sat 05/12/2020

Film Reviews

Back Roads review - nice cheekbones, not much else

Matt Wolf

Back Roads has languished largely unseen since its completion in 2017, and one can see why: lurid to the point of absurdity, this adaptation of a 1999 novel by co-screenwriter Tawni O’Dell is preposterously self-serious and doesn’t augur well for a hyphenate career for leading man Alex Pettyfer, the English actor (of Magic Mike fame) here doubling for the first time as director.

Read more...

Family Romance, LLC review - the chameleon blues

Nick Hasted

Werner Herzog’s appearance in The Mandalorian paid for this deadpan, documentary-like slice of extreme Japanese life, suggesting how the director’s amusingly doomy Teutonic persona...

Read more...

Lynn + Lucy review - a bruising tale of female friendship

Joseph Walsh

British director Fyzal Boulifa makes his feature film debut with a bruising account of female-friendship torn apart by personal tragedies and gossipmongers, on a council estate in Harlow. 

Read more...

A White, White Day review - white heat

Nick Hasted

This Icelandic film begins in the titular land of steam, as rain and mist envelop an erratic car which soon tumbles to its doom.

Read more...

On the Record review - #MeToo turns its lens to the music industry, gives the mic to women of colour

Jill Chuah Masters

On the Record, the latest documentary from Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering (acclaimed directors of The Hunting Ground), dives into the sexual misconduct allegations against music mogul Russell Simmons,

Read more...

The Dead and the Others review – dreamlike journey set in indigenous Brazilian community

Tom Baily

The Dead and the Others won the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize at Cannes in 2018, perhaps due to the supreme devotion to subject and place that this macabre work exhibits. It is a film of startling visual power and mood, with a drifting storyline that becomes bizarrely captivating.

Read more...

Fanny Lye Deliver’d review - blistering English civil war western

Joseph Walsh

Ten years in the making, Thomas Clays third feature, starring Charles Dance and Maxine Peake, is a remarkable and potent example of genre-splicing British independent filmmaking. 

Read more...

The Booksellers review – a deep dive into the eccentric world of bookselling

Joseph Walsh

Picture an antiquarian book dealer. Typically, its all Harris Tweed, horn-rimmed specs, and a slight disdain for actual customers. At the beginning of D.W.

Read more...

Joan of Arc review – tough little number

Graham Fuller

Jeanne d’Arc was 19, she believed, when she was tried for heresy by her English enemies in Rouen in 1431. Of the actors who have played her onscreen – Falconetti, Ingrid Bergman, Jean Seberg, Leelee Sobieski, Milla Jovovich among them – none has evinced more wolf-cub-like fierceness or childlike purity of purpose than does Lise Leplat Prudhomme.

Read more...

Wasp Network review – Cuban but no cigar

Demetrios Matheou

Frenchman Olivier Assayas is a writer/director who can produce small-scale, cerebral dramas (Personal ShopperClouds of Sil Maria) and muscular genre pieces, such as five-hour true-crime epic CarlosWasp Network falls into the latter camp, though given its spectacular, real-life material, it’s a disappointingly unengaging...

Read more...

7500 review - a turbulent ride

Owen Richards

Thank goodness no-one’s going anywhere this year, because 7500 does for planes what Jaws did for bright yellow lilos. Set entirely within the cockpit of a passenger jet, this thriller trims all the fat, leaving a taut nightmare that pulls no punches.

Read more...

The Day After I'm Gone review - a subtle portrayal of a grieving father and his teenage daughter

Markie Robson-Scott

Yoram (Menashe Noy), a vet in a Tel Aviv safari park, knows how to treat a sick jaguar (startling to see such a magnificent beast in an oxygen mask) but he has no idea how to comfort his troubled 17-year-old daughter Roni (a powerful Zohar Meidan).

Read more...

Blu-ray/DVD: It Couldn't Happen Here

India Lewis

The Pet Shop Boys' film It Couldn’t Happen Here, originally released in 1988, has been given a new outing on a BFI Blu-ray/DVD that contextualises it with special features. While it's an entertaining snapshot of a particular time in British and pop history, and while I don’t wish to be churlish, that's about as far as it goes. 


Read more...

Artemis Fowl review - flash bang nothing

Owen Richards

It’s taken over 18 years for Artemis Fowl to reach the big screen, with Miramax originally buying the rights in 2001. Finally, Disney have brought the world’s youngest criminal mastermind to life, but was it worth the wait?

Read more...

Echo in the Canyon review – California droopin'

Graham Fuller

Echo in the Canyon is a lamentably thin documentary about the vibrant folk-rock music scene that flourished in the bohemian Los Angeles neighbourhood of Laurel Canyon from 1965 to 1967.

Read more...

Da 5 Bloods review - Spike Lee takes on the black GIs' experience in Vietnam

Saskia Baron

Spike Lee’s ambitious tale of five American veterans returning to Vietnam to settle unfinished business, should have opened out of competition at Cannes last month. He was set to become the first African American film-maker to head the festival jury.

Read more...

Pages

latest in today

Host review - Zoom seance triggers unspeakable consequences

Lockdowns must be good for something, right? British...

Album: The Avalanches - We Will Always Love You

After a 16-year wait for the second album from Australian...

Falling review - Viggo Mortensen's powerful directorial...

“California is for cocksuckers and flag-burners. Did they know you were a fag in the army?” Willis (Lance Henriksen; best known as Bishop in ...

Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester online review - r...

The Hallé have been slow off the mark, compared with...

The Dambusters, Channel 5 review - yet another telling of th...

The story of the raid on dams in Germany's Ruhr Valley by...

Album: Yungblud - Weird!

Doncaster musician Dominic Harrison – Yungblud – appeared a couple of years ago, a self-proclaimed...

Not-quite-solitude on the 34th floor: violinist Maxine Kwok...

2020: a year that at some point felt like the end of live performance for the world of the performing arts, certainly for the...