Anton Bitel

Anton Bitel
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Dr Anton Bitel was born in Australia in 1970, and has lived in the UK since 1989. Now a father of twins, occasional academic and full-time caffeine junkie, he compensates for a general sense of disgruntlement by moping about in darkened cinemas watching other people's joys and sorrows. He seeks elusive thrills from all genres (even romantic comedy), but tends to prefer anything extreme, odd, miserable or tawdry. He is at home with horror, 'arthouse', the avant garde and Oriental cinema. Anton currently freelances for Film4, musicOMH (where he is a staff writer), Eye for Film, Film International and Little White Lies, and was for three years one of the principal contributors to the now semi-defunct Movie Gazette.
Favorites:
Eraserhead Brazil Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter...and Spring Apocalypse Now The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) M. Houlot's Holiday Ichi the Killer Last Year in Marienbad Batman (1966) Synecdoche, New York
Location: Oxford, UK

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
No Score Yet Lucid (2018) Like any incel, Zel is looking for reciprocated love, and in the end he finds it - but by then, the actions in his bed might all be in his head. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2019
No Score Yet Zoo-Head (2019) though the circular structure rests in a sci-fi premise - a neurological method for supplementing cognitive dysfunction with dream fragments - Zoo-Head also uses its looping narrative to evoke different, more psychological brands of circularity - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted May 20, 2019
No Score Yet Darkness Visible (2019) Neil Biswas' Indian émigré horror is both a mystical murder mystery and an Oedipal chronicle of deaths foretold. - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted May 16, 2019
96% November (2018) November finds (sur)real beauty in all its mud, shit & grotesque characters, while grounding its madder ideas in a concrete earthiness. The results are like Hard to Be a God (2013) with sight gags - not just rich and strange, but also oddly sublime. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted May 13, 2019
No Score Yet Blue Spring (2002) the punkish Blue Spring shows male coming of age not just in all its competitive belligerence, but also in its boredom, its directionless and its disenchanted resignation. In the end, only some of the kids will be alright. - Little White Lies EDIT
Read More | Posted May 13, 2019
76% Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006) a witty, smart, often very funny killer thriller, reverse-engineered so that all its workings show - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted May 11, 2019
71% The Bastards' Fig Tree (La higuera de los bastardos) (2019) as The Bastards' Fig Tree shifts from the permanent rain of the Civil War to a sunnier post-war period, Rogelio goes from homicidal fascist henchman to humble saint, even if his buried history remains to be unearthed and faced by a later generation. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted May 10, 2019
66% Body at Brighton Rock (2019) outdoors ordeal in which character & genre are pushed to the limits. Wendy's night in the woods, grounded by the natural surroundings but also coming with a hallucinatory, existential terror, is as much psychological journey as backwoods bivouac - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted May 3, 2019
30% The Curse of La Llorona (2019) La Llorona is, or at least once was, human; she is also the focus of a fear that right now is more generally prevalent in Trump's USA: an anxiety about illegal aliens importing their special brand of terror and taking over the American home. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted May 2, 2019
No Score Yet Baby Blood (The Evil Within) (1990) Alain Robak brings an epoch-spanning genetic perspective to his monster movie of maternity and madness. - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 28, 2019
No Score Yet Purdah (2018) Sport may seem at the heart of things here, but in fact it is used merely as the competitive arena for a match between patriarchal values and an emergent spirit of greater liberation for women in today's India. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 26, 2019
73% I Trapped The Devil (2019) ...the form that eventually emerges, part psychodrama, part demonic horror, is, in all its ambiguity, a satanically slippery genre hybrid. Amid all this family dysfunction, the devil is truly in the detail. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 26, 2019
4/5 94% Styx (2019) It is a nautical yarn about the haves and the have-nots, using the microcosm of the Asa Grey to explore social, economic and political dilemmas that are the neglected responsibility of us all. - Little White Lies EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 23, 2019
83% Loro (2019) Party politics abound in Paolo Sorrentino's imaginative portrait of Sergio Berlusconi as an ageing, empty salesman-cum-seducer. - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 19, 2019
