fri 17/08/2018

Film Reviews

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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The Florida Project - bright indie flick packs a punch

Owen Richards

Sean Baker’s The Florida Project is a wonderful ode to childhood summers and America’s forgotten class.

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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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