PIFAN 2012 Review: THE BRAT!

[As it screened last week at PiFan 2012, it seems the perfect opportunity to take another look at my earlier review from Yubari, where the film took home three awards]We all harbour certain insecurities about our appearance, upon which some... More »

PIFAN 2012 Review: ROOM 237 Takes A Deranged Axe To Kubrick's THE SHINING

There are few films that have the power to truly haunt their audience in a way Stanley Kubrick's The Shining does, and continues to do, 30 years after its initial release. Like many of Kubrick's films, it received a relatively... More »

PiFan 2012 Review: LET ME OUT

Mu Young (Kwon Hyung Sang) is a frustrated, yet also frustrating, film student in his final year. He is opinionated, critical and easy to attack the works of his classmates and other filmmakers, but has still yet to produce anything... More »

PiFan 2012 Review: HORROR STORIES

Omnibus horrors seem to be all the rage at this year's PiFan, with the inclusion of the much-ballyhooed V/H/S and the Indonesian ghost offering Hi5teria (not to be confused with period British vibrator comedy Histeria, which is also in competition).... More »

PiFan 2012 Review: 90 MINUTES

It's a rare thing to sit down to a film and know just from the opening shot how bad it's going to be. Sadly this was the case for me at the world premiere of 90 Minutes, a new low-budget... More »


Last year's Yubari Grand Prix winner - and the only non-Japanese filmmaker to win the award - South Korean director Oh Young Doo returns to the wintry city with his follow-up to Invasion Of Alien Bikini, the time-travel detective thriller... More »

PIFAN 2012 Review: BELENGGU Brings Bunnies, Blood and Beauty

The opening of Belenggu (aka Shackled), could not be more promising. In the dead of night, a woman half hidden behind by a headscarf and sunglasses, drives down a remote stretch of country road. A panicked and bedraggled young man... More »

Pre-PiFan 2012 Review: A Look at Last Year's Big Winner BLOODY FIGHT IN IRON-ROCK VALLEY

Low-budget filmmakers love to dabble in genre fare and, despite inexperience and other shortcomings, they often wind up making more pertinent and exciting works than more established helmers, who may have lost their youthful filmmaking pizzazz. Horror is particularly popular... More »

Review: ALWAYS

Apparently someone told Song Il-Gon (Flower Island, A Feather, Magicians) that exquisite lo-fi indie character studies are all very well, but they don't pay the bills. Try a melodrama, they must have said. Try something so syrupy it'll have Koreans... More »


There's a terrific story lost somewhere inside Lee Hyun-Seung's Hindsight. That's part of the problem, really - there's enough different ideas for an epic, even a miniseries. An amiable jopok enforcer trying to go straight. A hotly contested last will... More »


If you're going to make a movie that relies heavily on symbolism, you need either a particularly light touch, or to be bold enough about it people get swept away by your vision, no matter how daft it might come... More »

Blu-ray Review: TYRANNOSAUR

The opening sequence in Paddy Considine's brilliant Tyrannosaur is a model of cinematic efficiency so concise they ought to teach it in film school. Revisiting the events of Considine's original short Dog Altogether and turning them into a full-blown feature,... More »

LIFF 2011: BREATHING review

A young man desperately in need of a purpose ends up taking a job dealing with the recently deceased, collecting the dead and making them look the best they can for their final journey - in the course of which... More »

ETRANGE 2011: DEAD BALL review

So is Yudai Yamaguchi's micro-budget horror-comedy Dead Ball a good film? The temptation is to say technically no... but you have to remember most people don't make the effort to watch a film where physical FX maestro Yoshihiro Nishimura is... More »

PIFAN 2011: RABIES Review

The first thing to clarify regarding RABIES, the debut feature film from Israeli writer-directors Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado, is that this is not a viral outbreak film, nor in any way related to that particularly nasty contagion forever associated... More »


As its title might suggest, BLOODY FIGHT IN IRON-ROCK VALLEY is a stripped-down, low budget Korean revenge thriller that resembles a sand blown spaghetti western more closely than the ultra stylish heroic bloodshed epics for which the country has become... More »


The only reason Imaoka Shinji's latest pinku film, UNDERWATER LOVE: A PINK MUSICAL, is on the radars of international filmgoers at all is because of the involvement of praised cinematographer Chris Doyle. While the result of this bizarre attention-grabbing... More »


Both films recently adapted from the mammoth manga series are playing Pifan, so here's my earlier review of part two. Hot on the heels of the first film, GANTZ: PERFECT ANSWER arrives within three months of its predecessor, boasting the... More »


With his first feature, Michael Roskam has delivered an assured and attention-grabbing debut that sits comfortably alongside Matteo Garrone's GOMORRAH and Daniel Espinosa's SNABBA CASH as one of the most original crime films in recent memory.  Roskam exposes the... More »

LIFF 2010: ALL THAT I LOVE review

Jacek Borcuch's All That I Love is definitely a fantastic little film: just bear in mind you've almost certainly seen a great deal of it before. The story of a teenager growing up in 1980s Poland, set against the... More »
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