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
57% The Exorcist III (1990) Watching The Exorcist III is a frustrating experience, with both cuts of the film - one a victim of studio tampering, the other imperfectly restored - pointing to the better version of themselves that, like Karras, remains hidden within. - Little White Lies EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 9, 2019
No Score Yet Dead End (Punto muerto) (2018) a highly playful detective story, featuring a disappearing cat (and a character called Schroedinger), a series of parallel, paradoxical riddles, a critical killing (or several) and a villain straight out of the serial films of Louis Feiullade. - Rue Morgue Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 6, 2019
No Score Yet A Family (2019) As all these characters are lost in their difficult domestic dispensations, and the 'loving family' is presented as something more akin to fantasy role-play than to reality, Stevens brings to his materials a dry drollery - Sight and Sound EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 4, 2019
No Score Yet A Family (2019) Unfolding in spaces shared with Atom Egoyan, Yorgos Lanthimos, Aki Kaurismäki and Charlie Kaufman, A Family nonetheless finds an unsettling absurdity that is all its own. - Eye for Film EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 4, 2019
No Score Yet Girl With No Mouth (2019) On the one hand, a parable of corporate greed and exploitation, and of society's treatment of the disabled or "deficient", and on the other a story of the way we all reinvent ourselves precisely through story - Eye for Film EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 4, 2019
No Score Yet Saul at Night (2019) Santilli finds his own clock-based rhythm, as aching as it is absurd, for these melancholic motifs, making Saul at Night a moving mystery that... will continue occupying the rooms of your mind in both waking and sleeping hours. - Eye for Film EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 4, 2019
No Score Yet Marioneta (Vagoneros) (2019) It is a colourful story of low-level organised crime and 'professional' duplicity, with Mexico City for its stage - and it shows (or does it?) that sometimes the best actors are the least professional. - Eye for Film EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 4, 2019
No Score Yet Drowsy City (Thành Phô Ngu Gât) (2019) We know this worm will eventually turn, although few will predict the very particular form Tao's vengeance will take as he restores peace to a drowsy, often lonely city where everyone is walled in close together. - Eye for Film EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 4, 2019
No Score Yet Mater (2019) avoids the trap of hyperbolic pathos or grandiose emoting, instead carefully and sensitively observing all the nuances (guilt, recrimination, regret) that are part of living (with) grief. - Eye for Film EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 4, 2019
60% Some Beasts (Algunas Bestias) (2019) ...a chiller of displaced domesticity, as these visitors - fish out of water and entirely out of their league in the absence of a servant to do all the heavy lifting - have their most toxic hypocrisies slowly exposed to the elements. - Eye for Film EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 4, 2019
No Score Yet Psychobitch (2019) Frida may, as Marius suggests, "want to be that mysterious girl who no one understands", she may even be - whisper it - a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but her wild-child behaviour exposes suffocating conformity and narrow horizons in small-town Norway. - Eye for Film EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 4, 2019
80% Spetters (1980) in these young men's stories, as they become caught up in a collision of older and newer values, you can also see the painful emergence of the Dutch nation from its own Calvinist, homophobic, colonialist past. - Little White Lies EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 2, 2019
No Score Yet Looted (2019) a localised crime drama, a tale of a difficult yet loving father-son relationship, an exploration of escapism's price, and a social realist anatomisation of a community which, for all its sunny skies and harbour views, is limited in its prospects. - Eye for Film EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 1, 2019
78% Dreamland (2019) an elegiac portrait (with Malickian colourings) as much of today's America as yesteryear's, in a land where every dream comes with a cost, and every story is built on tragedy. - Eye for Film EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 28, 2019
100% Echo (Bergmál) (2019) The disparate vignettes of Echo are held together by strange rhymes and resonances, so that social, generational, economic and political conversations and contradictions are juxtaposed between, and sometimes even within, individual scenes. - Eye for Film EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 28, 2019
