Film Reviews

Annie

December 20, 2014
Quvenzhané Wallis in 'Annie' (2014)

This time of year the main choices for a critic are between movies for children and movies for childish adults. I’ve yet to see the film about Paddington Bear the Asylum Seeker but I’d recommend going soon before Scott Morrison slaps a ban on it. That leaves Annie – a film of wasted opportunities. The … More


Exodus: Gods and Kings

December 20, 2014
Christian Bale in 'Exodus: Gods and Kings' (2014)

Exodus: Gods and Kings was always going to be a spectacle on a grand scale but the challenge for director, Ridley Scott, was how to deal with the larger-than-life characters of Moses, the Pharaoh Ramses, and err.. God. He has made some bold choices, not the least being the casting of 11-year-old Isaac Andrews as … More


The Green Prince

December 13, 2014
Mosab Hassan Yousef in 'The Green Prince' (2014)

Nadav Schirman’s feature-length documentary, The Green Prince, has the makings of a great espionage thriller. It’s impossible not to think of those films made from John Le Carré’s novels, but in this instance it is reality that resembles fiction. For ten years Mossab Hassan Yousef was the prize recruit for the Israeli secret intelligence agency, … More


Folies Bergère

December 13, 2014
Isabelle Huppert in 'Folies Bergères' (2014)

Isabelle Huppert has the rare ability to conjure up a character while remaining almost completely impassive. Some actors undergo an expressive transformation from one role to the next, but Huppert’s style is that of a minimalist. The straight face gives an impression of hidden depths, and this may be why – although far from conventionally … More


A Thousand Times Goodnight

December 6, 2014
Juliette Binoche in 'A Thousand Times Goodnight' (2013)

When a film begins as powerfully as A Thousand Times Goodnight, the danger is that everything that follows will be anti-climactic. The problem for Norwegian director, Erik Poppe, is to balance the movie’s brief action sequences against long periods of domestic drama in which Rebecca, a leading war photographer, weighs up conflicting commitments to work … More


Human Capital

December 6, 2014
Valeria Bruni Tedeschi in 'Human Capital' (2013)

Although the Berlusconi era may have rendered Italy an economic ruin and a political laughing stock, it has given rise to an exceptional cinematic legacy. Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty (2013) was a masterful portrait of decadence and excess, set against the eternal elegance of Rome. Paolo Virzi’s Human Capital unfolds in the wealthy regions … More


The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

November 29, 2014
Jennifer Lawrence in 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' (2014)

Although it rocketed to the top of the box office in its first week, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, is a holding operation in this popular Hollywood franchise. As the title suggests, this is only the first part of a grand finale. It has been described as “half a film”, and that’s largely true. … More


Nightcrawler

November 29, 2014
Jake Gyllenhaal in 'Nightcrawler' (2014)

Lou Bloom is a true believer in the American Dream – self-motivated, ambitious, unfailingly polite and well-spoken. By his own assessment Lou is a fast learner, a self-improver, a small businessman prepared to take risks to achieve his long-term goals. “Good things come to those who work their asses off,” he chirps. He is also … More


Winter Sleep

November 22, 2014
Melisa Sözen in 'Winter Sleep' (2014)

For a film that goes for 3 hours and 16 minutes, Winter Sleep was a surprisingly popular winner of the Palme D’Or at Cannes this year. Although the story gets anchored in intense conversations that may run for 15-20 minutes, it has a undeniable touch of greatness. After watching his previous effort, Once Upon a … More


Interstellar

November 22, 2014
Matthew McConaughey in 'Interstella' (2014)

After the intense, inward-looking focus of a film such as Winter Sleep, it’s almost disconcerting to turn to Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, a genre-scrambling science fiction blockbuster that poses the usual big questions about the future of our planet and the species. It is also an old-fashioned Hollywood drama about a hero torn between the love … More


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