host of new extras, including full Floor 7½ corporate video seen in the film, full pseudo-documentary,  and an in-depth essay from myself about the magic fusion of Malkovich and Kaufman.

With its many striking tropes, shocks and grotesque elements, the folk horror sensation Midsommar has become a big talking point among fans of weird and psychedelic movies, and my favourite of the moment. Here is an in-depth article I wrote for the Sweden-based psychedelic culture site The Oak Tree Review, run by Henrik Dahl.

Just for fun, my version of a highbrow intellectual Gogglebox-style conversation. The TV drama under discussion is Dennis Potter's The Singing Detective, with its complex layered structure, lip-synching and metafilmic devices providing material — and not forgetting some strong sexual references.

Appearing on Reality Sandwich, this feature explores the notable trippy elements in the new Marvel movie Doctor Strange, linking it to AvatarInceptionThe Matrix and other cyberdelic movies.

Features Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, sci-fi psychedelic films such as A Scanner Darkly, more recent notables such as Enter the Void and A Field in England, and those two celebrated trippy 3D films Alice in Wonderland and Avatar.

Explores in detail The TripEasy Rider, SkidooAltered States2001: A Space OdysseyYellow Submarine and Naked Lunch, and touches on stoner movies, reality benders and many other trip-tinged movies.

Trippy drug sequences are to be expected in movies, but here's one based around the use of downers, which is surprisingly hilarious and has rapidly gone viral.

The team remember their childhood silver screen experiences, and I return to the Yellow Brick Road.

The team come clean and confess their viewing secrets, and mine centre on a piece of classy exploitation.

An in-depth look at the resurgence of 3-D, following the success of Avatar and Alice in Wonderland, setting it in a historical context and asking what comes next.

A review of my personal top ten films of the decade, favouring as ever the edgy and surreal.

A look at the increasing selection of the legendary film & TV writer's works now available on disc — and what isn't and perhaps never will be available.

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