No Score Yet Hitch Hike to Hell (1978) the direction here is unflashy and workaday, even pedestrian, and much of the dialogue... comes across as over-earnest and stilted. Nonetheless, like its antihero, it conceals beneath its blandly wholesome exterior some shocking transgressions. - Little White Lies EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 27, 2019
No Score Yet The El Duce Tapes (2019) a contradictory portrait of El Duce as troubled child, skilled musician, poseur, provocateur, 'nice guy', artist and alcoholic, whose constant posturing showmanship and frequent intoxication render his own testimonies highly unreliable. - Sight and Sound EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 25, 2019
60% Candy Corn (2019) The film's complexity emerges less from the gory slayings than from a more moral brand of confrontation. - Sight and Sound EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 25, 2019
87% The Nightingale (2019) The Nightingale charts an intersection of suffering and solidarity on the map of Australia's colonial history. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 25, 2019
78% Judy & Punch (2019) The film is not only the tale of Judy's revenge on her husband and the reform of her hometown, but also an attempt to reconstitute all the anarchic depravities of Punch & Judy into something with a salutary moral of sorts. - Sight and Sound EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 22, 2019
80% Disco (2019) the more allegorical the film becomes, the more the viewer is inclined to suspect that Syversen is targeting not just Christianity (in its different forms and factions), but any rigid belief system or community bubble. - Eye for Film EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 21, 2019
48% Vanishing On 7th Street (2011) Brad Anderson plays off cinema's light and shadow for existential, apocalyptic horror. - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 18, 2019
100% The Golem (Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam) (1920) Reconstructing medieval Prague with painted, angular, heavily stylised sets in a Berlin studio, Der Golem would, with The Cabinet of Dr Caligari from the same year, introduce German Expressionism as the nightmarish, neurotic mode of horror cinema - Little White Lies EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 18, 2019
80% Little Monsters (2019) Miss Caroline makes for a kickass heroine & really ought to be the protagonist. Sadly, this is all about Dave, with the other characters, not to mention the armies of walking dead, feeling like mere foils to our main man's arc from kidult to carer. - Little White Lies EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 14, 2019
86% Birthday (Saeng-il) (2019) as director Lee delicately traces the sense of guilt and recrimination in this fracturing household, she is also modulating the grief of a nation still haunted by tragedy, and still finding ways to exorcise its ghosts. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 10, 2019
85% The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale (2019) there certainly is some social commentary buried beneath this film's surface - and the humour, which constantly trounces our expectations, serves as an index to the film's deeper subversive impulses. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 10, 2019
63% Idol (2019) beautifully shot, but also bleak and brutal, unleashing an iconoclastic onslaught of grief, corruption and revenge. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 10, 2019
100% A Good Woman Is Hard to Find (2019) Sarah is the good woman of the title - although along the way she will break bad with a vengeance - and she is 'hard to find' only in the sense that she has not yet fully emerged. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 10, 2019
25% Woodshock (2017) for those who subscribe to a Lynchian preference for mood, this certainly comes with plenty of vital vibe, in what is not so much a straightforward story as a kaleidoscopic portrait of a woman less steady than the trees around her. - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2019
88% Swallow (2020) writer-director Carlo Mirabella-Davis also depicts Hunter as a young woman gradually regaining her sense of autonomy and control over her own body and destiny in circumstances where both she and her choices are repeatedly ignored. - Sight and Sound EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 6, 2019
No Score Yet Scare Package (2019) All of these stories turn the clichéd tropes of genre on their head, in a reflexive riot that pushes the self-referential postmodernism of 1990s horror so far through the fourth wall... Whip-smart, inventive and endlessly funny... - Sight and Sound EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 6, 2019
100% We Summon the Darkness (2019) steadily upends conventional prejudices (& cinematic clichés) concerning gender, class and religion - even if, after a relatively early reveal of the Big Twist, there is nowhere left to go beyond standard cat-and-mouse manoeuvres and chaotic farce. - Sight and Sound EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 6, 2019
