wed 21/08/2019

Film Reviews

Pain and Glory review - masterful meditation on age and art

Nick Hasted

The Almodovar who made his name as an all-out provocateur in the 80s considers that wild art’s becalmed far side, in this quietly wonderful meditation on where it’s left him.

Read more...

Transit review - existential nightmares for a German refugee

Saskia Baron

If you’re looking for escapism from anxieties about Brexit, the worldwide refugee crisis and rising authoritarianism, Christian Petzold’s Transit is not going to provide comfort.

Read more...

Once Upon A Time… in Hollywood review – Tarantino’s mellowest film yet

Demetrios Matheou

Quentin Tarantino’s made a big deal of this being his ninth film, while heralding his retirement after number 10 with the sort of nostalgic fandom he’s always ladled over his favourite directors and stars.

Read more...

JT Leroy review - pseudonym, avatar, literary hoax

Markie Robson-Scott

Based on Savannah Knoop’s memoir Girl Boy Girl: How I became JT LeRoy, Justin Kelly’s film skims the surface of the sensational literary hoax of the early 2000s, that far-off time before avatars, gender fluidity and fake online identity were part of everyday life.

Read more...

Playmobil The Movie review - resolutely kids' stuff

Nick Hasted

Modern children’s films wink knowingly over kids’ heads at their paying parents, as with the Lego movies’ rapid-fire pop-culture salvos. Lino DiSalvo (Disney’s Head of Animation for Frozen) could have sulked upon receiving the apparent short straw of rival Playmobil’s toys for his directorial debut. Instead, he finds modest charm in a simpler childhood world.  

Read more...

Blinded by the Light review – flawed but feelgood

Demetrios Matheou

Filmmakers have an obsession with the music world that is beginning to seem unhealthy. In quick succession we’ve had two Abba musicals, biopics of Freddie Mercury and Elton John, A Star is Born with Lady Gaga and the Beatles fantasy Yesterday, most of which feel pretty B-side. 

Read more...

Gaza review - portraits of love and futility

Tom Baily

First-time collaborators Garry Keane and Andrew McConnell have tried to divert from the standard media narrative by looking at Gaza from the viewpoint of its inhabitants.

Read more...

Holiday review - harrowing Danish drama about misogyny

Graham Fuller

The English-language drama Holiday, Danish filmmaker Isabella Eklöf’s feature debut, is an anthropological study of the corrosive effects of absolute male power and calcified misogyny.

Read more...

Animals review - who decides when the party's over?

Adam Sweeting

This is a scathing and heartfelt coming of age drama, though not of the adolescent kind. Tyler and Laura are soulmates and flatmates, two single women blazing a riotous trail of booze, sex and drugs through the bars and basements of Dublin.

Read more...

Photograph review - a fresh take on old love stories

Joseph Walsh

“Movies are all the same,” says one character in Photograph, the latest film from India independent director, Ritesh Batra. It’s true, the plot feels familiar, but if stories are all the same, it’s how you play with the form that makes a film a success or not.

Read more...

Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw review – falls flat fast

Demetrios Matheou

“You know twinkle toes, in another life I bet me and you could’ve done some serious damage.” 

When Jason Statham’s bad guy turned good finally warmed to Dwayne Johnson’s cartoon-like lawman in Fast & Furious 8, it could well have been a cue for this spin-off focussed on the two bickering beefcakes.

Read more...

The Edge review - mind games

Nick Hasted

With the vertiginous drama of England’s cricket World Cup victory still fresh, Barney Douglas’s documentary digs into the human cost of a previous ascent, when England’s Test team rose to No 1 in the early 2010s.

Read more...

Marianne and Leonard review - the artist, his muse and collateral damage

Markie Robson-Scott

Nick Broomfield is never shy about inserting himself into his documentaries but here he has good reason: he was, briefly, a lover of Marianne Ihlen, Leonard Cohen’s muse (So Long, Marianne was originally called Come On, Marianne; Bird on the Wire was also inspired by her).

Read more...

The Current War review – lacks the spark of invention

Demetrios Matheou

We like to think of scientists and inventors as innocent dreamers, trampled upon by the cruel old world. Of course, that’s not wholly true. Just look at today’s tech and social media industries. In fact the man cited as America’s greatest ever inventor, Thomas Edison, was a real scoundrel who wasn’t adverse to using dirty tricks to get ahead.

Read more...

Lights, Camera, Malta!, BBC Concert Orchestra, Malta review – a spectacular celebration of film history

Owen Richards

With sapphire blue waters, year-round sun and architecture that spans centuries and cultures, it’s little wonder that Malta is a favourite location for Hollywood. To celebrate its long featured history, Radio 2 brought the BBC Concert Orchestra to Valletta for a special Friday Night is Music Night.

Read more...

Tell It to the Bees review - taboo love in 1950s Scotland

Graham Fuller

In Tell It to the Bees, sex is aberrant unless it’s conducted by a straight married couple. Since Annabel Jankel’s low-key drama is set in a grim Scottish mill town in 1952, you can add “white” to that dictum.

Read more...

Pages

latest in today

Pain and Glory review - masterful meditation on age and art

The Almodovar who made his name as an all-out provocateur in the 80s considers that wild art’s becalmed far side...

The Doctor, Almeida Theatre review - Robert Icke's long...

After six years, associate director Robert Icke bids farewell to the...

CD: Gard Nilssen Acoustic Unity - To Whom Buys a Record

To Whom Buys a Record roams through 12 crisply recorded pieces confirming that...

Heartbreak Holiday, BBC One review - can it match up to Love...

The BBC’s version of Love Island has familiar ingredients: ten 20-somethings, many with pale manicures and hair extensions, on an island...

Train Your Baby Like A Dog, Channel 4 review - an animal beh...

Animal behaviourist Jo-Rosie Haffenden, who lives in Spain, has some very good dogs (and a charming toddler, who knows how to sit). Can she...

Prom 43: Haefliger, BBCSO & Chorus, Oramo review – the f...

Time was, not long ago, when the very word “premiere” was enough to ensure a sizeable smattering of red plush holes in the Royal Albert Hall...

The Day Mountbatten Died, BBC Two review - the IRA's au...

It was a lovely summer’s day in southern England, much as it was in County Sligo. I was with my parents, driving to visit a very elderly relative...

Making new waves: Royce Vavrek on forging a libretto from La...

It was during the 1997 Golden Globe Awards telecast that I first caught a glimpse of the...

DVD/Blu-ray: The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

Fred Schepisi’s The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978) was the...