tue 09/08/2022

Film Reviews

Elvis review - Austin Butler shines in patchy biopic

Adam Sweeting

Strictly Ballroom aside, I’ve never been entirely persuaded by Baz Luhrmann. Once you rip open the plush packaging of his films, you often just find satin and tissue paper inside. Elvis isn’t his worst movie (they can’t take that accolade away from Moulin Rouge!) but it isn’t the monumental ode to a great American legend that one hoped it might have been.

Read more...

Pleasure review - that Eve Harrington syndrome again

Graham Fuller

The film title Pleasure begs the question, whose pleasure? Since first-time feature director Ninja Thyberg’s cautionary drama depicts the journey of a newcomer intent on becoming the Los Angeles adult film business's top female performer, the pleasure self-evidently isn’t hers, but that taken by the hordes of men who’ll watch her being systematically degraded on Pornhub and its ilk. 

Read more...

Good Luck to You, Leo Grande review - claustrophobic and bland

Saskia Baron

I really wanted to like Good Luck to You, Leo Grande. It’s got a funny trailer and Emma Thompson has been passionately publicising her film. And while our screens are currently full of stories about twentysomething girls and their chaotic love lives, watching a 62-year old woman intent on enjoying sex with a younger man on her own terms seemed promising.

Read more...

Lightyear review - can infinity be a yawn?

Saskia Baron

The animation may be stunning, but in every other department, Lightyear is a disappointment. It’s a crying shame for anyone who loved the original Toy Story and its (mainly) excellent sequels. If you were expecting a buzz from Pixar’s origin story, brace yourself instead for a damp squib. 

Read more...

Everything Went Fine review - classy French family drama

Saskia Baron

French filmmakers do family dramas so well, and none better than François Ozon when he is on form, as he is on Everything Went Fine.

Read more...

Earwig review - Little Miss Saliva Teeth

Graham Fuller

Like her first two features, Lucile Hadžihalilović’s Earwig is an oneiric coming-of-age drama that uses body horror imagery as a metaphor for the daunting unknowns – sexual and emotional – to be encountered in adulthood.

Read more...

Swan Song review - the fabulous Udo Kier as a small-town hairdresser on his last legs

Markie Robson-Scott

The piercing-eyed German actor Udo Kier is best known for his supporting roles in many high-profile films, including those of Lars von Trier, Gus Van Sant and Fassbinder. In Swan Song, he carries off his first starring role magnificently as wry ex-drag queen and Ohio hairdresser Pat Pitsenbarger, though the film itself is rather meandering and has mawkish, saccharine moments.

Read more...

All My Friends Hate Me review - beware of the bilious

Matt Wolf

A birthday weekend in Devon goes rather badly wrong in All My Friends Hate Me, the new film co-written by its leading man, Tom Stourton, that looks guaranteed to make shut-ins of us all.

Read more...

Jurassic World Dominion review - extinction event

Nick Hasted

Franchise burnout continues apace, in this asteroid strike of a finale. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness showed the previously agile and humane Marvel machine weighed down by plot mechanics and fan service, and this Jurassic Park/World trilogy unification bout proves a pointless, often ponderous 146 minutes. As post-pandemic cinema moves to total dependence on such sequels, their creative entropy could be an extinction event for filmgoing itself.

Read more...

Bergman Island review - Mia Hansen-Løve's joyful English-language debut

Markie Robson-Scott

French director Mia Hansen-Løve’s graceful, intriguingly open-ended seventh feature, and her English-language debut, is set on Fårö, the island that Ingmar Berman loved.

Read more...

The Camera Is Ours - Britain's Women Documentary Makers review - four decades of directors rediscovered

Sarah Kent

The Camera Is Ours features films made from 1935-1967 by women like Marion and Ruby Grierson, Evelyn Spice and Margaret Thomson, whose names should be engraved in the history of British film-making.

Read more...

Elizabeth: A Portrait in Parts review - she is a human being

Nick Hasted

Roger Michell’s films described a range of Englishness, from Notting Hill’s foppish comedy to acerbically humane Hanif Kureishi scripts (Venus, The Mother, The Buddha of Suburbia), Cornish Gothic (My Cousin Rachel) and his last feature, The Duke, which warmed working-class malcontent Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren’s frozen marriage with Wellington’s stolen portrait.

Read more...

Between Two Worlds review - Juliette Binoche, maid in France

Sebastian Scotney

For die-hard Juliette Binoche fans – don’t cross us, we get angry – Between Two Worlds is heaven. The French star hardly ever leaves the screen during the film’s 106 minutes. It was her unwavering detemination that ensured the film came to be made in the first place. 

Read more...

Luzzu review - a Maltese fisherman struggles with modernity

Markie Robson-Scott

In Maltese-American Alex Camilleri’s debut feature, it’s a case of follow the swordfish. This terrifically atmospheric, almost documentary-like film – Camilleri cites Italian neo-realism, including Visconti’s La Terra Trema, as an influence – tells the story of Jesmark, a real-life Maltese fisherman (Jesmark Scicluna). It also encapsulates a dying culture.

Read more...

The Deathless Woman review - the overlooked persecution of the Roma people

Saskia Baron

One of the more heartwarming images in the news recently has been seeing Ukrainian refugees being welcomed by their eastern European neighbours. But there’s been very few mentions of how centuries-old European hostility to the Roma people, gypsies, and Travellers, has prevailed. These Ukrainians with an equally urgent need for refuge from violent Russian invaders have been met all too often with closed doors and closed borders. 

Read more...

Benediction review - the world's worst wounds

Graham Fuller

Terence Davies’s Benediction is a haunting but uneven biopic of the World War I poet Siegfried Sassoon and a drama about the burden of incalculable loss.

Read more...

Pages

latest in today

Edinburgh Fringe 2022 reviews: The Last Return / Psychodrama...

The Last Return, Traverse Theatre ...

theartsdesk at the Bayreuth Festival Ring 2022 - a jumbled m...

It is mid-way through the new Ring cycle, and we are taking lunch outside the old town hall on the high street in Bayreuth. Discussion at...

Edinburgh Fringe 2022 reviews: Kathy and Stella Solve a Murd...

Kathy and Stella Solve a Murder!, Summerhall ...

Prom 27, Dinnerstein, National Youth Orchestra, Gourlay revi...

Danny Elfman – the punk rocker-turned-film composer behind Batman, Spider-Man, Edward Scissorhands and The Simpsons...

Burn, Edinburgh International Festival 2022 review - bold, r...

In retrospect, all the clues were there. A star actor embarking on a new performance genre; a fresh reappraisal of one of...

Utopia, Limited, National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Compa...

Joseph Heller grew tired of being told that he’d never written anything as good as Catch 22. ‘Who has?’, he'd retort. In the same...

Album: Boris - Heavy Rocks

Boris are an eclectic Japanese band, with over 20 albums to their name. Following their creative instincts and often recording live with no...

Edinburgh Fringe 2022 reviews: Boy / Intruder|Intruz

Boy, Summerhall

Nature or nurture? It...

Edinburgh Fringe 2022 reviews: Les Dawson: Flying High / Bor...

 

Les Dawson: Flying High, Assembly George Square ★★★

Any...

Music Reissues Weekly: The Movers - Vol. 1 1970-1976

After a burst of gun-shot drumming, “Hot Coffee” instantly hits its groove. Simple but insistent guitar, a rubbery bass line and electric organ...