wed 15/08/2018

Film Reviews

120 BPM review - stirring portrait of French activism in the age of AIDS

Matt Wolf

Activism is back with a vengeance in our parlous political age, so what better time to welcome 120 BPM as a reminder of an impulse that has never truly gone away?

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Wonderstruck review - beautifully designed but emotionally unengaging

Saskia Baron

What is it about Brian Selznick’s ornate illustrated fictions that leads good directors to make bad films? Turning The Invention of Hugo Cabret into Hugo was a near disaster for Scorsese, and now comes Todd Haynes’s stifling adaptation of Selznick’s novel, ...

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Sweet Country review - hell in the Outback

Adam Sweeting

Recently the world has been entertained by the shameless amateur theatricals from some of Australia’s lavishly-paid cricketers, but Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country transports us back to a harsher, crueller Australia, where men might have justifiably shed a tear as they scraped a hard living from the...

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Isle of Dogs review - canine caper with a message

Veronica Lee

This isn't a feature about London's former docklands (although much of it was made in a studio nearby), but rather Wes Anderson's second foray into stop-motion animation (after 2009's Fantastic Mr.

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Journeyman review - Paddy Considine wins on points

Jasper Rees

Boxing movies are often about redemption in the ring. From Somebody Up There Likes Me to last year’s Bleed for This via Rocky, the story stays the same: boxer seeks peace though punching. In Journeyman, Paddy Considine travels along a different path.

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Ready Player One review - Spielberg goes back to the future

Adam Sweeting

Suddenly Steven Spielberg movies are plopping off the production line like Ford Fiestas or Cadburys Creme Eggs.

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The Islands and the Whales review - masterful, sensitive eco-documentary

David Kettle

A feature-length documentary on whaling in the Faroe Islands: you might think you can see it unfolding already. Hardy Viking fishermen battling the elements, gruesome killings of majestic sea creatures, implied or outright condemnation of the shocking brutality.

Scottish director Mike Day’s masterful film is no shock-factor exposé,...

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Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words, BBC One review - emotional nomad with a fragile gift for joy

Jasper Rees

Ever nursed an immoderate fondness for Ingrid Bergman? In Her Own Words, a bio-documentary released in the cinema then on DVD in 2016 and shown last night on BBC One as part of the Imagine...

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I Got Life! review - fresh French comic realism

Saskia Baron

I Got Life!, originally released in France as Aurore, is a lovely, funny low-budget comedy that should definitely appeal to female movie-goers with a fondness for quirky, feisty women d’un certain age. It’s the kind of film that one would probably go to with a...

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Crowhurst review - plucky indie wins race with rival

Jasper Rees

Perhaps it’s fitting that Donald Crowhurst should once more find himself in a race. Even more aptly, it’s a race against himself. You wait half a century for a biopic about the round-the-world yachtsman who disappeared off the face of the earth, and then two turn up at once. This sort of clash sometimes happens in film, and one movie always ends up trouncing the other.

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The Third Murder review - unpacking a crime enigma

Tom Birchenough

Japanese director Kore-eda Hirokazu offers up mystery aplenty in his new film The Third Murder, enigma and riddle too. He also moves away from the territory of family drama for which he is best known. There’s similar intensity in some of the relationships between characters here as in his previous work, and it’s engrossingly atmospheric – some visual elements speak as strongly as anything the director has made, while Ludovico Einaudi’s piano/cello-dominated score is almost a player...

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Unsane review - Claire Foy in bonkers horror satire

Jasper Rees

Steven Soderbergh has always been capable of a big Hollywood moment – Magic Mike, Oceans etc. But much of his filmography consists of curious sideways glances. He’s particularly drawn to the shifting distribution of power between the genders. From sex, lies and videotape to Haywire, by way of Erin Brockovich and Out of Sight, he has rifled through the genres to find fresh and intriguing stories about men and women. It comes up again in...

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Mary Magdalene review - potent, feminist revisionism

Nick Hasted

Mary Magdalene’s story hasn’t suddenly become the second greatest ever told, despite its radical expansion here. Garth Davis’s follow-up to Lion is, though, a profoundly thoughtful and convincing telling of the Christian main event.

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The Square review - stylish, brilliantly acted satire

Saskia Baron

One of the oldest pleasures of cinema is the opportunity it gives us to look at beautiful people in beautiful places, possibly having beautiful sex. Often audiences get exactly what they came for but sometimes it isn’t exactly straightforward. Take The Square, the Oscar-nominated film from Swedish ...

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Annihilation, Netflix review - not quite a sci-fi masterpiece

Adam Sweeting

Mild controversy hovers over the new film by Alex Garland, the novelist-turned-screenwriter-turned-director. Garland’s 2015 directing debut, Ex Machina, was a slow-burning hit which found favour with critics and film festival juries.

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My Golden Days review - a mesmerising tale of heartbreak

Owen Richards

Arnaud Despelchin’s My Golden Days is a strange beast; it is both a sequel and prequel to the gloriously titled 1996 film My Sex Life…or How I Got into an Argument. Yet it tells its own story in the life of Paul Dédalus (Mathieu Amalric).

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