sun 07/08/2022

Film Reviews

The Tinderbox review – a call for peace

Daniel Baksi

The beginning of the Israeli-Palestine conflict is officially dated to 7 June 1967, the occasion of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, during the Six-Day War, but its origins stretch back further.

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X review - sex and the bloody American dream

Nick Hasted

Ti West’s slyly self-referential horror film about a Texan porn shoot subverts expectations.

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Three Floors review - nothing like good neighbours

Nick Hasted

A speeding drunk driver arrows down a silent street into a Roman block of flats.

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River review – gorgeous visuals and a timely message: so what’s not to like?

Sarah Kent

I would suggest watching River on the largest possible screen, so you can bask in the breathtaking beauty of the visuals.

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Paris,13th District review - millennial merry-go-round

Demetrios Matheou

Having established his world-class reputation with gritty crime thrillers, notably A Prophet, Jacques Audiard is clearly on a mission to branch out: after his terrific, revisionist western The Sisters Brothers, comes this ambling, sexy, millennial story about love, friendship, and the complicated areas in between.

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Deep Water review - not even laughably bad

Saskia Baron

Patricia Highsmith must be spinning in her grave. This ridiculously incompetent adaptation of her 1957 crime novel lacks all suspense or credibility. It’s hard to believe that Adrian Lyne, responsible for huge box-office hits like the provocative thriller Fatal Attraction and the dodgy but watchable 9 ½ Weeks and Indecent Proposal, could make something quite so feeble as Deep Water.

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The Phantom of the Open review - charmingly incompetent golfer channels Ealing

Nick Hasted

“No one can say you didn’t try,” shipyard worker Maurice Flitcroft (Mark Rylance) is told, shortly before bluffing his way aged 46 into the 1976 British Open, having never played golf before.

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Hive review - how a group of Kosovan widows rebuilt their lives

Adam Sweeting

As the air echoes with wars and rumours of wars, Hive has the potential to strike a chord resonating way beyond its Kosovan setting. The factually-based story is set in the aftermath of the Balkan conflicts of the late 1990s, after Serbian forces had carved a trail of rape, murder and destruction through Kosovo’s Albanian communities.

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The Metamorphosis of Birds review - picture perfect

Sarah Kent

How do you make a film about death, love and loss that avoids being sentimental, maudlin or pretentious? Take your cue from Portuguese artist Catarina Vasconcelos.

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The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone review - can it pull you back in?

Nick Hasted

The relative runt of the Godfather litter was hacked out in a Las Vegas casino, as Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo worked up scenarios for an assignment taken on for the money.

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Great Freedom review - love behind bars in Germany

Sebastian Scotney

A story of forbidden love, Great Freedom takes place almost entirely in a prison. The film's background is encapsulated in the word “175er/ hundertfünfundsiebziger”, still to be found in German dictionaries and collective memories as a pejorative word for a gay man.

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A Banquet review – horror, done before

Daniel Baksi

One feels, or perhaps hopes, that if she could have avoided it, first-time feature director Ruth Paxton might not have started A Banquet as she ultimately did: with Holly Hughes (Sienna Guillory) arduously scrubbing the frame of her husband’s hospital-style bed, as he coughs, gasps, and weeps for an end to whatever ghastly affliction he has been dealt. 

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Master Cheng review - slight but soothing Finnish-Chinese romance

Saskia Baron

There’s a long tradition of foodie romances proving art-house cinema hits – think of Babette’s Feast, Tampopo, and Chocolat. Sadly, it’s unlikely that Master Cheng, a gentle and very slow Finnish-Chinese coproduction about a chef from Shanghai charming the Nordic locals with his cleaver skills, is going to light up the UK box office. 

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The Batman review - lean and mean, yet again

Nick Hasted

Robert Pattinson’s Batman is lean and aquiline, his Bruce Wayne an obsessive recluse.

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Rebel Dread review - generous documentary portrait of punk-reggae legend Don Letts

Saskia Baron

Don Letts, the film director, musician and DJ responsible for so many of the iconic images of punk and reggae artists, executive produced this documentary portrait.

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The Duke review - a new feelgood classic

Sebastian Scotney

The Duke, directed by the late Roger Michell (1956-2021), is a delight. At its heart is a towering, defining performance from Jim Broadbent and an unforgettably surprising role for Helen Mirren.

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