Film reviews and more

Month: August 2014

Venice 2014: ‘Three Hearts’ review

★★☆☆☆ Director Benoît Jacquot returns to the Venice Lido with Three Hearts (2014), a slickly presented and thespy relationship drama which flounders on its own lack of originality, humourlessness and absence of credibility. Marc (Benoît Poelvoorde, in his second film […]

Venice 2014: ‘Far From Men’ review

★★★★★ Adapted from the Albert Camus short story The Guest, David Oelhoffen’s second feature Far From Men (2014), a handsomely shot drama set during the Algerian War of Independence, joined the race for the Golden Lion at Venice 2014. Following […]

Venice 2014: ‘Manglehorn’ review

★★★☆☆ David Gordon Green has to have one of the most eclectic directorial résumés of recent times. From stoner comedies like Pineapple Express (2008) and Your Highness (2011) to his work on hit TV show Eastbound & Down and striking […]

Venice 2014: ‘In the Basement’ review

★★☆☆☆ When Ulrich Seidl unveiled plans to make a documentary on everyday Austrians and their relationships with their basements, almost everyone jumped to the conclusion that this would be about Joseph Fritzl. In the Basement (2014), which screened out of […]

Venice 2014: ‘She’s Funny That Way’ review

★★★★☆ Old-fashioned Hollywood pizazz arrived at the Venice Film Festival this year in the form of Peter Bogdanovich’s delightful, zinger-filled farce She’s Funny That Way (2014). Owen Wilson stars as protag Arnold Patterson, a director preparing a play for Broadway. […]

Venice 2014: ’99 Homes’ review

★★★★☆ Festival favourite Ramin Bahrani returns to the Venice Lido with 99 Homes (2014), a dramatic thriller set at the sharp-end of the housing crisis. The very first shot shows that there is blood on the bathroom walls of America. […]

Venice 2014: ‘Tales’ review

★★★☆☆ Entering the race for the prestigious Golden Lion prize at this year’s 71st Venice Film Festival, Iranian director Rakhshan Bani-Etemad’s Tales (Ghesse-ha, 2014) presents the interlocking lives of several disparate Iranians trying to make sense of modern day Iran; […]

Venice 2014: ‘The Price of Fame’ review

★☆☆☆☆ When Charlie Chaplin died on Christmas Day in 1977, the whole world paid tribute to the passing of a comic genius. However, two down-on-their luck, unemployed immigrants living in Switzerland saw his passing as an opportunity – the answer […]

Film Review: ‘Obvious Child’

★★★★☆ The label of ‘abortion rom-com’ doesn’t necessarily scream box office success. However, director Gillian Robespierre doesn’t care what you think. Her debut feature, Obvious Child (2014), aims to confront life’s uncomfortable truths. From the moment Donna (Jenny Slate) begins […]

Film Review: ‘Night Moves’

★★★★☆ The films of Kelly Reichardt have often explored the relationship between people and their environment – whether in tune or fatally at odds. Like a polar opposite to the autumnal flow of Old Joy (2006), the director’s latest delves […]

Film Review: ‘Million Dollar Arm’

★★★☆☆ Only an actor with as much natural charisma as Mad Men star Jon Hamm (who plays ad man Donald Draper in the hit AMC show) could make a money-centric, hard-balling sports agent look appealing, and this is exactly what […]

Venice 2014: ‘Messi’ review

★☆☆☆☆ Messi (2014), a new film about diminutive Argentinian football icon Lionel Messi, has all the ingredients for a great sports documentary. A mass of archive material has been made available to director Álex de la Iglesia, apparently provided by […]

Venice 2014: Read our Venezia 71 programme preview

This week, the world’s oldest and often most unpredictable film festival, the 71st Venice Film Festival, will unroll on the Lido. Twenty films will screen in competition, vying for the prestigious Golden Lion and a further fifty-odd films will show […]

Film Review: ‘Let’s Be Cops’

★☆☆☆☆ It’s hardly an ideal time to be marketing a film in which two average Joes abuse the civil justice system by imitating US police officers. With the tragic fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri still very much […]

Film Review: The Internet’s Own Boy

★★★☆☆ In January 2013, Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz committed suicide following a series of protracted legal battle over copyright infringement after downloading JSTOR articles. It was the tragic conclusion to years of persecution, frustration and innovation. The Internet’s Own Boy […]

Film Review: ‘The Guvnors’

★★☆☆☆ Looking to marry the football hooligan punch ’em up with Daily Mail-baiting hoodie horror, Gabe Turner’s The Guvnors (2014) does at least prove that there’s still some vague spark of life in these two staples of low-budget British filmmaking. […]

DVD Review: ‘Transcendence’

★★☆☆☆ From former Christopher Nolan cinematographer Wally Pfister and packing an all-star cast, there were plenty of reasons to be excited about Transcendence (2014). Sadly, the end result is a disappointing mess of a movie which fails to deliver on […]

DVD Review: ‘Tom at the Farm’

★★★★☆ Prodigious Canadian writer and director Xavier Dolan’s fifth feature, Mommy (2014), took home a Jury Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Before Mommy comes to UK cinemas next year, Dolan’s fourth film, Tom at the Farm (2013), based […]