sat 24/02/2024

Film Reviews

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 review - raw and repetitive supergroup swansong

Nick Hasted

James Gunn is running the whole DC show now, but his Guardians films have stayed free from Cinematic Universe snares, even the group’s Avengers cameos beaming in from their own pop-art corner. This swansong is their indulgent, sometimes meandering double-album and darkest chapter, making a visceral anti-vivisection and anti-eugenics case.

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The Laureate review - a romp with Robert Graves

Hugh Barnes

Nowadays Robert Graves is best known for his later and least interesting works on Greek myths and Roman emperors, but at his best, in the first decade of his writing life, as a war poet (Fairies and Fusiliers) and war memoirist (Good-Bye to All That), he was a powerful mythmaker in his own right.

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Love According to Dalva review - Belgian first time director tackles incest

Saskia Baron

What is it that drives Belgian filmmakers to make sad and disturbing films about children? Is it the influence of the Dardennes Brothers, who over a 20-year career have made superb features exploring how brutally society treats its most vulnerable (Tori and Lokita, The Kid with a BikeThe Child among others)?

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The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry review - affecting tale of a late-life road trip

Helen Hawkins

Here's another small gem of a film graced with a fine central performance by Jim Broadbent, after his lovely turn in The Duke. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is, like the earlier film, the story of an eccentric older man who embarks on a risky enterprise, though it’s less comic and twice as affecting.

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Berg review - a glorious visual meditation on the mountains of Slovenia

Sarah Kent

It’s been a long time since I went walking in the mountains – too long. And Joke Olthaar’s film Berg (mountain) has intensified my longing for that very special experience.

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Rodéo review - heroine from the banlieues powers a rebel-teens saga

Helen Hawkins

Reading an interview with the French director of Rodéo, Lola Quivoron, you come to realise her compelling film about dirt-bike-rider culture relied on a sage piece of casting. Despairing of ever finding a lead for her film project, Quivoron chanced upon Julie Ledru on Instagram and the first-time actor became a key creator of the narrative. 

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Little Richard: I am Everything review - a riveting account of 'the brightest star in the universe'

Sarah Kent

Lisa Cortés’s fast-paced documentary Little Richard: I Am Everything opens with a TV interview made in 1971, 16 years after the rock 'n' roll pioneer became an overnight success with groundbreaking hits like "Tutti Frutti" and "Good Golly Miss Molly".

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Pacifiction review - portending hell in paradise

Graham Fuller

Paranoia seeps into paradise in Albert Serra’s Pacifiction, a scathing critique of French colonialism on the Polynesian island of Tahiti. Acting on rumours that his overlords are about to resume nuclear testing in the region and fearing his elimination, the urbane High Commissioner De Roller (Benoît Magimel) is forced to turn detective to learn their veracity. It’s not his fault that Inspector Clouseau might do a better job.

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Sick of Myself review - queasy black comedy about self-obsessed youth

Saskia Baron

Sick of Myself is being marketed as one of those oh so clever satirical comedies about privileged but fucked-up people. Think Worst Person in the World, Triangle of Sadness and The White Lotus and you’ll get the genre.

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Pamfir review - a retired Ukrainian smuggler is forced to do one last job

Hugh Barnes

It's fair to say that Pamfir, Ukrainian director Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk's first feature, has been slightly overtaken by events.

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A Thousand and One review - fighting the system in 1990s New York

Saskia Baron

AV Rockwell well deserved the Grand Jury award at Sundance in January for her debut feature film, A Thousand and One.

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How To Blow Up a Pipeline review - can eco-terrorism be justified?

Adam Sweeting

“This was an act of self defence,” is the last message we hear as How To Blow Up a Pipeline approaches the end of its 104-minute span.

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Renfield review - Dracula meets Steptoe and Son

Nick Hasted

Dracula’s fly-eating henchman Renfield (Nicholas Hoult) seeks solace in a self-help group from his co-dependent, fanged boss (Nicolas Cage), in a comic horror action flick which posits the pair as a vampiric Steptoe and Son – though that relationship was more genuinely nightmarish.

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One Fine Morning review - Léa Seydoux stars in Mia Hanson-Løve's poignant love story

Markie Robson-Scott

In the first scene of Mia Hanson-Løve’s wonderful One Fine Morning, Sandra (Léa Seydoux in a minimal, nuanced performance), is trying to visit her father, Georg (Pascal Greggory), in his Paris flat. But, stuck on the other side, he can’t find the door or turn the key to let her in.

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Loving Highsmith review - documentary focused on the writer's lighter side

Helen Hawkins

Since her death in 1995, Patricia Highsmith has prompted three biographies, screeds of often conflicting psychological analysis and now this documentary from the Swiss-born Eva Vitija. We hear the director say at the outset that by reading her then-unpublished diaries she learned to love, not just the writing, but the writer, which not all commentators have managed to do.

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In the Court of the Crimson King: King Crimson at 50 review - Robert Fripp's iron claw

Graham Fuller

Whether grinding or eerie, bellicose or plaintive, the exquisite jazz- and classical-infused prog rock dirges disgorged by King Crimson over the last 54 years stand apart from the more accessible sounds made by their illustrious peers, including Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Yes, Genesis, Curved Air, and ELP. Given the discomfiting aesthetic of Crimson’s music – a fulminating anti-panacea, relentlessly modernistic – is it any wonder there was much misery in its making?

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