Christopher Machell

Christopher Machell
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Christopher Machell is a writer and editor at CineVue. He is interested in all aspects of film culture but specializes in horror and genre cinema. Christopher has also written for The Skinny, The Quietus, Little White Lies and the BFI. Find him @Dr_Machell
Publications: The Skinny, CineVue, The Quietus

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
4/5 97% Dear Comrades! (2021) Dear Comrades! works well as an historical drama, a political satire and even a cold-war thriller. It's brilliance, however, lies in its study of the profound cognitive dissonance that comes of all totalitarian systems. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 15, 2021
2/5 75% Pieces of a Woman (2020) Any potential for complexity is undone by the film's tacky reveals, mawkish speechifying and its often spiteful approach to its own characters. Perhaps the film's title refers to itself: pieces of a film. It's a shame they weren't arranged differently. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 8, 2021
2/5 88% Sing Me A Song (2021) So enamoured is Balmès' film in the sublime purity of this village untouched by western progress that it indulges in questionable tropes that have their roots in Orientalist and noble-savage discourses. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 4, 2021
4/5 No Score Yet Second Spring (2018) Second Spring's contemplative tone is perfectly suited to its humane study of illness, ignoring easy narrative resolutions to instead seek imperfect but complex emotional acceptance. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 4, 2021
3/5 95% Soul (2020) What this all adds up to is a gorgeous, very enjoyable and somewhat well-intentioned effort... Nevertheless, though it may aspire to the likes of Inside Out or Coco, Soul never quite reaches their heights. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 29, 2020
3/5 60% Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) WW84 is far from perfect: its length and fumbling of Minerva's arc are chief among its sins, but equally there are no denying its simple, vibrant charms. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 28, 2020
3/5 94% The Mole Agent (2020) The early scenes suggest that some very iffy ethics are at play... Soon, however, The Mole Agent transforms into something else -- a far more contemplative and altogether humane account of life in a Chilean care home. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 17, 2020
4/5 83% Mank (2020) If this all sounds a little too self-indulgent even for Hollywood in the midst of awards seasons, then fear not. Mank is also and primarily a gorgeous, entertaining and occasionally even captivating motion picture. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 9, 2020
4/5 100% Host (2020) It's an absolute corker of a picture, too: a lean, smart and efficient animal of a horror picture. At just 56 minutes, there's not an ounce of fat on this beast. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 7, 2020
4/5 95% County Lines (2019) Part of the tragedy of County Lines is in the way the film feels like a case study of mundane poverty, that this story is being repeated across London and in every major city in the country. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 4, 2020
3/5 53% Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula (2020) Director Yeon Sang-ho's Peninsula is a solid follow up to his original, with just about enough shambling momentum to distract from a fairly uninspired plot. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 30, 2020
4/5 93% Possessor: Uncut (2020) An uneasy and messy union of genre and arthouse, Possessor disturbs, thrills and eludes us in equal measure. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 30, 2020
5/5 99% Collective (Colectiv) (2020) Collective is a brilliant documentary in its own right, but in this time of pandemic, scandal and democratic upheaval it is also the year's most important. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2020
2/5 27% Hillbilly Elegy (2020) Instead of tapping into that dramatic potential by asking difficult emotional and systemic questions, Howard habitually reaches for the comfort of sentimentality and simplicity. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2020
4/5 95% Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project (2019) It is, of course, of immense archival value, but the effect of the sheer weight of such a vast store of media, layered upon itself like an enormous cake of pure information, is far more metaphysical than mere archival utility. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 9, 2020
4/5 79% Summer of 85 (Été 85) (2020) The film deploys many well-worn tropes of the coming of age drama. But they're executed with such a light, self-aware confidence that Summer of '85 has wit, warmth and charm to spare. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 23, 2020
2/5 79% I Am Greta (2020) In his directorial debut, Nathan Grossman charts her rise in this perfectly enjoyable but ultimately unpersuasive and shallow documentary. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 19, 2020
4/5 86% On The Rocks (2020) On the Rocks understands that the rich complexity of long-term relationships can never truly be captured, only gestured towards. The result, on screen, is deeply warm, funny and comforting, and among Coppola's finest work. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 7, 2020
4/5 90% The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) The Trial of the Chicago 7 sees a mature Sorkin back on form with all the punch and momentum of his better work, while maintaining a welcome degree of control over his most idiosyncratic tics. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 5, 2020
4/5 100% White Riot (2019) Rubika Shah's White Riot is an engaging and important study of Rock Against Racism. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 25, 2020
5/5 98% Rocks (2020) As a rich and authentic study of teen experience Rocks is one of the most important films to come out this year. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 25, 2020
5/5 94% Memories of Murder (2003) A brilliant climax. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 25, 2020
5/5 87% Barking Dogs Never Bite (Flandersui gae) (2000) The pleasure of Barking Dogs Never Bite is all its own, from its surreal apartment block rendered in sickly greens and distorted wide angles, to the ethical ambivalence of its protagonist's antics. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 25, 2020
4/5 100% Max Richter's Sleep (2020) An appropriately languorous, dreamy exploration of Richter's music taken at its own pace and pleasurably in thrall to its subject. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2020
