fri 23/06/2017

Film Reviews

The Book of Henry review - staggeringly awful

Saskia Baron

It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen a movie as staggeringly awful as The Book of Henry. If it was just a touch more shrill it could have qualified as a so-bad-it’s-good camp classic, but unfortunately it teeters this side of tasteful in order to keep its 12 rating. How any studio executive ever read Gregg Hurwitz’s script and thought this was a viable scenario is truly baffling. What terrible atonement for sins in a past life led Naomi Watts to take the lead is another mystery,...

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Hampstead review - Diane Keaton deserves better and so does London

matt Wolf

Do the makers of the essentially unnecessary Hampstead have a secret vendetta against north London and its citizenry?

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The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger review - voyages round a giant

sarah Kent

“Men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. This determines not only most relations between men and women but also the relation of women to themselves.” I’ve quoted these words by John Berger many, many times. They are in my bloodstream, as it were, since they provided me with an explanation for my experience as a young woman in the world. 

The 1972 television series and accompanying book Ways of Seeing from which they came also...

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Gifted review - genius in the family genes

demetrios Matheou

There’s quite an appealing mini-genre that concerns genius, usually involving mathematics and an outsider who struggles to cope for reasons that include social adaptation (Good Will Hunting), sexuality (The Imitation Game) and mental health (A Beautiful Mind). The clever trick of Gifted is that the genius in question is too young to have any idea of the problems she may face.

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Churchill review - Winston has smallness thrust upon him

jasper Rees

He may often be voted Greatest Briton in the History of Everything, but are we approaching peak Winston? Scroll down Churchill’s IMDb entry and you’ll find that he’s been played by every Tom, Dick and Harry in all manner of cockamamie entertainments.

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Destination Unknown review - Holocaust survivors go back

Saskia Baron

Destination Unknown is a passion project 13 years in production, a documentary featuring moving interviews with a dozen Jewish survivors of Nazi persecution. Elderly men and women describe what happened to them and their families during the...

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Whitney: Can I Be Me review - tragic account of superstar who fell to earth

adam Sweeting

The statistics of Whitney Houston’s career are flabbergasting in this post-CD era. Her 1985 debut album sold 25 million copies. “I Will Always Love You” is the best-selling single by a female artist in music biz history. Its parent album, the soundtrack to The Bodyguard, sold more than one million copies in a week. She had more consecutive Number One hits than The Beatles.

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Michelangelo: Love and Death review - how to diminish a colossus

Alison Cole

As perhaps the greatest artist there has ever been – and as one of the most fascinating and complex personalities of his era – Michelangelo should be a thrilling subject for serious as well as dramatic cinematic documentary treatment.

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The Mummy review – please don't let them make a sequel

adam Sweeting

The best bit is in the trailer. It's the scene where Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) and Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) are inside a stricken Hercules transport aircraft as it suddenly plunges vertically out of the sky, leaving its occupants in weightless limbo as they struggle frantically to find parachutes so they can bale out. But it's too late – the ground comes screaming up to meet them, and poor Tom can't get out.

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My Cousin Rachel review - du Maurier remake too florid by half

matt Wolf

From the breathless questions posed at the beginning onwards, My Cousin Rachel charges forward like one of leading man Sam Claflin's fast-galloping steeds. Presumably eager not to let this period potboiler become staid, director Roger Michell swoops in on the characters for close-ups and lets his surging camera duck and dive where it may.

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Norman review - revelatory Richard Gere in mesmerising New York tale

markie Robson-Scott

“You’re like a drowning man trying to wave at an ocean liner,” says lawyer Philip (Michael Sheen) to his uncle Norman Oppenheimer (Richard Gere as you’ve never seen him before – a revelation). “But I’m a good swimmer,” replies Norman, feverishly making notes on a napkin.

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The Shepherd review - quiet but stirring David v Goliath fable

jasper Rees

The Shepherd – original title El pastor – is a Spanish film which carried all before it at the Raindance Festival. It’s a very Raindance kind of movie.

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After the Storm review - quietly nuanced and moving Japanese family drama impresses

tom Birchenough

Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda is a master of family drama, carrying on the traditions of his illustrious predecessors Yasujiro Ozu and Mikio Naruse. But these are not films of raised voices or open conflict, rather highly nuanced studies of the emotional dynamics between parents and children – differences across the generations – or partners whose relationships have cooled....

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Dough review - well-intentioned bread-based comedy doesn't rise

Saskia Baron

Oh dear, writing this review is a bit like being mean to a small cuddly animal. Dough has such very good intentions – characters separated by race, religion and age can find common ground in a bakery – it’s a shame that it doesn’t rise into a tasty loaf but instead remains just a bit wholemeal and stolid.   

The excellent Jonathan Pryce plays Nat Dayan, an orthodox...

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Wonder Woman review - Gal Gadot shines in uneven superhero yarn

adam Sweeting

After dipping a toe in the new-look DC Comics universe to brighten the otherwise leaden Batman v Superman, now Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman gets a chance to shine in her own Hollywood movie. Gadot makes a pretty fine job of it too, bringing a bit of soul and empathy to the proceedings, but sometimes it’s more despite than because of the production surrounding her.

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The Red Turtle review - Studio Ghibli loses its magic touch

Saskia Baron

A man is caught up in a storm at sea; giant waves like Hokusai crests throw him onto a deserted tropical island. Over the next 80 minutes, his struggle to survive occupies the screen. Curious crabs provide a little company, but not enough to stop him trying to make a raft only to have his attempts at escape thwarted. While he is eventually blessed with some human companionship, there is no dialogue throughout the film, just music and sound effects.The Red Turtle features many...

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The Book of Henry review - staggeringly awful

It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen a movie as staggeringly awful as The Book of Henry. If it was just a touch more shrill it could...

Terror, Lyric Hammersmith review – more gimmick than drama

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The Best Plays in London

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Otello, Royal Opera review — Kaufmann makes a pretty Moor

Recorded on disc, this cast would be extraordinary for much of the time — to look at, not so much....

Hampstead review - Diane Keaton deserves better and so does...

Do the makers of the essentially unnecessary Hampstead have a secret vendetta against north London and its citizenry? The thought...