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
59% Shortcut (2020) Alessio Liguori's Shortcut is horror about and for teens, allegorising coming of age as a monstrous confrontation in a dark tunnel. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 24, 2020
100% Buck Alamo or (A Phantasmagorical Ballad) (2020) Mixing vivid realism with dreamy hallucinations and moments of ethereal beauty, Buck Alamo is as grounded as the geodes that Eli fashions into ornaments to sell in town, and as abstract as a Biblical apocalypse. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 24, 2020
70% Becky (2020) Becky... is all at once the film's plucky heroine, fearlessly standing up to vicious wickedness, and also its arch villainess - making Becky a thrilling if morally (as well as viscerally) messy experience for the viewer. - Through the Trees EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 24, 2020
100% Xianggang zhizao (Made in Hong Kong) (1997) ...capture[s] the live-fast-die-young spirit of a vibrant coming-of-age indie which keeps sticking its rebellious finger up to the values of Hong Kong's adults while literally dancing over their graves. - Little White Lies EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2020
4/5 87% Barking Dogs Never Bite (Flandersui gae) (2000) A mordant affair, presenting itself as wryly funny in its observations of human foibles, while in fact exposing the cruel underbelly of 'modern behaviourism'... - Little White Lies EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 18, 2020
100% Ten Minutes To Midnight (2020) Ten Minutes To Midnight seems destined to be embraced by the horror crowd, but it is a difficult film to pin down - all at once cynical yet sentimental, nostalgic yet nihilistic, genre-driven yet wildly experimental. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2020
83% Violation (2020) Violation constantly muddies its own waters, serving up more than just des(s)erts to everyone, and showing revenge - in both its psychology and its mechanics - to be every bit as messy as its antecedent trigger. - Through the Trees EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2020
84% She Dies Tomorrow (2020) a horror movie which reduces its central fear to the most fundamental form of existential dread. - Sight and Sound EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2020
80% The Painted Bird (2020) the Boy must constantly adapt to survive, while also being altered & scarred by his experiences, so that his true identity remains Protean - an Everyman, or at least Everyboy, for the shifting borders & compromised allegiances of the Second World War - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2020
No Score Yet Shin jingi no hakaba (Graveyard of Honor) (2002) Serially raping his 'wife' and shooting, stabbing and clubbing his comrades at arms, he is on a nihilistic, narcissistic dash upwards that is simultaneously a race downwards, and he brings near everyone whom he encounters crashing with him. - Little White Lies EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 7, 2020
No Score Yet Graveyard of Honor (Jingi no hakaba) (Death of Honor) (1975) While the violence and chaos that he brings may emblematise the profound winds of change that swept through Occupied Japan in the immediate aftermath of World War Two, this trouble-making protagonist beats, rapes and kills with unrestrained abandon - Little White Lies EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 7, 2020
4/5 83% Koko-di Koko-da (2020) A Twilight Zone of grief. - Little White Lies EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2020
100% Survival Skills (2020) After all the absurdist laughs at the start, Armstrong's film takes an unexpectedly agonising downward turn into disillusionment and despair - exposing a policing system that destroys the lives of those on the inside as well as the outside. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 2, 2020
No Score Yet Enhanced (2020) It is not that Enhanced is bad, as such - rather it is undistinguished, failing significantly to mutate, or even just to enhance, what its many predecessors have already accomplished. - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 31, 2020
100% The Swerve (2020) Dean Kapsalis crafts an unnerving sketch of a tired woman and a tired country going off the rails - Through the Trees EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 31, 2020
100% Blinders (2020) This cunningly constructed stalker thriller plays several blinders on the viewer. - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 31, 2020
100% Av: The Hunt (2020) a dispiriting state-of-the-nation survival thriller in which rape and murder are validated as acceptable male behaviours, women are treated like animals, and the running can only ever end one way. - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 31, 2020
100% Minor Premise (2020) a literal mind-melt, pitting an unbalanced neuroscientist against different isolated sections of his brain. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 31, 2020
78% Skull: The Mask (2020) Armando Fonseca and Kapel Furman bring bloody bedlam and an allegory of national rapine to the streets of contemporary São Paulo. - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 31, 2020
100% Undergods (2020) while all these oneiric stories, and stories-within-stories, may show familial and societal breakdown 'in another world' (or other worlds), they also reflect, en abyme, a broader entropy in our own. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 31, 2020
29% Aquaslash (2020) these kids are frolicking in a faded 1980s adventureland whose very name - Wet Valley - is suggestive of the horny pleasures that they seek, but they are also barrelling headlong into the decade of the classic slasher, where sex leads to death - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 31, 2020
71% Hall (2020) a tense, bleak corridor odyssey in which the human characters are not the only ones breaking out. For here, patriarchy itself is pandemic. - Through the Trees EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 30, 2020
89% Two Heads Creek (2019) Jesse O'Brien's carnivorous horror-comedy skewers English and Australian xenophobia. - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 30, 2020
No Score Yet Don't Click (2020) There may be gory agonies and dismemberments on display, but it is us, ultimately, being taken apart, as the film deconstructs its own target audience, and reminds us of the real people haunting the other side of our screens. - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 30, 2020
100% Dark Place (2019) All these stories stage - in some cases, even fancifully resolve - tensions and traumas within the Aboriginal community, ensuring that this uncanny omnibus carries plenty of unusual, urgent subtext. - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2020
