Film reviews and more

Month: May 2016

Cannes 2016: I, Daniel Blake wins Palme d’Or

The 69th Cannes Film Festival was a strange menagerie of beasts. Front-loaded with perhaps too many of Thierry Frémaux’s usual suspects – Woody Allen, Ken Loach, the Dardenne brothers, Pedro Almodóvar – their contributions were often simply whelming: not over, not under, just there. Even […]

Cannes 2016: The Salesman review

★★★★☆ Asghar Farhadi is a film director of such consistent quality and control that the prospect of one of his new films is like buying the latest big fat novel by a favourite author. It sits on the shelf with all the complexity of the […]

Cannes 2016: Elle review

★★☆☆☆ Usually when we say a movie is reminiscent of the seventies, we mean it has a certain high quality to it redolent of that glorious era, but Paul Verhoeven’s new film hit the Croisette, Elle – his first feature since Black Book – is […]

Cannes 2016: Risk review

★★★★☆ Following the Oscar-winning documentary Citizenfour, which recorded Edward Snowden blowing the loudest of whistles, Laura Poitras arrives in Cannes’ Quinzaine sidebar with Risk, a superb character study of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The divisive and controversial figure is a hero of free speech to […]

Cannes 2016: Ma’ Rosa review

★★★☆☆ Going to see a Brillante Mendoza film at the Cannes is an awkward experience. He’s been granted fairly regular festival berths both here and in Venice while exhibiting to the world a series of films that foreground the poor, the powerless and the oppressed. […]

Cannes 2016: Graduation review

★★★★☆ One of the leading lights of the Romanian New Wave, director Cristian Mungiu returns to Cannes with Graduation, a contemporary morality tale about how, in attempting to free his daughter from the confines of a corrupt country, a previously honest man himself becomes corrupt. […]

Cannes 2016: The Neon Demon review

★★☆☆☆ Nicolas Winding Refn – or NWR as he prefers to sign himself now – returns to Cannes with fashion world-based horror movie The Neon Demon. The film is a postmodern Women Beware Women and, despite the presence of two female co-screenwriters in the form […]

Cannes 2016: The Unknown Girl review

★★☆☆☆ When Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne premièred Two Days, One Night at Cannes two years ago, they explained that it was their first western. As they return to the Croisette with The Unknown Girl, they describe it as an old-fashioned detective story, an investigation. These […]

Film Review: The Silent Storm

★★☆☆☆ Writer-director Corinna McFarlane’s The Silent Storm is anything but silent. Or nuanced. Or subtle. Set on a remote, nondescript island off the coast of Scotland in the late 1940s, it is a raucous, disjointed cacophony of marital disharmony, community disintegration and tyrannical piety. A […]

Film Review: Sing Street

★★★★☆ Once director John Carney returns to his native Dublin for Sing Street, a 1980s-set coming-of-age crowdpleaser with real depth, heart and wit to match its toe-tapping musical beats. Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), a 14-year-old kid who’s forced to move from a private school to rowdy […]

Film Review: Chicken

★★★★☆ In an age of Marvel multiplex hegemony, Chicken – from London-based filmmaker Joe Stephenson – is the kind of low-budget British indie which restores faith in cinema as a means of genuine storytelling with well-rounded, engaging characters. Receiving a glowing endorsement from none other […]

Film Review: A Hologram for the King

★★☆☆☆ You may find yourself with a weak script, borrowing cultural currency from a song written over thirty years ago, shooting a film, in another part of the world, and you may ask yourself: ‘Well, why did they make this?’ In the case of A […]