thu 21/10/2021

Film Reviews

Dune review - awesome display of sci-fi world-building

Demetrios Matheou

I’d venture that Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 sci-fi classic is an almost perfect adaptation.

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The Velvet Underground review - Todd Haynes tunnels through band history

Saskia Baron

Todd Haynes’ documentary about the Velvet Underground has to be one of the better uses of time by a film-maker during the Covid pandemic. He spent lockdown putting the film together with a team of archivists and editors working remotely. It’s a beautifully shot and ingeniously collaged portrait of the decadent New York band which weaves together an extraordinary wealth of archive footage and some choice and apposite interviews. 

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Gabriela Montero, Kings Place review - improvising to a Chaplin classic is the icing on a zesty cake

David Nice

As the Statue of Liberty appears in Charlie Chaplin’s The Immigrant, our improvising pianist proclaims “The Star-Spangled Banner”, only for it to slide dangerously.

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No Time to Die review - Daniel Craig’s bold, bountiful Bond farewell

Demetrios Matheou

In order to preserve its impact for the millions lining up to see it, it won’t be possible to truly dissect the boldness and significance of No Time to Die until the dust has settled on the box office, and moves to find Daniel Craig’s successor as James Bond go up a gear. For review purposes, the most astounding aspects of the script may as well be redacted. 

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Oliver Sacks: His Own Life review - a complex portrait of a complex man

Saskia Baron

It’s well worth tracking down one of the September 29 special cinema screenings of Ric Burns' lovingly made documentary portrait of the writer and neurologist Oliver Sacks, or seeking it out online.

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Gagarine review - hazy cosmic jive in a Paris banlieue

Markie Robson-Scott

This is the story of a boy and a building. Sixteen-year-old Youri (newcomer Alseni Bathily) lives, with his telescope, in Cité Gagarine, a vast red-brick Sixties apartment complex in Ivry-sur-Seine, an eastern suburb of Paris governed by the French Communist party.

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The Ballad of Billy McCrae review - beware the quarryman's beautiful daughter

Graham Fuller

An entertaining but undernourished industrial-domestic neo-noir set in South Wales,The Ballad of Billy McCrae depicts the power struggle between bent quarrying company boss Billy (David Hayman) and gullible failed businessman Chris Blythe (Ian Virgo), the story’s fall-guy protagonist.

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The Story of Looking review – bedside musings on how and what we see

Sarah Kent

Mark Cousins, the multi-award winning director of this strange film, is lying in bed watching Ray Charles speaking on the Dick Cavett Show in 1972. The singer went blind in childhood; how would he respond if offered the chance to see again? “I might turn it down,” says Charles.

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Rose Plays Julie review - a sombre story of rape, adoption and a search for identity

Markie Robson-Scott

Rose (Ann Skelly; The Nevers) is adopted. The name on her birth certificate is Julie and the possibility of a different identity – different clothes, different hair, different accent - beckons. If she could embrace this second life, she thinks, she could be the person she was meant to be. “I’d be the real me.”

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The Starling, Netflix review - a slender idea unsatisfyingly executed

Adam Sweeting

Despite an alluring cast which includes Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd and Kevin Kline, The Starling is doomed to be remembered, if at all, as a slender idea unsatisfyingly executed.

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The Electrical Life of Louis Wain review - visually arresting biopic

Joseph Walsh

On its surface, a biopic of a late-Victorian artist starring big British talents including Benedict Cumberbatch, Andrea Riseborough and Claire Foy, sounds like typical awards fare for this time of year.

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The Lost Leonardo review - an incredible tale as gripping as any thriller

Sarah Kent

It’s been described as “the most improbable story that has ever happened in the art market”, and The Lost Leonardo reveals every twist and turn of this extraordinary tale. In New Orleans in 2005, a badly-damaged painting (pictured below left) sold at auction for $1,175.

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Schumacher, Netflix review - authorised version of the life of an F1 legend

Adam Sweeting

Michael Schumacher’s skiing accident in December 2013, which left the seven-times Formula One world champion with a severe brain injury, added a shocking postscript to one of the greatest stories in motor racing. Having survived a decades-long driving career which included numerous accidents (including a motorcycle smash in 2009 which was apparently far more serious than the Schumi camp would admit), he was near-fatally stricken on a family Christmas holiday in Méribel.

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Shorta review - Danish police drama

Saskia Baron

This Danish police drama attempts to tackle the country’s uneasy relationship with the immigrants it’s allowed into its cities over the last 30 years. The result is a somewhat clumsy attempt at fusing social commentary with the visceral thrills of an action movie, complete with car chases, shoot outs and muscle-bound fistfights.

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The Collini Case review - it might be legal, but that doesn't mean it's justice

Adam Sweeting

Adapted from Ferdinand von Schirach’s bestselling 2011 novel, The Collini Case is a riveting mix of character study and legal drama, carefully blended into a historical perspective reaching forward 60 years from the 1940s.

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The Champion of Auschwitz review - Polish movie based on a boxer's memoir

Saskia Baron

It’s a little hard to tell if this film was really intended for an international release, given that its heart is so set on making Polish movie-goers proud of their countrymen. The Champion of Auschwitz recounts the true story of Tadeusz "Teddy" Pietrzykowski, a young bantamweight boxing champion from Warsaw who in 1940 was captured by the occupying Nazis as he tried to join the Polish army in Fra

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