thu 24/08/2017

Film Reviews

American Made review - Tom Cruise flies again

jasper Rees

How funny are gun-running, drug-smuggling and money-laundering? It depends who’s doing it. In American Made none other than Tom Cruise gets behind the wheel 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.

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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...

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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...

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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,...

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Citizen Jane review - portrait of a New York toughie

markie Robson-Scott

When you’re next strolling through Washington Square Park, or SoHo, or the West Village, you can thank Jane Jacobs that those New York neighbourhoods have survived (though she'd blanch at the price of real estate). Four-lane highways almost dissected and ruined them in the mid-Fifties, but her grass-roots activism saved those higgledy-piggledy streets.

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Atomic Blonde review - ferocious female action franchise

nick Hasted

Bowie’s “Cat People (Putting Out Fire)” plays as Charlize Theron’s Lorraine Broughton makes her entrance. She’s the last Cold War super-spy, a female Bond sent to Berlin as the Wall crumbles. “Killer Queen”, prominent on early trailers, would have done just as well.

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Maudie review - intriguing and irritating in turn

matt Wolf

The little-known Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis is the Maudie of the title of Aisling Walsh's grim-faced biopic, which feels frustratingly incomplete where it really counts.

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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets review - Rihanna on pole can't save tiring space opera

Saskia Baron

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets starts promisingly: there’s Bowie’s Space Oddity on the soundtrack (a bit clichéd but evocative) and a sly montage of personnel handovers at an international space station over the decades.

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The Ghoul review - quietly unhinged British horror

nick Hasted

The Ghoul is an occult British thriller about depression, with a bleakly poetic view of London, and a seedy sadness at its core. This sensibility is greatly helped by its star Tom Meeten, who as police detective Chris is haggard and run-down, ready to flinch at the world.

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Williams review - much more than a film about motor racing

adam Sweeting

The sobriquet “the greatest living Englishman” has been applied to such diverse individuals as Keith Richards, Winston Churchill and Alan Bennett, but the bookies would surely offer reasonable odds on Sir Frank Williams. Having founded his current motor racing team in 1977, Williams has provided rapid transit for an array of world champions, Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill among them.

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The Wall review - action undercut by too much talk

adam Sweeting

Movies which essentially consist of a central character trapped in a difficult predicament can be great (Tom Hardy in Locke), or more likely not so great (Colin Farrell in Phone Booth or Ryan Reynolds in Buried).

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The Big Sick review - enchanting romcom about mixed marriages

jasper Rees

The Big Sick is an enchanting film from the Judd Apatow comedy production line. Don’t be put off by the terrible title. There are two forms of sickness on display in the story of Kumail Nanjiani, a Pakistani American who plays himself in his own autobiographical romantic comedy.

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Victim review - timely re-release for attack on homophobia

graham Fuller

Victim was released in 1961. Six years would pass before the passing of the Sexual Offences Act cautiously exempted from prosecution men over 20 who had consensual sex in private.

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