Film Reviews

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


Finding Vivian Maier

November 15, 2014
Vivian Maier, Self Portrait, Highland Park, 1960s

Previously unknown until a few years ago, street photographer, Vivian Maier (1926-2009), is almost in danger of over-exposure. Having never exhibited a picture during her lifetime, over the past few years Maier has been the subject of non-stop shows in many parts of the world. Last month her work was shown for the first time … More


My Old Lady

November 15, 2014
Maggie Smith in 'My Old Lady' (2014)

Some films betray their stage origins too easily, some employ an all-star cast to paper over the cracks in a script or a story. My Old Lady might be found guilty on both counts. As the directorial debut of well-known playwright and occasional screenwriter, Israel Horovitz, it suggests the transition from theatre to cinema can … More


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