30% Trick (2019) leave[s] us, much like the characters in the film who attend the all-night horror-thon, worrying about just who might be sitting around us in the theatre - because, as Jayne puts it, "any one of your costumed moviegoers could be your killer". - Sight and Sound EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 6, 2019
4/5 76% Doctor Sleep (2019) It's no The Shining, but maybe that is just another way of saying that it is something different. - Little White Lies EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 30, 2019
87% An American Werewolf in London (1981) David's writhing discomfort in his own skin marks not just the monstrous metamorphosis in and of genre, but also that deep sense of estrangement experienced by any well-meaning if gauche tourist tripping up on local lore and mores. - Little White Lies EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 29, 2019
100% Dead Dicks (2019) while it is clear from the very outset that Dead Dicks is concerned with the more self-destructive aspects of mental illness, it also dramatises how easily any and every one of us can be drawn into that deep, dark hole... - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 21, 2019
97% Dolemite Is My Name (2019) It's a great comedy, but also a very positive portrayal of brothers (and one sister) doing it for themselves at a time when Hollywood was looking elsewhere. - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 19, 2019
80% Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made (2019) the po-faced documentary sections which frame this film-within-a-film also serve to muddy its waters further, making us question precisely what we may be sacrificing of ourselves when we willingly suspend disbelief and yield to art's illusory sway. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 15, 2019
6 26% Gemini Man (2019) Somehow all at once old-ass and state of the art, Gemini Man both races and creaks through fun, forgettable routines. - Sight and Sound EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 14, 2019
56% Escape From Tomorrow (2013) Taking the Mickey out of Disney's rose-tinted worldview, while also offering a rollercoaster ride through the psyche of a man losing his head, Moore's film paints a trippy picture of misery repressed & mortality sanitised. It's an astonishing debut. - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 14, 2019
100% Adoration (2019) In a film that feels like Jean-Jacques Beineix's Betty Blue (37 2 le matin, 1986) rewritten as a YA fairytale, both transience and transmigration become key themes... - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 11, 2019
87% Deerskin (2020) all at once surreal mid-life crisis comedy and meta serial killer picture, with that special element of 'no reason' that makes Dupieux such an expert at defamiliarising everyday drama into a disorienting dream. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 11, 2019
85% Synchronic (2019) mannered SF slyly challenges the politics of conservative nostalgia, as our African-American hero learns that, compared to his country's long history of violent hostility and division, there really is no better time (yet) than the familiar present. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 11, 2019
85% Color Out of Space (2020) What Stanley's version adds to this heady brew are the wildcards of milking alpacas, off-the-grid eccentricity and Cage ever so gradually bringing the crazy, all played to expose the cracks in an all-American family structure. - Sight and Sound EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2019
81% The Lodge (2020) Austrian co-writer-directors Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz's icy mixer of suicide and survival, tricks and treachery captures, in its shifting paradigms, the disorientation of overwhelming dysfunction and resurfacing trauma. - Sight and Sound EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2019
53% Wounds (2019) all this serves to expose as much as conceal the real Will - underachieving dropout, disaffected womaniser, dipsomaniac in denial - as he is brought into painful confrontation with his own inner emptiness, parasitism and rot. - Sight and Sound EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2019
86% Vivarium (2019) Here, we observe a hermetic world, less community than petri dish, in which the mere form of everyday living is captured, cultured and cloned in an unnerving parody of reality. - Sight and Sound EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2019
60% The Antenna (Bina) (2019) a dystopian parable exposing the hidden pipes and wires that feed the propaganda machine of an oppressive regime. - Sight and Sound EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2019
83% Koko-di Koko-da (2019) Writer-director Johannes Nyholm (The Giant, 2016) takes all the grief, loss and bitter recriminations of this Swedish couple and drops them into the realm of myth, dream and folklore. - Sight and Sound EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2019
No Score Yet Toys Are Not for Children (1972) a shrill melodrama in which a disturbed young woman's psychological hang-ups see her repeatedly reliving childhood traumas in more adult contexts. - Little White Lies EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 7, 2019