fri 03/07/2020

Film Reviews

The Party's Just Beginning review - a formidable debut

Owen Richards

For an actor, there are few bigger risks than writing and directing your own film. Securing funding is pretty easy if you’re a household name, like Karen Gillan is, but that doesn’t mean your script is any good or your vision holds water. At their worst, these films can be vain and embarrassing affairs. At their best, you’re left wondering if there’s anything their star can’t do.

Read more...

Charlie's Angels review - feminism-lite action comedy

Graham Fuller

“Badass” – as applied to dynamic women – and “girl power” may be the kinds of exhausted clichés that are reductive in the #MeToo and Time’s Up era, but the new Charlie’s Angels movie revitalises the attitude they describe in a way that’s neither condescending nor retrogressive.

Read more...

Knives Out review - marvellous murder mystery

Demetrios Matheou

The world’s most successful mystery writer is found dead on the morning after his 85th birthday.

Read more...

The Amber Light review - tales, songs and drams

Tom Baily

A documentary about celebration, fellowship, and the comforting afterglow of cherished memories. What better way to spend a cold late-Autumn evening? Such is the effect of this charming, low-key investigation into the story of Scotch.

Read more...

Harriet review - potentially stirring biopic proves a slog

Matt Wolf

A defining chapter in American history is all but sold down river in Harriet, director Kasi Lemmons' tubthumpingly banal film about the extraordinary bravery and courage of the American freedom fighter, Harriet Tubman. Telling the same story more expansively chronicled several decades ago in a Cicely Tyson-led American mini-series, Harriet casts the diminutive yet mighty English actress Cynthia Erivo in the title role without seeming to know quite how to use her.

Read more...

Ophelia review - tragic no more

Owen Richards

Ophelia is one of Shakespeare’s most iconic yet underdeveloped dramatic roles. A sweet and naïve girl, she’s driven mad by Hamlet’s wavering affections and her father’s death. She was often the subject of paintings, yet rarely of novels until the 21st century.

Read more...

Greener Grass review - American suburbia goes haywire in surreal dark comedy

Markie Robson-Scott

The pink, turquoise and orange world of Greener Grass is a riot of derangement. Here is the suburban dream gone haywire, where, out of politeness, a woman gives her baby to her friend because she admires it. Every adult wears braces, hair bleeds when you get it cut and a boy turns into a golden retriever (his father is delighted – at last he’s willing to run for the ball).

Read more...

Frozen II review - the allure cools off

Demetrios Matheou

Frozen is possibly the most beloved Disney movie since the studio rediscovered its mojo in the 1990s. While picking up a couple of Oscars and laying waste to box office records, it had young girls immersing themselves in favourite characters and performing the songs on a dime.

Read more...

Permission review - suspenseful melodrama of a true-life event

Negar Esfandiary

Permission tells the story of Afrooz, the captain of Iran's National Futsal Team, who is stopped from joining her team at the Asia Cup Final because of the last minute whim of her estranged husband.

Read more...

21 Bridges review - police corruption thriller sets a cracking pace

Adam Sweeting

Thanks to a powerful cast and crisp direction from Brian Kirk (Game of Thrones, Luther), 21 Bridges drives home its story of good cops, bad cops and a Big Apple rotten to the core with bulldozing force.

Read more...

The Report review - searing political drama

Joseph Walsh

It should come as no surprise that the writer of Side Effects and Contagion, Scott Z. Burns, is capable of directing a whip-smart drama like The Report.

Read more...

Marriage Story review - superior weepie

Demetrios Matheou

Forty years after the classic, multi-Oscar winning Kramer v Kramer comes another divorce drama involving two young Americans and a son caught in the crossfire. And this one is even better. 

Read more...

Last Christmas review - for the stocking, not the tree

Demetrios Matheou

Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke stars in this awkward but sweet Yuletide romcom as Kate, a chaotic, George Michael obsessed twenty-something in London who’s lost her way following a serious illness.

Read more...

Le Mans '66 review - nicely revved up

Demetrios Matheou

For a sports movie to work for more than just the fans, it has to have drama off the pitch, track or field, with characters to root for, personal demons, a good underdog. Based on a true story that also involves high-speed danger and tragedy, James Mangold’s Le Mans ‘66 duly obliges.

Read more...

Meeting Gorbachev review - Werner Herzog offers a swansong tribute

Tom Birchenough

You react differently to Meeting Gorbachev knowing that the film’s subject was on occasions brought to its interviews from hospital by ambulance; his interlocutor, Werner Herzog, doesn’t mention that fact, of course, anywhere in the three encounters on which this documentary is based...

Read more...

The Good Liar review - the grey pound dipped in acid

Nick Hasted

Ian McKellen, his Mr Holmes director Bill Condon and Helen Mirren play clever, nasty games with conman clichés and presumptions about the elderly in this sometimes absurdly twisty thriller.

Read more...

Pages

latest in today

Les Blancs, National Theatre at Home review – triumphant rev...

Lorraine Hansberry’s debut, A Raisin in the Sun, was the first drama written by a black woman to be produced on Broadway, where it opened...

Back Roads review - nice cheekbones, not much else

Back Roads has languished largely unseen since its completion in 2017, and one can see why: lurid to the point of absurdity, this...

Family Romance, LLC review - the chameleon blues

Werner Herzog’s appearance in The Mandalorian paid for this deadpan,...

Toast, Lawrence Batley Theatre online review - pungent adapt...

I knew what a Howard Hodgkin painting would look like before I ever saw one because of...

Album: Polly Scattergood - In This Moment

A decade ago, Polly Scattergood was Mute Records’ newest, most-likely-to signing and, while she never crossed over like similar unconventional...

Theatre Lockdown Special 12: An American rarity, a British s...

Can this weekly lineup really now be three months old?  As we move towards at least some degree of relaxation on the social restrictions that...

The Opera Story: Episodes review - whimsical takes on lockdo...

The Opera Story is an enterprising set-up based in London and founded with a mission to commission and stage...

Lynn + Lucy review - a bruising tale of female friendship

British director Fyzal Boulifa makes his feature...

Birdsong, The Original Theatre Company online review – a gut...

Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks’ best-selling...