sun 16/12/2018

Film reviews, news & interviews

Springsteen on Broadway, Netflix review - one-man band becomes one-man show

Adam Sweeting

When Bruce Springsteen’s one-man show opened at the Walter Kerr Theatre on New York’s West 48th Street in October last year it was only supposed to run for six weeks.

Lizzie review - murder most meticulous

Adam Sweeting

The story of Lizzie Borden, controversially acquitted of murdering her father and stepmother with an axe in Fall River, Massachusetts in 1892, has been explored many times on screen and in print (there’s even an opera and a musical version, not to mention the Los Angeles metal band Lizzy Borden).

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse review - a new...

Joseph Walsh

After Sam Raimi’s original mixed-bag trilogy, Andrew Garfield’s all too familiar outing as the webslinger, and last year’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, it...

The Old Man & the Gun review - sundown on...

Adam Sweeting

Despite having enjoyed a prolific few years in which he has appeared in (among others) All Is Lost, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Truth and...

DVD: The Workshop

Tom Birchenough

Laurent Cantet’s The Workshop (L’Atelier) is something of a puzzle. There’s a fair deal that recalls his marvellous 2009 Palme d’Or winner The Class...

DVD: The Heiresses

Tom Birchenough

Disruptions of a defined world beautifully observed in an accomplished Paraguayan debut

The Best Films Out Now


theartsdesk recommends the top movies of the moment

Disobedience review - tough love

Nick Hasted

Two more fantastic women, as Sebastian Lelio explores lesbian love in a cold religious climate

Three Identical Strangers review - an extraordinary true story

Saskia Baron

Award-winning documentary that turns from light to shade

DVD/Blu-ray: Columbus

Tom Birchenough

Architecture heals solitary souls in an auteur gem

DVD: The Man from Mo'Wax

Thomas H Green

Sometimes absorbing, sometimes morose documentary on London's 1990s kingpin of underground instrumental hip hop beats

Shoplifters review - deserved Cannes prize winner

Saskia Baron

Honour among thieves; beautifully nuanced portrait of life on Tokyo's margins

The Girl in the Spider's Web review - Claire Foy leathers up

Jasper Rees

From Lilibet to Lisbeth, the star of The Crown plays the queen of Nordic noir

DVD/Blu-ray: Invention for Destruction

Graham Rickson

A steampunk delight: Karel Zeman's first international success returns

Siberia review - Keanu Reeves's duff Russian mission

Tom Baily

Crime thriller gets lost in the wilderness

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald review - mischief not quite managed

Joseph Walsh

Convoluted mythology stops second Potter prequel from flying

Laurent Cantet: 'Young people have different preoccupations nowadays' – interview

Demetrios Matheou

The award-winning director discusses his new film, The Workshop, in which some newbie writers get in a tizz over the fine line between fact and fiction

Suspiria review - kindly, slow-motion grand guignol

Nick Hasted

Horror shocker remade with heartfelt emotion

Widows review - feminist crime pays

Nick Hasted

Steve McQueen coolly recalibrates the heist film

Overlord review - nightmares in Normandy

Adam Sweeting

War is worse than hell in JJ Abrams-produced D-Day shocker

Wildlife review - Paul Dano's tense directorial debut

Graham Fuller

Carey Mulligan does some of the most dangerous acting of her career in period drama

DVD/Blu-ray: Hitler's Hollywood

Mark Kidel

Unwrapping the sugar-coated cover-up that was Nazi cinema

DVD: Anchor & Hope

Tom Birchenough

Dilemmas of love, responsibility make for bearable lightness of being on London's canals

DVD: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box

Graham Rickson

Clean, healthy and (mostly) intelligent - three discs of wholesome family fun

Peterloo review - Mike Leigh's angry historical drama

Veronica Lee

Sprawling and wordy, but riveting

The Yukon Assignment review - two men in a boat test father-son bond

Tom Baily

British documentary adventure explores Canadian wilderness

DVD: Reinventing Marvin

Tom Birchenough

Moving from raw to mannered, partial Edouard Louis adaptation only partly convinces

Michael Caine: Blowing the Bloody Doors Off review - an actor's handbook, annotated by experience

Marina Vaizey

'And Other Lessons in Life' from the Grand Old Man of the British screen

Erik Poppe and Andrea Berntzen: 'When white young men do stuff like this, we just shake our heads'

Owen Richards

Director and lead actor of Utoya: July 22 on working with survivors to recreate the Norwegian terror attack

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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