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Film Reviews

Film Reviews

The Booksellers

Thursday, July 9th, 2020 Film Reviews,

As a general rule I’ve an aversion to reviews in which the critic begins by talking about him or herself. You know the routine: “Speaking as an young, Asian, gay, white-water rafter I feel uniquely qualified to talk about this movie…” But in this instance I’m compelled to begin with a confession: “My name is […]

Film Reviews

Shirley

Thursday, July 2nd, 2020 Film Reviews,

It may be the ultimate tribute to a novelist when she becomes the subject of someone else’s fiction, or it may be poetic justice. For the four children of American writer, Shirley Jackson (1916-65), it has been hard to recognise their mother in a new film by Josephine Decker. Although Shirley contains detailed portraits of […]

Film Reviews

Greed

Thursday, June 25th, 2020 Film Reviews,

Greed was the title of one of the cinema’s most legendary productions – an 8-hour silent epic of 1924, by Erich von Stroheim, cut by MGM to two-and-a-half hours. Movie historians have been searching for the missing six hours ever since. Greed, by the prolific British director, Michael Winterbottom, is a mere 104 minutes, and […]

Film Reviews

It Must Be Heaven

Thursday, June 18th, 2020 Film Reviews,

Elia Sulieman says he’d never seen a movie by Buster Keaton or Jacques Tati before he made his first feature in 1996. This may be true but these comics remain the inevitable points of comparison for his own style of silent humour. In It Must Be Heaven, Sulieman says exactly four words. When a New […]

Film Reviews

Honeyland

Thursday, June 11th, 2020 Film Reviews,

Honeyland is a deceptively sweet title for a documentary about a lonely life spent in a harsh, barren landscape. The place is the Republic of North Macedonia, known simply as “Macedonia” until last year when the name was changed to resolve a long-running dispute with the Greeks. The newly minted Republic is a land-locked country […]

Film Reviews

Mrs. America

Friday, June 5th, 2020 Film Reviews,

It takes a moment before one recognises those first four notes in the jazzy theme music for Mrs. America. It’s a ‘switched-on’ version of Beethoven’s Fifth – in the composer’s own famous words: “the sound of fate knocking on the door.” But for whom does it knock? Is it for Phyllis Schlafly, the formidable conservative […]

Film Reviews

The Great

Thursday, May 28th, 2020 Film Reviews,

With films based on actual people it’s always tempting to take a peek at the historical record. Fictional characters will invariably be created and genuine ones omitted, myths will be treated as facts. No-one can resist adding a dash – or a bucketload – of romance to prosaic reality. In the case of The Great […]

Film Reviews

For Sama

Thursday, May 21st, 2020 Film Reviews,

“We never thought the world would let this happen,” says Waad Al-Kateab, early into For Sama, a documentary she has co-directed with Edward Watts. Working as an independent journalist, Waad recorded the progress of the Syrian civil war in the city of Aleppo as the euphoria of rebellion gave way to mounting despair. The film […]

Film Reviews

Hollywood

Friday, May 15th, 2020 Film Reviews,

Hollywood. The title says it all: big, brassy, and full of false promises. Although generations of movie-makers have felt compelled to pore over the industry’s dirty secrets there’s never been anything quite like the new Netflix series by Ian Brennan and Ryan Murphy. Please don’t take that as an endorsement. A typical Hollywood saga is […]

Film Reviews

Colour Out of Space

Thursday, May 7th, 2020 Film Reviews,

H.P. Lovecraft is the undisputed Old Master of American horror fiction. Although he died of cancer at the age of 47 in 1937, Lovecraft’s output was positively volcanic. The fantastic tales have made him posthumously famous, but he also wrote reams of poetry, and countless essays on science, philosophy, political and social issues. He ghost-wrote […]