No Score Yet Devonian Fever Trip (2019) With its isolationist electronic score and stunning visual panoramas, Hultgreen's minimalist experiment reduces an ailing, despairing human perspective to the visual language of ravaged landscape. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 15, 2019
41% Thriller (2018) delivers all the cat-and-mouse death by numbers that we expect of a standard slasher - but it simultaneously uses the Reagan-era subgenre as a distorting prism through which we can also glimpse an actual community killing itself in the here and now - Little White Lies EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 14, 2019
73% Phantasm (1979) a pre-adolescent's pre-Lynchian fugue from mortality's mourning side - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 13, 2019
85% Fugue (Fuga) (2018) Following the musical mermaid coming-of-age parable The Lure (2015), Smoczyńska's second full-length film also focuses on alienated female experience, while this time around preferring a mode of slowly unfolding human mystery to piled-on oddities. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 13, 2019
16% Hellboy (2019) Sweary, silly, schlocky, satisfyingly surreal [but] as Ben Daimio puts it, "Hellboy does not add up". - Little White Lies EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 11, 2019
100% Valkoinen Peura (The White Reindeer) (1952) Pirita represents a primal, pagan animal spirit... A feminine spirit resistant to the encroachment of Christianity and of more patriarchal values. The taming of her - an allegory of Sámi history - is as much tragedy as triumph. - Little White Lies EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 8, 2019
No Score Yet His Master's Voice (Az ur hangja) (2018) Though these mediated distractions, we - like Péter - must try to find our small place and significance in a sometimes indecipherable universe of otherness. The results are rich and strange, interweaving schlubby humour with astronomical awe. - Sight and Sound EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 4, 2019
No Score Yet The Tag-Along 2 (Hong yi xiao nu hai 2) (2017) Cheng Wei-hao's spooky sequel The Tag-Along 2 is both mountain hike and amusement park ride through the fraught dynamic of the mother-daughter relationship. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 26, 2019
No Score Yet The Tag-Along (2015) replete with ghostly intrusions and a climax of woodland pandemonium, it is also taking the psychological pulse of a nation haunted by the seeds - already long sown, and firmly rooted in everyday angst and anxiety - of its own destruction. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 25, 2019
100% Next of Kin, (Hell House) (1982) Next of Kin surfs the low-budget 'Ozploitation' rip curl of the Australian New Wave, and spends its European inheritance on a local almost-ghost story with a strong sense of place. - Little White Lies EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 25, 2019
69% Q (1982) [Quinn's] deep neediness, sense of emasculation, belief in nothing besides himself & strong streak of megalomania make him difficult to like, but also a mirror of 20th-century angst and alienation - & the perfect foil to the film's winged creature. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 24, 2019
100% Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror (2019) Xavier Burgin's documentary insightfully surveys the history of black - and black female - representation in horror cinema. - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 22, 2019
92% Depraved (2019) Adam's story is also about us, and our place in an atomised, synthetic world of streaming sensations, wounded history and broken identity. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2019
94% Us (2019) with most of the cast members appearing in more than one rôle, it will leave you seeing double, forced to accommodate contrasting (if symmetrical) perspectives on the gross inequalities of the American way. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 20, 2019
76% Starry Eyes (2014) a mumblegore Mulholland Dr., following a would-be startlet's (self-)destructive fugue through the dreamworld of Tinsel Town. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 17, 2019
56% Under the Silver Lake (2019) Self-conscious enough about its own trash status to include a shot of faeces floating in a toilet bowl, yet sophisticated enough to double-bluff its own meaning..., this is an awkward, ungainly modern movie-making myth for the #MeToo generation. - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2019
60% Kolobos (1999) reality itself is up for grabs here, as Kyra's horrific experiences are intercut with traumatic delusions, leaving us uncertainwhere the truth lies, and how much of what we see might belong merely to a theatre of the 'hebephrenic' imagination. - Little White Lies EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 11, 2019
100% Girl on the Third Floor (2019) Girl On The Third Floor is both a highly accomplished haunted house story for the #metoo generation, and an examination of antediluvian male drives (for sex and power) that even the perfect domestic situation struggles to contain. - SciFiNow EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 11, 2019
