Film Reviews

Godzilla

May 24, 2014
Elizabeth Olsen in 'Godzilla' (2014)

When Godzilla rose out of the ocean in 1954 and proceeded to trash Tokyo, no-one could have foreseen that he would still be wreaking havoc 60 years later. The durability of the “king of the monsters” owes something to the personality he developed in the 1960s, and something to his connections with nuclear energy, which … More


The Zero Theorem

May 17, 2014
Christoph Waltz in 'The Zero Theorem' (2013)

After cutting his teeth with Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Terry Gilliam is habitually viewed as a maker of dark, fantastic comedies. The truth is that he makes essentially bleak films festooned with comic touches, like Rococo decorations on a coffin. The Zero Theorem has been mooted as the third part of a dystopian trilogy, along … More


The Broken Circle Breakdown

May 17, 2014
Veerle Baetens & Johan Heldenbergh in 'The Broken Circle Breakdown' (2012)

Belgians have a reputation for pursuing individualism to the point of eccentricity. The Broken Circle Breakdown will confirm that reputation, but the film has a lot more to offer than mere quirkiness. Viewers who enter the cinema in one piece may emerge trying to reassemble the fragments, having experienced alternating extremes of exhilaration and tragedy, … More


Fading Gigolo

May 10, 2014
John Turturro in 'Fading Gigolo' (2014)

New York is a city that has dealt with the problem of difference by dividing itself into tribes and villages. That tribalism is gently satirised in John Turturro’s Fading Gigolo, which is not a sex comedy but a comedy of ethnicity. Turturro plays Fioravante, a laid-back New Yorker of Italian extraction who scrapes a living … More


Belle

May 10, 2014
Gugu Mbatha-Raw in 'Belle' (2013)

It’s impossible not to view Amma Asante’s Belle in relation to Steve McQueen’s phenomenally successful 12 Years a Slave. Both films are by black British directors, both deal with the theme of slavery. Admirers of 12 Years a Slave might say that one film is an entertainment, the other a work of art. But there … More


Transcendence

May 3, 2014
Johnny Depp in Transcendence (2014)

With poor attendences in the United States and disastrous reviews, Wally Pfister’s Transcendence is set to be the biggest hi-tech, mega-budget, sci-fi flop since After Earth, last year’s misbegotten star vehicle for Will Smith and son. It’s not an entirely fair comparison because Transcendence is a much better film. Its failure is not due to … More


Young and Beautiful

May 3, 2014
Marine Vacth in 'Young and Beautiful' (2013)

Young and Beautiful is a film about every parent’s nightmare and the French film industry’s abiding obsession. Imagine finding your 17 year-old daughter had taken up prostitution as a way of earning spare cash in the same way that other girls take up baby-sitting. Fans of French cinema may feel a sense of déjà vu … More


The Amazing Spider-Man 2

April 26, 2014
Jamie Foxx in 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' (2014)

To go from the cultish Only Lovers Left Alive to The Amazing Spider-Man 2, is to leave the would-be sublime for the out-and-out ridiculous. The latest blockbuster is always referred to as “eagerly-awaited”, but at last week’s preview, audiences had to wait more than an hour and a half because of problems with a digital … More


Only Lovers Left Alive

April 26, 2014
Tilda Swinton in 'Only Lovers Left Alive' (2013)

Last time we saw Tilda Swinton on screen, in The Grand Budapest Hotel, she was playing a corpse. In Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive, she is a vampire. This may be considered a form of progress. Since the days of Murnau’s Nosferatu (1922) and Dreyer’s Vampyr (1932) there have been thousands of vampire films … More


Like Father, Like Son

April 19, 2014
Masaharu Fukuyama in

This time last year, French director, Lorraine Lévy gave us The Other Son, a film about Jewish and Palestinian boys who had been accidentally switched at birth. It was a story that could easily have degenerated into melodrama or political proselytising but Lévy kept a tight rein on the narrative – or so it seemed … More