Mike McNulty

Mike McNulty

Berlin-based freelance film writer who has also worked in film festivals
and short film, music and promotional video production.

Film Review: The Gospel According to André

Kate Novack has all the necessary ingredients for a fascinating study of one of the fashion world’s seminal players in her documentary, The Gospel According to André.  Sadly, however, Novack never quite manages to get under the skin of the films titular subject, and the end result leaves little food for thought. The Gospel According to...

TIFF 2018 – First Look Review: Angel

“This movie is not an autobiography, but a fictional dramatization based on true characters and real events.  Facts and fiction have been mixed.  Scenes, dialogues, emotions, and thoughts of the characters reflect the maker’s imagination and should not be confused with reality.”  So begins Koen Mortier’s latest feature, Angel. Err…excuse...

Venezia 2018 – First Look Review: Tumbbad

Kicking off this year’s Venice International Film Critics’ Week is Indian fantasy-horror Tumbbad. From the go, it quickly becomes apparent that Tumbbad is on course to serve as a parable for the corrupting nature of greed.  Narration tells us, as we sweep over the bleak, rain-sodden countryside of Tumbadd in the far...

Film Review: One Note at a Time

Best known for her editing work on the long-running television documentary series Panorama and Dispatches, Renee Edwards takes the director’s seat for the first time with her underwhelming documentary, One Note at a Time, an examination of New Orleans’ music scene post-hurricane Katrina. In the immediate aftermath of the hurricane,...

Film Review: Under the Tree

A tree sparks a spat between neighbours in Haffstein Gunnar Sigurðsson black comedy Under the Tree. When Atli (Steinþór Hróar Steinþórsson), husband to Agnes (Lára Jóhanna Jónsdóttir) and father of young daughter Asa (Sigrídur Sigurpálsdóttir Scheving), is caught by his wife having a crafty wank early one morning to a...

Film Review: The Escape

Film Review: The Escape

Dominic Savage delivers a noble if somewhat tepid character study of a desperate housewife in The Escape. Tara (Gemma Arterton) is a married mother of two.  She lives in the quiet, dull rabbit hutches of suburban London.  It is a lonely existence, and despite her family, she is isolated.  Her...

Film Review: Tracking Edith

Film Review: Iceman

Felix Randau delivers with his satisfying, Chalcolithic revenge thriller Iceman. For those who have been waiting on a wing and a prayer for part two of The Revenant, Iñàrritu’s two and half hour DiCaprio driven epic about a fur trading frontiersmanslogging his way through the wilds of North American after...

Film Review: Generation Wealth

Film Review: Generation Wealth

Documentary director and photojournalist Lauren Greenfield returns after her 2012 feature debut, The Queen of Versailles, with Generation Wealth, an ambitious if underwhelming examination of modern-day affluence. Dusting off her Rolodex, Greenfield returns to those she has captured throughout her career and cobbles together a series of interviews with porn-stars,...

Film Review: Path of Blood

Film Review: Path of Blood

Jonathan Hacker’s documentary, Path of Blood, goes behind the curtain to reveal the inner machinations of Saudi Arabia’s Al-Qaeda factions circa the mid-2000s. An opening title sets the stage, re-illuminating anyone who may have forgotten to the fact that in the wake of 9/11 the world has seen the emergence...

Film Review: The Bookshop

Film Review: The Bookshop

Isabel Coixet adapts The Bookshop, Penelope Fitzgerald’s novel of the same name, in her latest Goya award-winning film. Coixet crafts an interesting film, one that curiously marshals satisfaction and frustration.  Despite its predictability, it remains ambitious in its scope, and touches on subjects that feel both timely and important. It’s...

Film Review: Studio 54

Film Review: Studio 54

On April 26, 1977, Studio 54 opened its doors for the first time to crowds desperate to get the other side of the velvet ropes and past the blacked out doors that kept them out.  For many, the name undoubtedly conjures up images of whirring disco balls, celebrities and the...

Film Review: Lek and the Dogs

Film Review: The Boy Downstairs

Sophie Brooks’ debut feature is a plucky heart-warmer that’s tender and beautifully observed. When Diana (Zosia Mamet) moves back to New York after a prolonged stay in London, she moves into her new apartment only to discover her ex-boyfriend lives in the flat below.  With a premise like that, Sophie...

Film Review: Lek and the Dogs

Film Review: Lek and the Dogs

Andrew Kötting’s previous film, released this time last year, Edith Walks, paid homage to and told the story of Edith Swan Neck, the wife of King Harold.  Shot as an absurdist, quasi-experimental documentary, it followed Kötting and a band of merry travellers as they walked the 108 miles between Waltham...

Film Review: Redoubtable

Film Review: Redoubtable

French director Michel Hazanavicius, whose previous film The Artist took home the Palme d’Or and wowed critics and audiences alike, this time focuses his camera on Jean-Luc Godard (Louis Garrel) in his tragicomedy biopic, Redoubtable. Set after the release of Godard’s 1967 flop, La Chinoise, and the directors subsequent rejection...

