thu 01/12/2022

Film Reviews

Eric Ravilious: Drawn to War review - a lovingly crafted documentary portrait

Saskia Baron

There’s a sharp observation, delivered in Alan Bennett’s soft tones, that sums up the reputation of the painter Eric Ravilious: “Because his paintings are so accessible, I don’t think he’s thought to be a great artist. It’s because of his charm. He’s so easy to like and things have to be hard, if they’re not hard, then they’re not great."

Read more...

Elvis review - Austin Butler shines in patchy biopic

Adam Sweeting

Strictly Ballroom aside, I’ve never been entirely persuaded by Baz Luhrmann. Once you rip open the plush packaging of his films, you often just find satin and tissue paper inside. Elvis isn’t his worst movie (they can’t take that accolade away from Moulin Rouge!) but it isn’t the monumental ode to a great American legend that one hoped it might have been.

Read more...

Pleasure review - that Eve Harrington syndrome again

Graham Fuller

The film title Pleasure begs the question, whose pleasure? Since first-time feature director Ninja Thyberg’s cautionary drama depicts the journey of a newcomer intent on becoming the Los Angeles adult film business's top female performer, the pleasure self-evidently isn’t hers, but that taken by the hordes of men who’ll watch her being systematically degraded on Pornhub and its ilk. 

Read more...

Good Luck to You, Leo Grande review - claustrophobic and bland

Saskia Baron

I really wanted to like Good Luck to You, Leo Grande. It’s got a funny trailer and Emma Thompson has been passionately publicising her film. And while our screens are currently full of stories about twentysomething girls and their chaotic love lives, watching a 62-year old woman intent on enjoying sex with a younger man on her own terms seemed promising.

Read more...

Lightyear review - can infinity be a yawn?

Saskia Baron

The animation may be stunning, but in every other department, Lightyear is a disappointment. It’s a crying shame for anyone who loved the original Toy Story and its (mainly) excellent sequels. If you were expecting a buzz from Pixar’s origin story, brace yourself instead for a damp squib. 

Read more...

Everything Went Fine review - classy French family drama

Saskia Baron

French filmmakers do family dramas so well, and none better than François Ozon when he is on form, as he is on Everything Went Fine.

Read more...

Earwig review - Little Miss Saliva Teeth

Graham Fuller

Like her first two features, Lucile Hadžihalilović’s Earwig is an oneiric coming-of-age drama that uses body horror imagery as a metaphor for the daunting unknowns – sexual and emotional – to be encountered in adulthood.

Read more...

Swan Song review - the fabulous Udo Kier as a small-town hairdresser on his last legs

Markie Robson-Scott

The piercing-eyed German actor Udo Kier is best known for his supporting roles in many high-profile films, including those of Lars von Trier, Gus Van Sant and Fassbinder. In Swan Song, he carries off his first starring role magnificently as wry ex-drag queen and Ohio hairdresser Pat Pitsenbarger, though the film itself is rather meandering and has mawkish, saccharine moments.

Read more...

All My Friends Hate Me review - beware of the bilious

Matt Wolf

A birthday weekend in Devon goes rather badly wrong in All My Friends Hate Me, the new film co-written by its leading man, Tom Stourton, that looks guaranteed to make shut-ins of us all.

Read more...

Jurassic World Dominion review - extinction event

Nick Hasted

Franchise burnout continues apace, in this asteroid strike of a finale. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness showed the previously agile and humane Marvel machine weighed down by plot mechanics and fan service, and this Jurassic Park/World trilogy unification bout proves a pointless, often ponderous 146 minutes. As post-pandemic cinema moves to total dependence on such sequels, their creative entropy could be an extinction event for filmgoing itself.

Read more...

Bergman Island review - Mia Hansen-Løve's joyful English-language debut

Markie Robson-Scott

French director Mia Hansen-Løve’s graceful, intriguingly open-ended seventh feature, and her English-language debut, is set on Fårö, the island that Ingmar Berman loved.

