tue 09/08/2022

Film Reviews

King Richard review - Will Smith gives an affecting performance as Richard Williams

Veronica Lee

It's difficult to know if this biopic of Richard Williams – father of Venus Williams and Serena Williams, two of the greatest tennis players ever (perhaps the greatest in the latter's case) – is true to the facts, or just a version of them.

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Bruised review - Halle Berry takes the blows and does it her way

Adam Sweeting

A classic specimen of the “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” school, Bruised is Halle Berry’s directorial debut.

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Mothering Sunday review - Odessa Young shines in adaptation of Graham Swift's novella

Markie Robson-Scott

30 March 1924.

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Spencer review – daring, strange and deeply moving

Demetrios Matheou

We ought to be sated with the Royal Family right now – on screen, given the riches of The Crown, and in general, what with the persistent, annoying buzz emitted by Harry and Meghan, or the odour of Andrew. So, it’s testimony to the enduring fascination with Princess Diana and the wonderful, singular filmmaking of Pablo Larraín that there’s room for more.

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Last Night in Soho review - hung over

Demetrios Matheou

Take a bitter-sweet homage to Swinging Sixties London, then add a psychological horror story, and a murder mystery, with a dash of Mean Girls and a commentary on misogyny and sexual violence, all told through the prism of a young woman’s gift for seeing the dead. Edgar Wright has apparently been thinking about Last Night in Soho for more than a decade, which may explain why the final film feels so very over-cooked. 

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Quant review - Sadie Frost's debut documentary skirts the genius of Mary Quant

Markie Robson-Scott

As a teenager in 1967, I asked for a Mary Quant make-up box for Christmas and my parents reluctantly complied.

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Dune review - awesome display of sci-fi world-building

Demetrios Matheou

I’d venture that Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 sci-fi classic is an almost perfect adaptation.

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The Velvet Underground review - Todd Haynes tunnels through band history

Saskia Baron

Todd Haynes’ documentary about the Velvet Underground has to be one of the better uses of time by a film-maker during the Covid pandemic. He spent lockdown putting the film together with a team of archivists and editors working remotely. It’s a beautifully shot and ingeniously collaged portrait of the decadent New York band which weaves together an extraordinary wealth of archive footage and some choice and apposite interviews. 

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Gabriela Montero, Kings Place review - improvising to a Chaplin classic is the icing on a zesty cake

David Nice

As the Statue of Liberty appears in Charlie Chaplin’s The Immigrant, our improvising pianist proclaims “The Star-Spangled Banner”, only for it to slide dangerously.

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No Time to Die review - Daniel Craig’s bold, bountiful Bond farewell

Demetrios Matheou

In order to preserve its impact for the millions lining up to see it, it won’t be possible to truly dissect the boldness and significance of No Time to Die until the dust has settled on the box office, and moves to find Daniel Craig’s successor as James Bond go up a gear. For review purposes, the most astounding aspects of the script may as well be redacted. 

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Oliver Sacks: His Own Life review - a complex portrait of a complex man

Saskia Baron

It’s well worth tracking down one of the September 29 special cinema screenings of Ric Burns' lovingly made documentary portrait of the writer and neurologist Oliver Sacks, or seeking it out online.

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Gagarine review - hazy cosmic jive in a Paris banlieue

Markie Robson-Scott

This is the story of a boy and a building. Sixteen-year-old Youri (newcomer Alseni Bathily) lives, with his telescope, in Cité Gagarine, a vast red-brick Sixties apartment complex in Ivry-sur-Seine, an eastern suburb of Paris governed by the French Communist party.

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The Ballad of Billy McCrae review - beware the quarryman's beautiful daughter

Graham Fuller

An entertaining but undernourished industrial-domestic neo-noir set in South Wales,The Ballad of Billy McCrae depicts the power struggle between bent quarrying company boss Billy (David Hayman) and gullible failed businessman Chris Blythe (Ian Virgo), the story’s fall-guy protagonist.

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The Story of Looking review – bedside musings on how and what we see

Sarah Kent

Mark Cousins, the multi-award winning director of this strange film, is lying in bed watching Ray Charles speaking on the Dick Cavett Show in 1972. The singer went blind in childhood; how would he respond if offered the chance to see again? “I might turn it down,” says Charles.

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Rose Plays Julie review - a sombre story of rape, adoption and a search for identity

Markie Robson-Scott

Rose (Ann Skelly; The Nevers) is adopted. The name on her birth certificate is Julie and the possibility of a different identity – different clothes, different hair, different accent - beckons. If she could embrace this second life, she thinks, she could be the person she was meant to be. “I’d be the real me.”

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The Starling, Netflix review - a slender idea unsatisfyingly executed

Adam Sweeting

Despite an alluring cast which includes Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd and Kevin Kline, The Starling is doomed to be remembered, if at all, as a slender idea unsatisfyingly executed.

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