wed 11/12/2019

Film Reviews

Tehran Taboo review - transgressive animation

Tom Birchenough

For all the bleakness of its subject matter, there’s considerable exhilaration to Ali Soozandeh’s animation feature Tehran Taboo. That’s due, in part, to the film’s breaking of many of the official “rules” of Iranian...

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A Star is Born review - Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga make a compellingly combustible duo

Matt Wolf

"It's the same old story, told over and over forever": So remarks the redoubtable Sam Elliott late in the most recent reboot of A Star is Born, which itself manages to take an oft-told story and reinvent it very much afresh.

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Kusama - Infinity review - amazing tale of survival against the odds

Sarah Kent

Wearing a red dress covered in black polka dots and a bright red wig, Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama sits drawing, a look of intense concentration on her face. It takes her three days, she says, to finish one of these huge repeating patterns (main picture) and ideas pour out faster than she can realise them, even though she works all day, six days a week. 

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The Wife review - Glenn Close deserves better from her latest Oscar bid

Matt Wolf

Writers need to write, or so goes the unimpeachable argument that underpins The Wife, which is being strongly touted as the film that may finally bring leading lady Glenn Close an Oscar in her seventh time at bat.

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Black 47 review - a gripping and unusual drama

Veronica Lee

Even for those with only a passing acquaintance with Irish history, the Famine – or the Great Hunger – looms large, when British indifference to the failed potato crop in large parts of Ireland resulted in the deaths or emigration of nearly a quarter of the country’s population in the 1840s and 1850s.

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Skate Kitchen review - sisterhood in the skate park

Markie Robson-Scott

“Let’s get a clip, Long Island.” One New York skateboarder encourages another, who’s from the ‘burbs, to show off ollies, pop shuvits and kick-flips for a YouTube video. But hang on: “There are too many penises in the way.” This is a posse of young women, a rare sighting in the male world of the skate park.

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The Little Stranger review - the wrong sort of chills

Jasper Rees

Domnhall Gleeson needs to watch it. In Goodbye Christopher Robin he played AA Milne, the creator of Pooh and co. To achieve the correct level of period English PTSD, it was as if he’d folded himself up into a neat pile of desiccated twigs. And now he’s gone and done it again in The Little Stranger, only more so.

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Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. review - not your average popstar

Owen Richards

Why is M.I.A. such a problematic pop star? Why can't she just shut up and release a hit? Tellingly, this is the very question the singer poses at the start of Matangi/Maya/M.I.A - a question she's been asked throughout her career, from interviewers to management.

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Faces Places review - Agnès Varda's enchanted journey

Tom Birchenough

On the eve of her tenth decade, the marvellous Agnès Varda embarked on the enchanted journey that we see in Faces Places. For admirers of the great French director – of whom there are a great many: indeed, it is hard not to be won over by her resolutely independent, profoundly...

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Never Here review - conceptual art may damage your health

Adam Sweeting

Beware the hidden powers of the cellphone.

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Wajib review - poignant, profound humanism

Tom Birchenough

Annemarie Jacir’s third feature may have picked up a subtitle, “The Wedding Invitation”, for international distribution, but the key to her intimate portrait of Palestinian life seen through a...

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Lucky review - fabled character actor stars in his own obituary

Adam Sweeting

Harry Dean Stanton died in September last year aged 91, and will forever be remembered as the embodiment of the lean, lonely, laconic stranger, a man of few words but imbued with an enigmatic allure. This film, the directorial debut of character actor John Carroll Lynch, has been conceived as both homage to and starring vehicle for the departed Stanton, but doesn’t quite hit the spot on either count.

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The Seagull review - Chekhov classic gets the all-star treatment

Matt Wolf

A starry and mostly American cast does well by The Seagull, Chekhov's eternally moving portrait of egomania run wild and self-abasement turned tragically inward. Combining two major players from the New York theatre world in director Michael Mayer (London's Funny Girl, Broadway's Hedwig and the Angry Inch) with a Tony-winning...

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The Miseducation of Cameron Post review - learning the right way

Tom Birchenough

This is Desiree Akhavan’s second film, following on from her rather ironically titled Appropriate Behaviour of 2014. That was a coming-out drama about a bisexual, Iranian-American woman, whose story closely reflected the director’s own – and ...

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Under the Wire review - risking everything to tell the world the truth

Sarah Kent

She was “the most important war correspondent of her generation”, says Sean Ryan, her editor at The Sunday Times. And her colleague Paul Conroy describes her as “a complete and utter one-off – exceptionally driven, with a real sense of purpose”. These tributes are for Marie Colvin, who was killed by President Assad’s forces on February 22 2012.

Conroy was on assignment with her when she died. He was badly wounded in the attack, but escaped from...

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Yardie review - Idris Elba shoots straight in his directorial debut

Jasper Rees

The first significant British film to explore the influence of Jamaican sound systems in London was Babylon. Shot in 1980, its street patois was deemed impenetrable enough to merit subtitles. Times change.

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