sun 21/04/2019

Film Reviews

Red Joan review - Judi Dench can't lift lumbering espionage drama

Matt Wolf

The decades-long stage relationship between Judi Dench and Trevor Nunn translates to surprisingly little with Red Joan. This is veteran theatre director Nunn's first film since Twelfth Night in 1996.

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Loro review – hedonism must have an end

David Nice

"Them" - the "loro" of the title (with a further play on “l’oro”, gold) - denotes the mostly sleazy opportunists willing to use and be used by "him" ("lui"), "Presidente" Silvio Berlusconi in his septuagenarian bid for an extended sexual and political life.

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Dragged Across Concrete review - Mel Gibson's hard-boiled high

Nick Hasted

Mel Gibson’s vile drunken rants a decade ago, his 63 years and the price of both inform his role as cop Brett Ridgeman. Writer-director S. Craig Zahler won’t comment.

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Greta review – Isabelle Huppert goes full psycho in eccentric stalker thriller

Demetrios Matheou

Isabelle Huppert is famed for the chilly intensity of many of her performances, and a willingness to mine all manner of darkness and perversity – her recent, award-laden turn in Elle being a good example. So it’s surprising how rarely she’s played unequivocal villains.

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Hellboy review - vivid monster mash

Nick Hasted

No one was waiting for another Hellboy film, but here this rude, crude reboot is anyway, stomping all over Guillermo del Toro’s 2004 original with freewheeling energy.

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Wild Rose review - how country music can set you free

Adam Sweeting

It was the fabled Nashville songwriter Harlan Howard who commented that country music is “three chords and the truth”. Rose-Lynn, the protagonist of Wild Rose, just happens to have the surname Harlan, and she has the “three chords” motto tattooed on her forearm. 

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Mid90s review – rise of a skate gang tyro

Graham Fuller

There’s an admirable modesty in the way Jonah Hill has approached his first film as writer-director.

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Pet Sematary review - spine-jolting shocks, but a disappointing ending

Adam Sweeting

The wilds of Maine have been favourite country for novelist Stephen King, and they form the setting for this new version of his 1983 supernatural thriller (previously filmed in 1989).

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Happy as Lazzaro review - magical realism from Italy

mark Kidel

Italy has a romance with rural grit and innocence and – perhaps not surprising in a country where the links between village and city are still very strong: Alice Rohrwacher’s Happy as Lazzaro (Lazzaro Felice) isn’t in any way derivative, but revisits some of the same territory as Olmi’s The Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978) and the Taviani Brothers’ Padre Padrone (1977) and Kaos (1984), all classics of...

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Shazam! review - refreshing super-goofiness

Nick Hasted

The DC Universe continues to back out of its dark dead end with this satiric kids’ film about the other Captain Marvel.

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The Sisters Brothers review – wonderfully off-the-wall western

Demetrios Matheou

French director Jacques Audiard is a master at genre with a twist, most famously the prison drama A Prophet, but also a number of crime thrillers with atypical settings or themes, including The Beat that my Heart Skipped (classical music), Dheepan (political refugees) and Read My Lips (office politics).

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At Eternity's Gate review - Willem Dafoe excels in hyperactive biopic

Matt Wolf

It's all go – no, make that Van Gogh –  when it comes to the Dutch post-Impressionist of late.

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Out of Blue review - noir and cosmology collide

Tom Baily

At the start of Carol Morley’s noir mystery Out of Blue, detective Mike Hoolihan, bleary-eyed and slow, is carrying some burdensome weight. “This burger from last night is not sitting right,” comes the weary female investigator’s first line.

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Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story review - inside Sidebottom's head

Nick Hasted

Frank Sidebottom was a petulant, man-child showbiz trouper with a papier-mâché head. He was more spontaneously subversive than memories of his heyday rampaging round Nineties kids TV may suggest. As to the rigorously hidden man behind the mask, he was more peculiarly brilliant than that.

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Dumbo review - does Tim Burton’s new adaption take flight?

Joseph Walsh

At its heart, Disney’s fourth-feature, Dumbo, was about the love between mother and child, and defying expectations.

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Minding the Gap review – profound musings on life

Owen Richards

Where would you go for a devastating study on the human condition? The home movies of teenage skaters would be very low down on that list. But most of those movies aren’t filmed, compiled and analysed by Bing Liu, the director of Minding the Gap.

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