wed 28/02/2024

Film Reviews

Le Quai des brumes

Graham Fuller

“Atmosphère…atmosphère,” the tart played by Arletty barks at her boyfriend-pimp on a canal bridge in Marcel Carné’s 1938 Hôtel du Nord.

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Angel & Tony

Demetrios Matheou

I have no idea why the original title of this fine first feature from Frenchwoman Alix Delaporte has been changed, from Angèle and Tony to the current one. Apart from the pointlessness, it also suggests the wrong tone entirely, since Angèle is certainly no angel.

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The Lucky One

Matt Wolf

The sun shines - a LOT - in the new Zac Efron film, which seems appropriate to a celluloid landscape shaded with loss and grief that puts such aspects of the human condition to one side in favour of the sequence of pretty-as-a-postcard images on which Scott Hicks's direction alights before too very long.

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Silent House

Adam Sweeting

Considerable quantities of bile have been hosed over Silent House by American critics, who have found its premise flimsy and its execution dismally predictable. It was made by Chris Kentis and Laura Lau, who were also responsible for 2003's low-budget hit Open Water. That was the one where a couple of objectionable yuppies were left behind by their dive-boat and we bobbed about in the ocean with them as they succumbed to terror, hypothermia and hungry sharks.

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Damsels in Distress

Emma Dibdin

The opening scene of Whit Stillman’s (The Last Days Of Disco) first film in 13 years comprises one of the most immediately familiar scenarios in the American high school genre. A wide-eyed new girl arrives on campus, is spied by a trio of queen bees and co-opted into their ranks, from where she embarks upon a journey of social self-discovery and inevitable hubristic downfall. But this is college, not high school, and the queen bees are something altogether subtler and stranger.

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Albert Nobbs

Jasper Rees

Glenn Close always had it in her somehow. That mannish jawline was part of her steel cladding in Fatal Attraction. The lasting image of Dangerous Liaisons comes at the close, when Close’s Madame de Meurteuil scrapes off her painted mask to reveal a hard hatchet face. And then there’s her ruthless lawyer in Damages, not to mention two gruesome helpings of Cruella de Vil.

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Avengers Assemble

Emma Simmonds

The long-threatened Avengers Assemble (in the US simply The Avengers) is an appositely extravagant big screen adaptation of the Marvel comic book sensation. More importantly for many, it’s an amalgam of several superhero film franchises, making it a great excuse to pile star upon star. Written and directed by cult favourite Joss Whedon, it really is a fanboy’s dream.

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Le Moine

alexandra Coghlan

Incest, rape, torture and matricide, as well as an obligatory spot of cross-dressing, all played their part in making Matthew Lewis’s Gothic novel The Monk the scandalous success of its day. But with such stuff the bread and butter of Hollywood’s unblinking horror departments, why would a contemporary director choose to revisit this period classic? It was apparently a lifelong ambition of Surrealism’s greatest filmmaker Luis Buñuel to adapt The Monk for the screen.

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Elles

Matt Wolf

Remember when the movies used to celebrate sex, be it Julie Christie diving under the table to service Warren Beatty in Shampoo or Kathleen Turner selling the sizzle in Body Heat? No longer. These days, celluloid sex is a soulless, dispiriting affair even when the bodies on view are beauts.

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Breathing

Jasper Rees

This one sounds like a hard sell: a muted, taciturn, cautious film from Austria about a friendless boy in a young offenders’ institution who takes a job working for the municipal undertakers. Breathing (original title: Atmen) would appear at first glance modest in scope and gloomy in outlook. But whatever the odds stacked against it, this quiet, observational debut from Karl Markovics turns out to pack a discreetly powerful punch.

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Town of Runners

ASH Smyth

Footage of wiry East African men and women breaking the tape in marathons and distance track-events is now more or less synonymous with the highest achievements in top-level sport, and it won’t come as a surprise to those who’ve lived through more than a couple of cycles of the Olympic Games to be reminded that the medal-winners in the long-distance running events are no longer, generally speaking, from “round here”.

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The Bad and the Beautiful

Jasper Rees

In the golden age of the movies that was 1952, The Bad and the Beautiful must have seemed quite a radical attack on the industry.

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Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Jasper Rees

Getting on for three decades ago Lasse Hallström was introduced to audiences outside his native Sweden with My Life As a Dog. An emotionally continent, directorially restrained picture of the pains and pleasures of a rural childhood, it was Hallström’s ticket to Hollywood.

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Battleship

Adam Sweeting

"Find your inner soldier and stop the alien threat before it's too late!" runs the blurb for Hasbro's Battleship computer game. The movie of the game seizes this basic idea by the scruff of the neck, and pumps it up into a cacophonous effects-crammed military yarn with a deafening heavy metal soundtrack. Alien forces have landed in the Pacific, and the US Navy is forced to fight Pearl Harbor II.

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The Gospel of Us

Dylan Moore

The Gospel of Us is a film about remembering. It is based on and was filmed at The Passion of Port Talbot, Michael Sheen’s triumphant theatre-event that took over his home town in south Wales to retell the Easter story this time last year. Writer Owen Sheers has novelised The Passion as The Gospel of Us.

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The Cabin in the Woods

Emma Simmonds

Like an adrenalin injection straight to the heart of a flagging horror genre, The Cabin in the Woods is fresh, funny and teeming with deliciously nasty surprises which - have no fear - will not be revealed to you here. Although it’s helmed by first-time director Drew Goddard (the Cloverfield scribe and co-producer of Lost and Alias), for many the key name attached to The Cabin in the Woods will be Joss Whedon, the film’s co-writer and producer.

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