thu 18/04/2019

Film Reviews

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...

Fish Tank

Sheila Johnston

It is, as the best cinema should be, always all about the image. Andrea Arnold's films are born, she says, with just this: a visual imprint - strong, unsettling, inexplicable. The stories then slowly unfurl in her mind from that starting point. On paper, they sound grim: the director goes for terse, no-nonsense titles, and her working-class world seems at first unforgiving.

Read more...

Dorian Gray

Jasper Rees

Oscar Wilde was once bossing a high-society drawing-room with swishes of his rapier wit when someone else had the temerity to mint an aphorism. “I wish I’d said that,” intoned the great man. Back came the devastating retort: “You will, Oscar, you will.”

Read more...

Film: Adventureland

Ryan Gilbey

Superbad was a modern-day coming-of-age comedy with inexplicable 1970s trimmings (the title, groovy credits sequence, Richard Pryor references and so on). Now its director, Greg Mottola, has made a period piece proper in the form of Adventureland, set in the mid-1980s in a cheesy, dilapidated Pittsburgh theme park where the rides make you throw up, and the stalls are rigged against any customer hoping to win more than a dying goldfish.

Read more...

Pages

latest in today

Climate Change: The Facts, BBC One review - how much reality...

Peer down the glassy dark and you’ll see them. White bubbles trapped in the frozen lake which appear to be rising to the surface. Look through the...

Dragged Across Concrete review - Mel Gibson's hard-boil...

Mel Gibson’s vile drunken rants a decade ago, his 63 years and the price of both inform his role as...

CD: The O'Jays - The Last Word

How to put a full-stop on an over 50 year recording career? For multiple Music Hall of Fame-rs The O’Jays, the answer...

Trust Me, Series 2, BBC One review - hospital killer chiller...

Great, a new drama not by the Williams brothers. Instead it’s...

Greta review – Isabelle Huppert goes full psycho in eccentri...

Isabelle Huppert is famed for the chilly intensity of many of her ...

Javier Perianes, QEH review - not a Spanish fire-eater but a...

Expect no cliches about toreador pianism. Red-earth flamboyance is...

Three Sisters, Almeida Theatre review - middle of the road w...

About a year ago, director Rebecca Frecknall electrified this...

John Mayall, Ronnie Scott's review – the legend on his...

John Mayall keeps up one hell of a touring schedule for an 85-year-old. Last night's early set at...