sat 17/08/2019

Film Reviews

The Square review - stylish, brilliantly acted satire

Saskia Baron

One of the oldest pleasures of cinema is the opportunity it gives us to look at beautiful people in beautiful places, possibly having beautiful sex. Often audiences get exactly what they came for but sometimes it isn’t exactly straightforward. Take The Square, the Oscar-nominated film from Swedish ...

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Annihilation, Netflix review - not quite a sci-fi masterpiece

Adam Sweeting

Mild controversy hovers over the new film by Alex Garland, the novelist-turned-screenwriter-turned-director. Garland’s 2015 directing debut, Ex Machina, was a slow-burning hit which found favour with critics and film festival juries.

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My Golden Days review - a mesmerising tale of heartbreak

Owen Richards

Arnaud Despelchin’s My Golden Days is a strange beast; it is both a sequel and prequel to the gloriously titled 1996 film My Sex Life…or How I Got into an Argument. Yet it tells its own story in the life of Paul Dédalus (Mathieu Amalric).

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DVD/Blu-ray: Shiraz

Tom Birchenough

The subtitle of Franz Osten’s 1928 film, A Romance of India, says it all: this Indian silent film is a tremendous watch, a revelation of screen energy and visual delight. An epic love story-cum-weepie with lashings of action and intrigue thrown in, it was an Indian-British-German coproduction (a curious...

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Wonder Wheel review - Woody Allen and Kate Winslet channel O'Neill

Jasper Rees

In recent months Woody Allen has been publicly disavowed by a conga line of major film stars. The latest who seems to have expressed regret for working with him – if not by name – is Kate Winslet. She stars in his latest film, and may also feel slight regret for artistic reasons.

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You Were Never Really Here review - a wild ride to the dark side

Adam Sweeting

The gripping paradox of Lynne Ramsay’s terse, brutal thriller is suggested in its title.

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Scott and Sid review - self-absorbed vanity project

David Kettle

There’s a Big Reveal that comes right at the end of this new indie movie from first-time writer/producer/directors Scott Elliott and Sid Sadowskyj (whose names, in retrospect, should have given the game away right from the start). For (complete spoiler alert!) this is Elliott and...

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Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story review - Hollywood's brainiest beauty

Jasper Rees

Hedy Lamarr really ought to be the poster girl for the Time's Up movement. “Any girl can look glamorous," she once said. "All she has to do is stand still and look stupid.” She was the model for Catwoman and Disney's Snow White. It's less well known that she patented an invention which led to the creation of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. If she were alive now, she might be sitting on a £30 billion dollar fortune.

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A Fantastic Woman review - from Chile with heat

Saskia Baron

The woman of the title is not the first person we meet on screen; we meet her lover, a 57-year-old silver fox Orlando (Francisco Reyes). He’s getting a massage in a sauna and then returning to his office where he owns a printing company. We meet him again later. He’s looking for someone, a beautiful merengue singer performing in a fancy hotel. Marina (Daniela Vega, pictured below with Reyes) sings "Your love is yesterday’s newspaper" and they lock eyes.

Marina has been...

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Red Sparrow review - from Russia with lust

Adam Sweeting

As it turns out, the slashed-to-the-hip Versace dress with which Jennifer Lawrence provoked controversy (synthetic or otherwise) on a freezing London rooftop was an accurate barometer of what to expect from Red Sparrow.

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DVD: Boy

David Kettle

Following his irreverent superhero reboot Thor: Ragnarok, one of 2017’s most distinctive blockbusters, and his quirky Kiwi indie comedy Hunt for the Wilderpeople in 2016, it’s fair to say that interest in New Zealand director Taika Waititi’s back catalogue is high. Hence,...

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Game Night review - Rachel McAdams is bliss in bonkers comedy thriller

Matt Wolf

Fake news takes on new meaning in the largely gonzo Game Night, which leaves spectators wondering moment-to-moment whether what they are watching is reality or part of a continually unfolding game. Telling of a gathering of six whose game night doesn't quite, um, go according to plan, this co-directing effort between John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein throws numerous genres into the celluloid megamix and blends them to the max.

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The Light of the Moon, Amazon Prime review - coping with the unthinkable

Adam Sweeting

This account of the aftermath of a sexual assault is handled with a clear-headed restraint and attention to detail that’s refreshing in the feverish post-Weinstein climate.

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Mom and Dad review - daft and dark zombie thriller

Veronica Lee

As Mom and Dad opens, after a comically shocking preface, the Ryan family are presented as a typical all-American middle-class family – albeit one that, strangely enough, can afford a daily maid who cooks their breakfast. 

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Dark River review - haunted rural realism

Nick Hasted

Country darkness falls quickly when Alice (Ruth Wilson) goes back to the farm. She stops before entering to gratefully absorb the Yorkshire countryside’s sunny beauty.

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DVD/Blu-ray: The Party

Owen Richards

Take one of the strongest casts in British cinema and put them in a confined space; it was always going to be fun. Sally Potter’s The Party sets its sights on the duplicitous liberal elite, where venality hides behind paper...

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