thu 01/12/2022

Film Reviews

Nope review - more a nope than a yep

Demetrios Matheou

Writer/director Jordan Peele’s first two features were horror films with bells on, their genuinely creepy chills accompanied by sharp, satirical social comment. Both were so good that there seemed absolutely no reason to doubt the next. 

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Nightclubbing: The Birth of Punk Rock in NYC review - cheap thrills

Nick Hasted

Bankruptcy, rubble, rape and murder: Manhattan in the Seventies could be grim, as multiple New York punk memoirs make clear. The trade-off was the art, steaming and burning in the stinking, crucially cheap degradation. Punk was just one symptomatic part of a crumbling Lower East Side where old Beats, folkies, jazzers, poets, theatre, film and visual artists also lived.

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Give Them Wings review - down but not out in Darlington

Graham Fuller

Give Them Wings is the biopic of Paul Hodgson, who seven months after he was born in 1965 was diagnosed with meningococcal meningitis. If that wasn’t bad enough, he survived his precarious childhood to become a devout fan of Durham’s hapless Darlington FC – it’s criminal that this low-budget British indie wasn’t titled Give Them Wingers.

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Our Eternal Summer review - tragedy taps authentic teenage emotions in Marseille

Sebastian Scotney

The French seaside has been the setting for all kinds of summer holiday capers. We are used to the idea that this is a place where young people set about finding out who they are. At the top of the quality spectrum are Éric Rohmer’s well-observed comedies of manners like Pauline at the Beach (1983) and A Summer's Tale (1996). Down at the bottom, there are shockers like Axelle Laffont’s Milf (2018).

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Bullet Train review - not really a first class ticket

Demetrios Matheou

One of the best scenes in this Brad Pitt starrer takes place in the quiet car of a Japanese bullet train, as two men seek to kill each without leaving their seats or disturbing their fellow passengers. Aside from being amusingly and skilfully executed, the conceit lends the scene a restraint that is sorely missing from the rest of this cartoonishly hyper-active movie.

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Hit the Road review - leaving Tehran for truth and freedom

David Thompson

The trailer for Panah Panahi’s award-winning first feature Hit the Road is one of the most misleading I’ve yet seen thanks to its jaunty Western pop soundtrack and reassuring caption that the movie resembles an Iranian Little Miss Sunshine.

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The Fire of Love review - awe-inspiring footage of volcanoes marred by sentimental narration

Sarah Kent

Katia and Maurice Krafft spent their married life going from one volcanic eruption to the next. These self-styled “volcano runners” were not just thrill seekers, but serious volcanologists keen to gain a better understanding of how volcanoes work so as to further science and save lives.

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Where the Crawdads Sing review - picturesque film glosses over its darker themes

Adam Sweeting

Derived from Delia Owens’s massively successful novel, Where the Crawdads Sing is the story of Kya Clark, a girl from an abusive, broken home in the North Carolina marshlands who raises herself almost single-handedly. The few people she encounters during her strange, isolated development from battered girlhood into a fragile young adult dismiss her mockingly as “Marsh Girl”.

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The Gray Man, Netflix review - the Russo brothers explore big-bang theory

Adam Sweeting

Directed by the fraternal duo Anthony and Joseph Russo, who have helmed several of the colossally successful Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, The Gray Man ought at least to be entertaining and stuffed with blockbusterish thrills.

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The Good Boss review - Javier Bardem at his creepy best

Sebastian Scotney

The Good Boss's Julio Blanco (Javier Bardem) is not short of belief in his talents as a leader. Not just good, he evidently thinks he is the best boss ever. We watch him on the prowl, exerting influence and power over his family business, micro-managing everything and everyone. 

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The Railway Children Return review - honourable wartime sequel

Nick Hasted

You can’t simulate nostalgia, or the dusting of urgent magic which made The Railway Children so immediately poignant. Lionel Jeffries wrote and directed the 1970 film with the same special affinity for vintage childhoods he showed in his heart-piercing ghost story The Amazing Mr Blunden (1972).

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McEnroe review - documentary about the original bad boy of tennis

Veronica Lee

Over the past few weeks, countless columns have been written about Nick Kyrgios, who lost in the Wimbledon final to Novak Djokovic. Who knows if the Australian will watch this illuminating documentary about the original “bad boy of tennis” to see how his own career may pan out?

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Thor: Love and Thunder review - more like it from Marvel

Nick Hasted

Twenty-eight films and 19 proliferating TV series in, the Marvel Cinematic Universe was becoming wearisome, testing fans’ faith with grimly effortful new entries, and choking other sorts of film into the margins, like knotweed. But like the mid-20th century Western, superheroes are also a commercial template for anyone to tell any sort of story. When Taika Waititi’s dry satirist’s voice let rip on Thor: Ragnarok (2017), he combined all his and the genre’s wild virtues.

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Nitram review - chilling drama based on the Port Arthur gunman

Markie Robson-Scott

Nitram, Australian director Justin Kurzel’s deeply disturbing film about the man responsible for the Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania in 1996, seems especially topical after the Uvalde school shootings, one among several other shootings in the US in May.

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Moon, 66 Questions review - captivating daughter-father drama

Graham Fuller

It takes some confidence for a first-time feature director to interrupt her essentially realistic first feature with a splash of psychedelic abstraction, but Jacqueline Lentzou doesn’t lack for visual or aural daring. 

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We (Nous) review - a low-key look at life in the suburbs of Paris

Sarah Kent

Director Alice Diop read an article by Pierre Bergounioux in which he described how he began writing to draw attention to his overlooked neck of the woods – Correze, in central France. It was a lightbulb moment for her: “My approach as a film-maker suddenly became clear to me, I realised I’d been making films about the suburbs in an obsessive way for the past 15 years… to conserve the existence of ordinary lives, which would have disappeared without trace if I hadn’t filmed them.”

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