sat 23/03/2019

Film Reviews

Film: Johnny Mad Dog

Ryan Gilbey

The raucous young lads swaggering down the streets of a charred, deserted town could be the Lost Boys in an African production of Peter Pan. Some are in their late teens, others are no older than 10 or 11, but most are decked out in fancy-dress garb and accoutrements which suggest a recent dip in the dressing-up box.

Read more...

The Men Who Stare at Goats, London Film Festival

Sheila Johnston

A rubicund major-general leaps up from his desk, scrunches up his face in concentration, breaks into a run and belts towards the office wall, intending to race through it. Sadly, in this opening sequence of The Men Who Stare at Goats, he falls flat on his face, and so does the joke; so does the whole film, actually, come to that.

Read more...

Fantastic Mr Fox, London Film Festival

Sheila Johnston

It would be an understatement to say that the auguries weren't good for Wes Anderson's first animated movie, the world premiere of which opened the London Film Festival last night. The distributor - Twentieth Century Fox, by a neat coincidence - was coy about screening it to critics, the trailer (below) was teeth-grindingly unfunny and...

Read more...

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Adam Sweeting

Terry Gilliam set toupees a-flutter with a feisty piece in the Sunday Times about the pandemonium surrounding the release of his new film, firing off broadsides at Tracey Emin and gossips who spread malicious rumours about the late Heath Ledger, and deploring the bureaucratic bloat which he reckons has capsized the BBC. “I’m good at being angry – it’s an occupation,” he growled.

Read more...

Werner Herzog: Huie's Sermon and God's Angry Man

Igor Toronyi-Lalic

A familiar Herzogian weirdness was on display at last night's Herzog documentary double bill. And not all of it was cinematic. The organisers of the Herzog retrospective had matched up out-of-the-way venues to specific Herzog movies, and these movies to suitable companion acts.

Read more...

Le Donk & Scor-Zay-Zee

Ryan Gilbey

Woody Allen has made four. Christopher Guest starred in and co-wrote the best one of all time, then directed some damn fine examples of his own. Sacha Baron Cohen and Ricky Gervais have built their careers and reputations on them. Now the Uttoxeter-born writer-director Shane Meadows has thrown his hat into the mockumentary ring with Le Donk & Scor-Zay-Zee, the profile of a bitter, weather-beaten and entirely fictional roadie.

Read more...

Film: Thirst

Anne Billson

Just when you thought vampires had lost their bite, along comes Korean director Park Chan-wook with Thirst. It's a loose adaptation of Emile Zola's Thérèse Raquin in which the adulterous lovers also happen to be drinkers of blood. They suck, they fuck and they kill, and, in the event of a vampire death-match, they would surely make mincemeat out of a toothless teen idol like Edward Cullen. Twilight this is not.

Read more...

Film: Driving Aphrodite

Matt Wolf

Staycationers who didn't make it to their favourite Greek isle this summer may constitute a ready-made audience for Driving Aphrodite, the travelogue masquerading as a film that has opened just in time to tap into a collective desire for sun, sand, and the odd drop of retsina just as the nights are beginning to draw in.

Read more...

The Hourglass Sanatorium, Barbican

Jasper Rees

Philip Roth once perversely suggested that Eastern European novelists whose work was banned under Communism were the lucky ones. They didn’t have to scour their navels for material; it was all there, dumped in their laps. In the second half of the 1980s, I devoured a lot of their fiction. If the novel came from the other side of the Iron Curtain, I’d buy. My policy was indiscriminate. It didn’t seem to matter if the author had been born too early for Communism.

Read more...

The Invention of Lying

Jasper Rees

The door to a pristine apartment is opened by a rivetingly beautiful young woman. “You're early," she says matter-of-factly. "I was just masturbating.” Has a date, and indeed a romantic comedy, ever started so winningly? Not that it goes so well for short, fat, snub-nosed Mark Bellison. At the restaurant she informs him that she’s way out of his league and the evening will not conclude in sex or even a kiss. And the waiter hits on her, unsuccessfully.

