fri 22/06/2018

Film Reviews

The Greatest Showman review - the great huckster as song and dance man

Adam Sweeting

The real-life PT Barnum was a mixture of impresario, hustler and exploiter, and Elvis Presley’s huckstering manager Colonel Tom Parker would surely have viewed him approvingly. However, he also was also a temperance campaigner and a reforming politician who battled against slavery and supported health and educational projects.

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi - a bold new chapter

Owen Richards

It’s impossible to view The Last Jedi independently from its predecessors. It’s the second instalment of the third trilogy of cinema’s greatest space opera. And it’s very much a product of what came before, but not in the way you might expect.

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The Prince of Nothingwood review - come for the man, stay for the country

Owen Richards

In the most unlikely of places, there is one of the world’s most prolific directors.

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Stronger review - Oscar-worthy straight talk and tough love

Nick Hasted

There are many obvious Hollywood responses to someone losing their legs in the Boston Marathon bombing. Director David Gordon Green waits his whole film to make one.

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Brigsby Bear review - the healing power of fantasy

Adam Sweeting

Like a bizarro-world echo of Lenny Abrahamson’s Academy-titillating Room, Dave McCary’s endearing indie feature takes a potentially hideous tale of abduction and control and transforms it using the amazing healing powers of fantasy and creativity.

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Menashe review - Yiddish-language film with a heart of gold

Saskia Baron

On paper this film sounds so worthy: a widowed Orthodox Jewish father struggles to convince the Hassidic community elders that he can raise his young son alone after the death of his wife. But it’s the opposite of worthy on screen – Menashe is utterly absorbing, deeply charming, and very funny. It’s an impressive first narrative feature by documentarian Joshua Z Weinstein, who...

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Human Flow review - two hours of human misery

Sarah Kent

Soaring over an expanse of blue sea, a white bird traverses the screen diagonally. Gliding unhindered through the air, it is the embodiment of freedom; by contrast, the movement of people down below is constrained by border crossings and passport controls. The perfect tranquility of this opening shot is the calm before the storm; prepare to spend the next two hours witnessing extremes of human misery and, by turns, feeling horrified, angry and deeply depressed.

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Happy End review - grimly compelling but to what end?

Matt Wolf

No movie that folds Toby Jones of all people into a Gallic entourage headed by Isabelle Huppert and Jean-Louis Trintignant, the two as formidable as one might wish, is going to be without interest.

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Love, Cecil review - poignant, inspiring, and very sad

David Kettle

It’s shameful to admit it, but it’s perhaps rather surprising that a film about a fashion photographer and designer should end up being so profoundly moving and inspiring.

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Wonder review - sweet and smart but sometimes also schmaltzy

Matt Wolf

Genuine emotion does battle with gerrymandered feeling in Wonder, which at least proves that the young star of Room, Jacob Tremblay, is no one-film wonder himself.

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Suburbicon review - George Clooney's jarring pastiche of the American dream

Markie Robson-Scott

If you’re hoping for an incisive look at Fifties American suburbia in this unappealing film, directed and co-written by George Clooney, you’ll be disappointed. It’s hardly worthy of the director of Good Night, and Good Luck, also set in the Fifties and co-written by Grant Heslov.

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Battle of the Sexes review - Emma Stone aces it as Billie Jean King

Jasper Rees

This is a heartbreaking week for women’s tennis. The death from cancer of Jana Novotna at only 49 evokes memories of one of Wimbledon’s more charming fairytales. Novotna was a lissome athlete who flunked what looked like her best shot at greatness, tossing away a third-set lead in the 1993 women’s final and then crumpling on the shoulder of the Duchess of Kent. Five years later she eventually became the oldest first-time champion. It would make a lovely...

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Brakes review - dysfunctional relationships laid bare

Veronica Lee

Breaking up is hard to do, sang Neil Sedaka, and Mercedes Grower plays out that sentiment in a quirky, original and often funny film, which neatly subverts Hollywood romcom tropes.

It's an...

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Heartstone review - huge visuals, close-up performances

Tom Birchenough

Icelandic writer-director Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson has made an impressive feature debut with this story of crossing the threshold from childhood to young adult experience. Heartstone acutely and...

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Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool review - Annette Bening mesmerises

Saskia Baron

Screen biographies are tricky things to pull off when the person portrayed has left behind an indelible screen presence. It was hard to love Michelle Williams dragging up for My Week with MarilynGrace of Monaco was Nicole Kidman refracted through the eyes of Madame Tussaud. But Annette Bening is wholly mesmerising in her reincarnation of Gloria Grahame, the ...

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Good Time review - heist movie with stand-out performance by Robert Pattinson

Saskia Baron

This is not a movie to see in the front row – intrusive close-ups, hand-held camerawork, colour saturated night shots and a relentless synthesiser score all conspire to make Good Time a wild ride. An unrecognisable Robert Pattinson plays Connie Nikas, a nervy con artist who enlists his intellectually disabled brother Nick in a bank robbery. The heist goes horribly wrong and the camera clings to...

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