sat 25/01/2020

Film Reviews

First Reformed - faith fights the eco-apocalypse

Nick Hasted

Father Ernst Toller (Ethan Hawke) calls himself one of God’s lonely men. The term given to Paul Schrader’s anti-heroes since Taxi Driver’s Travis Bickle is usefully explained by the priest: his loneliness is a divine attribute letting him sympathise with fellow sufferers. Take one look at Hawke’s face, though, which seems sucked into hollow-cheeked, unnatural nobility, and it’s clear few need help more than him.

Read more...

Summer 1993 review - the tenderest fabric of childhood

Tom Birchenough

Carla Simón’s debut feature Summer 1993 is a gem of a film by any standards, but when you learn that its story is based closely on the thirtysomething Catalan director’s own early life, its intimacy becomes almost overwhelming.

Read more...

Incredibles 2 review - worship these superheroes

Saskia Baron

Age cannot wither her nor custom stale her infinite stretchiness… Time has been kind to Elastigirl, the superhero mom voiced by Holly Hunter and dreamed up by Brad Bird. Fourteen years have passed since The Incredibles seduced adult critics and children alike, but it might as well be yesterday for Elastigirl.

Read more...

Pin Cushion review - a twisted fable of daydreams and bullies

Owen Richards

On the surface, Pin Cushion is a whimsical British indie, packed with imagination and charm.

Read more...

Postcards from the 48% review - wistful memorial to forgotten values

David Kettle

Writer and director David Nicholas Wilkinson felt moved to make his reflective, rather melancholy documentary on the 48% who voted to remain in the EU, he says, because nobody else was making one. When it came to funding the project, not a single Brit would invest (though he...

Read more...

Swimming with Men review - Rob Brydon and co sink

Jasper Rees

Swimming with Men is a British comedy which must have looked like a dead cert when it was pitched. “A bunch of middle-aged male losers do synchronised swimming. They have a bossy female coach who persuades them to go to the world championships. How funny (and moving) is that? The tears will flow.

Read more...

DVD: The Nile Hilton Incident

Owen Richards

The world was captivated by the Arab Spring – thousands of citizens rising up in unity against longstanding dictatorships, filling squares and refusing to bow. But for many of us, it was a world away; the crowds were a single organism, thinking and acting as one.

Read more...

Whitney review - superstar's dismal demise revisited

Adam Sweeting

It was only a year ago that Nick Broomfield’s Whitney: Why Can’t I Be Me was released. Kevin Macdonald’s new documentary about the rise and hideous demise of one of pop’s greatest stars was made with the blessing of her family, but doesn’t shed significantly more light than the Broomfield version.

Read more...

Eric Clapton: A Life in 12 Bars, BBC Two review - blues, booze and dues

Adam Sweeting

There’s undoubtedly a memorable film to be crafted from the life of guitar legend and grand old survivor Eric Clapton – for instance, Melvyn Bragg made a very good South Bank Show about him in 1987 – but the longer this one goes on, the less it has to say. Nor is it obvious why it has been made now.

Read more...

The Bookshop review - lost in translation

Matt Wolf

"All this fuss over a bookstore?!" That's likely to be a common reaction to Spanish director Isabel Coixet's The Bookshop, which adapts a slender if much-admired 1978 novel by the quintessentially English Penelope Fitzgerald in order to cock a Continental snook at her English compatriots'

Read more...

Adrift review - lost at sea

Adam Sweeting

There is something irresistibly haunting about tales of epic sea voyages and the perils they entail. Recently we’ve had two versions of the tragic saga of lone yachtsman Donald Crowhurst (not to mention the excellent documentary Deep Water from 2006), and you could lob into the mix the Robert Redford vehicle All Is Lost, Kon-Tiki, White Squall and… er… many more.

Read more...

Sicario: Day of the Soldado review - violent, explosive and nihilistic thriller

Adam Sweeting

The issue of immigrants being smuggled across the Mexican border into the USA is currently live and inflammatory, and this second instalment of the feds-versus-drugs cartels saga hurls us right into the centre of it.

Read more...

Leave No Trace review - intense off-grid drama

Jasper Rees

The dad who lives off-grid with his offspring is becoming a regular visitor to cinema screens. He was last seen in the guise of Viggo Mortensen in Captain Fantastic, the story of the father whose seven-strong brood must learn to come out of the forest and live in society.

Read more...

In The Fade review - twisty German courtroom drama

Saskia Baron

The Cannes jury in 2017 gave best actress to Diane Kruger for her performance in In the Fade. She plays Katja, who turns avenging angel when her son and Turkish husband are murdered. It’s Kruger’s first acting role in her native German and she’s on screen for almost the entire film. Whether you are absorbed by the narrative of In the Fade (German title: Aus der Nichts) or find...

Read more...

Ocean's 8 review – half-cocked caper

Adam Sweeting

Perfectly timed, in theory, for the advent of #MeToo and Hollywood’s post-Weinstein era, this girl-power redesign of the Ocean franchise has lined up a turbo-charged cast and then not given them anything very interesting to do.

Read more...

The Happy Prince review - Wilde at heart

Jasper Rees

Oscar Wilde did not have a dignified departure. As soon as he died, his body began to emit a river of fluids from various orifices. At the graveside in Père Lachaise there were unseemly scenes which no witness was indiscreet enough to describe, but probably they involved theatrics from Bosie. Wilde, using Canon Chasuble as a mouthpiece, had once joked about choosing to be interred in...

Read more...

Pages

latest in today

Cargill, BBCSO, Saraste, Barbican review - less is more in S...

Jukka-Pekka Saraste doesn’t visit London much these days. He was Principal Guest Conductor of the...

Stewart Copeland's Adventures in Music, BBC Four review...
Drums away: Stewart Copeland, drummer with The Police and a score of other groups, composer for films, video games and operas, now beams...
Robert Henke CBM 8032, Barbican - a vision of possibilities...

Robert Henke is to techno fans as Leo Fender and Les Paul are to...

Album: Squirrel Flower - I Was Born Swimming

The first album from the Boston-bred songwriter Squirrel Flower opens and closes with autobiographical songs. “I-80”...

Uncle Vanya, Harold Pinter Theatre review - a superlative co...

Uncle Vanya must surely be the closest, the most essential of...

The Personal History of David Copperfield review – top-drawe...

Armando Iannucci’s move away from the contemporary political satires that made his name, first signalled by his bold, uproariously brilliant...

The Sunset Limited, Boulevard Theatre review - all talk, no...

Cormac McCarthy’s two-hander, premiered at Chicago's mighty Steppenwolf Theatre in 2006, has by this point been everything short of an ice ballet...

The Welkin, National Theatre review - women's labour is...

History plays should perform a delicate balancing act: they have to...