mon 22/07/2019

Film Reviews

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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The Bookshop review - lost in translation

Matt Wolf

"All this fuss over a bookstore?!" That's likely to be a common reaction to Spanish director Isabel Coixet's The Bookshop, which adapts a slender if much-admired 1978 novel by the quintessentially English Penelope Fitzgerald in order to cock a Continental snook at her English compatriots'

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Adrift review - lost at sea

Adam Sweeting

There is something irresistibly haunting about tales of epic sea voyages and the perils they entail. Recently we’ve had two versions of the tragic saga of lone yachtsman Donald Crowhurst (not to mention the excellent documentary Deep Water from 2006), and you could lob into the mix the Robert Redford vehicle All Is Lost, Kon-Tiki, White Squall and… er… many more.

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Sicario: Day of the Soldado review - violent, explosive and nihilistic thriller

Adam Sweeting

The issue of immigrants being smuggled across the Mexican border into the USA is currently live and inflammatory, and this second instalment of the feds-versus-drugs cartels saga hurls us right into the centre of it.

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Leave No Trace review - intense off-grid drama

Jasper Rees

The dad who lives off-grid with his offspring is becoming a regular visitor to cinema screens. He was last seen in the guise of Viggo Mortensen in Captain Fantastic, the story of the father whose seven-strong brood must learn to come out of the forest and live in society.

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In The Fade review - twisty German courtroom drama

Saskia Baron

The Cannes jury in 2017 gave best actress to Diane Kruger for her performance in In the Fade. She plays Katja, who turns avenging angel when her son and Turkish husband are murdered. It’s Kruger’s first acting role in her native German and she’s on screen for almost the entire film. Whether you are absorbed by the narrative of In the Fade (German title: Aus der Nichts) or find...

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Ocean's 8 review – half-cocked caper

Adam Sweeting

Perfectly timed, in theory, for the advent of #MeToo and Hollywood’s post-Weinstein era, this girl-power redesign of the Ocean franchise has lined up a turbo-charged cast and then not given them anything very interesting to do.

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The Happy Prince review - Wilde at heart

Jasper Rees

Oscar Wilde did not have a dignified departure. As soon as he died, his body began to emit a river of fluids from various orifices. At the graveside in Père Lachaise there were unseemly scenes which no witness was indiscreet enough to describe, but probably they involved theatrics from Bosie. Wilde, using Canon Chasuble as a mouthpiece, had once joked about choosing to be interred in...

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The Ciambra review - supremely effective storytelling

Owen Richards

The Ciambra is a wonderful and subtle piece of filmmaking. Director/writer Jonas Carpignano captures the genuine heart and fire of family relationships with an amateur cast of relatives, led by the magnetic young Pio Amato.

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City of Ghosts review - chilling but inspiring report on Syria's citizen journalists

David Kettle

Raqqa was once a prosperous if little-known town in northern Syria. Since 2014, however, it has served as the de facto capital of ISIS’s self-styled caliphate, and as such has been physically decimated, its population subjected to increasingly horrific subjugation.

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Studio 54 review - boogie wonderland

Jasper Rees

You need to be of a certain age to recall the sheer ubiquity of Studio 54. For a few years in the late 1970s, even the sterner British newspapers were routinely stuffed with stories of who was there and what went on within the hallowed citadel (if not who went down, and on whom).

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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom review - dinosaurs in peril

Adam Sweeting

I see critics elsewhere have been churlishly sticking the boot into this latest episode of the now quite venerable dinosaurs-reborn franchise (Steven Spielberg’s original arrived in 1993).

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McQueen review - the dark brilliance of Alexander McQueen

Markie Robson-Scott

Lee Alexander McQueen said that he pulled the horrors out of his soul and put them on the catwalk. Eight years after his death, and three years after the record-breaking Savage Beauty retrospectives at the Metropolitan Museum and the V&A, his extraordinary story remains as powerful as ever.

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