tue 11/08/2020

Film Reviews

Terminator: Dark Fate review – look who's back

Demetrios Matheou

Sentient machines have taken over the Earth. The leader of the human rebellion is so effective that a robotic ‘terminator’ is sent back in time to ensure he’s never born. A guardian follows, to ensure he is. We’ve been here before. 

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Black and Blue review - police thriller aims high and misses

Adam Sweeting

Police corruption has fuelled many a Hollywood thriller, but sadly Black and Blue is no Training Day or The Departed.

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Maleficent: Mistress of Evil review - fantasy follow-up falls flat

Joseph Walsh

Angelina Jolie is back again with those cut-glass cheekbones and ink-black wings, reprising her role as the self-proclaimed ‘Mistress of Evil’, in Joachim Rønning’s nauseating sequel to the 2014 live-action spin on Sleeping Beauty...

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Non-Fiction - adultery spices up digitisation drama

Graham Fuller

It isn’t provable whether adultery is more accepted in French bourgeois life than in that of other countries, but French films often suggest it’s nothing to get in a lather about.

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Zombieland: Double Tap review - dead dull redo

Tom Baily

Another unnecessary sequel: we’re used to this sort of thing. The film knows it, too, as lead dork Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) meekly thanks the audience during the opening credits: “There are lots of options when it comes to zombie entertainment, so thank you for choosing us”. It’s a nice line, but feels like an apology for the film industry. “Bad films are everywhere, but this is the least bad”, he could have said. Fair enough.

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Official Secrets review – powerful political thriller

Demetrios Matheou

Early in the political drama Official Secrets, Keira Knightley’s real-life whistleblower Katharine Gun watches Tony Blair on television, giving his now infamous justification for the impending Iraq War, namely the existence of weapons

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The Peanut Butter Falcon review - sentimental comedy is so damn heartwarming

Saskia Baron

It’s an uncomfortable feeling to find oneself completely at odds with an audience in a cinema, but it happens. The recent London Film Festival screening of The Peanut Butter Falcon came complete with the two lead actors and the co-directors and their film went down a storm with a crowd of happy viewers, many of whom had learning disabilities themselves.

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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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