thu 21/01/2021

Film Reviews

Baby Done review - romcom done right

Owen Richards

Romcoms. We all know the tried and tested formula: immature guy, uptight girl, they meet, they like each other, they hate each other, they end up in love. It’s as reliable as it is unrealistic, and sometimes it takes a film like Baby Done to remind you there is a better way.

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76 Days review - disturbing record of the initial outbreak of Covid-19

Tom Baily

It is probable that no other document gets closer to the direct experience of frontline workers and victims of Covid-19 than the documentary 76 Days. It is also true that the film is not very enjoyable. Nor, sadly, does it feel especially unique.

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Blithe Spirit review - cloth-eared Coward

Matt Wolf

Noel Coward's 1941 comedy was one of the theatrical casualties of the first lockdown last March in a Richard Eyre-directed West End revival that aimed to mine the pain beneath this play's abundance of bons mots.

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Dear Comrades! review - Andrei Konchalovsky exposes the Soviet past

Tom Birchenough

Veteran Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky has gone back to his beginnings for his latest film.

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One Night in Miami review - black history come alive

Joseph Walsh

In 1964, Cassius Clay, NFL superstar Jim Nathaniel Brown, soul legend Sam Cooke and political firebrand Malcolm X gathered for one night in a dingy room at the Hampton Motel. It was a meeting that became a symbol of hope for black Americans.

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Pieces of a Woman review - a home birth ends in tragedy

Markie Robson-Scott

This is not a film to watch if you’re pregnant. One of the first scenes, a 24-minute continuous take of a home birth that ends in tragedy, is extraordinarily powerful and painful to watch – almost unbearable sometimes – and Vanessa Kirby as Martha, groaning and growling her way through a very realistic labour, is brilliant and unforgettable.

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Sing Me a Song review - beautiful but devastatingly sad

Sarah Kent

This is one of the saddest films I’ve ever seen. It follows the fortunes of Peyangki, an 18-year-old Buddhist monk living in a monastery high up in the mountains of Bhutan. This is the second documentary made by Thomas Balmès about this endearing young man.

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Steve McQueen: The Lost Movie, Sky Documentaries review - the classic motor racing film that never was

Adam Sweeting

The motor racing passion of movie star Steve McQueen is well documented, from his motorcycling exploits in The Great Escape to the rubber-burning car chase around San Francisco in Bullitt to his weird but mesmeric sports car odyssey Le Mans. Less widely known, however, was his plan to shoot a movie about Formula One during the mid-Sixties.

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Best of 2020: Film

theartsdesk

It all started so promisingly. Parasite's triumph at the Oscars was a resounding response to 2019's saccharine and problematic Green Book. Art house was in and here to stay. And in some ways, this came to pass - with cinemas caught in a cycle of opening and closing, the blockbusters were nowhere to be seen.

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The Woman Who Ran review - toxic male alert

Graham Fuller

The dramatic developments in The Woman Who Ran, the 24th film written and directed by Hong Sang-soo since 1996, are mild to say the least.

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Soul review - Pixar's latest film misses the cinema

Saskia Baron

Pixar's recent work raises the question, how much overt spiritual guidance do you want in your animation? In their latest film, Soul, middle-school music teacher Joe (Jamie Foxx) aspires to play New York’s famed jazz clubs but is living hand to mouth.

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Let Him Go review - melancholy family drama morphs into ferocious thriller

Adam Sweeting

The pairing of Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as Superman’s surrogate parents in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice did not go unnoticed, and here writer/director Thomas Bezucha has reunited them as Montana residents George and Margaret Blackledge.

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Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom review - keeping things theatrical

Joseph Walsh

There was always bound to be a hint of melancholy watching George Wolfes Ma Raineys Black Bottom. Try as you might to focus on the film, you can never quite shake the fact that youre watching the final performance of Chadwick Boseman, whose life was cut tragically short this year from bowel cancer. 

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Wonder Woman 1984 review - be careful what you wish for

Adam Sweeting

After months of watching movies on computer screens, how delightful to have a press screening at the Waterloo IMAX cinema, albeit under Covid restrictions. Not so delightful was the realisation that Wonder Woman 1984 is crying out for some editing shears (151 minutes!

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Blu-ray: The New World

Saskia Baron

Terrence Malick completists might consider this Blu-ray of The New World the dream version. Criterion's three-disc release contains the three different cuts of Malick's 2005 opus, which critics either believe is an incomparable masterpiece or an overly lavish work of self-indulgence.

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I'm Your Woman review - what's happening, indeed?

Matt Wolf

"What's happening?", or so Jean (Rachel Brosnahan) asks time and again in I'm Your Woman, voicing the very question posed by an audience. Bewilderment would seem to be a constant state of being in director and co-writer Julia Hart's film, which doesn't so much derive suspense from withholding information as revel in an opaque narrative that I, for one, tuned out of well before the close.

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