tue 23/04/2024

Film Reviews

Socialisme

Nick Hasted

Jean-Luc Godard has lived in self-exile for most of his film-making life, a now 80-year-old enfant terrible. After the seismic ruptures to film grammar in his self-aware, playful Sixties work, he largely abandoned narrative and popularity at the start of the Seventies.

Read more...

Holy Rollers

Adam Sweeting

Great idea. Geeky Hasidic kid from Brooklyn's claustrophobic Jewish community finds his attention wandering during his rabbinical studies, and falls under the raffish spell of the older and wilder Yosef Zimmerman. He finds the slope is slippery indeed, and with head-spinning speed he's enmeshed in a transatlantic drug-mule racket. He's making big piles of wedge, but losing his immortal soul in the process.

Read more...

The Tree of Life

Emma Simmonds

At the end of last week it was reported that a Connecticut cinema, besieged with requests for refunds, had posted up a sign warning punters that The Tree of Life “does not follow a traditional, linear narrative approach to storytelling”. And so what? Terrence Malick’s Palme d’Or winner is certainly elliptical and impressionistic, but it’s also spellbinding, and as lofty and luminous as the stars in the sky.

Read more...

Super

Jasper Rees

If you had a quid for every time a nerdy character in a contemporary comedy made reference to Star Wars, in particular to the gnomic wisdomous utterances of Yoda, you’d be richer. Maybe not as rich as George Lucas. But it happens. It happens a lot. A country short on mythology sources its gods and heroes in kiddie lit and stores them in the toy box. Over here we’ve got Homer.

Read more...

Trust

Matt Wolf

Do you know where your teenagers are? If they're smart, they'll be somewhere watching Trust, the sophomore directorial effort from actor David Schwimmer that turns out to be as deftly compelling as it is unnerving.

Read more...

As If I Am Not There

Jasper Rees

The capture and arraignment of Ratko Mladic has brought atrocities committed in Bosnia back onto the front page. As Martin Bell used to argue, the Bosnian war struggled to hold the world’s attention even when it was going on. Two much more major conflicts, in which we have been doing the bombing rather than the peacekeeping, have since sent Bosnia plummeting down the squash ladder of important contemporary conflicts.

Read more...

Larry Crowne

Matt Wolf

What is it with Hollywood and education? Hot on the heels (shamelessly come-hither pumps, in fact) of Cameron Diaz in the lamentable Bad Teacher, we now get Julia Roberts as a disaffected babe who, we're told, is a teacher even though she spends precious little time in actor-director Tom Hanks's new film doing anything of the sort.

Read more...

The Conspirator

Adam Sweeting

Some directors are just grateful that their movies get funded and released, but Robert Redford has loftier aspirations. Scornful of the routine popcorn-spattered multiplex-filler, he thinks we should be prodded to improve our lot by learning the lessons of history, and says he wants to tell stories about "ordinary people that are affected by larger forces out of their control". This lofty blueprint has brought us Bob's latest behind-the-camera odyssey, The Conspirator.

Read more...

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Nick Hasted

When the infantilisation of Hollywood started in 1977 with Star Wars, as a 10-year-old I was all in favour. The hugely successful Transformers franchise based on a series of clever 1980s toys - they’re a car; some Origami-style fiddling later, they’re a robot! - probably isn’t where that trend bottoms out.

Read more...

A Separation

james Woodall

Asghar Farhadi’s new film unostentatiously suggests that Iran has many of the same things we have: cars, cash machines, schools, sex, divorce, Alzheimer’s. It doesn’t, we gather, have modern law. Before howls of protest erupt over so banal and Western-slanted a generalisation, I stress that this is the film’s contention: the madness of law the film proposes is not necessarily fact.

Read more...

Cutter's Way

Graham Fuller

Of all the curdled classics made during the neo-noir wave of the Seventies and early Eighties - including Klute, The Long Goodbye, Mean Streets, Chinatown, The Conversation, Night Moves, Farewell My Lovely, Taxi Driver, American Gigolo and The Postman Always Rings Twice - Ivan Passer’s Cutter’s Way is the most neglected.

Read more...

Incendies

Emma Simmonds

Denis Villeneuve’s impassioned, decorous adaptation of Wajdi Mouawad’s award-winning stage play sees a dead woman bequeath her children a mystery, which in turn unlocks the secrets of her past and ultimately theirs. The Oscar-nominated Incendies is an arresting and satisfying fusion of political thriller and family drama. Handsomely shot and mesmerising throughout, it’s a film told most memorably in the sensitive and resonant performances of its lead actresses.

Read more...

Bridesmaids

Veronica Lee

If you have begun to tire of blokey-jokey films such as Wedding Crashers, The 40-Year-Old Virgin and The Hangover, then try this female-oriented movie that covers some of the same territory but from the distaff side.

Read more...

Love's Kitchen

Matt Wolf

Foodies will have a good laugh at Love's Kitchen, the British rom-com that casts Simon Callow as a bibulous restaurant critic and Gordon Ramsay as, well, himself.

Read more...

The First Grader

Jasper Rees

The adult craving for education isn't a well that film-makers visit often. Educating Rita gave Willy Russell his finest cinematic hour. Say what you like about Kate Winslet’s concentration camp guard in The Reader, but such was her love of a good book at least she learned to read.

Read more...

The Beaver

Veronica Lee

It doesn’t augur well when the first comment you hear as the credits roll is, “Well, it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting.” That’s really not a great place to begin a review either, but let’s anyway. Or rather with a fnar, fnar moment - did nobody point out the other meaning of "beaver" to the film's makers?

Read more...

Pages

latest in today

Blue Lights Series 2, BBC One review - still our best cop sh...

The first season of Blue Nights was so close to ...

Sabine Devieilhe, Mathieu Pordoy, Wigmore Hall review - ench...

Sabine Devieilhe, as with many other great sopranos, elicits much fan worship, with no less than three encores at her recent Wigmore Hall recital...

Jonn Elledge: A History of the World in 47 Borders review -...

In A History of the World in 47 Borders, Jonn Elledge takes an ostensibly dry subject – how maps and boundaries have shaped our world –...

Špaček, BBC Philharmonic, Bihlmaier, Bridgewater Hall, Manch...

Billed as a “Viennese Whirl”, this programme showed that there are different kinds of music that may be known to the orchestral canon as coming...

Banging Denmark, Finborough Theatre review - lively but conf...

What would happen if a notorious misogynist actually fell in love? With a glacial Danish librarian? And decided his best means of...

Album: Fred Hersch - Silent, Listening

The previous solo piano solo album from Fred Hersch, one of the world’s great...

Music Reissues Weekly: Linda Smith - I So Liked Spring, Noth...

Three years ago, the release of Till Another Time 1988-1996 generated a thumbs up. A compilation of recordings by the Baltimore and/or...

London Tide, National Theatre review - haunting moody river...

“He do the police in different voices.” If ever one phrase summed up a work of fiction, and the art of its writer, then surely it is this...

Watts, BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Bignamini, Barbica...

Anyone who’d booked to hear soprano Sally Matthews or to witness the rapid progress of conductor Daniele Rustioni – the initial draw for me –...

The Songs of Joni Mitchell, Roundhouse review - fans (old an...

For most people’s 40th birthday celebrations, they might get a few...