sun 16/06/2019

Film Reviews

The Guardians review - beautifully crafted drama

Saskia Baron

A slow tracking shot over the gassed corpses of soldiers, their masks having failed the ecstasy of fumbling, opens The Guardians. This French art house film would perhaps have been better served by the English title The Caretakers; it's closer to the original French meaning and would have made it less likely to be confused with a superhero movie.

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The Negotiator review - Jon Hamm shines in Beirut-based thriller

Adam Sweeting

So far Jon Hamm has had trouble finding himself movie roles which fit him quite as impeccably as Mad Men’s Don Draper – though he could do worse than throw his hat in the ring for James Bond – but his role here as an American diplomat in Beirut plays obligingly to his strengths.

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A Sicilian Ghost Story review - a beautiful, confusing journey

Owen Richards

Childhood is an inimitable experience – the laws of the world are less certain, imagination and reality meld together, and no event feels fixed. A Sicilian Ghost Story recreates this sensation in the context of real world trauma, producing a unique and sometimes unsettling cinematic...

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Apostasy review - trouble in the Jehovah's Witnesses' Kingdom

Nick Hasted

Religion’s desire to fulfil humanity too often denies it instead. The cruelty of inflexible faith which breaks fallible adherents on its iron rules is at the core of this family drama, written and directed by former Jehovah’s Witness Daniel Kokotajlo.

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Mission: Impossible - Fallout review - brilliant summer blockbuster

Adam Sweeting

This is the second Mission: Impossible movie written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, the first time any director has been called back for an encore on the series.

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Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again review - sweet, silly, and, best of all, Cher

Matt Wolf

Mamma Mia! has a habit of bursting upon us at crucially restorative moments. The Broadway production opened just after 9/11 and provided necessary balm to a city in shock.

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The Receptionist – London’s underground sex industry laid bare

Owen Richards

When director Jenny Lu graduated from university, the promise of a big city career quickly turned into a series of rejections. Around this time, a close friend of hers committed suicide by jumping off a bridge – unbeknownst to their circle of friends, this girl was working in the sex industry.

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First Reformed - faith fights the eco-apocalypse

Nick Hasted

Father Ernst Toller (Ethan Hawke) calls himself one of God’s lonely men. The term given to Paul Schrader’s anti-heroes since Taxi Driver’s Travis Bickle is usefully explained by the priest: his loneliness is a divine attribute letting him sympathise with fellow sufferers. Take one look at Hawke’s face, though, which seems sucked into hollow-cheeked, unnatural nobility, and it’s clear few need help more than him.

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Summer 1993 review - the tenderest fabric of childhood

Tom Birchenough

Carla Simón’s debut feature Summer 1993 is a gem of a film by any standards, but when you learn that its story is based closely on the thirtysomething Catalan director’s own early life, its intimacy becomes almost overwhelming.

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Incredibles 2 review - worship these superheroes

Saskia Baron

Age cannot wither her nor custom stale her infinite stretchiness… Time has been kind to Elastigirl, the superhero mom voiced by Holly Hunter and dreamed up by Brad Bird. Fourteen years have passed since The Incredibles seduced adult critics and children alike, but it might as well be yesterday for Elastigirl.

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Pin Cushion review - a twisted fable of daydreams and bullies

Owen Richards

On the surface, Pin Cushion is a whimsical British indie, packed with imagination and charm.

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Postcards from the 48% review - wistful memorial to forgotten values

David Kettle

Writer and director David Nicholas Wilkinson felt moved to make his reflective, rather melancholy documentary on the 48% who voted to remain in the EU, he says, because nobody else was making one. When it came to funding the project, not a single Brit would invest (though he...

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Swimming with Men review - Rob Brydon and co sink

Jasper Rees

Swimming with Men is a British comedy which must have looked like a dead cert when it was pitched. “A bunch of middle-aged male losers do synchronised swimming. They have a bossy female coach who persuades them to go to the world championships. How funny (and moving) is that? The tears will flow.

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DVD: The Nile Hilton Incident

Owen Richards

The world was captivated by the Arab Spring – thousands of citizens rising up in unity against longstanding dictatorships, filling squares and refusing to bow. But for many of us, it was a world away; the crowds were a single organism, thinking and acting as one.

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Whitney review - superstar's dismal demise revisited

Adam Sweeting

It was only a year ago that Nick Broomfield’s Whitney: Why Can’t I Be Me was released. Kevin Macdonald’s new documentary about the rise and hideous demise of one of pop’s greatest stars was made with the blessing of her family, but doesn’t shed significantly more light than the Broomfield version.

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Eric Clapton: A Life in 12 Bars, BBC Two review - blues, booze and dues

Adam Sweeting

There’s undoubtedly a memorable film to be crafted from the life of guitar legend and grand old survivor Eric Clapton – for instance, Melvyn Bragg made a very good South Bank Show about him in 1987 – but the longer this one goes on, the less it has to say. Nor is it obvious why it has been made now.

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