tue 23/04/2019

Film Reviews

I, Tonya review - Margot Robbie shines in over-complicated oddity

Markie Robson-Scott

Tonya Harding and the kneecapping of Nancy Kerrigan – what a story it was, back in 1994.

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Lady Bird review - Greta Gerwig's luminous coming-of-age movie

Markie Robson-Scott

Greta Gerwig, in her hugely acclaimed, semi-autobiographical directing debut (a Golden Globe for best director, five Academy Award nominations) opens Lady Bird with a Joan Didion quote: “Anyone who talks about California hedonism has never spent a Christmas in Sacramento.”

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Black Panther review - more meh than marvellous

Saskia Baron

Black Panther arrives with all the critics displaying superhero-sized goodwill for its very existence. It’s a big budget mainstream Marvel movie that not only features a nearly all-black cast, but it also has an African-American writer director (Ryan Coogler) and co-screenwriter (Joe Robert Cole).

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The Shape of Water review - love in a Cold War climate

Adam Sweeting

Guillermo del Toro has laid down markers as a wizard of the fantastical with such previous works as Pan’s Labyrinth and Crimson Peak (though we’ll skate nimbly around Pacific Rim), and now he has brought it all back home with The Shape of Water, as its 13 Academy Award...

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Loveless review - from Russia, without love

Tom Birchenough

After the anger, the emptiness… Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Loveless is his fifth film, and harks back to the world of complicated, somehow unelucidated family relationships that characterised his debut, The Return, the work that brought Zvyagintsev immediate acclaim back in 2003. His previous film, the tempestuous Leviathan from four years ago, was...

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The Mercy review - Colin Firth's leaking vessel

Jasper Rees

Fakery is promised in the opening image of The Mercy. A smiling beauty water-skis over sunny seas, only for the camera to pull away and reveal she is part of a maritime expo in a vast exhibition hall. One of the other exhibitors is an inventor called Donald Crowhurst (Colin Firth), who enlists his beaming sons to demonstrate his Navicator, a simple tool to guide sailors on the high seas....

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Makala review - capturing human spirit on film

Owen Richards

We follow Kabwita Kasongo on his morning routine, lingering over the shoulder as he treks through the village. A pastel sunrise greets vast landscapes, the morning breeze visible for miles around. He heads to a tree at the edge of a mountain, and begins a day’s work chopping it down.

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Phantom Thread review - Daniel Day-Lewis bows out in style

Matt Wolf

A perfectionist says goodbye to an art form he has done so much to nourish by playing  you guessed it – a perfectionist.

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Journey's End review - requiem for the poor bloody infantry

Adam Sweeting

With Dunkirk and Darkest Hour threatening to storm the Oscars, it seems there’s suddenly plenty of mileage in portraits of the British at war.

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Last Flag Flying review - Richard Linklater on the lies of war

Markie Robson-Scott

This Vietnam vet/road movie is a warm-hearted, meandering piece, but any similarities to Linklater’s Boyhood or the Before…trilogy end there. This is a darker story, but not dark enough, and you wish it could have been less conventional and harder-hitting. Set in 2003, its first scene is in a run-down Virginia bar with Sal, a jaded alcoholic ex-marine (Bryan Cranston in a stand-out performance) at its helm.

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Early Man review - delight for football fans and kids alike

Saskia Baron

Nick Park’s utterly charming new animation channels the spirits of so many cinema and comedy ghosts that its originality can be overlooked but it shouldn’t be. This is a fresh narrative in an era where films aimed at young audiences are dominated by sequels, prequels, remakes, comic...

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Downsizing review - little things please little

Jasper Rees

Alexander Payne’s best-loved film is Sideways but that title may as well work for everything and anything in his oeuvre. In Election, About Schmidt, The Descendants and Nebraska, he puts America and Americans under the microscope from a variety of quizzically oblique angles. There’s another tilt shift in his latest satire.

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The Final Year review - Greg Barker documents Obama's last year in office

Markie Robson-Scott

"The Times They Are A-Changin'" has never sounded so menacing.

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The Post review - Spielberg's glorious paean to print

Jasper Rees

It beggars belief that, from the moment Steven Spielberg took delivery of the script by first-timer Liz Hannah, it took a mere 10 months to get The Post in the can. Its subject being the race to publish, that's a fitting rate of production. Introducing the film at its London premiere, Spielberg stressed the urgency of a story about the media under renewed attack. For Richard...

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The Commuter review - trouble on the main line

Adam Sweeting

Nobody is more sensitive about the notion of becoming a geriatric action hero than Liam Neeson (“guys, I’m sixty-fucking-five,” as he points out), but he can still punch bad guys and leap off moving trains with the best of ‘em.

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A Woman's Life review - simple but affecting

Owen Richards

A Woman’s Life first premiered at the 2016 Venice International Film Festival, alongside the likes of La La Land, Arrival and Jackie. Though it’s taken longer to get to our shores than its contemporaries, the film feels fresh and relevant.

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