tue 19/02/2019

Film Reviews

69th Berlin Film Festival round-up - what a banal Berlinale

Joseph Walsh

As journalists and critics were enjoying the unseasonably balmy weather in Berlin at the 69th Film Festival, all were wondering – where are all the good films?

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A Private War review - Rosamund Pike burns with passion in well-meaning biopic

Matt Wolf

The Sunday Times war correspondent Marie Colvin lived such a fearless life that it's a shame this celluloid biopic isn't correspondingly brave.

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Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno review - cold carnal overdose from Kechiche

mark Kidel

Abdellatif Kechiche, the Tunisian-French director, is perhaps best known for the lengthy and explicit sex scenes in La vie d’Adèle (Blue is the Warmest Colour).

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The Kid Who Would Be King review - a timeless charmer

Nick Hasted

The Arthurian legend’s tight fit as a Brexit allegory perhaps proves how timeless it is as, buried and bound in the earth by Merlin, Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson) senses the land above is “lost and leaderless”, and ripe for her apocalyptic return.

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Jellyfish review - life on the edge in Margate

Owen Richards

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside – well perhaps not, if Jellyfish is anything to go by. Set in Margate, this independent feature paints a picture of a town and people that have been left behind.

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All Is True review - all's well doesn't end well in limp Shakespeare biopic

Matt Wolf

All may be true but not much is of interest in this Kenneth Branagh-directed film that casts an actor long-steeped in the Bard as a gardening-minded Shakespeare glimpsed in (lushly filmed) retirement.

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The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part review - everything's still awesome

Saskia Baron

Is everything awesome? Indeed it is if you like your movies brightly coloured, packed with jokes and really quite loud. Almost five years after the first Lego movie impressed critics and entranced its target audience of families with young kids, its sequel blasts on to the screen and will probably not disappoint fans of the original. 

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América review - a joyous portrait of young men caring for their aged grandmother

Sarah Kent

What a wonderful little gem! This documentary by American duo Erick Stoll and Chase Whiteside lasts 76 minutes, but I could happily have watched it for hours. The film addresses a desperately sad and difficult issue – what to do with an elderly relative who suffers from dementia and needs constant care – but does so with such a light and compassionate touch that it is pure joy.

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Boy Erased review - gay vs God drama treated with empathy

Tom Birchenough

Joel Edgerton’s second turn as a director is the second film in a year to treat the subject of gay conversion therapy.

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Can You Ever Forgive Me? review - no page unturned in a comedy about literary forgery

Saskia Baron

What is it with all these new films based on biographiesVice, Green Book, The Mule, Stan & Ollie, Colette… and that’s before we even get to the royal romps queening up our screens.

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Burning review - an explosive psychological thriller

Graham Fuller

Burning, which is the first film directed by the Korean master Lee Chang-dong since 2010’s Poetry, begins as the desultory story of a hook-up between a pair of poor, unmotivated millennials – the girl already a lost soul, the boy a wannabe writer saddled with a criminally angry father.

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Crucible of the Vampire review - Neil Morrissey meets lesbian vampires, subtly

Nick Hasted

Ghosts of previous B-movies flit through this low-budget lesbian vampire flick. Part Hammer horror, J-horror, Witchfinder General and The Wicker Man, it is ultimately about a young woman in a very large house full of unpleasant people out for her blood.

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Green Book review - is this Oscar hopeful too good to be true?

Adam Sweeting

With five nominations, Green Book is cruising optimistically towards Oscar night, but it’s not all plain sailing for director Peter Farrelly’s mixed-race fairy tale about a posh black musician and his thuggish Italian minder.

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Velvet Buzzsaw review - an acerbic takedown of the LA art scene

Joseph Walsh

Sitting somewhere between Ruben Östlund’s The Square and Final Destination, Dan Gilroy’s Velvet Buzzsaw is a satirical supernatural thriller that goes for the jugular of the LA art scene.

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The Mule review - good ol' boy rides again

Saskia Baron

Baggage can weigh a movie down. The Mule comes with quite a bit of baggage, and not just the kilos of coke stashed in the car’s trunk. Clint Eastwood’s fifty plus years as a screen icon turned director, his dodgy love life and libertarian politics all make it hard to walk into a cinema showing his latest film without dragging along a whole load of preconceptions.

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Vice review - Christian Bale on surging and satiric form

Matt Wolf

Satire was once thought in America to be that thing that closed on Saturday night. Not here: filmmaker Adam McKay goes the distance with Vice, a hurtling examination of realpolitik that puts Dick Cheney under a spotlight at once satiric and scary. Do we have Dubya's onetime veep to thank for the subsequent rise of Trump and the parlous state of affairs Stateside since then?

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