fri 24/01/2020

Film Reviews

América review - a joyous portrait of young men caring for their aged grandmother

Sarah Kent

What a wonderful little gem! This documentary by American duo Erick Stoll and Chase Whiteside lasts 76 minutes, but I could happily have watched it for hours. The film addresses a desperately sad and difficult issue – what to do with an elderly relative who suffers from dementia and needs constant care – but does so with such a light and compassionate touch that it is pure joy.

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Boy Erased review - gay vs God drama treated with empathy

Tom Birchenough

Joel Edgerton’s second turn as a director is the second film in a year to treat the subject of gay conversion therapy.

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Can You Ever Forgive Me? review - no page unturned in a comedy about literary forgery

Saskia Baron

What is it with all these new films based on biographiesVice, Green Book, The Mule, Stan & Ollie, Colette… and that’s before we even get to the royal romps queening up our screens.

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Burning review - an explosive psychological thriller

Graham Fuller

Burning, which is the first film directed by the Korean master Lee Chang-dong since 2010’s Poetry, begins as the desultory story of a hook-up between a pair of poor, unmotivated millennials – the girl already a lost soul, the boy a wannabe writer saddled with a criminally angry father.

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Crucible of the Vampire review - Neil Morrissey meets lesbian vampires, subtly

Nick Hasted

Ghosts of previous B-movies flit through this low-budget lesbian vampire flick. Part Hammer horror, J-horror, Witchfinder General and The Wicker Man, it is ultimately about a young woman in a very large house full of unpleasant people out for her blood.

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Green Book review - is this Oscar hopeful too good to be true?

Adam Sweeting

With five nominations, Green Book is cruising optimistically towards Oscar night, but it’s not all plain sailing for director Peter Farrelly’s mixed-race fairy tale about a posh black musician and his thuggish Italian minder.

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Velvet Buzzsaw review - an acerbic takedown of the LA art scene

Joseph Walsh

Sitting somewhere between Ruben Östlund’s The Square and Final Destination, Dan Gilroy’s Velvet Buzzsaw is a satirical supernatural thriller that goes for the jugular of the LA art scene.

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The Mule review - good ol' boy rides again

Saskia Baron

Baggage can weigh a movie down. The Mule comes with quite a bit of baggage, and not just the kilos of coke stashed in the car’s trunk. Clint Eastwood’s fifty plus years as a screen icon turned director, his dodgy love life and libertarian politics all make it hard to walk into a cinema showing his latest film without dragging along a whole load of preconceptions.

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Vice review - Christian Bale on surging and satiric form

Matt Wolf

Satire was once thought in America to be that thing that closed on Saturday night. Not here: filmmaker Adam McKay goes the distance with Vice, a hurtling examination of realpolitik that puts Dick Cheney under a spotlight at once satiric and scary. Do we have Dubya's onetime veep to thank for the subsequent rise of Trump and the parlous state of affairs Stateside since then?

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On Her Shoulders review - half-life of a campaigner

Owen Richards

In September 2014, after three months of captivity, Nadia Murad escaped ISIS control in Mosul, Iraq. Since then, she has dedicated her life to travelling the world and telling everyone who will listen about the plight suffered by her Yazidi people, then and now still.

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Van Woerkum, BBCPO, Gernon, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - a symphony of cinema

Robert Beale

In contrast to a classic film soundtrack played live with the film, the idea in "symphonic cinema" is that the music, and its interpretation, come first. So the conductor is literally setting the pace, and to some extent the atmosphere, while the film is controlled in real time by an "image soloist", and the visuals follow the music’s lead rather than the other way round.

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Mary Queen of Scots review - Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie excel

Graham Fuller

Very much a woman of today, the Catholic Stuart heroine (Saoirse Ronan) of Mary Queen of Scots frequently hacks her way out of a thicket of power-hungry males, enjoys it when her English suitor Lord Darnley (Jack Lowden) goes down on her, and is amused when her gay secretary and minstrel David Rizzio (Ismael Cruz Cordova)...

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Glass review - shattered Shyamalan sequel

Nick Hasted

M Night Shyamalan is the Orson Welles of twist-ending fantasy, forever condemned to reach back to his first two successes. The Sixth Sense still stands alone, though its haunted chill shivers through much recent horror.

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Monsters and Men review - an impressive debut

Saskia Baron

This well-crafted addition to the films inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement is subtler and less commercial than last year’s The Hate U Give but covers similar terrain. Write...

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Beautiful Boy review - well-acted but a slog

Matt Wolf

The tortuous road to addiction and back again – or maybe not  makes for a faintly tedious experience in Beautiful Boy, notwithstanding the committed performances of an A-list cast.

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Colette review - Keira Knightley thrives in Paris

Owen Richards

In a telling scene midway through Colette, our lead is told that rather than get used to marriage, it is “better to make marriage get used to you.” In this retelling of the remarkable Colette’s rise, it is evident she did much more than that; by the time she was done, all of Paris was moulded in her image, and in the hands...

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