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
82% 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 (2019) 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 77% 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
85% Deerskin (Le daim) (2019) 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
83% 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
54% 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
89% 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
85% Zombi Child (2020) Bertrand Bonello's latest is a multi-layered view of colonialism's legacy, resurrected in every new generation. - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 7, 2019
75% Honeymoon (2014) Leigh Janiak's assured debut condenses all the alienating scenes from a marriage into an SF/horror-inflected honeymoon. - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 7, 2019
69% Joker (2019) an uncomfortable, accusatory character study, as it catches us on one side or another of Fleck's misplaced laughter, and tries to get us all to dance to his bloody steps. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 2, 2019
83% Reazione a catena (A Bay of Blood) (Twitch of the Death Nerve) (1972) a brutal, bludgeoning film, utterly misanthropic in its outlook, and all the better for its refusal to compromise in exposing human nature at its ugly, imitable worst. - Little White Lies EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2019
27% Rambo: Last Blood (2019) Rambo's one-man war is an ugly brand of extra-judicial fantasy, where nameless goons are trapped and slaughtered in gorily grotesque ways, one after the other. - Little White Lies EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 19, 2019
No Score Yet Home (2009) In showing a family's self-destructive intransigence (or is it self-preserving cohesion?), Ursula Meier unravels a modern fable in which the forces of conservatism and change pass each other by. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 15, 2019
89% Hell House LLC (2015) Hell House LLC keeps showing us behind the scenes of its own scares, while still scaring the crap out of us anyway. - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 13, 2019
No Score Yet The Hills Have Eyes, Part 2 (1985) a film destined to be a footnote in Craven's career - but footnotes can often provide real, demythologising insight into both filmmakers and the fickle industry that they serve. - Little White Lies EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 11, 2019
2/5 63% It Chapter Two (2019) Slick, self-indulgent, never-ending. - Little White Lies EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2019
90% Daniel Isn't Real (2019) Adam Egypt Mortimer's psychological horror shows a young student's struggle with past trauma, inner demons and a legacy of madness - SciFiNow EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2019
71% ANIARA (2019) Pella Kagerman and Hugo Lilja's adaptation of a 2018 sci-fi poem finds bleak beauty in a nihilisitic odyssey. - VODzilla.co EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 31, 2019
No Score Yet Stairs (2019) the concrete stairwell in Paton's film rings hollow with the questionable morality of war, as these highly trained yet haunted men and women are forced, step by bloody step, either to retrace and reiterate past sins or, somehow, to rectify them. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 30, 2019
No Score Yet For We Are Many (2019) the film is also asking us to choose between these demonic stories and to find our favourite. Mine, however, may not be yours. For we are many - and it is hard to tell whether [these different episodes'] overall impact is a result of one or all. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 30, 2019
No Score Yet The Barge People (2018) In a motif from Wes Craven, the film's families offer a distorted reflection of each other. But it would perhaps be a mistake to dwell on any subtext in a film that is for the most part just a cheap, gory romp without too much flesh on the bone. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 30, 2019
No Score Yet Driven (2019) Roger may be the passenger, but this is ultimately Emerson's journey, as she learns to overcome her own demons and take control of the wheel. The resulting ride, too low-key to be called wild exactly, is nonetheless funny and strange. - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 30, 2019
60% Rabid (2019) This neon-lit reimagining certainly bears the original superficial structure of the original as well as many of its narrative details... but the film, like Rose herself, harbours something different underneath that will only gradually emerge - Projected Figures EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 30, 2019
No Score Yet The Magnificent Obsession of Michael Reeves (2019) part of this driven, ambitious director's tragedy is not just the... films, all striking in their time and each better than the last, which he left behind, but the potential of unfulfilled creativity to which they point, cut off so prematurely. - SciFiNow EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 30, 2019
No Score Yet Dark Light (2019) It is a koan alright... For any solution lies between the cracks of the film, in its cralwspaces and underneath its floorboards, shedding only the darkest of lights on the creaky structure of this family. - SciFiNow EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 30, 2019
No Score Yet Witches in the Woods (2019) Seven co-eds get lost in the Massachusetts woodlands, where historical malevolences and misogynies persist - SciFiNow EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 30, 2019
No Score Yet Eat, Brains, Love (2019) Eat, Brains, Love takes the hormones and appetites of rebellious teenagers, and adds zombies to the mix for comedy kicks - SciFiNow EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 30, 2019
No Score Yet Stalked (2019) a corrective battle of the sexes, pitting open female empowerment and maternal might against a man whose own chokehold over others is rooted entirely in his ability to hide like a little boy. - SciFiNow EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 30, 2019
100% Spiral (2019) Spiral blends Polanski and Peele to show a nation that fears, exploits and needs otherness to maintain itself - SciFiNow EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 30, 2019
No Score Yet Death of a Vlogger (2019) Graham Hughes' manipulative mockumentary tells a sophisticated (maybe) ghost story for the age of the internet - SciFiNow EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 30, 2019