When a Man Loves a Woman: “Brawl in Cell Block 99”

16 December 2017

A work of abominable linearity, 'Brawl in Cell Block 99' awakens swirling, primal energies.

2017: Viewing and Reading

Latest: 'The Lost City of Z' (Film), 'Twin Peaks' S3 (TV), 'The Chrysanthemum and the Sword' (Books)...

Gestures: Atta Girl, Atta Mob

09 December 2017

Though it’s one of the fundamental challenges (and appeals) facing film critics to discern individual agency within a collaborative context, 'They Were So Young' has a characteristically radical edge to its storyline that befits Trumbo’s general sensibilities.

Recent Work

08 December 2017

Latest: 'Brawl in Cell Block 99', new 'Partycrashers'...

Encounters at the End of the World: "Picture of Light"

04 December 2017

I could watch 16mm footage of trains in remote landscapes like this all day: the mood, and that light…

Gestures: Wrestling with Kinski

03 December 2017

Kinski played a wayward bandit-cum-slave trader to a fault: at several points in the film, he seems beyond anyone’s control. In an early scene, he bursts into a fit of rage against fellow performers, and their collective scramble to ground him seems too convincing an instance of ‘kayfabe’.

Lo-Fi Sci-Fi: "Once There Was Brazilia"

30 November 2017

In a particularly compelling scene, one protagonist—a likeably humble, wheelchair-bound soldier of the edgelands—observes from the margins, a silhouette carved from a hard-edged urban-nocturnal chaos.

Gestures: Bertrand Tavernier and Philippe Noiret

23 November 2017

For actors of this ilk, the job itself is a challenge to be risen to—and Noiret did this with a dependable and indefatigable professionalism. His was an undemonstrative kind of intelligence: hard-working, committed, loyal. By the time he died in 2006, of cancer aged 76, he had notched up more than 100 screen appearances.