sat 25/05/2024

Film Reviews

2011: Siren Songs, Top Tales, and Farewell to the Mavericks

graeme Thomson

We have, thankfully, long since moved beyond the point where there's any need to delineate or categorise works of art according to gender. However, looking back at 2011 it's hard to escape the conclusion that the most compelling music emerged from the mouths and minds of women.

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The Lady

Tom Birchenough

Although now a major figure on the world stage, Aung San Suu Kyi began as a reluctant dissident and figure of protest against the military regime of her native Burma. Recent months have seen her finally released from house arrest and set to play a considerable role in the future politics of her benighted country. Such latest developments are beyond the scope of Luc Besson’s film The Lady.

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2011: Mysteries, Mayhem and Margaret

Emma Simmonds

Many have dismissed 2011 as cinematically something of a disappointment, but while close inspection may have identified more cubic zirconia than bona fide diamonds, the year glittered nevertheless. The showstopping Mysteries of Lisbon was undoubtedly the real deal - what a teasing, sumptuous and gorgeously strange film that was (even with a running time in excess of four hours).

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2011: We Need To Talk About Grandage and Guvnors

Matt Wolf

And what a year it was! Comedy was king on stages around town, while a variety of Shakespeare royals -- Richard III à deux courtesy Kevin Spacey and the lesser-known but far more electrifying Richard Clothier, Richard II in the memorably tremulous figure of Eddie Redmayne (pictured above) - kept the Bard alive, and how.

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2011: Tintin, Tallinn and a Year of Surprises

Kieron Tyler

The surprises linger longest. The things you’re not prepared for, the things of which you’ve got little foreknowledge. Lykke Li’s Wounded Rhymes was amazing, and she was equally astonishing live, too. Fleet Foxes's Helplessness Blues was more than a consolidation on their debut and The War On Drugs’s Slave Ambient was a masterpiece. But you already knew to keep an eye on these three. Things arriving by stealth had the greatest impact.

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The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Nick Hasted

We’ve been here already: with Stieg Larsson’s three posthumous Millennium books and the Swedish films based on them; and Tomas Alfredson’s Let the Right One In and its scrupulous, instant US remake. Though Hollywood assimilates global talent, American audiences won’t, it seems, sit through foreign-made or, worse, foreign-language films.

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2011: Glastonbury, Gaga and Charlie Sheen

Thomas H Green

2011 was a year when the wheels of global history cranked noticeably forward, the news always full of images that will be in school text books within a decade. It was also the year when, for most of us, “a bit peeved” became “utterly livid” that greedy, over-privileged vermin had gambled and lost all our money and were clearly getting away with it, unhindered.

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Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol

Adam Sweeting

Fifteen years after its debut edition, the fourth instalment of the Tom Cruise MI franchise is louder, higher, noisier and even more ludicrous. However, there are saving graces. Simon Pegg, playing the gadget-nerd Benji Dunn (pictured below), is given a surprising amount of scope to throw in episodes of tension-relieving farce, while Jeremy Renner brings both grit and wit as the secret service bodyguard William Brandt who finds himself roped into Cruise's crew.

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Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Jasper Rees

So overt it’s covert. That’s how the famous detective explains away the crassness of his disguises. In this newest instalment of the latest cinematic incarnation of the Holmesian myth, the detective rummages through the dressing-up box for silly beards, false gnashers, stupid specs. This Holmes even wears a type of babygrow whose patterning comically blends into the decor. As with Sherlock Holmes, so with Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.

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Dreams of a Life

Nick Hasted

The decontamination squad scraped the remains of 38-year-old ex-City professional Joyce Vincent from her seat, in front of a TV which had flickered unseen for three years. They took her wrapped Christmas presents too, and left unsolvable mysteries. How did she die? And how does someone become so alone that they’re left in a north-London flat above a busy shopping centre till their body melts into it?

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Wreckers

Adam Sweeting

There's quite a bit to admire in DR Hood's debut feature. There's the cast for a start, headed by nascent superstar  Benedict Cumberbatch alongside Brit-dram It-girl Claire Foy.

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The Well-Digger's Daughter

alexandra Coghlan

It’s got Daniel Auteuil striding moodily (yet approachably) through the Provençal countryside so it must be Pagnol, right? Up to a point. He is best known to us as the author of Jean de Florette and Manon des sources.

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Mysteries of Lisbon

Graham Fuller

“This story is not my child, or my godchild. It is not a work of fiction. It is a diary of suffering,” a title says at the beginning of Raúl Ruiz’s magnificent Mysteries of Lisbon.

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The Mighty Uke, Hyde Park Picture House, Leeds

graham Rickson

Recorded music has a lot to answer for. Until its arrival, most people made their own music – at home, using whatever resources were to hand. If you were lucky, you might have owned a piano. The less well-off might have had access to a ukulele. Tony Coleman and Margaret Meagher’s enchanting, lo-fi documentary stakes a bold claim for the ukulele’s pivotal role in 20th-century music history.

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Puss in Boots

Emma Simmonds

The Shrek series is resurrected once again for this amiable, action-packed - if less than purr-fect - 3D spin-off, featuring everyone’s favourite diminutive swashbuckler. If the franchise was a feline it would be running out of lives (and good will) fast, but fortunately this prequel leaves the magical land of Far Far Away, well, far, far away - instead setting its story amidst the red dust and diabolical double-crossing of a spaghetti western.

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Another Earth

Jasper Rees

Another Earth begins, like many more reliable but less ambitious films, with a life-changing event. A young astrophysicist is involved in a collision. Climbing unharmed from her vehicle, she finds a woman and child dead by her hand. Four years later she emerges from prison and attempts to make contact with her surviving victim, who turns out to be an eminent composer. Her nerve fails, but still she finds herself worming her path into his world.

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