Film Reviews

Arrival

November 18, 2016
Amy Adams in Arrival. Photograph: Jan Thijs

Anyone who enjoyed Independence Day (1996), or some similar tale of alien invaders trashing Planet Earth, would be well advised to give Arrival a miss. For those who feel an evening’s cinematic pleasures to be incomplete without two full hours of Armageddon, Denis Villeneuve’s cerebral, atmospheric sci-fi flick will be a massive disappointment. For the … More


Nocturnal Animals

November 11, 2016
Amy Adams in 'Nocturnal Animals' (2016)

If one had to nominate the most enviable person in the world today it would be hard to go past fashion designer, Tom Ford. Charming, handsome and successful, adored by the rich and powerful. It hardly seems fair that Ford should also possess an incredible talent as a writer and director. What does one do … More


Hacksaw Ridge

November 4, 2016
Andrew Garfield in Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

Hacksaw Ridge has been widely touted as a “redemption” for Mel Gibson after his spectacular fall from grace that began in 2006. If there is any truth in this rather glib idea, Mel hasn’t taken the meek-and-mild route. In fact there are two Mel Gibsons at the helm of this movie – the old-fashioned Hollywood … More


Elle

October 28, 2016
Isabelle Huppert in 'Elle' (2016)

Dutch director, Paul Verhoeven, is a master of electric shock therapy, and in Elle he’s on the job right away. The movie opens with the sounds of glass breaking, thumps and muffled screams. The camera comes creeping around a corner and we find ourselves witness to a vicious rape scene, as Isabelle Huppert struggles with … More


Café Society

October 21, 2016
Jesse Eisenberg and Blake Lively in Café Society (2016)

It’s become apparent that Woody Allen’s films are better when he’s not actually starring in them. This doesn’t mean these movies are quarantined against his invasive presence, merely that we don’t have to endure the same neurotic persona that seemed tremendously funny circa 1977. If Allen can’t be seen, he will still be heard, either … More


Joe Cinque’s Consolation

October 14, 2016
Maggie Naouri in 'Joe Cinque's Consolation' (2016)

Notably absent from Sotiris Dounoukos’s film, Joe Cinque’s Consolation, is the voice of Helen Garner. In the best-selling book about the death of 26-year-old Joe Cinque and the murder trial that followed, we see everything through Garner’s eyes. She makes us party to her own fears and recriminations; her battles to be fair to Joe’s … More


Early Winter

October 7, 2016
Suzanne Clément & Paul Doucet in 'Early Winter' (2015)

After watching almost four-and-a-half hours of Ingmar Bergman’s Scenes From a Marriage, in the TV broadcast version, Clive James declared it the Higher Trash. The verdict owed something to the dubbing and translation, but he ultimately found that Bergman’s grinding portrayal of a marital breakdown was soap carved into the shape of art. One wonders … More


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

October 6, 2016
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2016)

Tim Burton is Hollywood’s greatest celebrant of non-conformity. This is partly a reflection of his own battles with studios to make the movies he wants, the way he wants. Throughout his career one can feel the ebb and flow of that drive as he wins some rounds and loses others. My favourite Burton films are … More


Snowden

September 22, 2016
Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 'Snowden' (2016)

Snowden belongs to a peculiar new genre: the fictionalised re-make of the successful documentary – in this case, Laura Poitras’s award-winning Citizenfour (2014). The question for viewers is whether director, Oliver Stone, has brought anything new and vital to the mix that was not canvassed in the real-life film. The answer is ‘no’, unless we … More


The Beatles: Eight Days a Week

September 16, 2016
The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years (2016)

Apart from a one-off appearance on the rooftop of their London offices in 1969, the Beatles played their last gig at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, on 29 August 1966. It was a shambles, coming at the end of a tour that had destroyed the group’s appetite for live performance. They had become tired of the … More