No Score Yet They're Outside (2020) A pop psychologist tries to coax a haunted agoraphobe outside in this creaky found footage flick. - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2020
No Score Yet Blind (2020) Blind lacks all economy. The prolonged game of cat-and-mouse between Faye and her stalker is almost entirely one-sided (the mouse never knows that she is playing) and therefore event-free. - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2020
No Score Yet Playhouse (2020) Playhouse really is a gothic horror... but it is also a dramatisation of the creative process itself, as we see a writer rummaging through the shadowiest parts of himself to conjure a macabre coup de théâtre. - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2020
No Score Yet The Horror Crowd (2020) This is a portrait of a network of horror-associated folk who enjoy an unusually tight and passionate bond with each other, as much social as professional - a band of misfits who love to work and play together. - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2020
95% The Block Island Sound (2020) Kevin and Matthew McManus' The Block Island Sound is an increasingly tense fish-out-of-water mystery of manipulation and mind control. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2020
82% 12 Hour Shift (2020) Brea Grant's portrait of a nurse's night shift is a "slice of life" in more than one sense. - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 28, 2020
100% I Am Lisa (2020) lycanthropy serves as a broad metaphor for Lisa's emergence from victim to fighter, in a smalltown worm-that-turned narrative. Whether, having undergone this radical transformation, Lisa is still herself is a question left to us to resolve. - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 28, 2020
33% Sky Sharks (2020) an over-bloated, prurient, unsubtle assault on the senses - but its sexed-up stupidity is not without sly political subtext, as it shows how readily the fascist madnesses of the 20th century can be revived in our own times of reactionary idiocy. - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 28, 2020
No Score Yet Triggered (2020) Triggered offers a deeply cynical, Darwinian portrait of human nature in extremis - and no matter how close these characters come to their mortality, the formative trauma of their school days is never far behind. - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 28, 2020
71% There's No Such Thing as Vampires (2019) Logan Thomas' metacinematic monster movie sees hapless young lovers pursued by film history - Through the Trees EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 28, 2020
91% Adaptation (2002) ...what emerges from this hothouse union is a perfect hybrid, as unique and weird as a rare orchid. It is also, ironically enough for an adaptation, a true original. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 28, 2020
84% She Dies Tomorrow (2020) In Seimetz's ambiguous, uncanny memento mori, all the absurdities and anxieties of human existence are condensed to feature length. - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 28, 2020
95% Alone (2020) The problem for Jessica is that running is not enough. Wherever Jessica goes, her unresolved issues follow close behind. In a sense, her stalker is merely their embodiment. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 27, 2020
71% Hall (2020) a taut, hallucinatory, not-quite-zombie film in which women are exposed to the worst pathologies of the human condition. - Sight and Sound EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 26, 2020
100% The Swerve (2020) ...no less irresistible and poisonous than the nation's prevailing patriarchy, making Holly's violent deviation from her prescribed homemaking path the last tragic swerve of a woman in trouble. - Sight and Sound EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 26, 2020
100% Blinders (2020) a clever, deeply subversive take on gendered norms, where the blinders are ultimately on the viewer. - Sight and Sound EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 26, 2020
82% 12 Hour Shift (2020) dark Coens-esque farce is very much a women's picture, as Mandy, her corrupt manager (Nikea Gamby-Turner) and even her crazy cousin (Chloe Farnworth) must show a grudging female solidarity so that they can live to face the same shi(f)t on another day - Sight and Sound EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 26, 2020
89% The Columnist (De Kuthoer) (2020) a blackly funny satire exploring the limits of obscenity and hateful discourse in our new mediated age. - Sight and Sound EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 26, 2020
73% Unearth (2020) planted in all this domestic tragedy, there is indeed a cautionary parable, as the American dream... is shown being polluted by the follies of endless capitalist 'progress'. The result is one of the very finest nature's revenge films in many years. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 26, 2020
86% Hail to the Deadites (2020) For those who have already been initiated, Hail to the Deadites shows a familiar world of adepts... while for the more profane, less involved viewer, these enthusiasts may bring puzzlement, but also fascination, at least of an anthropological kind. - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 22, 2020
89% The Columnist (De Kuthoer) (2020) Like any conversation on social media, The Columnist turns on a dime from comedy to romance to horror, and from warmth to cynicism to aggression... - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 22, 2020
50% The Pale Door (2020) Aaron B. Koontz's witchy 'weird western' uncovers horror, sin and countercultural resistance in America's history - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 21, 2020
58% Random Acts of Violence (2020) While Random Acts of Violence offers all the conventional entertainments of a slasher, it frames them in a manner that flirts with the painful realities behind their fictions, while constantly interrogating the ethics of its own creation & reception. - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 21, 2020
88% The Honeymoon Phase (2020) The focus may be on Eve's confused experience, but every participant, by implication, is equally a rat caught in a lab maze, merely playing at being husband or wife without being sure where the happy simulacrum ends and more bitter truths settle in. - Through the Trees EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 18, 2020
77% Climate of the Hunter (2019) ...resurrects a by-gone (yet evidently undead) era with dazzling production and costume design, beautiful soft lensing and the odd crash zoom... all at once a 'women's picture' and a wilfully strange retro trip into a damaged mind. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 17, 2020