tue 26/05/2020

Film Reviews

Sea Fever review - more ooze than aahs

Graham Fuller

When Sea Fever premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last September, no one could have guessed its story about an Irish fishing trawler attacked by a giant jellyfish would in one respect prove prophetic. 

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Moffie review - heart rates will rise with Oliver Hermanus’ powerful war film

Joseph Walsh

Oliver Hermanus’ potent fourth feature Moffie certainly has a controversial film title. A homophobic slur, it can be translated from Afrikaans as "faggot".

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Selah and the Spades, Amazon Prime review - boarding-school cliques go gangster

Markie Robson-Scott

“They always try to break you down when you’re 17,” says queen bee Selah (Lovie Simone) in Tayarisha Poe’s impressive directorial debut. As leader of the Spades, one of the five Mafia-style ruling factions in the exclusive Haldwell boarding-school in Pennsylvania, Selah, with her waist-long braids and inscrutably cool managerial style, seems unbreakable. But not so fast.

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Earth and Blood, Netflix review - tense and broody thriller ultimately falls short

Adam Sweeting

There are quite a few good things to be said for Julien Leclerc’s Earth and Blood.

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Cuck review - tediously nihilistic

Matt Wolf

Deep from the heart of Trumpland comes Cuck, a deeply unpleasant film about a totally repellent character.

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Why Don't You Just Die! review - Russian roulette

Nick Hasted

It’s hard to feel sympathy for a young man plotting to stove his prospective father-in-law’s head in with a hammer.

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Who You Think I Am review - Juliette Binoche dazzles as she wrestles with dual identities

Joseph Walsh

With influences as diverse as Hitchcock’s Vertigo to 2010’s Catfish, Safy Nebbou’s genre-splicing French-language feature, starring Juliette Binoche, comes loaded with a heady mix of cheap thrills and surprising psychological depth. And it’s a hoot from start to finish. 

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The Host review - implausible suspense thriller

Veronica Lee

A camel is a horse designed by committee, they say; perhaps that explains why The Host, with several writing credits – adapted by Zachary Weckstein from a story by Laurence Lamers, screenplay by Finola Geraghty, Brendan Bishop and Lamers – doesn't really know what it is.

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Danger Close review - the Vietnam war from an Australian perspective

Adam Sweeting

The battle of Long Tan in Vietnam isn’t well known to the casual observer, but it has entered the military folklore of Australia and New Zealand.

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Trolls World Tour review - a visual spectacle full of toe-tapping tunes

Joseph Walsh

The world might have changed drastically in the wake of Covid-19, but thankfully those hyperactive, candy-coloured Trolls haven’t.

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The Beast review - bad cop blues

Nick Hasted

“They say we all have a beast locked up inside of us,” a character observes early in this Korean crime movie. Monsters are certainly chewing at the moral fibre of police captains Jung (Lee Sung-min) and Han (Yoo Jae-myung) as they corruptly pursue promotion.

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The Iron Mask review - preposterous multi-national fantasy

Adam Sweeting

Director Oleg Stepchenko’s follow-up to his 2014 yarn Forbidden Kingdom swaps the latter’s Transylvania for a fantastical computer-generated frolic round 18th century Russia and China, as pioneering cartographer Jonathan...

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The Platform review - timely, violent and effective

Owen Richards

Horror has always been a good vehicle for satire, from John Carpenter’s They Live to Jordan Peele’s Get Out. Some metaphors opt for the subtle precision of a surgical knife, and others the hit you over the head. The Platform on Netflix is the latter, a brutal, blunt and effective sledgehammer.

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Four Kids and It review – a family friendly yarn that needs more magic

Joseph Walsh

With over one hundred books to her name and several hugely popular TV spin-offs, including the Tracy Beaker adventures, Jacqueline Wilson takes a no-nonsense approach to children’s fiction that reflects the realities of jigsaw families, mental and divorce. In 2012, in something of a detour from the rest of her work, she wrote a sequel of sorts to E.

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Bacurau review – way-out western

Demetrios Matheou

After his two mysterious, tightly-coiled and idiosyncratic first features, Neighbouring Sounds and Aquarius, the masterful Brazilian director Kleber Mendonça Filho lets his hair down with an exhilarating, all-guns-blazing venture into genre.  

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The Whalebone Box review - documentary through unreliable surrealism

Owen Richards

The UK-wide lockdown has thrown the cinematic release schedule into chaos. Some films are postponed indefinitely, while others have opted for direct digital releases. It’s not ideal for anyone, but in a strange way it may play to The Whalebone Box’s favour. Specialist arthouse streaming service MUBI has secured the exclusive rights, and their captive subscribers are the ideal audience for such a strange, hypnotic piece.

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