wed 20/06/2018

Film Reviews

Victoria and Abdul review - Judi Dench's Queen Victoria retread battles creaky script

Matt Wolf

The charm quickly palls in Victoria and Abdul, a watery sequel of sorts to Mrs Brown that salvages what lustre it can from its octogenarian star, the indefatigable Judi Dench. Illuminating a little-known friendship between Queen Victoria in her waning years and the Indian servant, Abdul Karim (Ali...

Read more...

Insyriated review - claustrophobic terror in a Damascus war zone

Tom Birchenough

It doesn’t take long, I think, to work out the associations of the title of Insyriated: we are surely being presented with a variation of “incarceration”, one tinged by the very specific context of the conflict that has ravaged Syria for six years now. But there’s a certain ambiguity at the centre of Belgian...

Read more...

IT review - killer clown is kids' stuff

Nick Hasted

Stephen King’s IT attempted ultimate terror, cutting far deeper than a killer clown.

Read more...

God's Own Country review - a raw, rural masterpiece

Tom Birchenough

There are many outstanding things in writer-director Francis Lee’s remarkable first feature, and prime among them is the sense that nature herself has a distinct presence in the story. It brings home how rarely we see life on the land depicted in British cinema with any credibility. God's Own...

Read more...

Una review - 'Blackbird' adaptation loses its stage intensity

Matt Wolf

Add Una to the ever-lengthening list of mediocre films adapted from fine plays. In London and New York, David Harrower’s Blackbird was an entirely harrowing two-hander: a symbiotic portrait of the damage wrought by desire that also happened to function as a first-class vehicle for actors as disparate as...

Read more...

The Limehouse Golem review - horrible history with a twist

Jasper Rees

How many more throats must be slit in 19th-century London before the river of blood starts to clot? The Limehouse Golem follows the gory footprints of Sweeney Todd and various riffs on the Ripper legend. Based on Peter Ackroyd’s 1994 novel Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem, this belated ...

Read more...

Patti Cake$ review - endearing tale of a big girl with big dreams

Saskia Baron

Hearing that a music video director has just made their first feature film generally strikes fear into my heart. But in this instance, Geremy Jasper has done a pretty good job, directing a warm and quirky drama about a young woman from a working-class, chaotic family who dreams of being a famous rapper.

Patti Cake$ is an archetypal indie film, the kind that are...

Read more...

Moon Dogs review - gritty, refreshing and very funny

David Kettle

It’s a road movie, a rites-of-passage drama, a romantic comedy (even a teen sex romp at times), by turns whimsical, brooding and downright dark. Moon Dogs seems pulled in so many directions at once that it’s a wonder the film holds together at all. But hold together it does, and it does far more than that.

Read more...

Hotel Salvation review - a moving meditation on the end

Tom Birchenough

There’s a rare combination of the sacred and the secular in Shubhashish Bhutiani’s debut feature Hotel Salvation (Mukti Bhawan). The young Indian director developed the film through a Venice festival production support programme awarded on the strength of his short film Kush, a prize-...

Read more...

American Made review - Tom Cruise flies again

Jasper Rees

How funny are gun-running, drug-smuggling and money-laundering? It depends who’s doing them. In American Made none other than Tom Cruise gets behind the controls of a twin-engine plane and flies back to the 1980s, a sepia-tinted yesteryear when all America had to worry about was commies and cocaine.

Read more...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power review - Al Gore's urgent update

Demetrios Matheou

When An Inconvenient Truth won the best documentary Oscar 10 years ago, the film’s success marked two significant events: a positive turning point in the campaign to avert environmental catastrophe; and the resurrection of the...

Read more...

The Hitman's Bodyguard - potty-mouthed, turgid waste of talents

Saskia Baron

No cliché is left unturned in this odd-couple action comedy. Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L Jackson are the salt ‘n’ pepper rival bad-boys on the run. Cue shoot outs and high-speed vehicle chases through assorted European cities, interspersed with routine bouts of mutually insulting dialogue before bromance blossoms. Come back, Eddie Murphy/Nick Nolte, Chris Rock/Anthony Hopkins, Will Smith/Tommy Lee Jones, Mel Gibson/Danny Glover, all is forgiven.

Ryan Reynolds plays Michael Bryce, a...

Read more...

Quest review - intimate documentary about a north Philly community

Markie Robson-Scott

Christopher Rainey, aka "Quest" – his hip-hop name – lives with his wife Christine’a and their young daughter PJ in north Philadelphia.

Read more...

Final Portrait review - utterly convincing portrayal of an artist at work

Sarah Kent

I hate biopics about artists in which the portrayal of “genius” is hyped to the point where it becomes a ludicrous cliché. Although I appreciate that, as far as entertainment goes, seeing pigment brushed onto canvas is on a par with watching paint dry, I still can’t forgive directors who resort to dramatic extremes in the hope of evoking the tribulations of the creative process.

Read more...

A Ghost Story review - spellbinding vision of life, death and time

Markie Robson-Scott

A Ghost Story must be the first film with a sheet – a very expressive one – in the leading role. Beneath it is C (Casey Affleck), with two holes for eyes. It’s funny at first, but the Halloween cliché is rapidly transcended. C, a musician, haunts the faded ranch house in Texas where he lived with his wife M (Rooney Mara) before his death in a car crash nearby.

Read more...

Tom of Finland review - engaging biopic of gay pioneer

Tom Birchenough

Finnish director Dome Karukoski has made a sympathetic and quietly stylish biopic of Touko Laaksonen, the artist who did as much as anyone to define 20th century male gay visual culture. There’s a degree of irony in the fact that we know him by his national pseudonym – he started signing his work “Tom” for anonymity,...

Read more...

Pages

latest in today

CD: Kamasi Washington - Heaven and Earth

It would always be difficult to follow The Epic, the 2015 release which turned LA saxophonist Kamasi Washington from leader of...

Enter theartsdesk / h Club Young Influencer of the Year awar...

Are you a young blogger, vlogger or writer in the field of the arts, books and culture? If so, we've a competition for you to enter.

The...

Natural World: The Super Squirrels, BBC Two review - silline...

Squirrels are a breed as diverse as they are ubiquitous: they inhabit environments as extreme as desert and tundra, and all the lush greenery,...

Ismaili a Go-Go: How the Aga Khan funded a music renaissance

Many of us recognise that rather striking modernist building in Cromwell Gardens near South Kensington tube, having seen it on the way to the V...

Bach Weekend, Barbican review - vivid and vibrant celebratio...

John Eliot Gardiner was 75 in April, and to celebrate, the...

Blu-ray: Force of Evil

Force of Evil is much more than a stunning film...

Falstaff, Garsington Opera review - Sir John under pressure

All those pranks, set-ups, fake letters and disguises, they just keep coming thick and fast in...

Scorpions/ Megadeth, O2 Arena review - by turns lavish, sill...

Scorpions stepped on stage wearing leather jackets and shades, and launched straight into "Going Out With a Bang". For a...