tue 07/07/2020

Film Reviews

Norwegian Wood

alexandra Coghlan

Published in 1987, Norwegian Wood was the novel that turned Haruki Murakami from writer to celebrity in his native Japan. With over 12 million copies sold internationally and a cult of devoted readers waiting fretfully, the notoriously unfilmable book finally makes its screen debut under the direction of Tran Anh Hung. Described by the author simply as “a love story”, this most conventional of Murakami’s narratives picks through the emotional detritus of a teenage suicide, exposing...

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Legacy - Black Ops

Adam Sweeting

This debut feature by writer/director Thomas Ikimi was shot in 22 days on an infinitesimal budget, and while it's easy to point out some obvious flaws, it's far more constructive to look at what Ikimi has achieved. Chiefly, he wrote a script intriguing enough to lure Idris Elba on board, and he not only agreed to play the central role of Malcolm Gray, but additionally gave the project a hefty professional shove.

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Hall Pass

Jasper Rees

It is regularly cited as quite the grossest moment in the Top 1000 gross moments in gross-out comedy. Flooping out of Ben Stiller, dangling off his earlobe, whence Cameron Diaz takes a pinch to stiffen her hair flick: the world-famously icky spunk-gel sight gag. The Farrelly Brothers have never been ones to duck a gross-out challenge, and in Hall Pass they may have just knocked their own There’s Something About Mary off the Number One slot.

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Fair Game

Adam Sweeting

News junkies and connoisseurs of Iraq war conspiracies may be familiar with the true story of CIA agent Valerie Plame, which is earnestly converted to celluloid here by director Doug Liman. Part of Plame's work was infiltrating Saddam Hussein's weapons programme before the decision to invade Iraq in 2003 was taken.

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His & Hers

Veronica Lee

Ken Wardrop is a young Irish film-maker who has been winning awards since his days at the National Film School in Dublin. His & Hers, his feature debut, is no exception: it won the World Documentary Cinematography award at last year’s Sundance film festival. The title is deliberately misleading.

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Patagonia

Jasper Rees

To anyone less than familiar with a transatlantic migration of 150 souls which took place in 1865, a bilingual film with dialogue in Spanish and Welsh may look like a subtitled bridge too far. Any such prejudgement would be a mistake. Patagonia is a film rich in cinematic textures which visits not one but two ravishing parts of the world rarely celebrated in widescreen.

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Archipelago

Emma Simmonds

Upper-middle-class familial relations are placed under an unflattering spotlight in Joanna Hogg’s rich, resonant and often scathingly comic drama, which triumphantly harnesses the power of the unsaid and the unseen. Like its predecessor Unrelated, Archipelago is a superior, stylistically distinct work that is utterly, almost cringingly credible.

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Tempest

james Woodall

Shakespeare’s The Tempest is apparently a gift for the big screen. It's full of tricks, illusions, two half-humans and of course kicks off with a stonker of a storm: any film-maker might, particularly in this hi-tech epoch, give his or her eye teeth to unleash wildest imaginings on this magical text for grabbiest effect. “The isle is full of noises,/ Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not”, says Caliban.

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Howl

Jasper Rees

Over here we had our own obscenity trial in 1960. Before Lady Chatterley’s Lover made it into the dock, it’s always said that sex in the UK didn’t exist while no sooner had the judge pronounced it not guilty of obscenity than everyone was at it very promptly. Thus does the collective memory simplify. As is usually the case, America got there first.

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West Is West

Veronica Lee

Ayub Khan Din’s belated sequel to 1999’s East is East moves the story on by five years as we revisit the Khan family in Salford in 1976. East is East (directed by Damien O’Donnell) concerned chip-shop owner George Khan’s determined attempts to marry off his sons to Pakistani girls, while West is West (directed by Andy DeEmmony) centres on Sajid, the youngest brother whom we previously saw permanently in a hooded Parka.

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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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