Film Review: The Deminer

Film Review: The Deminer

A solitary figure dressed in fatigues hunches over a dusty patch of ground. He scratches away at the earth and pulls from it a pot flecked with gritty, dried soil. As he adjusts to stand straight, there is a marked stiffness in his right leg and a curious crease in...

Film Review: Never Steady, Never Still

Film Review: Never Steady, Never Still

The nuanced ambition of Kathleen Hepburn’s 2017 TIFF entry and debut feature, Never Steady, Never Still, based on her short film of the same name, is soaked in the melancholy of quiet suffering. The film takes inspiration from Hepburn’s close personal experience with Parkinson’s disease, the director’s mother having suffered...

Film Review: A Gentle Creature

Film Review: A Gentle Creature

Sergey Loznitsa’s latest offering, A Gentle Creature, is an exercise in suffering. A gruelling odyssey that delves the depths of the human spirit, that by the film’s end leaves you coming up gasping for air. Derived from the title of a Dostoevsky short story, Loznitsa’s A Gentle Creature, which competed...

Film Review: I Kill Giants

Pre-teen Barbara (Madison Wolfe) defends her sleepy new-jersey town from the perils of menacing giants whilst struggling with her own personal trauma in Anders Walter’s fantasy-drama debut feature, I Kill Giants. Directed by Anders Walter and coming from comic book writer and penciller Joe Kelly’s (whose previous work includes involvement...

Film Review: MAMIL

Film Review: MAMIL

Nickolas Bird and Eleanor Sharpe’s documentary, MAMIL: Middle Aged Men in Lycra, about middle-aged male cycling enthusiasts is no tour de force. Coming from directing duo Nickolas Bird and Eleanor Sharpe, MAMIL, which divides its time between the many physical iterations of its acronym (Middle Aged Men In Lycra) dotted...

Film Review: The Islands And The Whales

Part eco-documentary, part sociological examination, Mike Day’s The Islands and the Whales uses the controversial whale hunting tradition of the Faroese as a diving board to plunge headfirst into the isolated, North Atlantic community of the Faroe Islands. Through an intimate, fly on the wall approach, Day follows the everyday...

Film Review: The Third Murder

Film Review: The Third Murder

Kore-eda Hirokazu intrigues with his investigative crime drama, The Third Murder, but the film falls prey to contrivances that sell it short. When Misumi (Yakusho Kôji), an employee at a food packaging plant, confesses to the murder of his boss, hot-shot lawyer Shigemori (Fukuyama Masaharu) is brought on to take...

Film Review: Have A Nice Day

Film Review: Have A Nice Day

In Have a Nice Day, Liu Jian has created a world of multiple dimensions in the 2D renderings of a seedy southern China fringe town where lives intersect over a bag of cold hard cash. A suitable alternative title for this pulpy, crime-caper animation would be, “In the Mood for...

Film Review: The Square

Film Review: The Square

Ruben Östlund’s mountain set ski drama, Force Majeure, landed with a bang at Cannes in 2014 and was quickly blanketed by an avalanche of critical success. Three years’ later, the Swedish born director returned and took home the festival’s top prize with The Square, a biting satire of the art...

Film Review: Annihilation

Film Review: Annihilation

Alex Garland’s seat at the directors table is one that he has worked for.  Before he cut his teeth behind the camera with the superbly crafted sci-fi techno thriller, Ex Machina, Garland penned novels and screenplays, the likes of which, The Beach and 28 Days Later, have cemented themselves as...

Film Review: Sweet Country

Film Review: Sweet Country

Warwick Thornton’s feature debut, Samson and Delilah, a sensitive, sad tale of two Aboriginal lovers living in Alice Springs, took home the Camera d’Or at Cannes and introduced an emerging talent to the stable of promising Australian directors.  The 47-year-old cinematic jack of all trades, often serving as both Director and cinematographer on his...

Film Review: The Divine Order

Film Review: The Divine Order

What remains long after the credits of Petra Volpe’s sophomore feature, The Divine Order, have finished rolling is the historical context in which the film is set. There will undoubtedly be a great number who see this film (writer included) who will be shocked by the revelation that the women...

Film Review: The Nile Hilton Incident

Film Review: The Nile Hilton Incident

Tarik Saleh’s Sundance winner, The Nile Hilton Incident, is a gritty, noir-thriller set in the days leading up to Egypt’s 2011 revolution. January 2011 and we’re landed in the dizzying hustle and bustle of Cairo’s amoral Kasr El-Nil police precinct where back-hand dealings and corruption run rife. The murder of...

Film Review: Mute

Film Review: Mute

Netflix is famously tight-lipped about the viewership data for their Original releases, and in the case of Mute this might be for the best. For one wonders why anybody would, after the first five minutes, want to sit through the remaining two hours. Duncan Jones, whose minimalist, lo-fi science fiction...

