mon 30/01/2023

Film Reviews

Avatar: The Way of Water review - is that all there is?

Nick Hasted

You may wonder: is this it? James Cameron’s Avatar sequel replays Earth’s colonial assault on Pandora in the original, cancelling out the blue-skinned native Na’vi’s victory under the Dances With Wolves-like, blue-white saviour command of Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a paraplegic Marine mentally steering a genetically engineered Na’vi avatar.

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Veronica Lee's Top 10 Films of 2022

Veronica Lee

In what feels like a less than stellar year for cinema, some films stand out. In some instances it was because I stepped a little outside my normal fare of blockbusters or star-driven vehicles and saw some films I might have thought a little too arthouse for my tastes. I'm very glad I did because otherwise I might not have seen a couple on this list.

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Charlotte review - the story of artist Charlotte Salomon, murdered in Auschwitz

Markie Robson-Scott

“Only by doing something mad can I hope to stay sane,” says Charlotte Salomon (voiced by Keira Knightley) to her lover, Alexander Nagler (Sam Claflin). “I feel it inside me, the same demon that’s haunted so many in my family.”

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Rimini review - crooner without a conscience

Graham Fuller

The cartoonist Gerald Scarfe – or his equally mordant forebear George Cruikshank – couldn’t have drawn a seedier Eurotrash excrescence than the crooner, Richie Bravo, who dominates Ulrich’s Seidl’s Rimini.

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Hold Me Tight review - Vicky Krieps mesmerises

Sebastian Scotney

Mathieu Amalric's Hold me Tight (Serre moi fort) keeps springing surprises. Perhaps the first is the title. It sounds like an invitation to settle down with the popcorn to enjoy a light French film dealing with intimacy. 

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The Silent Twins review - the tragic story of the Welsh teens who were sent to Broadmoor

Markie Robson-Scott

The fascinating story of the silent twins, June and Jennifer Gibbons, who were incarcerated in Broadmoor for 12 years for minor crimes, has been told before, several times. There’s a 1986 BBC film by Jon Amiel based on Marjorie Wallace’s book about them; a documentary by Olivia Lichtenstein in 1994; a French rock opera; a classical opera, and a play.

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Three Minutes: A Lengthening review - superb portrait of a vanished world

Saskia Baron

We hear the projector whirr as the mute 16mm film flows through the sprockets and on to the screen. For three minutes and a little longer we watch children and adults spilling out of buildings, intrigued by the novelty of a camera on their streets.

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White Noise review - sprawling riffs on love and death

Nick Hasted

This is Noah Baumbach’s most capacious, overreaching work, corralling Don De Lillo’s novel of catastrophising, neurotic academia into a film jazzily dependent on rhythm, hooked on language and wildly diverse in tone.

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Tori and Lokita review - a masterpiece of humanist cinema

Saskia Baron

Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardennes are Belgium’s national conscience. The brothers, who have been sharing the roles of writer-director-producer since their first film in 1996, make humanist dramas about desperate people trying to survive in a harsh world.

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Neil Young: Harvest Time review - a thrillingly intimate fly-on-the-wall documentary

Barney Harsent

“You’re filmin’ a movie or something – can you explain this?” the radio DJ turns to Neil Young, a laugh underpinning his question and setting the scene: light, jovial.

“We’re just makin’ a film about…” Young pauses for a second. “I dunno, just the things we wanna film… I’m making it like I make an album, sort of… It’s like… I’m cutting it, instead of… so it’s personal, like an album.”

“So some day someone’ll be able to go to a theatre and see it maybe?” the DJ asks.

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Matilda the Musical review - a dizzying, smartly subversive delight

Matt Wolf

I bow to no one in my affection for Matilda the Musical onstage, which I've loved across multiple iterations, from Stratford-upon-Avon to the West End and Broadway, and numerous cast changes, too.

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Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery review - grand, class-conscious escapism

Nick Hasted

Rian Johnson’s Knives Out sequel is an even more brightly entertaining puzzle picture, revelling in the old-fashioned glamour of enviably sunny climes and another rogues’ gallery of piquantly deployed film stars. Self-styled world’s greatest detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is again on hand to pick up the inevitably murderous pieces.

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Bones and All review - eat, don't heat

Matt Wolf

You expect gross-out movies to send your hands flying in front of your eyes. But Luca Guadagnino's ludicrous Bones and All is not just gory but grossly sentimental, too.

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Nanny review - no spoonfuls of sugar in this spooky tale

Saskia Baron

Nanny is being marketed as a horror movie, and arachnophobes should certainly beware, but it’s also a stylish exploration of race and class by African-American writer-director Nikyatu Jusu.

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She Said review - a necessary newsroom thriller

Graham Fuller

Five years have elapsed since New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey revealed that dozens of women had accused the movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual abuse and harassment over three decades.

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Utama review - incandescent portrait of a dying way of life in Bolivia

Saskia Baron

Utama won the World Dramatic Prize at Sundance this year and is tipped for an Oscar nomination, too. The film is set in a remote region in Bolivia’s arid highlands. Its gentle pace and non-professional actors give it a documentary feel but there is real narrative skill deployed. 

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