Month: June 2021

René Otero

Boys State

Fascinating, sometimes grimly so, Boys State is a documentary about a Texas program designed to educate high schoolers in the intricacies and mechanisms of democracy. It’s been run by the American Legion since 1935 and claims to be a “week-long experiment in self-governance” during which young men run for office,

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Anthony Hopkins with Christopher Jones

The Looking Glass War

The third of John Le Carré’s spy thrillers to be adapted for the big screen, 1970’s The Looking Glass War is an odd and pretty much entirely unsuccessful spy thriller that’s taken a big conceptual decision only for it not to pay off at all. The first two adaptations were

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Abigail and Tallie get close

The World to Come

Mona Fastvold’s second film, The World to Come, continues her tick-tocking exploration of timebomb relationships, much as did her first one, 2014’s The Sleepwalker. And like The Sleepwalker, this also toys with the viewer, delaying the explosive payoff until its moment has started to recede over the hill. Has Fastvold

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J3 is revealed

Archive

Here’s Archive, the debut by writer/director Gavin Rothery, who deserved better than for his film to slip between the cracks, which it did a bit thanks to the Covid restrictions. Instead of getting the big-screen release that was on the cards, it slunk out onto streaming months after it was

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Subir Banerjee as Apu

Pather Panchali

One of the breakout hits of world cinema – a term that didn’t yet exist – Pather Panchali came seemingly from nowhere in 1955 and swept all before it. It remains a highly regarded film to this day, still featuring on Sight and Sound’s prestigious once-a-decade 100 Greatest Films of

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Nicole Beharie in Miss Juneteenth crown

Miss Juneteenth

Around about the time Miss Juneteenth came out in 2020, President Donald Trump was announcing that he was going to have a rally in Tulsa on Juneteenth Day (19 June) – the day commemorating the end of slavery. In the end Trump, for whatever reason, moved the rally to the

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Colonel Joll and the Magistrate

Waiting for the Barbarians

It’s a Sondheimian title, Waiting for the Barbarians – as in, “don’t worry, they’re here” – a story about the white man’s civilising mission on some distant frontier and how it gives licence to people whose instincts are far from civilised. The uniforms are deliberately non-specific but for the sake

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The count imagines burying his wife in sand

Divorce Italian Style

Who remembers 1961’s Divorce Italian Style (Divorzio all’Italiana) today? An Oscar winner for its screenplay, with nominations for both its star (Marcello Mastroianni) and its director (Pietro Germi), it now for some reason languishes in the dusty zone where forgotten movies slumber. Perhaps it’s time to wake it up. It’s

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A distraught Mabel

A Woman under the Influence

Peter Falk had been appearing in the Columbo series on TV already for about three years when A Woman under the Influence came out in 1974. It’s a film no one wanted to make, and as well as co-starring, Falk helped finance it, with $500,000 he gave (lent?) to his

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Lupe and Sunny at the drug store

Plan B

The comedy Plan B hits the road with a pair of young women as they scour the South Dakota badlands for a morning-after pill. If Plan A is not getting pregnant, Plan B is… you follow. Lupe (Victoria Moroles) and Sunny (Kuhoo Verma) are two smart, funny, best buds from strict

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