thu 26/11/2020

Film Reviews

Savage review - an immersive look at gang culture in Wellington, New Zealand

Markie Robson-Scott

Not to be confused with Savages, the Oliver Stone film of 2012 about marijuana smuggling, Savage is a story of New Zealand street gangs: how to join and how to escape, which, when you’ve got the words Savages and Poneke (the Maori name for Wellington, where the film is set) tattooed on your face, like...

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The Painted Bird review - bestial horror conveyed with beauty

mark Kidel

Based on a novel by Jerzy Kosinski, The Painted Bird is an extraordinarily powerful chronicle of a young Jewish boy’s survival in Eastern Europe, the scene of some of the most terrible violence, inhumanity, and depredation during the Second World War.  The Czech director Vacláv Marhoul worked on the

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Sócrates review - pain and grief on the Brazilian coast

David Nice

In the course of this short (65 minute) film, 15-year-old Sócrates wanders around Santos, in the state of Brazil’s São Paolo, and the nearby coast after the death of his mother, rejected at one point or another by everyone with whom he comes in contact, just as he rejects the worst options.

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Les Misérables review - exhilarating French policier

Saskia Baron

The only thing confusing with Les Misérables is its pointedly provocative title, as there are no costumed urchins and no singing involved. Searching online to find the UK cinemas where it’s playing this week entails a trek past the execrable 2012 musical of the same name, but it’s well worth tracking down a screen that's showing this exhilarating and intelligent new fi

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Mulan review - Niki Caro's live action take on the '98 classic underwhelms

Joseph Walsh

Whilst New Mutants slips surreptitiously into cinemas, Disney’s live-action spin on Mulan arrives with more fanfare on their streaming platform, even if it does come with a price-tag of nearly £20.

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I'm Thinking of Ending Things review - only disconnect

Nick Hasted

I’m Thinking of Ending Things ends in a giddying gusher of weirdness, the steady drip of earlier oddness finally bursting its narrative banks, till a horror scene becomes a Gene Kelly ballet, and an Oklahoma! tune is sung in bitter valediction by a male lead now resembling elderly Charles Foster Kane.

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New Mutants review - superheroes and the supernatural collide

Joseph Walsh

It hasn’t been an easy ride for Josh Boone’s New Mutants. Delayed production, reshoots, the acquisition of 20th Century Fox by Disney, Covid-19, and accusations of whitewashing, have all contributed to it being dubbed a ‘cursed’ film.

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Hope Gap review - memories of a marriage

Nick Hasted

William Nicholson’s Shadowlands screenplay was his most devastating expression of English repression. His second film as director goes to the source, in this fictionalised account of his parents’ divorce, which he waited till they were dead to make.

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She Dies Tomorrow review - intimations of mortality

Graham Fuller

Watching the semi-satirical psychological horror film She’ll Die Tomorrow conjures the last lines of TS Eliot’s "The Hollow Men": “This is the way the world ends/ Not with a bang but a whimper.” Writer-director Amy Seimetz’s second feature doesn’t depict a widescreen apocalypse – it’s a low...

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Get Duked! review - briefly endearing, then a chore

Matt Wolf

An endearing cast does what it can to keep Get Duked! aloft until writer-director Ninian Doff's movie sinks under the weight of too many wearisome shifts in tone. A coming-of-age film that is alternately silly and sentimental while wanting at times to be scary as well, the result leaves no doubt as to the talents of its gifted young cast.

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Tenet review - a heady delight

Joseph Walsh

Go back over Christopher Nolan’s films and count the clocks. He has an obsession that would give a horologist a run for his money. Time is a continual motif of his body of work and it finds its zenith in his latest work Tenet.

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Chemical Hearts review - turn off the sound

Matt Wolf

Musings on the agonies of adolescent love fall like dead weight in this wearying if well-acted adaptation by writer-director Richard Tanne of the 2016 Young Adult novel Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland. 17-year-old Henry Page (Austin Abrams) falls hard for Grace Torn (Lili Reinhart, from TV's Riverdale), the indrawn new transfer student at his New Jersey high school who walks with a cane and speaks of needing her sins erased....

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Ava review - Sadaf Foroughi powerhouse drama about teenage rebellion

Joseph Walsh

Canadian-Iranian director Sadaf Foroughi offers up a gut-wrenching tale of adolescent rebellion set against the strictures of an oppressive Middle Eastern society.

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Random Acts of Violence review - study in horror lacks scares

Joseph Walsh

The debate about whether violent films cause violent acts has been around for decades.

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Yes, God, Yes review - coming of age, emphasis on coming

Saskia Baron

It’s somewhat dispiriting to watch a coming-of-age rom-com that rarely rises above clichés and limps along as slowly as Yes, God, Yes.

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My Rembrandt review - hard cash and hubris

Florence Hallett

In the gloomy splendour of Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfriesshire, the 10th Duke of Buccleuch gazes up at Rembrandt’s Old Woman Reading, 1655. The painting has belonged to the Scott family for more than 250 years, and like generations before him, the duke has known it all his life.

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