wed 20/06/2018

Film Reviews

Professor Marston and the Wonderwomen review - Rebecca Hall to the rescue

Saskia Baron

Wonder Woman was the film that defied all the predictions: a big-budget superhero movie directed by a woman which managed to please not only the feminists and their daughters but also the boys who love DC and Marvel. In its slipstream comes Professor Marston and the Wonderwomen, written and...

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Paddington 2 review - Hugh Grant’s superior baddie boosts sequel

Saskia Baron

Paddington 2 is that rare thing, a sequel that is more engaging than the original by dint of having a far better baddie. In the first film Nicole Kidman’s villainess was a bleached rehash of Cruella De Ville or Morticia – and it was far from her finest hour. She simply didn't convince as an evil taxidermist intent on giving Paddington a good stuffing. 

The sequel replaces Kidman...

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Murder on the Orient Express review - lushly upholstered, lightly remodelled ride

Nick Hasted

Kenneth Branagh, like his Poirot, cares about cutlery. The director and detective’s fastidiousness both find their ideal home on the Orient Express, where waiters measure fork placement with the precision of Poirot’s sacred monster of a moustache.

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The Killing of a Sacred Deer review - edge-of-seat psycho-thriller

Demetrios Matheou

At first glance, the meetings between heart surgeon Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell) and a 16-year-old boy, Martin (Barry Keoghan), lead one to fear the worst for the kid. Their stilted exchanges in public places, during which the man gives the teen expensive gifts, don’t suggest a family connection, or a mentor-student relationship, but a secret intimacy that can only be, in some way, dreadfully wrong.

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Ferrari: Race to Immortality review - death and glory in 1950s motor racing

Adam Sweeting

And so the mini-boom in motor racing movies continues, this time with a look back at the history of Ferrari and the intense on-track battles of the 1950s, a decade in which the Scuderia won four of its 15 Formula One World Drivers Championships.

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Call Me By Your Name review - a star is born in a heartbreaking gay romance

Matt Wolf

It's not every day that an actor breaks your heart playing a character who surrenders his.

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October, LSO, Strobel, Barbican review - Eisenstein with steel score

David Nice

Forget the ersatz experience of Sergey Eisenstein's mighty silent films accompanied by slabs of Shostakovich symphonies composed years later. This collaboration between the London Symphony Orchestra and Kino Klassika is as close as we can ever come to hearing the massive score composed by Austrian-born Edmund Meisel for the greatest of the master's 1920s films.

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Breathe review - heroic but airbrushed struggle against disability

Adam Sweeting

It’s a challenge to review this film without resorting to adjectives like “plucky” and “well-meaning”, and its mainstream comfiness made it a strangely cautious choice for the opening night of the recent London Film Festival. Breathe is not...

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Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami review - a slow study of pop’s enigma

Owen Richards

Who is the real Grace Jones? This is the central question that drives Sophie Fiennes’s documentary, Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami. After 115 minutes, you might be less sure of the answer than when you go in. The title is Jamaican for a recording booth’s red light and bread, the substance of life.

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The Death of Stalin review - dictatorship as high farce

Nick Hasted

Like Steptoe and Son with ideological denouncements, Stalin’s Politburo have known each other too long.

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Dina review - a poignant treat

Owen Richards

Director Dan Sickles has known Dina her entire life. He knows her engaging personality, and he knows her tragic past. It’s the former which he and co-director Antonio Santini feel is worth celebrating in this Sundance award-winning documentary.

Dina is a 48-year-old widow who views the world...

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LFF 2017: Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool / Professor Marston and the Wonder Women reviews - stellar turns by Annette Bening and Rebecca Hall

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 Marilyn; Grace of Monaco was far from Nicole Kidman’s finest hour.

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LFF 2017: Mindhunter / My Generation - Fincher comes to Netflix, Caine does Swinging London

Adam Sweeting

They’re all going into TV nowadays, and here amid the cinematic runners and riders at the LFF is David Fincher directing Mindhunter.

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Loving Vincent review - Van Gogh biopic of sorts lacks language to match its visuals

Matt Wolf

Loving Vincent was clearly a labour of love for all concerned, so I hope it doesn't seem churlish to wish that a Van Gogh biopic some seven or more years in the planning had spent more time at the drawing board.

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The Snowman review - Michael Fassbender can't save Harry Hole

Jasper Rees

The crime novels of Jo Nesbø are rampaging Nordic psycho-operas. The author's Oslo detective Harry Hole is a lofty alcoholic who takes an outrageous pummelling in his pursuit of deranged serial killers. His many adventures fill the crime shelves in bookshops with their fat spines in flashing yellow upper case, but until now he's been kept from the screen.

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LFF 2017: Blade of the Immortal / Redoubtable - Samurai slasher versus the Nouvelle Vague

Adam Sweeting

This is the 100th feature film by Takashi Miike, Japan’s fabled maestro of sex, horror and ultra-violent Yakuza flicks, and here he has found his subject in Hiroake Samura’s Blade of the Immortal manga comics. Manji (Takuya Kimura) is a veteran Samurai haunted by the cruel murder of his sister Machi, but saved from death himself by the “bloodworms” which were fed to him by a mysterious veiled crone and have rendered him immortal.

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