thu 01/12/2022

Film Reviews

Silent Land review - an inconvenient death mars their holiday

Graham Fuller

How people dance always gives them away. Alone on the floor of a Sardinian coastal nitespot in Silent Land, the bourgeois Polish couple Adam (Dobromir Dymecki) and Anna (Agnieska Żulewska) fling themselves around as dementedly as if red ants are swarming on their bodies.

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Bloody Oranges review - a gruesome and gruelling French social satire

Sebastian Scotney

Oh no. Not that orange knife and male genitals thing again. In 1976, Marco Ferreri set La Dernière Femme in Créteil in the outskirts of Paris – I was working in a school there, so the memory does tend to stick – and set out to shock audiences by having the main character, played by a young Gérard Depardieu, cut off his life expectancy with the aid of a Moulinex electric kitchen knife.

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Funny Pages review - comic-book confidential

Nick Hasted

Shortly after the art teacher who thinks he’s a genius jumps on a table naked to be sketched, only to meet a sticky end, high school senior Robert (Daniel Zolghadri) sets out to start his brilliant career as an underground cartoonist.

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Crimes of the Future review - Cronenberg looks back

Nick Hasted

Crimes of the Future is a nostalgic return to classic Cronenberg, a comforting catalogue of body horror and fleshy biosynthesis, paranoid plots and shadowy cabals. Sharing a title with his 1970 debut, the director is still fascinated by our physical adaptation to future shocks.

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See How They Run review - a whodunit pastiche set in Fifties London

Markie Robson-Scott

A starry cast headed by Saoirse Ronan and Sam Rockwell doesn’t quite manage to bring this lavish, light-hearted period pastiche to life, though it looks good – nice cars, lovely costumes, a quasi-Wes Anderson vibe – and there are mild chuckles to be had.

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Blu-ray/4K Ultra HD: The Piano

Markie Robson-Scott

Jane Campion’s enigmatic, triple-Oscar-winning film looks as beautiful as it did when it was released almost 30 years ago. Holly Hunter (you can’t help thinking she’s been underused ever since, give or take her performance in Campion’s Top of the Lake) is magnificent as the black-haired Ada, a mysteriously mute Scot who is sold by her father to frontiersman Alisdair Stewart (Sam Neill) and joins him as his wife in the wilderness of 19th-century New Zealand.

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Three Thousand Years of Longing review - be careful what you wish for

Saskia Baron

Before there was cinema, there was story-telling around the fire with those who could spin the best yarns, conjure the most vivid visions, winning the love of their audience. George Miller has been bringing innovative and entrancing stories to the screen ever since his debut with Mad Max in 1979, and has never limited himself to one genre.

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The Forgiven review - the shelterless sky

Nick Hasted

John Michael McDonagh’s acerbic tragedy of manners and morals sees West meets East, in a literal car crash of sloppy behaviour and messy intentions.

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Meeting Gorbachev review - Werner Herzog offers a swansong tribute

Tom Birchenough

You react differently to Meeting Gorbachev knowing that the film’s subject was on occasions brought to its interviews from hospital by ambulance; his interlocutor, Werner Herzog, doesn’t mention that fact, of course, anywhere in the three encounters on which this documentary is based, but he has alluded to it elsewhere.

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Her Way review - turning tricks for her son's sake

Graham Fuller

Marie (Laure Calamy), the efficient fortysomething sex worker protagonist of the French drama Her Way, doesn’t have life easy, but she calmly works the badly paid street corners of Strasbourg because she can choose her clients, some of them long-term regulars, and dictate her hours. What Marie doesn’t need is having to find €9,000 euros in a few weeks.

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Queen of Glory review - carving an identity between two worlds

Saskia Baron

Queen of Glory is a passion project, nurtured for almost 10 years as a script by Nana Mensah, who ended up not only directing the film but taking the lead role as well in order to get it made.

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Official Competition review - satire served cold

Sebastian Scotney

There are four main protagonists in Official Competition and they all have one thing in common: an overriding ambition to spend more time with their egos.

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Anaïs in Love review - she wants what she wants

Graham Fuller

It’s 2022’s art-house image du jour – a self-absorbed 30-year-old running to get what she wants, irrespective of the long-term consequences to herself or anyone else.

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The Feast review - slow-cooking folk-horror

Nick Hasted

Lee Haven Jones’ Welsh-language folk-horror debut dissects a family’s treachery to the land in eventually apocalyptic fashion. It starts in silent, jagged style, the characters seeming as artificial as their minimalist house, abstract paintings and intensely designed rooms, set down like a lunar outpost in rugged Welsh farmland.

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My Old School review - a Glasgow schoolboy and his elaborate hoax

Markie Robson-Scott

Back in 1995, the name Brandon Lee made the headlines. Not the Brandon Lee as in son of Bruce, who’d recently met his death on the set of The Crow, but a schoolboy who’d chosen to use the same name.
 
A strange hoax was uncovered. Lee was, in fact, Brian MacKinnon, and he was not 16 but 32, posing as a fifth-former at the august Bearsden Academy in Glasgow.

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Eiffel review - sensuous secret history

Nick Hasted

This is a romantic historical epic with elan, giving sensual immediacy to a fanciful secret history of the Eiffel Tower, here inspired by a forbidden, rekindled romance between Gustave Eiffel (Romain Duris) and Arlette Bourgès (Sex Education’s Emma Mackey).

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