mon 22/05/2017

Film Reviews

Inversion review - acutely observed drama of Tehran family strife

tom Birchenough

Inversion may not be the catchiest of titles, but in the case of Iranian director Behnam Behzadi’s film its associations are multifarious. On the immediate level it refers to the “thermal inversion” that generates the smogs that engulf his location, Tehran, and also direct his story....

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King Arthur: Legend of the Sword review - Guy Ritchie's deadly weapon

jasper Rees

Guy Ritchie is back birthing turkeys. Who can remember/forget that triptych of stiffs Swept Away, Revolver and RocknRolla? Now, having redemptively bashed his CV back into shape with the assistance of Sherlock Holmes, the mockney rebel turns to another of England’s heritage icons in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.

Do, however, dump that fantasy of yours of a triumphant return to the multiplex for medieval chivalry and courtly romance. Messrs Malory...

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The Secret Scripture review - Jim Sheridan's turgid homecoming

matt Wolf

It's the church wot done it! That's the unexceptional takeaway proffered by Jim Sheridan's first Irish film in 20 years, which is to say ever since the director of My Left Foot and The Boxer hit the big time. But despite a starry and often glamorous cast featuring Vanessa Redgrave (in...

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Frantz review - François Ozon in sombre mood: it works

tom Birchenough

François Ozon’s Frantz is an exquisitely sad film, its crisp black and white cinematography shot through with mourning. The French director, in a work where the main language is German, engages with the aftermath of World War One, and the moment when the returning rhythms of life only...

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Miss Sloane review - Jessica Chastain lobbies hard for your vote

jasper Rees

For a demoralising period towards the start of Miss Sloane, it looks as if we’re in for a high-octane thriller about palm oil. That’s right, palm oil. Everything you never wanted to know about the ethics and economics of the palm oil market is splurged in frenetic, rat-a-tat, overlapping, school-of-Sorkin dialogue. After 10 minutes your ears need a rest on a park bench.

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Alien: Covenant review - we've seen most of this before

adam Sweeting

When Ridley Scott returned to his hideous intergalactic monster with Prometheus five years ago, he brought with him a new panoramic vision encompassing infinite space, several millennia of time and the entire history of human existence. With Alien: Covenant, he makes a more modest proposal.

Picture,...

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Mindhorn review - Eighties detective spoof is a hoot

jasper Rees

To appreciate the full engaging silliness of Mindhorn, it helps to have been born no later than 1980. Those of the requisite vintage will have encountered the lame primetime pap it both salutes and satirises. Everyone else coming to this spoof will just have to take it on trust that things, admittedly not all of them British, were indeed this bad back in the day.

The eponymous detective of the...

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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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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 review - complacent, tedious, cynical

Saskia Baron

The original Guardians of the Galaxy from 2014 had a freshness to its humour and introduced audiences to a set of novel characters; unfortunately, the sequel is overstuffed with ageing movie stars trying to get a slice of the action. There’s always a camp knowingness about Marvel scripts, it's one of the studio's charms, but here the overt cynicism begins to drag with lines like "We’re really going to be able to jack up our price if we’re two-times galaxy saviours".

Foul-...

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The Promise review - genocide reduced to melodrama

adam Sweeting

The Armenian genocide by the Ottomans during and after World War One killed 1.5 million people and is a wound that won’t heal for Armenians, though modern-day Turkey continues to insist that no genocide occurred.

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Lady Macbeth review - 'memorably nasty'

nick Hasted

The Scottish play’s traces are faint in this bloody, steamy tale of feminist psychosis.

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Heal the Living review - 'lots of emotion, not enough life'

markie Robson-Scott

Three teenage boys meet at dawn. One of them, blonde and beautiful Simon (Gabin Verdet), jumps out of his girlfriend’s window and rides his bike through the dark Lyon streets to meet the others in their van. They drive almost silently to the beach, put on wetsuits and catch waves. A grey sea, a grey sky: we can hardly see where foam ends and cloud begins. It’s mesmerising, wordless, and the camerawork is superb, as is Alexandre Desplat’s score.

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Unforgettable review - forgettable film

demetrios Matheou

Within seconds – literally seconds – of Unforgettable it becomes apparent that this is the kind of film that in the late Eighties and Nineties used to be referred to as “straight to video”, a label that covered a plethora of trashy, sexist, by-the-numbers psycho and erotic thrillers that beat a hasty route to Blockbuster.

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Clash review - 'a nation in crisis'

adam Sweeting

An Egyptian/French co-production directed by Egyptian film-maker Mohamed Diab, Clash is a fevered, chaotic attempt to portray some of the tangled undercurrents that fuelled Egypt’s “Arab Spring” and its subsequent unravelling.

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Their Finest review - undone by feeble female characterisation

Saskia Baron

Yet another excuse to snuggle down with some cosy wartime nostalgia, Their Finest is purportedly a tribute to women’s undervalued role in the British film industry. Unfortunately it comes over more blah than Blitz.

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The Handmaiden review - 'opulently lurid'

nick Hasted

Park Chan-wook is a Korean decadent and moralist who’d have plenty to say to Aubrey Beardsley.

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