tue 15/10/2019

Film Reviews

LFF 2019: The Irishman review - masterful, unsentimental gangster epic

Nick Hasted

Time passes slowly and remorselessly in The Irishman. Though its much remarked de-ageing technology lets us glimpse Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) executing German POWs aged 24, none of the gangsters here ever seem young. Everyone is heavy with experience, bloated with spilt blood....

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LFF 2019: Le Mans '66 review - Matt Damon, Christian Bale and the Ford Motor Company go to war

Adam Sweeting

While recent motor racing movies have been built around superstar names like Ayrton Senna and James Hunt, the protagonists of Le Mans ’66 (shown at London Film Festival) will be barely recognisable to a wider audience. They are Carroll Shelby, the former American racing driver turned car designer, and Ken Miles, a British driver transplanted to American sports car racing.

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Gemini Man review - high-concept, high-tech Zen weirdness

Nick Hasted

Will Smith’s giant hand looms out of the screen towards you, gripping his gun’s trigger with weird realism.

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The Day Shall Come review – Homeland Security satire lacks bite

Demetrios Matheou

A new film by Chris Morris ought to be an event. The agent provocateur of Brass Eye infamy has tended to rustle feathers and spark debate whatever he does. His last film, Four Lions, dared to find comedy in Islamic terrorism in 2010, when so many wounds were still so fresh. 

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LFF 2019: Marriage Story review – not a dry eye in the house

Demetrios Matheou

Marriage Story, shown at the London Film Festival, feels like an instant classic, that intimate, tangible, resonant kind of classic that touches a chord with almost anyone. It’s not just a film about a divorce, but that added nightmare of a divorce with kids involved, and the yet more despairing experience of separating when there is still love. And it’s heart-breaking.

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American Woman review - leading lady Sienna Miller moves up a gear

Adam Sweeting

Sienna Miller’s career has been short on leading roles, though she excelled in the TV drama The Girl and has notched up some memorable supporting roles. However, if there’s any justice, her commanding and deeply-felt performance in American Woman should move her career up a gear.

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Werewolf review - post-Holocaust horrors

Saskia Baron

There used to be this myth that we knew nothing about the concentration camps until the victors opened their gates in 1945, and that the survivors were then nursed back to health.

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LFF 2019: The King review - head conquers heart in Shakespeare adaptation

Adam Sweeting

A labour of love for its co-writer, producer and star Joel Edgerton, The King (showing at London Film Festival) is derived from Shakespeare’s Henry IV and Henry V plays, but isn’t slavishly bound to them.

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Good Posture review - charming coming of age comedy

Nick Hasted

Dolly Wells’ directorial debut employs her best friend Emily Mortimer as reclusive writer Julia Price, having paired up previously in a TV satire of their professionally uneven relationship, Doll and Em.

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Judy review - Renée Zellweger's bravura screen comeback

Matt Wolf

“She sang from her soul,” Judy Garland’s youngest daughter, Lorna Luft, once said of her world-renowned mum. So it’s right to give the role of this legendary entertainer to Renée Zellweger, an actress who, in the new biopic Judy, acts from her soul.

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Joker review – a phenomenal Joaquin Phoenix on the mean streets of Gotham

Demetrios Matheou

When Joker won the Golden Lion in Venice in September, it was an unprecedented achievement, the first time a comic book-related film had won such a prestigious prize. But then, isn’t your typical comic book film.

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Hitsville: the Making of Motown - a thrilling celebration of the record label's heyday

Markie Robson-Scott

Berry Gordy, who founded the Motown label in Detroit in 1959, borrowed his star-maker machinery from the car assembly line. When he worked at the Lincoln-Mercury plant he was inspired by how a bare metal frame would emerge as brand new car. “What a great idea! Maybe I could do the same thing with my music.

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The Last Tree review - young, angry, and black in '90s UK

Graham Fuller

Putting a radical spin on a fish-out-of-water story, The Last Tree explores troubling aspects of the African diaspora experience in an England riddled with xenophobia and black-on-black racism.

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San Sebastian Film Festival: Latin films thrive

Demetrios Matheou

Ever since Latin American cinema re-emerged in the 1990s from years in the shadow of dictatorships, films have been distinguished by a number of trends, including dramas about the dictatorship years and the social and psychological consequences; social and family dramas; the experience of young people; the quirks and characters of everyday life.

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San Sebastian Film Festival: The Burnt Orange Heresy review – art world noir

Demetrios Matheou

When cinema isn’t revering the greats of the art world, it’s usually debunking the superficiality and immorality of the power brokers of the business. On the one hand Eternity’s Gate, on the other, The Square.

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Ready or Not review - bloody awful

Matt Wolf

Equal measures class system satire and Scream or Saw genre knockoff, Ready or Not is entirely appalling, except perhaps to those forgiving hipsters in the crowd who will view its ineptitude as some deliberate "meta" statement all its own.

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