thu 01/12/2022

Film Reviews

Ennio review - sprawling biog of the maestro of movie music

Adam Sweeting

Ennio Morricone’s collaboration with director Giuseppe Tornatore on 1988’s Cinema Paradiso was one of the countless highlights of his career, and it’s Tornatore who has masterminded this sprawling documentary tribute to the composer, who died in July 2020.

Read more...

The Wall of Shadows review - a holy Himalayan mountain and a Sherpa family's dilemma

Markie Robson-Scott

“You’re mad to try and climb a holy mountain,” says Jomdoe, wife of Sherpa Ngada, as they argue over whether it’s more important to respect the body of God, aka the mountain Kumbhakarna in eastern Nepal, or to take the money earned from a dangerous climbing expedition that could help pay for their son’s education.

Read more...

Playground review - bleak but brilliant schoolyard drama

Saskia Baron

Nora is seven, and it's her first day at school. Big brother Abel, already enrolled in their local primary, promises to find her at playtime. Prised away from her father's embrace, tearful Nora is set up from the opening moments of Playground as a sensitive child.

Read more...

Operation Mincemeat review - Colin Firth and co practise the fine art of deception

Adam Sweeting

The story of the fictitious Major William Martin, whose waterlogged corpse washed up on the Spanish coast in 1943 bearing bogus documents designed to fool the Germans, was previously filmed in 1956 as The Man Who Never Was.

Read more...

The Lost City review - terrific odd-couple comedy

Veronica Lee

Sandra Bullock is on terrific form in this rollicking romcom in which she plays Loretta Sage, a historian who writes bestselling romance novels in which the heroine has adventures in exotic places with her lover, Dash.

Read more...

The Northman review - Robert Eggers's elemental Viking epic

Markie Robson-Scott

With its wild, windswept seascape and cliff-top settlement, the first scene of The Northman, Robert Eggers’s first big-budget movie (around $90 million in the making), harks back, a little, to The Lighthouse (2019), a one-of-a-kind black and white marvel with only two protagonists.

Read more...

Benedetta review - lesbian nuns' sex and faith collide

Nick Hasted

Paul Verhoeven’s latest provocation is an old-fashioned but vigorous 17th century lesbian nun shocker, based on eye-poppingly explicit testimonies at the Christian church’s sole lesbian trial. It’s his most sustained examination of faith and sex, a theme going back to the repressive Calvinist father and sexually anarchic teens of his wild Dutch hit, Spetters (1980).

Read more...

Onoda: 10,000 Nights in the Jungle review - three decades of hell in the Pacific

Adam Sweeting

Stories of Japanese soldiers who spent years in the tropical jungles long after the end of World War Two have always felt more like metaphorical illustrations of the lunacy of war than actual historical fact. Yet some of them were true, most notably that of Hiroo Onoda.

Read more...

Murina review - her father, her jailer

Graham Fuller

Murina, the suspenseful first feature written and directed by the Croatian filmmaker Antoneta Alamat Kusijanoviće, depicts a cruel dance that three of the four participants can't or won't stop. Its instigator, a father and husband in thrall to his ruinous machismo, is clueless. The steps – based on love, desire, avarice, jealousy, manipulation and anger – make for a discomfiting coming-of-age drama that won the Camera d’Or at Cannes last year.

Read more...

The Outfit review - threadbare tailor-gangster yarn

Nick Hasted

“A man walks in,” Leonard (Mark Rylance) begins. “What about him can you observe? What does a man like to be?

Read more...

Compartment No. 6 - strangers on a Russian train sweetly connect

Nick Hasted

Juho Kuosmanen’s Cannes Grand Prix-winner observes two strangers on a train, taking the arduous journey from Moscow to Arctic Murmansk in 1998. Laura (Seidi Haarla) is a Finnish student hoping to study ancient rock paintings, Ljoha (Yuriy Borisov) a skinhead Russian miner.

Read more...

DVD Special Feature: Abel Ferrara returns to the underground

Nick Hasted

Zeros And Ones’ poster alludes to Gerard Butler blockbusters (“The Vatican Has Fallen”), but Abel Ferrara’s name guarantees grungier fare. The sleaze of old Times Square still clings to the director, though he’s now a 70-year-old avant-pulp eminence living in Rome.

Read more...

The Audition review - love and hate at music school

Nick Hasted

If Roman Polanski had directed Whiplash, something like this study of music’s psychological cost might have resulted. Ina Weisse’s film is more incremental and naturalistic, as violin teacher Anna (Nina Hoss) gives special attention to teenage protégé Alexander (Ilja Monti), to the jealous resentment of son Jonas (Serafin Mishiev), while nervously returning to the stage herself.

Read more...

Morbius review – not so super

Daniel Baksi

Following the much-maligned Venom (2018) and Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021), the third film in Sony’s Spider-Man Universe stars Jared Leto as Nobel Prize-winning scientist Dr Michael Morbius. Suffering from a rare blood condition that threatens to take his life, Morbius self-enrols in an experimental cure, combining his DNA with that of a vampire bat and so destining himself for a future as a living vampire.

Read more...

Oscars 2022 - the smack heard around the world

Matt Wolf

What the [expletive deleted]?

Read more...

Ambulance review – Michael Bay in excelsis

Nick Hasted

Speed in an ambulance? Gone In 60 Seconds meets Heat?

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...