Film Review: The Ice King

Film Review: The Ice King

For many, the story of John Curry will be an unfamiliar one, but James Erskine, the director behind 2013’s Battle of the Sexes, intimate documentary, The Ice King, about the “best ice skater in the world,” is a graceful success. John Curry’s story begins like many, in his childhood, when...

Film Review: Native

Film Review: Native

Daniel Fitzsimmons’ debut feature is scuppered by an undercooked script and half-baked ideas that fail to ignite any real feeling in sci-fi psychological drama, Native. After a telepathic alien hive race discovers a strange musical transmission being emitted from a far off planet, two scientists, Cane (Rupert Graves) and Eva...

Forgotten Film Friday: Sexy Beast (2000)

Forgotten Film Friday: Sexy Beast (2000)

“I’m sweating here. Roasting. Boiling. Baking. Sweltering. It’s like a sauna. Furnace. You could fry an egg on my stomach,” narrates Ray Winstone’s Gary “Gal” Dove, before The Stranglers “Peaches” kicks in and he takes a break from crisping himself under the white-hot heat of the Spanish sun to place...

Forgotten Film Friday: Gattaca (1997)

Forgotten Film Friday: Gattaca (1997)

Andrew Niccol’s Gattaca, set in a dystopic near future, is a sleek sci-fi thriller that imagines a world where eugenics dictate people’s standing in society. It was Niccol’s directorial debut, released before The Truman Show - the script for which Niccol’s would earn an academy nomination - and made on a...

Film Review: Makala

Film Review: Makala

Makala, the new film from French documentarian Emmanuel Gras, is an elegiac, lyrical journey into the heart, soul and determined resilience of a young charcoal producer in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Kabwita is a 28 year old Congolese man who, with his wife Lydie and their three children, lives...

Forgotten Film Friday: Shame (2011)

Forgotten Film Friday: Shame (2011)

Michael Fassbender’s Brandon in Steve McQueen’s Shame is a sex addict locked in a prison of his routine. He spends his days trawling through pornography. His office computer is so flooded with it, it has to be carted off for a deep clean. By night, Brandon picks up women from...

Film Review: The Nothing Factory

Film Review: The Nothing Factory

Pedro Pinho’s first feature film, The Nothing Factory, is a three hour social-realist epic that’s baggier than a pair of nineties jeans and so overly long that dullness eventually turns into despair. The film takes inspiration from the real life story of a group of factory workers who, in a...

Film Review: The Cinema Travellers

Film Review: The Cinema Travellers

For those who love film, Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya’s documentary, The Cinema Travellers, will find a special place in your heart. Through the lives of three men, who are bound by celluloid, the beauty of film, and its projection, we are provided an intimate, fly on the wall look...

Forgotten Film Friday: River’s Edge (1986)

Forgotten Film Friday: River’s Edge (1986)

Tim Hunter has, over the past 30 odd years, worked predominantly in television, directing episodes for stand out shows including Mad Men, Scream, and everything in between.  However, in the 1980s he directed several feature films, one of which was none other than the eerily dark, nihilistic teen drama, River’s...

Film Review: My Life Story

Film Review: My Life Story

My Life Story, directed by Julien Temple, is a soaring success.  It is the filmed stage show of Graham “Suggs” McPherson, frontman for the iconic 80s’ Ska-Pop band, Madness. Coming in the form of a one man show that expertly blends archival footage, animation and dramatized re-enactment, the show is...

Film Review: The Final Year

Film Review: The Final Year

Directed by Greg Barker, former freelance journalist and war correspondent turned documentary filmmaker, The Final Year plays out like a swansong turned tragedy that documents the Obama administration’s final year in office. Centred on Obama’s foreign policy team and their efforts to shift America’s overseas approach away from a militarised...

Forgotten Film Friday: The People Under the Stairs

Forgotten Film Friday: The People Under the Stairs

Perhaps lacking the same bite as Jordan Peele’s Get Out, Wes Craven’s 1991 film, The People Under the Stairs, is still a sharp commentary on American socio-economic disparity.  Disguised behind a veil of horror and comedy, Craven crafts a deeply satirical view of post-Reagan America that finds renewed potency in...

Film Review: A Woman’s Life

Film Review: A Woman’s Life

Stéphane Brizé’s adaptation of Guy de Maupassant’s novel, A Woman’s Life (Une Vie in French), is a strangely affecting film that circles the sink hole of despair telling the life story of Jeanne (Judith Chemla), a young woman in 19th century France. Recently returned from her convent boarding school, Jeanne...

Forgotten Film Friday: The Wackness

Forgotten Film Friday: The Wackness

Jonathan Levine’s sophomore feature, The Wackness, released two years after his easily dismissible All the Boys Love Mandy Lane and three years before 50/50, despite (or perhaps in spite of) winning the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival, was met by a mixed critical reception.  But, this 90s’ set,...

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