mon 27/05/2019

Film Reviews

Michael Caine: Blowing the Bloody Doors Off review - an actor's handbook, annotated by experience

Marina Vaizey

What a charmer! An irresistible combination of diffidence and confidence, Michael Caine is so much more than Alfie, and this surprising book, his second after a delightful autobiography, is multi-layered, filled with tips for acting, on stage and screen.

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Bohemian Rhapsody review – all surface, no soul

Owen Richards

If a Queen biopic called for drama, scandal and outrage, then Bohemian Rhapsody spent its fill in production.

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Possum review - mind-infecting homage to 1970s horror

David Kettle

Matthew Holness clearly knows a thing or two about low-budget British horror from the early 1970s. In TV comedy Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace he was as merciless as he was affectionate in ripping the genre apart. His debut feature as writer-director is an odd, woozy...

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The Hate U Give review - American teen drama takes on Black Lives Matter

Saskia Baron

Starr Carter is 16 years old and her life straddles two very different worlds, the posh prep school she goes to with its privileged white students and the troubled black neighbourhood she lives in with her family.

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Donkeyote review - a quiet revelation

David Kettle

It’s an undeniably quirky set-up: an elderly Spanish farmer who takes it upon himself to travel to America and walk – alone – the epic, 2,200-mile Trail of Tears, following the westward route taken by the Cherokee fleeing white settlers. Alone, that is, apart from his trusty sheepdog Zafrana and Andalusian donkey Gorrión.

It’s such a bizarre idea, in fact, that a travel agent whose help...

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LFF 2018: Roma review – Alfonso Cuarón’s triumphant return to Mexico

Demetrios Matheou

It’s not for nothing that Alfonso Cuarón’s mercurial CV includes Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, because this director really knows something about alchemy.

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LFF 2018: The Favourite review - Queen Anne's bizarre love triangle

Adam Sweeting

Olivia Colman will in due course be appearing as Elizabeth II in The Crown, surely a role of a very different hue to her portrayal of Queen Anne in Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Favourite (shown at LFF)....

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Dogman review - Matteo Garrone takes on the mafia again

Saskia Baron

There aren’t many movies that cater to audiences with a passion for canine grooming, the mafia and dismal seaside resorts but Dogman more than satisfies all those cravings. Ten years after Matteo Garrone won Cannes with the searingly brutal Gomorrah, the director returns with another drawn-from-life tale of everyday Italian mobsters. 

The titular hero is Marcello (Marcello Fonte), a...

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LFF 2018: In Fabric review – Peter Strickland’s horror comedy is dressed to kill

Demetrios Matheou

While much has been said of Luca Guadagnino’s remake of Dario Argento’s cult horror Suspiria, it’s the latest stylishly bizarre confection by British writer-director Peter Strickland – about a demonic dress, no less – that comes much closer to the strange spirit of Italian horror. 

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Science Fair review - big on ambition, light on rigour

David Kettle

More than 1,700 teenage finalists representing 78 countries take part in the annual International Science and Engineering Fair, virtually the Oscars for exceptional young biologists, physicists, chemists, mathematicians, computer scientists, doctors and more.

If they’re selected for ISEF, these young brainboxes get to show the fair’s forbidding judges what contributions they’re planning to make to our futures –...

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LFF 2018: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs review - Wild West tales, and Redford and Jackman

Adam Sweeting

The “portmanteau” form of film-making is almost guaranteed to deliver patchy results, and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, the Coen brothers’ six-pack of tall tales from the Old West (screened at London Film Festival), can’t quite avoid this age-old trap.

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1945 review - Hungarian holocaust drama

Saskia Baron

Ferenc Török is firmly aiming at the festival and art house circuit with his slow-paced recreation of one summer day in rural Hungary.

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LFF 2018: Colette review - zinging with zeitgeisty relevance

Adam Sweeting

The story of French author and transgressor of social mores Colette has been told before on screen and in song, but this new film version (shown at London Film Festival) from director Wash Westmoreland not only zings with zeitgeisty relevance, but gives each of its stars, Keira Knightley and Dominic West, one of the...

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First Man - Neil Armstrong's giant leap

Adam Sweeting

Echoes of Phil Kaufman’s 1983 classic The Right Stuff resonate through Damien Chazelle’s new account of how Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon.

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Tehran Taboo review - transgressive animation

Tom Birchenough

For all the bleakness of its subject matter, there’s considerable exhilaration to Ali Soozandeh’s animation feature Tehran Taboo. That’s due, in part, to the film’s breaking of many of the official “rules” of Iranian...

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A Star is Born review - Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga make a compellingly combustible duo

Matt Wolf

"It's the same old story, told over and over forever": So remarks the redoubtable Sam Elliott late in the most recent reboot of A Star is Born, which itself manages to take an oft-told story and reinvent it very much afresh.

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