Read more...

The Camera Is Ours - Britain's Women Documentary Makers review - four decades of directors rediscovered

Sarah Kent

The Camera Is Ours features films made from 1935-1967 by women like Marion and Ruby Grierson, Evelyn Spice and Margaret Thomson, whose names should be engraved in the history of British film-making.

Read more...

Elizabeth: A Portrait in Parts review - she is a human being

Nick Hasted

Roger Michell’s films described a range of Englishness, from Notting Hill’s foppish comedy to acerbically humane Hanif Kureishi scripts (Venus, The Mother, The Buddha of Suburbia), Cornish Gothic (My Cousin Rachel) and his last feature, The Duke, which warmed working-class malcontent Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren’s frozen marriage with Wellington’s stolen portrait.

Read more...

Between Two Worlds review - Juliette Binoche, maid in France

Sebastian Scotney

For die-hard Juliette Binoche fans – don’t cross us, we get angry – Between Two Worlds is heaven. The French star hardly ever leaves the screen during the film’s 106 minutes. It was her unwavering detemination that ensured the film came to be made in the first place. 

Read more...

Luzzu review - a Maltese fisherman struggles with modernity

Markie Robson-Scott

In Maltese-American Alex Camilleri’s debut feature, it’s a case of follow the swordfish. This terrifically atmospheric, almost documentary-like film – Camilleri cites Italian neo-realism, including Visconti’s La Terra Trema, as an influence – tells the story of Jesmark, a real-life Maltese fisherman (Jesmark Scicluna). It also encapsulates a dying culture.

Read more...

The Deathless Woman review - the overlooked persecution of the Roma people

Saskia Baron

One of the more heartwarming images in the news recently has been seeing Ukrainian refugees being welcomed by their eastern European neighbours. But there’s been very few mentions of how centuries-old European hostility to the Roma people, gypsies, and Travellers, has prevailed. These Ukrainians with an equally urgent need for refuge from violent Russian invaders have been met all too often with closed doors and closed borders. 

Read more...

Pages

latest in today

Tokyo Vice, BBC One review - murder, extortion and corruptio...

There was originally a plan to make Tokyo Vice a movie starring Daniel Radcliffe, but it has ended up as a TV series starring Ansel...

Album: White Lung - Premonition

In 2016’s abrasive album opener, "Dead Weight", frontwoman Mish Barber-Way laments over multiple miscarriages as her biological clock ticks away...

Christian Gerhaher, Gerold Huber, Wigmore Hall review - mute...

There is no mistaking Christian Gerhaher. His voice is a light, agile baritone, and it is utterly distinctive. He is a very verbal singer, and is...

Neil Young: Harvest Time review - a thrillingly intimate fly...

“You’re filmin’ a movie or something – can you explain this?” the radio DJ turns to Neil Young, a laugh underpinning his question and setting the...

BBC National Chorus of Wales, BBC NOW, Jeannin, BBC Hoddinot...

There are conductors, and then again there are...

Album: Leftfield - This Is What We Do

This Is What We Do is only Leftfield’s fourth album in a career that has lasted almost 35 years (on and off). But if there is a...

Sheku Kanneh-Mason and Harry Baker, Noisenight 13, Jazz Cafe...

The elation in the queue was palpable as people stood laughing and chatting in the November cold waiting for the doors of the Jazz Café to open...

Arms and the Man, Orange Tree Theatre review - a rollicking...

For his final bow as artistic director of the...

Justin Adams & Mohamed Errebbaa, The Jam Jar, Bristol re...

Justin Adams has been exploring music that produces trance or near-trance states for a number of years. Along with being Robert Plant’s lead...

theartsdesk Radio Show 34 - with post-punk visionary Lu Edmo...

Welcome to the latest edition of Peter Culshaw’s occasional radio show, which normally has a global music focus. This week’s guest for...