tue 17/09/2019

biopic

DVD/Blu-ray: Rosa Luxemburg

Barbara Sukowa won Best Actress at Cannes in 1986 for her title role in Margarethe von Trotta’s Rosa Luxemburg, and the power of her performance looks every bit as engaging and insistent today. A century after Luxemburg’s death (she was...

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Mary Queen of Scots review - Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie excel

Very much a woman of today, the Catholic Stuart heroine (Saoirse Ronan) of Mary Queen of Scots frequently hacks her way out of a thicket of power-hungry males, enjoys it when her English suitor Lord Darnley (Jack Lowden) goes down on her, and is...

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Stan and Ollie review - a worthy double act

Stan & Ollie unfolds mostly during Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy’s 1953 British concert tour, when the boys were on their last legs as a comedy act – Hardy was physically spent – but still showing flashes of their old genius. The lure of the tour...

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Colette review - Keira Knightley thrives in Paris

In a telling scene midway through Colette, our lead is told that rather than get used to marriage, it is “better to make marriage get used to you.” In this retelling of the remarkable Colette’s rise, it is evident she did much more than that; by the...

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Bohemian Rhapsody review – all surface, no soul

If a Queen biopic called for drama, scandal and outrage, then Bohemian Rhapsody spent its fill in production. Several Freddies had been and gone, rumours swirling about meddling band members, and then director Bryan Singer’s assault accusations...

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LFF 2018: Roma review – Alfonso Cuarón’s triumphant return to Mexico

It’s not for nothing that Alfonso Cuarón’s mercurial CV includes Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, because this director really knows something about alchemy. His last, the Oscar-winning Gravity, was a science fiction spectacular...

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First Man - Neil Armstrong's giant leap

Echoes of Phil Kaufman’s 1983 classic The Right Stuff resonate through Damien Chazelle’s new account of how Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. The Right Stuff ended with the conclusion of America’s Mercury space programme in...

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DVD: Mary Shelley

This should have been the perfect match. Saudi-born director Haifaa al-Mansour earned real acclaim for her 2012 debut film Wadjda, whose 12-year-old central character had to break the conventions of a restrictive society to realise her dream –...

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DVD: Al Berto

There are plenty of reasons to be apprehensive about biopics of poets. The activity of writing is most often, after all, anything but cinematic, unless its moments of creativity are forced, while the “myth” of the poet all too easily becomes...

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Blu-ray: Mishima - A Life in Four Chapters

So much of Japan can be lost in translation, and yet the West is fascinated by a culture that articulates the possibilities of belief and being in such a different mode than our own. Paul Schrader’s now classic 1985 film on the writer and actor...

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Michel Hazanavicius: 'Losing himself is how he found himself'

French director Michel Hazanavicius made a name for himself with his OSS 117 spy spoofs, Nest of Spies (2006) and Lost in Rio (2009), set in the Fifties and Sixties respectively and starring Jean Dujardin as a somewhat idiotic...

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Crowhurst review - plucky indie wins race with rival

Perhaps it’s fitting that Donald Crowhurst should once more find himself in a race. Even more aptly, it’s a race against himself. You wait half a century for a biopic about the round-the-world yachtsman who disappeared off the face of the earth, and...

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