Ben Nicholson

Ben Nicholson

UK-based film critic.

Editor of CineVue and penner of words on cinema for various publications including Sight & Sound, BFI, Dazed & The Skinny.

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newempressmagazine.com

In Review: The Essential Jacques Tati Collection on Blu-ray

"...His comedy is gentler than some might expect if they’ve not seen it before – his is the humour found in the innate pettiness of the modern world – but is brimming with social commentary and stinging criticism. From his earlier shorts right through to crowning glory of the outstanding Playtime (1967) he lampoons French society; both the small-minded quibbles of rural folk to, more readily, the pretensions of the modernised urban middle classes..."

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newempressmagazine.com

In Review: Miss Violence

"...Possibly an allegorical attempt to acknowledge but simultaneously distance itself from the styles of the attention-grabbing Greek Weird Wave, Miss Violence is swiftly revealed as a different beast entirely. The peculiarities and dated aesthetic remain, but gone are efforts to convey the listlessness of the national psyche – it is tossed from the balcony, so to speak. Greece, it seems, is no longer overcome with the dislocation and disillusionment that inspired Lanthimos and Athina Rachel Tsangari. Avranas’ film, with its unforgiving world of sexual abuse and oppression, is a far angrier product of fundamental despair..."

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newempressmagazine.com

In Review: Touchy Feely

"...Shelton does take the opportunity of Abby’s aversion to human skin to add a little flare to her otherwise understated directorial style – extreme close-ups provide an element of clear subjectivity to this presentation of the character’s strange new world. Given the interesting visual and thematic focus on issues of physical and emotional intimacy, though, it all leaves one feeling just a little distant. As likeable as it remains throughout – and chuckles will be raised – one can’t help but conclude that Touchy Feely falls short of the director’s best work."

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newempressmagazine.com

In Review: The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) on DVD

The meticulous choreography and sumptuous visuals of Jacques Demy’s ‘film in song’, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964), gets a release on fully restored Blu-ray and DVD. Often considered one of the most romantic films ever made, it is at once heartwarming and agonising and always a joy to watch.

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newempressmagazine.com

In Review: Wings (1927) on Blu-ray

Jobyna Ralston may well be the subject of the fighter pilots' affections, but it's spunky Clara Bow that provides the heart in William Wellman's barnstorming First World War epic, Wings (1927). Mar......

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newempressmagazine.com

In Review: La Belle et la Bête (1946)

It may be a tale as old as time, but The Beauty and the Beast is now difficult to envision without animated images of an amorous candlestick or singing crockery springing to mind. Disney's version ......

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newempressmagazine.com

In Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug barrels past many of the pacing issues surrounding its predecessor, An Unexpected Journey, and takes audiences on a rollicking adventure right to the Misty Mount......

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newempressmagazine.com

Desert Island Films: Special Guest Ben Nicholson

This week on Desert Island Films, we're joined by Ben Nicholson (Twitter handle: @BRNicholson). He'll play the New Empress cinephile version of Robinson Crusoe thus making his five selections a qui......

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newempressmagazine.com

In Review: Nosferatu The Vampyre (1979)

A visually rich homage to his illustrious countryman F.W. Murnau, maverick filmmaker Werner Herzog reunited with wild-eyed muse Klaus Kinski for Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979), which has received a t......

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newempressmagazine.com

In Review: Call Girl on DVD

Drenched in the retro stylings of its period setting, Mikael Marcimain's Call Girl adds a dose of 70s conspiracy thriller to this account of a teenager's induction into the Swedish sex trade. Adapt......

Crash reel 600x337 article
newempressmagazine.com

In Review: The Crash Reel

A ‘crash reel’ is a video montage showcasing a snowboarder’s most wince-inducing accidents, designed to terrify and enthral the viewer. It’s a reminder of both the adrenaline-fuelled thrill – and the ever present danger – of extreme sports. As such, it is fitting that Lucy Walker’s emotive documentary takes the name The Crash Reel as it manages to pack all of the above into its runtime; combining her own footage with home-videos and television coverage.

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newempressmagazine.com

In Review: Van Gogh (1991) on Blu-ray

Imagine, if you will, a leisurely stroll through a picturesque landscape in the French countryside; the vista is a vision, the ambience tranquil. This is largely how one feels when in the company o......

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newempressmagazine.com

In Review: Upstream Colour

If 2004’s lo-fi time travel yarn, Primer, indicated the potential of filmmaking polymath Shane Carruth, then with his much anticipated follow-up, Upstream Colour, he has well and truly arrived. His......

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newempressmagazine.com

In Review: Simon Killer on Blu-ray

For his sophomore feature, director Antonio Campos has once again found his camera lingering on a disconnected and troubled young man. Developing on the adolescent lead of the lauded Afterschool, S......

Winter article
newempressmagazine.com

In Review: Winter of Discontent

Ibrahim El-Batout could hardly have been more on-the-ball than when he rushed out to Tahrir square to shoot an impromptu scene amidst the protests of January, 2011. The resulting feature, the measured Winter of Discontent, paints a portrait of the conditions in Egypt during the latter years of Hosni Mubarak’s oppressive rule.