tue 09/08/2022

Film Reviews

Top Gun: Maverick review - Tom Cruise defies age and gravity

Adam Sweeting

Only 36 years later, Tom Cruise is back with his eagerly-awaited Top Gun sequel (it was delayed a couple of years by Covid), and there are loyal legions of fans out there desperate to see it. The original, some say, in some way helped to “define” the 1980s, grossing $360m and spinning off a monster multi-platinum soundtrack album, headlined by Berlin’s cheesy synthetic megaballad “Take My Breath Away”....

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I Get Knocked Down, Brighton Festival review - Chumbawamba singer's film is lively, funny and thought-provoking

Thomas H Green

One effect of the film I Get Knocked Down, a playfully constructed journey around the life of Chumbawamba vocalist Dunstan Bruce, is to remind that socio-political rage was once woven into the fabric of popular music.

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The Innocents review - they're just playing

Harry Thorfinn-

The Innocents made a splash at Cannes in 2021 and it’s easy to see why. The Norwegian supernatural thriller, deftly written and directed by Eskil Vogt (who co-wrote The Worst Person In the World), explores the murky time in childhood when moral boundaries are still being drawn.

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Vortex review – an old couple's road to nowhere

Graham Fuller

Life, opined Thomas Hobbes, is “nasty, brutish, and short”. In Gaspar Noé’s Vortex it’s not short enough for a dementia-afflicted octogenarian psychiatrist (Françoise Lebrun) and her addled film critic husband (giallo auteur Dario Argento), whose joint decline is a protracted saga of alienation, confusion, and fear.

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Everything Everywhere All at Once review - brace yourself

Saskia Baron

Everything Everywhere All at Once is one of those films that are guaranteed to make an audience feel their age. Unless you’re steeped in the multiverse genre (The Matrix films, the Marvel canon, etc.) and are comfortable with absurdist pop culture memes, it may well leave you reeling.

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The Quiet Girl review - finding a home away from home

Markie Robson-Scott

The Quiet Girl is adapted faithfully from Claire Keegan’s wonderful short story, Foster, first published in the New Yorker magazine in 2010 and then expanded into a novella.

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This Much I Know to Be True review - Nick Cave’s redemption songs

Nick Hasted

Nick Cave’s cinematic progress has been unexpectedly, catastrophically personal. 20,000 Days On Earth (2014) introduced Bad Seed Warren Ellis as his droll, wild-bearded foil, with scripted, semi-fictitious revelations.

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Eleven Days in May review – children pay the price of war

Nick Hasted

In another flare-up of Pyrrhic Hamas missiles and punitive Israeli bombing one year ago, over 60 Gazan children were killed. Michael Winterbottom and his Palestinian co-director Mohammad Sawwaf made Eleven Days in May as a “simple memorial to the children who lost their lives”. Sawwaf interviewed surviving relatives, who detailed those lives and erased futures. The result is an understated, unanswerable anti-war film.

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Doctor Strange in The Multiverse Of Madness – not strange, not mad

Nick Hasted

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is at its most radical and corporate here; maybe decadent is the word. We start with surgeon turned sorcerer Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) threatened then slaughtered in a cosmic chase sequence. It’s just a dream, then it isn’t, and so is/isn’t pretty much everything that follows.

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Wild Men review - Danish-Norwegian black comedy

Saskia Baron

There are films that, after seeing the trailer, I very much expect to love. But when the actual movie is disappointing, I find writing the review makes me just a little bit sad. Unfortunately, Wild Men is one of those movies. Billed as a comedy-thriller, it doesn’t quite make the grade on either front, it's not gripping enough as a policier and the jokes often fall flat. 

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Barry & Joan review - quirky documentary about two vaudevillians

Veronica Lee

If the state of the world is a little too bleak for you right now, do yourself a favour and watch this utterly charming documentary about Barry and Joan Grantham, a couple who have been married and performing together for several decades (Audrey Rumsby's film is vague on the details, but archive clips of them performing date back to the late 1940s). 

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Downton Abbey: A New Era review - will we ever see its like again?

Adam Sweeting

A dozen years have passed since Downton Abbey first landed on our TV screens, since when it has passed into folklore. Whether you thought it was escapist historical froth, a ludicrous anachronism full of class-system clichés or a documentary probing the British aristocracy, Downton has lodged itself in the national consciousness, probably forever.

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The Tale of King Crab review - an unholy fool's phantasmagoric progress

Nick Hasted

“Crazy? Aristocrat? Sad? Killer? Drunk?” A modern Tuscan hunting lodge’s regulars remember the myth of irascible rebel Luciano many ways, as it endures from the previous century’s misty turn. Italian-American co-directors Matteo Zoppi and Allessio Rigo de Righi’s feature debut follows documentary shorts drawn from those real hunters’ yarns, tipped now into the phantasmagoric territory of Werner Herzog, or Lucretia Martel’s Spanish colonial fever dream, Zama.

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Happening review - searingly intimate, furious abortion drama

Nick Hasted

France is a female dystopia in Audrey Diwan’s immersive illegal abortion drama, set in 1963 and based on Annie Ernaux’s autobiographical novel.

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The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent review - a very funny meta-comedy

Sebastian Scotney

At a well-attended London press screening of The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, there were, as might be expected, knowing chortles from Nicolas Cage-oscenti when specific films from his canon were either inserted or referenced – there were at least 18 of them listed in the closing credits from the hundred or so he has made in total.

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Ennio review - sprawling biog of the maestro of movie music

Adam Sweeting

Ennio Morricone’s collaboration with director Giuseppe Tornatore on 1988’s Cinema Paradiso was one of the countless highlights of his career, and it’s Tornatore who has masterminded this sprawling documentary tribute to the composer, who died in July 2020.

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