Read more...

Film: Farewell

Anne Billson

The trailer for Farewell - released in Paris this week - was so dull I nearly didn't bother to go and see the film. The problem with selling Cold War thrillers to the masses is that realistic spy movies have little truck with trailer-friendly stunts, explosions and one-liners. But as any reader of Le Carré knows, the world of espionage is a world of smoke and mirrors, where no-one is who they appear to be, and where cynicism and expediency rub shoulders with slow-burning paranoia. In...

Read more...

Rage, BFI Southbank

Sheila Johnston

Mobile phones aren't usually allowed at film previews. Usually, hard-working hacks trying to earn a crust are relieved of such items at the cinema door lest they record the movie and pirate it on the Internet. But at last night's British premiere of Rage, Sally Potter's satirical thriller about the fashion industry, Blackberries and laptops were positively welcomed. Especially if they were switched on.

Read more...

Three Miles North of Molkom

James Rampton

Nigel Tufnel is alive and well and living three miles north of Molkom. That’s not strictly true, of course – the guitarist with the legendary rock band Spinal Tap is on an endless global tour promoting the album “Smell the Glove” and still seeking an explanation for the death of the group’s first drummer, who perished in a “bizarre gardening accident”. However, the mumbo-jumbo spirit of the man who famously declared that the dials on his amplifiers “all go up to 11” certainly hangs over this...

Read more...

Army of Crime, Cambridge Film Festival

Sheila Johnston

A thorny dilemma looms for Robert Guédiguian's French Resistance drama, the British premiere of which opens the Cambridge Film Festival tonight in the presence of its director (it was released in France yesterday and opens wide in the UK on October 2). Namely: are such fearless freedom fighters in reality the good guys? Or are they, on the other hand, terrorists and murderers?

Read more...

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs in 3D

Veronica Lee In your face: 3D brings an enchanting story a new immediacy

Chances are you have either read the 1978 illustrated children’s book this film was based on, or have read it to your offspring, in which case you will know it’s a charming story told with frequently absurdist humour and visual invention - perfect inspiration for an animated film in 3D.

Read more...

Film: Birdwatchers

Sheila Johnston

The tourist cruise boat chugging up the Amazon pauses for another photo opportunity. A dozen or so tribesman with clay-daubed faces and loincloths are discovered posed like a tableau: a colourful addition to the rainforest fauna. The boat marks time for a beat till the natives, glowering resentfully, fire off a stream of half-hearted arrows. Then it quickly revs up and motors on. But wait: a reverse angle shot shows the action from another perspective. The rubberneckers barely out of sight, the...

Read more...

Pages

latest in today

Blood Knot, Orange Tree Theatre review - defining apartheid-...

London's impromptu mini-season devoted to the work of Athol Fugard picks up real steam with Blood Knot, Matthew Xia's transfixing take on...

Vasari Singers, Backhouse, St Bride’s Fleet Street review -...

London performances of Alfred Schnittke’s Concerto for Choir are like Meaningful Votes: you wait a long time for one, then they come in...

The Best Films Out Now

There are films to meet every taste in theartsdesk's guide to the best movies currently on release. In our considered opinion, any of the titles...

CD: Edwyn Collins - Badbea

Edwyn Collins is in a good mood. Perhaps it’s his 2014 move back to his native...

Pose, BBC Two review - transgender goes mainstream

NYC, 1987. AIDS is ravaging the city, Reagan’s in power,...

Emilia, Vaudeville Theatre review - shouting for change

Emilia Bassano Lanier is not a household name. But maybe she should be. Born in 1569, she was one of the first women in England to publish a book...

Minding the Gap review – profound musings on life

Where would you go for a devastating study on the human condition? The home ...

DVD/Blu-Ray: La Vérité

For admirers of Henri-Georges Clouzot or Brigitte Bardot, this Criterion restoration of their rarely seen 1960 collaboration is a must have. ...