fri 17/09/2021

Film Reviews

The Starling, Netflix review - a slender idea unsatisfyingly executed

Adam Sweeting

Despite an alluring cast which includes Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd and Kevin Kline, The Starling is doomed to be remembered, if at all, as a slender idea unsatisfyingly executed.

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The Electrical Life of Louis Wain review - visually arresting biopic

Joseph Walsh

On its surface, a biopic of a late-Victorian artist starring big British talents including Benedict Cumberbatch, Andrea Riseborough and Claire Foy, sounds like typical awards fare for this time of year.

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The Lost Leonardo review - an incredible tale as gripping as any thriller

Sarah Kent

It’s been described as “the most improbable story that has ever happened in the art market”, and The Lost Leonardo reveals every twist and turn of this extraordinary tale. In New Orleans in 2005, a badly-damaged painting (pictured below left) sold at auction for $1,175.

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Schumacher, Netflix review - authorised version of the life of an F1 legend

Adam Sweeting

Michael Schumacher’s skiing accident in December 2013, which left the seven-times Formula One world champion with a severe brain injury, added a shocking postscript to one of the greatest stories in motor racing. Having survived a decades-long driving career which included numerous accidents (including a motorcycle smash in 2009 which was apparently far more serious than the Schumi camp would admit), he was near-fatally stricken on a family Christmas holiday in Méribel.

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Shorta review - Danish police drama

Saskia Baron

This Danish police drama attempts to tackle the country’s uneasy relationship with the immigrants it’s allowed into its cities over the last 30 years. The result is a somewhat clumsy attempt at fusing social commentary with the visceral thrills of an action movie, complete with car chases, shoot outs and muscle-bound fistfights.

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The Collini Case review - it might be legal, but that doesn't mean it's justice

Adam Sweeting

Adapted from Ferdinand von Schirach’s bestselling 2011 novel, The Collini Case is a riveting mix of character study and legal drama, carefully blended into a historical perspective reaching forward 60 years from the 1940s.

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The Champion of Auschwitz review - Polish movie based on a boxer's memoir

Saskia Baron

It’s a little hard to tell if this film was really intended for an international release, given that its heart is so set on making Polish movie-goers proud of their countrymen. The Champion of Auschwitz recounts the true story of Tadeusz "Teddy" Pietrzykowski, a young bantamweight boxing champion from Warsaw who in 1940 was captured by the occupying Nazis as he tried to join the Polish army in Fra

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Second Spring review - intriguing film about a woman with an unusual form of dementia

Markie Robson-Scott

“We want you to see a doctor. You’ve changed, and not in a good way,” says Kathy’s underwhelming husband, Tim (Matthew Jure).

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Misha and the Wolves review - tricksy documentary about a child survivor

Saskia Baron

It has become so hard to find funding for non-fiction films that many documentary makers now feel compelled to sell their stories as racy detective yarns, larded with dramatic scores and sneakily obfuscating narratives. There’s a piece of deception at the heart of Sam Hobkinson’s Misha and the Wolves which in this age of Holocaust denial, is distressingly slippery.

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Candyman review - Nia DaCosta's clever sequel to the 1992 slasher movie

Markie Robson-Scott

Anaphylactic shock, anyone? Candyman, both the 1992 original, directed by British director Bernard Rose and based on a story by Clive Barker, and its stylish, sharp sequel by Nia DaCosta, co-written and produced by Jordan Peele, features an awful lot of bees.

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The Toll review - once upon a time in west Wales

Owen Richards

Budget constraints. In the hands of the right filmmakers, they can be a blessing in disguise, forcing creativity from simplicity. That’s exactly what works for The Toll, a dark comedy set in the wild west of these isles: Pembrokeshire.

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Our Ladies review - five go wild in Edinburgh

Graham Fuller

It’s often the company one keeps that makes a journey worthwhile, not the destination. That’s as true for the five ebullient Fort William schoolgirls making their first trip to Edinburgh in Our Ladies as it is for the film’s audience. These Highland hoydens are so much fun, it’s a pity when our brief time with them ends.

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The Nest review – intriguing, off-kilter family drama

Demetrios Matheou

The Nest is a peculiar animal, hard to nail down, parts family drama and social satire, but with a creepy sense of suspense rippling under the surface that threatens to bust the plot wide open. 

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Reminiscence review - looks great but doesn't deliver

Adam Sweeting

Written and directed by Lisa Joy, who masterminded HBO’s Westworld TV series, Reminiscence is a grandiose sci-fi blockbuster that looks great, sounds deafening, but ultimately disappoints because it’s a genre-sampler that can’t find a distinctive voice of its own.

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The Courier review - lacklustre spy movie

Saskia Baron

It’s always a bit worrying when distributors choose to open a film in August at the best of times, but after 18 months of covid playing havoc with release schedules, the backlog of titles has to be dealt with somehow. The Courier is one such movie, seeping out now in selected art house cinemas: if it doesn’t set the box office on fire, the distributors can blame the sunshine, not the drabness of the movie itself.

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CODA review - warm-hearted comedy about growing up in a Deaf family

Saskia Baron

When CODA opened Sundance in May, it was an instant hit with that liberal, kindly audience and was snapped up by Disney at great expense. It’s easy to see why – CODA is a funny, easy-to-watch coming of age comedy that allows viewers to feel warm and understanding towards Deaf people. It’s got Oscar nominations written all over it.

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