sat 25/01/2020

Film Reviews

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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Cold War review - a gorgeous and mesmerising romance

Saskia Baron

Can we ever really know the passion that brought our parents together? By the time we are old enough to hear the story of how they first met, that lovers’ narrative has frayed in the telling and faded in the daily light of domestic familiarity.

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BlacKkKlansman review - absurd and angry satire

Nick Hasted

What happens when you let racism sit and fester in the middle of your culture?

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The King review - the myth behind the man

Owen Richards

The most famous face in musical history, and perhaps the instigator of modern culture as we know it; he truly was the King. But for a documentary focused on such an icon, The King touches very little on Elvis Presley the man.

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The Guardians review - beautifully crafted drama

Saskia Baron

A slow tracking shot over the gassed corpses of soldiers, their masks having failed the ecstasy of fumbling, opens The Guardians. This French art house film would perhaps have been better served by the English title The Caretakers; it's closer to the original French meaning and would have made it less likely to be confused with a superhero movie.

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The Negotiator review - Jon Hamm shines in Beirut-based thriller

Adam Sweeting

So far Jon Hamm has had trouble finding himself movie roles which fit him quite as impeccably as Mad Men’s Don Draper – though he could do worse than throw his hat in the ring for James Bond – but his role here as an American diplomat in Beirut plays obligingly to his strengths.

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A Sicilian Ghost Story review - a beautiful, confusing journey

Owen Richards

Childhood is an inimitable experience – the laws of the world are less certain, imagination and reality meld together, and no event feels fixed. A Sicilian Ghost Story recreates this sensation in the context of real world trauma, producing a unique and sometimes unsettling cinematic...

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Apostasy review - trouble in the Jehovah's Witnesses' Kingdom

Nick Hasted

Religion’s desire to fulfil humanity too often denies it instead. The cruelty of inflexible faith which breaks fallible adherents on its iron rules is at the core of this family drama, written and directed by former Jehovah’s Witness Daniel Kokotajlo.

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Mission: Impossible - Fallout review - brilliant summer blockbuster

Adam Sweeting

This is the second Mission: Impossible movie written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, the first time any director has been called back for an encore on the series.

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Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again review - sweet, silly, and, best of all, Cher

Matt Wolf

Mamma Mia! has a habit of bursting upon us at crucially restorative moments. The Broadway production opened just after 9/11 and provided necessary balm to a city in shock.

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The Receptionist – London’s underground sex industry laid bare

Owen Richards

When director Jenny Lu graduated from university, the promise of a big city career quickly turned into a series of rejections. Around this time, a close friend of hers committed suicide by jumping off a bridge – unbeknownst to their circle of friends, this girl was working in the sex industry.

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