thu 02/04/2020

Film Reviews

Animal Kingdom

Nick Hasted

The animals 17-year-old Josh Cody has to survive are his own criminal family. The Codys are hardly the Corleones. Led by sweetly smiling, grandmotherly matriarch Smurf (Jacki Weaver) as they fume and feud in Melbourne’s suburbs, this motley gang of five’s only outstanding quality is their ruthlessness. Deposited with them when his mum overdoses on drugs, the shy teenager navigates between armed robber Uncle Pope (Ben Mendelsohn) and wired drug dealer Uncle Craig (Sullivan Stapleton).

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No Strings Attached

Veronica Lee

There's nobody who plays Ashton Kutcher quite like Ashton Kutcher and, in this pleasant and undemanding romcom, he plays another cute guy whom all the girls (and boys of course) swoon over. This time he’s Adam, the sweet and rather vulnerable twentysomething son of Kevin Kline’s rascally-old-devil father,  who's three-times divorced, still doing drugs, and chasing young women as his 60th birthday looms.

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Inside Job

Josh Spero

Inside Inside Job is an interesting film struggling to get out. Sadly, one has to sit through two hours of Financial Meltdown 101 to see it. Narrated by Matt Damon in his serious voice (and if you're anything like me, you'll always be thinking of his Team America caricature), the film starts with the perfect glaciers of Iceland being ravaged as the free market takes its toll.

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Confessions

Emma Simmonds

Based on a novel by Kanae Minato, Tetsuya Nakashima’s provocative, serenely sinister thriller is fuelled by the murderous desire of its teens and the righteous anger of their teacher. Best known for the inebriated mania of Kamikaze Girls and Memories of Matsuko, in Confessions Nakashima trades his outrageous rainbow hues for a distinctly funereal aesthetic. It’s as if a dark veil has been drawn across his signature style, with the film bowed in sombre recognition...

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PAUL

Veronica Lee

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have come a long way from Spaced, the Channel 4 sitcom Pegg created with Jessica Hynes (then Stevenson). When it was canned after two series in 1999 and 2001, Spaced - a very funny and edgy comedy about a group of assorted idlers and oddballs - assumed cult status; now More4 are unashamedly cashing in on Pegg and Frost’s Hollywood debut, PAUL, by repeating Spaced on Sunday nights, which is good news all round.

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The 2011 Baftas, BBC One: The Twitter Review

Jasper Rees

@Wossy seems to have been cast as second baddie in #PiratesduCaribbean 4

This intro is entirely about namechecking the films so they can cut away to the US stars who've jetted in from #Tinseltown

Lame string of Little Fockers jokes.

These clips montages always make films look like the complete Shakespeare. Then you go and see them...

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Nixon in China, Metropolitan Opera HD Live

David Nice

Metcentric New Yorkers tend to think an opera hasn’t achieved classic status until it arrives at their vast inner sanctum. Whereas other cities worldwide know that the inimitable Peter Sellars production of grand opera’s last masterpiece (to date) has become a virtual brand since its 1987 Houston premiere. John Adams's first, and biggest, opera was an obvious here-to-stay triumph at the Edinburgh Festival the following year, and its strengths become more apparent with the passing of time.

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Never Let Me Go

alexandra Coghlan

“The problem is that you’ve been told and not told.” While Ishiguro and his discerning fans would never indulge in anything so crass as hype, there have been whisperings in North London wine bars, over the coffee-morning brews of Home Counties ladies, on terraces of rented villas on the Amalfi Coast. Yes, Never Let Me Go is the one about human cloning, whose characters are living organ farms, existing solely for harvest.

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Son of Babylon

Jasper Rees

We’ve heard a lot about the American experience of Iraq: the internecine politicking in Green Zone, the deadly combat of The Hurt Locker, the tedium of camp life in Jarhead. In the cinematic reproduction of tumult in Iraq, one thing you never see a lot of is Iraqis.

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True Grit

Adam Sweeting

Henry Hathaway's 1969 version of True Grit famously won John Wayne his solitary Oscar for Best Actor.

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Nénette

Jasper Rees

This is not the first starring role in cinema history for an orang-utan. That honour belongs to King Louie, the banana-clad jungle VIP in Disney’s 1967 version of Kipling’s The Jungle Book. It’s not actually the second either, or even the third.

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The Fighter

Graham Fuller

A paean to working-class bellicosity set (and shot) in the rundown industrial town of Lowell, Massachusetts, David O’Russell’s boxing film The Fighter relishes its brawls. In one inspired scene, a character is unceremoniously slammed to the ground and punched repeatedly in the face. Not Queensberry Rules?

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Rabbit Hole

Matt Wolf

So many stage shows (musicals, mostly) are these days fashioned from films that the arrival of Rabbit Hole reminds us of the time-honored habit of plundering yesteryear's Broadway hit for this movie season's trophy-minded bait.

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Antonioni Project, Barbican Theatre

Carole Woddis Putting the mic into Michelangelo Antonioni: Marieke Heebink as Lidia and Hans Kesting as Giovanni

Back in the early 1960s, anyone with half a curious cultural brain in their heads would take themselves off to small fleapit cinemas like The Academy or the Classic in Oxford Street (now defunct). There you could catch the latest European art film. And at one of these I remember seeing Italian director Antonioni’s La Notte with Jeanne Moreau and Marcello Mastroianni. Such was its impact that neither I nor the flat mates I was with were able to utter a word until we reached...

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Brighton Rock

Adam Sweeting

Revisiting Brighton Rock was bound to cause an uproar. A couple of weeks ago, The Daily Telegraph’s Simon Heffer launched a ferocious assault on Rowan Joffe’s new screen version of Graham Greene's novel, while admitting he hadn’t seen it. Mind you, he had read some hostile comments on the internet. “Well ought to have been left alone,” he decreed.

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Men on the Bridge

ismene Brown

As a child I lived for a while near the footings in Ortaköy of the Bosphorus Bridge, which was being constructed over the breathtaking straits of Istanbul. Our life as oil expatriates was many worlds away from the skinny hawkers, whistling traffic cops and sweating construction workers whom our car passed every day. Four decades later this magnificent bridge has brought a global political metaphor, an entire little commercial ecosystem, and a raft of deeply affecting human existences.

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