Month: April 2021

George Clooney and Caolinn Springall in Arctic gear

Midnight Sky

The Midnight Sky continues George Clooney’s fascination for sci-fi, a rocky relationship that’s only really yielded one proper old fashioned hit – Gravity. Both Solaris and Tomorrowland seemed to fall into the dark hole between reviewer favourite and audience hit. Unbowed, Clooney plugs on, directing here, and trying something rather bold

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Tony and the bouncer square off

Throw Down

Johnnie To’s baffling Throw Down, from 2004, is a hell of a good-looking film, an homage to Akira Kurosawa, “the greatest film-maker”, a dedication at the end reads. And though you might find influences from the great Japanese director, who had died only six years before, his coherent storytelling isn’t

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At the party

Lovers Rock

Lovers Rock is the second in the sequence of Steve McQueen’s Small Axe series of films for the BBC, stories from the frontline of the West Indian immigrant experience in the UK. Unlike its predecessor, Mangrove, which featured Letitia Wright, and Red, White and Blue, its successor, which starred John

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Non and Kang in a cafe

Days

“This film is intentionally unsubtitled”, it says at the beginning of Days (aka Rizi), the latest feature from the amazingly productive Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang – 19 films of various lengths in the last decade. Fans will be delighted to hear it’s more of the same – a virtually wordless

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Isabelle Huppert as Frankie

Frankie

Having made films with more than a hint of the French about them – character driven, focused on metropolitan angst, loose, semi-improvised acting style, unafraid to let nothing happen – Ira Sachs finally gets almost all of the way there with Frankie, a drama set in Portugal but with plenty

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Chris and Bud screaming

Bad Trip

Bad Trip is Borat revisited. Same basic idea – pranks being foisted on real people, with a bit of scripted dramatic infill (a story) connecting the gotchas together. The pranks are all standalones, one-offs, which explains that no matter how short this sort of film is (the two Borat movies and

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Grace with a gun

The Reckoning

Contagion, hysteria, conspiracy and the patriarchy – you can’t accuse British horror film The Reckoning of not being on the money, even though it was shot in Hungary in 2019 while the Sars-Cov2 virus was still getting its boots on. Patriarchy is its biggest concern, though, or one 17th-century woman’s

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Clint and an Inuit man out in the snow

Siberia

Abel Ferrara’s 2019 film Siberia wasn’t shot in Siberia, unlike the 2018 film of the same name starring Keanu Reeves, which was. Ferrara now lives in Rome and so, needing snowy wastes to tell a story about a remote bar-owner’s journey into his own psyche, he starts and ends his

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Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth in a field

Supernova

Supernova is an admirably tight drama starring Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci. It gives us the who and the where immediately – Sam (Firth) and Tusker (Tucci), a long-established couple on holiday in the Lake District in one of those tiny RVs, a Fiat Autotrail, that offer all the creature

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Escapee Samantha with Dr Green

Into the Labyrinth

Dustin Hoffman and Toni Servillo in the same film? Into the Labyrinth (aka L’uomo del labirinto) is a properly intriguing prospect. Hoffman a madness-in-his-Method actor since his breakthrough in 1967’s The Graduate, Servillo the king of the hangdog deapan – or is that the deadpan hangdog? – and long-time collaborator

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