fri 14/08/2020

Film reviews, news & interviews

Spree review - a wild ride through social media madness

Adam Sweeting

Allergic to that word “influencer”? Afraid that social media is the death of civilisation as we’ve known it? Then this movie may be for you.

Babyteeth review - teenage love and terminal illness in the Sydney suburbs

Markie Robson-Scott

Babyteeth gets off to a terrific start. A semi-naked, manic Moses (Toby Wallace, full of scabby charisma) almost pushes 15-year-old Milla (Eliza Scanlen; Sharp Objects, Little Women) on to the Sydney train tracks as she waits on the platform in her school uniform, carrying her violin. It’s a thunderclap: she’s smitten.

Pinocchio review - wooden heart

Nick Hasted

This seems a perfect project for Matteo Garrone, a director who has found new ways to conjure old Italian dreams, and invests even his most grimly...

Blu-ray: Buster Keaton: Three Films, Vol. 3

Graham Rickson

Every great artist can have an off day, and the the best moments in Eureka’s latest collection of Buster Keaton features are good enough to make one...

Perfect 10 review - a small movie with a big heart

Matt Wolf

We first see Leigh (Frankie Box), the cheeky heroine of Scottish writer-director Eva Riley’s debut feature Perfect 10, hanging upside down during a...

An American Pickle review - sweet and sour screwball comedy

Joseph Walsh

Seth Rogen doubles up for a time-hopping tale that sets the past against the present

Young Ahmed review - jihadist drama misses the mark

Owen Richards

Cannes Best Director-winner has its moments, but focuses on the wrong parts

DVD/Blu-ray: Flash Gordon

Nick Hasted

Cinematic worlds collide in a gorgeous camp classic

Proxima review - family frays before lift-off

Nick Hasted

Eva Green reaches for the stars while raising a daughter in a sober space movie

Make Up review – coming of age in creepy Cornwall

Graham Fuller

Deceptive seaside psychothriller-cum-fairytale heralds the arrival of a gifted director

Unhinged review - road-rage Russ goes gonzo

Adam Sweeting

Russell Crowe's vigilante movie needs more than sadism and savagery

Infamous review - Bonnie and Clyde for the digital age fails to deliver

Joseph Walsh

A violent exploration of the perils of social media

Blu-ray/DVD: Dance, Girl, Dance

Graham Fuller

Dorothy Arzner's duelling dancers melodrama was way ahead of its time

Coincoin and the Extra-Humans review – God's gunk

Graham Fuller

Bruno Dumont's irresistible sequel to 'P'tit Quinquin' splatters rural French bigotry

Blu-ray: Story of a Love Affair

Mark Kidel

Antonioni's overlooked first film is a masterpiece

Saint Frances review - relatable and honest

Markie Robson-Scott

Abortion, periods, post-natal depression: taboo busting with a light touch

How to Build a Girl review - riotous fun

Owen Richards

Caitlin Moran’s film debut is a hilarious ode to self-love

Piranhas review - riding with the teenage gangs of Naples

Adam Sweeting

Adaptation of Roberto Saviano novel explores crime as a hereditary condition

DVD/Blu-ray: A Rainy Day in New York

Graham Fuller

Woody Allen's latest paean to the city of his dreams is witty, polished, and worrying

Blu-ray: Scorsese Shorts

Demetrios Matheou

A rewarding return to five early short films by an American master

DVD: Who You Think I Am

Kathryn Reilly

Can you really become another person online? Binoche goes catfishing

Come As You Are review - a road trip with a difference

Owen Richards

Comedy about sex and disability is full of heart and laughs

Good Manners review - compellingly eerie

Matt Wolf

Daring Brazilian film defies genres

Clemency review - devastating death row drama

Joseph Walsh

Alfre Woodard gives a powerhouse performance as a death row prison warden

DVD/Blu-ray: Moffie

India Lewis

Young love and brutal violence in the theatre of war

Blu-ray: Black Rainbow

Nick Hasted

Piquant Americana and Rosanna Arquette's haunted medium mark Mike Hodges' forgotten mood piece

Love Sarah review - missing key ingredients

Matt Wolf

Cookery-themed comedy needs spicing up

Scoob! review - mostly bark, little bite

Owen Richards

Feature adaptation crams in a lot of references but not much substance

Finding The Way Back review - alcoholism on the rebound

Joseph Walsh

Ben Affleck delivers a great comeback performance as a recovering alcoholic

Footnote: a brief history of British film

England was movie-mad long before the US. Contrary to appearances in a Hollywood-dominated world, the celluloid film process was patented in London in 1890 and by 1905 minute-long films of news and horse-racing were being made and shown widely in purpose-built cinemas, with added sound. The race to set up a film industry, though, was swiftly won by the entrepreneurial Americans, attracting eager new UK talents like Charlie Chaplin. However, it was a British film that in 1925 was the world's first in-flight movie, and soon the arrival of young suspense genius Alfred Hitchcock and a new legal requirement for a "quota" of British film in cinemas assisted a golden age for UK film. Under the leadership of Alexander Korda's London Films, Hitchcock's Blackmail (1929) is considered the first true sound movie, documentary techniques developed and the first Technicolor movies were made.

Brief_EncounterWhen war intervened, British filmmakers turned effectively to lean, effective propaganda documentaries and heroic, studio-based war-films. After Hitchcock too left for Hollywood, David Lean launched into an epic career with Brief Encounter (pictured), Powell and Pressburger took up the fantasy mantle with The Red Shoes, while Carol Reed created Anglo films noirs such as The Third Man. Fifties tastes were more domestic, with Ealing comedies succeeded by Hammer horror and Carry-Ons; and more challenging in the Sixties, with New Wave films about sex and class by Lindsay Anderson, Joseph Losey and Tony Richardson. But it was Sixties British escapism which finally went global: the Bond films, Lean's Dr Zhivago, Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music made Sean Connery, Julie Christie and Julie Andrews Hollywood's top stars.

In the 1970s, recession and the TV boom undermined cinema-going and censorship changes brought controversy: a British porn boom and scandals over The Devils, Straw Dogs and A Clockwork Orange. While Hollywood fielded Spielberg, Coppola and Scorsese epics, Britain riposted with The Killing Fields, Chariots of Fire and Gandhi, but 1980s recession dealt a sharp blow to British cinema, and the Rank Organisation closed, after more than half a century. However more recently social comedies such as Four Weddings and a Funeral and The Full Monty, and royal dramas such as The Queen and The King's Speech have enhanced British reputation for wit, social observation and character acting.

As more films are globally co-produced, the success of British individual talents has come to outweigh the modest showing of the industry itself. Every week The Arts Desk reviews latest releases as well as leading international film festivals, and features in-depth career interviews with leading stars. Its writers include Jasper Rees, Graham Fuller, Anne Billson, Nick Hasted, Alexandra Coghlan, Veronica Lee, Emma Simmonds, Adam Sweeting and Matt Wolf

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