mon 06/04/2020

BFI

Four Kids and It review – a family friendly yarn that needs more magic

With over one hundred books to her name and several hugely popular TV spin-offs, including the Tracy Beaker adventures, Jacqueline Wilson takes a no-nonsense approach to children’s fiction that reflects the realities of jigsaw families, mental and...

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DVD: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol 2

The Children’s Film Foundation began life in 1950, its brief to provide wholesome home-grown entertainment for Saturday morning cinema audiences. Instead of westerns and cartoons, young UK filmgoers were treated to low budget short features, usually...

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System Crasher review – a compelling portrait of childhood violence and pain

Benni, the central character in German writer-director Nora Fingscheidt's haunting new film, has a life of tragedy and violence. She’s the product of a dysfunctional family and an abusive childhood that has left her rage-ridden and incapable of...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Beat the Devil

Humphrey Bogart. John Huston. Gina Lollobrigida. Peter Lorre. Truman Capote! What could possibly go wrong? There’s the screenplay for starters: Capote gets top billing, and I’d long understood that he and Huston together wrote 1953's Beat the...

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Military Wives review - the surprising true story of the women who rocked the charts

There’s a lot of plucky British charm to Military Wives, from Peter Cattaneo, the director who won the nation's heart with his debut film The Full Monty over two decades ago. His latest offering, starring Kristen Scott Thomas and...

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Berlinale 2020: Never Rarely Sometimes Always review - raw and unflinching abortion drama hits home

Back in 2017, writer-director Eliza Hittman won over audiences with her beautiful coming-of-age drama Beach Rats. Her latest film, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, is a more quietly devastating drama, shifting the focus away from sexual...

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Berlinale 2020: Berlin Alexanderplatz review - a contemporary twist on a classic

Burhan Qurbani isn’t the first director to bring Alfred Döblin’s seminal 1929 novel, Berlin Alexanderplatz, to the screen. First, there was the Weimar Republic era adaptation that Döblin himself worked on. Fifty years later, Rainer Werner...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Bait

Mark Jenkin’s black and white masterpiece about clashes between incomers and locals in a Cornish fishing village was made on a 1976 clockwork Bolex camera that doesn’t record sound – all that’s added later, including the actors’ voices – and hand-...

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Blu-ray: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort

Where to start with Les Demoiselles de Rochefort? Begin with director Jacques Demy’s technical brilliance: the opening minutes are eye-popping, and even feature a transporter bridge. Teesiders, take note. La La Land's beginning is nifty, but...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Legend of the Witches & Secret Rites

The British Film Institute’s excellent Flipside strand resurrects neglected or marginalised UK movies, many of them reflecting the social flux of the 1960s and 1970s. Malcolm Leigh’s Legend of the Witches (1970, 85 mins) and Derek Ford’s Secret...

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DVD: Do Not Adjust Your Set / At Last The 1948 Show

Both first broadcast in 1967, Do Not Adjust Your Set and At Last the 1948 Show were collectively written and performed by the future Monty Python team. More written about and discussed than actually seen, many episodes were wiped or lost, and these...

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DVD/Blu-ray: A Kid for Two Farthings

Seeing post-war London in vibrant colour is a delicious surprise, and the opening seconds of A Kid for Two Farthings follow a pigeon flying east from Trafalgar Square, eventually settling on a pub sign in Petticoat Lane. The location footage in...

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