3/5 100% Real (2020) At its best, Omoshaybi's direction captures the messiness of life, the unspoken anxieties and understandings of new relationships, and the precious scarcity of closure in love and family. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2020
2/5 81% Koko-di Koko-da (2020) Koko-di Koko-da is so rich with texture, so sure of the profundity of its toy box of terrors, that it never stops to ask what they mean or what it really thinks of cycles of grief beyond the pat observation that they are difficult to escape. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 4, 2020
4/5 88% Les Misérables (2020) As a study of injustice and systemic deprivation, and in its description of the conditions necessary for revolution, Ly's film is in its very being a modern Les Misérables. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2020
2/5 63% Hope Gap (2020) Nicholson has form with writing later-life relationships, so it's a shame that the real hope gap here is that between expectation and reality. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 28, 2020
4/5 83% She Dies Tomorrow (2020) There's a melancholy to Seimetz' film that feels too fixed in place for the instability of horror. It's like those dreams where you can't run, but here, there's not even the desire to. Less horror, more entropic terror. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 27, 2020
4/5 100% Away (2019) For parents... Away's minimalism represents a blessed oasis of calm, while for the kids, its simple style and wordless story represent boundless opportunities for imagination and magic. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2020
4/5 97% Ava (2018) Ava is a singular vision marking Foroughi as a talent to watch. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 21, 2020
3/5 85% Pinocchio (2020) Coulier's make up is at the centre of an enchanting aesthetic that captures the sentimentality and strangeness of Collodi's novel without relying on showstopping set pieces. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 13, 2020
2/5 89% Sputnik (2020) A smart little creature feature with a great hook, but whose star beast ultimately only succeeds at nipping at our nerves. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 13, 2020
4/5 100% Make Up (2020) Make Up isn't strictly a horror film, but it's an unsettling experience, brilliantly mining the familiar weirdness of an off-season British holiday resort and its spectral inhabitants. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 30, 2020
3/5 98% Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles (Buñuel en el laberinto de las tortugas) (2019) Labyrinth of the Turtles is a charming and occasionally moving love letter to the legendary Spanish-Mexican surrealist, and at a spry 80 minutes, doesn't outstay its welcome. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 17, 2020
4/5 92% Clemency (2019) One of this era's most powerful actors, Alfre Woodard, leads with one of her best, most understated performances yet. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 15, 2020
4/5 94% Litigante (2019) A tender family drama that captures the exhausting bitter-sweetness and competing priorities of family life in middle-age. Centred on a naturalistic, deeply empathetic turn from Carolina Sanin, Litigante transforms the banal into the elegiac. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 10, 2020
3/5 87% Spaceship Earth (2020) Spaceship Earth deftly captures the sincere wonder and optimism of those who believed in the project. There's simply no denying the sheer ambition of the damn thing, let alone that they more or less pulled it off. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2020
2/5 No Score Yet Bear with Us (Chata na Prodej) (2018) It's a fine, if well-worn set up for a comic chamber piece... Sadly, Bear with Us begins to lose focus just when it should be hitting its stride. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 6, 2020
4/5 96% A White, White Day (Hvítur, hvítur dagur) (2020) A White, White Day is Ingimundur's film through and through, centered on Sigurdsson's intensely gruff, brooding performance. But Hlynsdóttir's Salka gives him a run for his money. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 2, 2020
4/5 88% The Girl with a Bracelet (2020) Despite its bland paperback title, French writer-director Stéphane Demoustier proves hasty assumptions wrong with his gripping, thoughtful third feature. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 25, 2020
4/5 99% On the Record (2020) The real accomplishment of Ziering and Dick's film is to present Dixon's story as an experience unique to black women, at the bottom of a historical hegemony that finds white, rich men very much at the top. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 25, 2020
3/5 65% On a Magical Night (Chambre 212) (2020) On a Magical Night confuses what is admittedly a charming conceit for depth. Nevertheless, that charm is enough to sustain the picture across its 90-minute runtime, even if its effects quickly recede into memory. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 18, 2020
5/5 92% Da 5 Bloods (2020) Da 5 Bloods feels at once astonishingly prescient and nuanced, weaving together the national trauma of the war that America never got over with the contemporary rot of modern U.S. society. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 15, 2020
4/5 100% The Australian Dream (2019) Unlikely to win high praise for originality. But as The Australian Dream methodically sets out the unspeakable, too-often unspoken, injustices of European colonialism, the novelty of formal innovation pales in comparison to the more important issue. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 10, 2020
3/5 42% Guest of Honour (2020) Buried underneath the convolutions, the mistaking of melodramatic sensationalism over psychological reality, there really is something of a real emotional centre that just about makes enduring the rest worth it. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 4, 2020
4/5 92% Krabi, 2562 (2019) A film unwilling to be pinned down to conventional narrative norms, tone or even perspective. If it's possible to conceive ambivalence as positive, then Rivers and Suwichakornpong's film is wonderfully ambivalent. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted May 29, 2020
4/5 95% Only the Animals (Seules les bêtes) (2019) A highly satisfying and gripping thriller that, like the best of them, finds the time to properly contemplate the depths of its dominoes as they are arranged before the capricious hand of chance gleefully knocks them down, one by one. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted May 29, 2020
4/5 88% The County (Héradid) (2019) This western-tinged, visceral Icelandic drama deserves as large an audience as possible. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted May 21, 2020
2/5 82% The Whistlers (2020) A stylish and fitfully engaging crime thriller with a great concept, let down by incoherent plotting and impenetrable characterization. - CineVue EDIT
Read More | Posted May 7, 2020