sun 18/08/2019

Film Reviews

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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'

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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...

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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...

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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).

Read more...

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).

Read more...

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.

Read more...

My Friend Dahmer review - sympathy for the devil

Tom Birchenough

“He’s not a sideshow attraction,” we hear towards the end of Marc Meyers’s queasily compelling My Friend Dahmer, when one of the “Dahmer Fan Club”, a group of high school sham-friends-cum-taunters who have been treating the film’s teen protagonist as if he was just that, has...

Read more...

Ismael's Ghosts review - call me novelistic

Nick Hasted

The literary allusions and aspirations come thick and fast in this roomy, novelistic, most French of films from Arnaud Desplechin.

Read more...

Pages

latest in today

Niall Griffiths: Broken Ghost review - Welsh visions of hope...

The trend-hopping taste-makers who run British literary publishing have lately decided that “working-class” writing merits a small dole of their...

theartsdesk at Bard Summerscape Festival 2019: unknown treas...

There could be no greater gift to any festival director...

Reissue CDs Weekly: Phil Manzanera - Diamond Head

Diamond Head was Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera’s first solo album. Released in May...

Prom 40: Hough, OAE, Fischer review - pretty royal things

There it gleamed, the pearl in the massive oyster of...

Pram, Hare & Hounds, Birmingham review - a fine hometown...

While Pram could hardly be described as representative of the UK...

Transit review - existential nightmares for a German refugee

If you’re looking for escapism from anxieties about Brexit, the worldwide refugee crisis and rising authoritarianism,...

CD: Grenades - Primate

South-coast four piece Grenades’ debut album is that most unlikely of musical outings, an ecological...