90% Half Nelson (2006) High ideals clash with Bush-era realities in this class debut - well balanced, wonderfully performed, and refreshingly free from cliché. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 9, 2019
No Score Yet The Fare (2018) The performances - in what is mostly a two-hander - are nuanced and charming, aided by a witty and resonant screenplay... it finds an ingenious way of both resolving and literalising the mystery of these lovers' eternally transitory relationship - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 9, 2019
No Score Yet The Black Forest (A Mata Negra) (2018) The film is bloody and bananas (and includes bunches of both in its exuberant narrative), using its limited budget to craft a gorily unhinged world of hell with a diabolically compromised innocent at its centre. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 9, 2019
No Score Yet Black Circle (2018) Adrián García Bogliano's magnetically mesmeric 'cult' movie Black Circle will mess with your head. - SciFiNow EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 9, 2019
80% Blood Punch (2013) Madellaine Paxson's black comedy horror uses its Groundhog Day structure to capture cycles of abuse, addiction and violence. - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 8, 2019
No Score Yet The Hoard (2018) mostly it is just very, very funny, with the screenplay from Burgess, Cook and Wiele finding just the right place between smart and dumb, and turning garbage into pure gold. - SciFiNow EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 7, 2019
No Score Yet Finale (2018) offers theatricalised thrills, reminiscent of My Little Eye or Dhogs, that place us uncomfortably in a long tradition of sadistic spectacle and vicarious sport, while asking what morbid curiosity drives us to seek out horror in the first place. - SciFiNow EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 7, 2019
No Score Yet Automata (2019) the Infernal Princess is not the only automaton here, as Brendan and Rose too find themselves serving as puppets in an iterative drama whose words and gestures were written centuries before. - SciFiNow EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 7, 2019
No Score Yet Here Comes Hell (2019) clash of different horror modes & eras engenders an irony that is often funny & increasingly strange, as Here Comes Hell brings about its own deconstruction, literally collapsing on the ancient foundations that support its knowingly flimsy premise - SciFiNow EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 7, 2019
46% Bullitt County (2018) a character dramedy that soon shifts into something more tense and twisty, with its earthy realism offset by unexpected psychological flights of fancy and excursions into the hinterland territories of toxic masculinity. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 7, 2019
No Score Yet The Siren (The Rusalka) (2019) As these lost souls drink in their Otherness, risking everything as they meet halfway on the shoreline of desire, they are enacting the transcendent spirit of romance itself, with all its capacities for passion, self-sacrifice and transformation - SciFiNow EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 7, 2019
4/5 96% Border (Gräns) (2018) Excellent modern fairy tale of identity and otherness. - Little White Lies EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 4, 2019
87% Freaks (2019) a cleverly constructed, thrilling and often super-surreal coming-of-age story that gets right into your head. - SciFiNow EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2019
91% The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion (Manyeo) (2018) ...requires lead actress Kim to put in a versatile performance (playing someone who is, precisely, putting in a versatile performance). In the end, after a very slow build-up, the film delivers an explosion of crazy, bloody violence... - SciFiNow EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2019
64% Dead Ant (2019) little original in the film's merger of hard formication, insect escapades and killer tracks.... Yet sometimes it is the old, familiar tunes that the audience really craves - and Dead Ant's comic playlist sure gives them a zany remix. - SciFiNow EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 2, 2019
No Score Yet The Dead Center (2018) By dividing us between two conflicting forms - psychodrama and apocalyptic horror - it occupies the ambiguous, intermediate space of its title, sending us spinning in mental circles around a centre that is, for all its uncertainty, sublimely creepy - SciFiNow EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 1, 2019
80% Level 16 (2019) Drawing on the disturbing hermetic worlds of Innocence, Never Let Me Go and The Handmaid's Tale, Level 16 places us in a supposedly educational environment that is rearing meek, docile illiterates for a purpose that will only gradually become clear. - SciFiNow EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 1, 2019
No Score Yet Nazi Undead (2019) ...presents its horrors in infernally looping circles, going and coming around in an elegantly Sadean manner that allows for no escape. Here, it is not territory on a map but the human heart & soul that an ever-resurgent Nazism seeks to occupy. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2019