sun 29/05/2022

Film Reviews

Elizabeth: A Portrait in Parts review - she is a human being

Nick Hasted

Roger Michell’s films described a range of Englishness, from Notting Hill’s foppish comedy to acerbically humane Hanif Kureishi scripts (Venus, The Mother, The Buddha of Suburbia), Cornish Gothic (My Cousin Rachel) and his last feature, The Duke, which warmed working-class malcontent Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren’s frozen marriage with Wellington’s stolen portrait.

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Between Two Worlds review - Juliette Binoche, maid in France

Sebastian Scotney

For die-hard Juliette Binoche fans – don’t cross us, we get angry – Between Two Worlds is heaven. The French star hardly ever leaves the screen during the film’s 106 minutes. It was her unwavering detemination that ensured the film came to be made in the first place. 

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Luzzu review - a Maltese fisherman struggles with modernity

Markie Robson-Scott

In Maltese-American Alex Camilleri’s debut feature, it’s a case of follow the swordfish. This terrifically atmospheric, almost documentary-like film – Camilleri cites Italian neo-realism, including Visconti’s La Terra Trema, as an influence – tells the story of Jesmark, a real-life Maltese fisherman (Jesmark Scicluna). It also encapsulates a dying culture.

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The Deathless Woman review - the overlooked persecution of the Roma people

Saskia Baron

One of the more heartwarming images in the news recently has been seeing Ukrainian refugees being welcomed by their eastern European neighbours. But there’s been very few mentions of how centuries-old European hostility to the Roma people, gypsies, and Travellers, has prevailed. These Ukrainians with an equally urgent need for refuge from violent Russian invaders have been met all too often with closed doors and closed borders. 

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Benediction review - the world's worst wounds

Graham Fuller

Terence Davies’s Benediction is a haunting but uneven biopic of the World War I poet Siegfried Sassoon and a drama about the burden of incalculable loss.

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Top Gun: Maverick review - Tom Cruise defies age and gravity

Adam Sweeting

Only 36 years later, Tom Cruise is back with his eagerly-awaited Top Gun sequel (it was delayed a couple of years by Covid), and there are loyal legions of fans out there desperate to see it. The original, some say, in some way helped to “define” the 1980s, grossing $360m and spinning off a monster multi-platinum soundtrack album, headlined by Berlin’s cheesy synthetic megaballad “Take My Breath Away”....

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I Get Knocked Down, Brighton Festival review - Chumbawamba singer's film is lively, funny and thought-provoking

Thomas H Green

One effect of the film I Get Knocked Down, a playfully constructed journey around the life of Chumbawamba vocalist Dunstan Bruce, is to remind that socio-political rage was once woven into the fabric of popular music.

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The Innocents review - they're just playing

Harry Thorfinn-

The Innocents made a splash at Cannes in 2021 and it’s easy to see why. The Norwegian supernatural thriller, deftly written and directed by Eskil Vogt (who co-wrote The Worst Person In the World), explores the murky time in childhood when moral boundaries are still being drawn.

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Vortex review – an old couple's road to nowhere

Graham Fuller

Life, opined Thomas Hobbes, is “nasty, brutish, and short”. In Gaspar Noé’s Vortex it’s not short enough for a dementia-afflicted octogenarian psychiatrist (Françoise Lebrun) and her addled film critic husband (giallo auteur Dario Argento), whose joint decline is a protracted saga of alienation, confusion, and fear.

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Everything Everywhere All at Once review - brace yourself

Saskia Baron

Everything Everywhere All at Once is one of those films that are guaranteed to make an audience feel their age. Unless you’re steeped in the multiverse genre (The Matrix films, the Marvel canon, etc.) and are comfortable with absurdist pop culture memes, it may well leave you reeling.

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The Quiet Girl review - finding a home away from home

Markie Robson-Scott

The Quiet Girl is adapted faithfully from Claire Keegan’s wonderful short story, Foster, first published in the New Yorker magazine in 2010 and then expanded into a novella.

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This Much I Know to Be True review - Nick Cave’s redemption songs

Nick Hasted

Nick Cave’s cinematic progress has been unexpectedly, catastrophically personal. 20,000 Days On Earth (2014) introduced Bad Seed Warren Ellis as his droll, wild-bearded foil, with scripted, semi-fictitious revelations.

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Eleven Days in May review – children pay the price of war

Nick Hasted

In another flare-up of Pyrrhic Hamas missiles and punitive Israeli bombing one year ago, over 60 Gazan children were killed. Michael Winterbottom and his Palestinian co-director Mohammad Sawwaf made Eleven Days in May as a “simple memorial to the children who lost their lives”. Sawwaf interviewed surviving relatives, who detailed those lives and erased futures. The result is an understated, unanswerable anti-war film.

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Doctor Strange in The Multiverse Of Madness – not strange, not mad

Nick Hasted

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is at its most radical and corporate here; maybe decadent is the word. We start with surgeon turned sorcerer Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) threatened then slaughtered in a cosmic chase sequence. It’s just a dream, then it isn’t, and so is/isn’t pretty much everything that follows.

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Wild Men review - Danish-Norwegian black comedy

Saskia Baron

There are films that, after seeing the trailer, I very much expect to love. But when the actual movie is disappointing, I find writing the review makes me just a little bit sad. Unfortunately, Wild Men is one of those movies. Billed as a comedy-thriller, it doesn’t quite make the grade on either front, it's not gripping enough as a policier and the jokes often fall flat. 

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Barry & Joan review - quirky documentary about two vaudevillians

Veronica Lee

If the state of the world is a little too bleak for you right now, do yourself a favour and watch this utterly charming documentary about Barry and Joan Grantham, a couple who have been married and performing together for several decades (Audrey Rumsby's film is vague on the details, but archive clips of them performing date back to the late 1940s). 

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