Film reviews and more

Month: September 2017

Toronto 2017: Valley of Shadows review

★★★★★ Using the folkloric tropes of a deep, dark wood and tales of a beast terrorising the countryside, with his feature debut Valley of Shadows Norwegian director Jonas Matzow Gulbrandsen has crafted one of the year’s finest, most deeply affecting psychological dramas.As with all the […]

Toronto 2017: Lady Bird review

★★★★★ Following her co-director credit on 2008’s Nights and Weekends, Greta Gerwig goes it alone directing Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird. A lovingly observed, pitch perfect coming-of-age comedy, Gerwig’s warm, astute account of the end of adolescence is a stunning solo debut. High school senior […]

Toronto 2017: Dark River review

★★★★☆ Following this year’s The Levelling and God’s Own Country, the decaying farmlands of rural England appear to be replacing the urban concrete high-rise as the preferred setting for British social realism. Clio Barnard’s Dark River may well be the cream of this particular crop.Barnard, […]

Toronto 2017: Darkest Hour review

★★☆☆☆ Unpopular with his own cabinet and under pressure to enter into peace negotiations with Nazi Germany, once he became PM Winston Churchill’s character became symbolic of wartime spirit, his rousing speeches among the most famous examples of political oratory. What a shame, then, that […]

Toronto 2017: Jane review

★★★★☆ When now-renowned primatologist Jane Goodall went to Tanzania to study chimpanzees, she had no scientific qualifications or formal training. Armed with a passion for nature and her tenacity, she changed the way our closest cousins are understood by science.Brett Morgan’s Jane blends hundreds of […]

Film Review: Victoria and Abdul

★☆☆☆☆ The last years in the life of Queen Victoria and her friendship with an Indian subject are the focus of British director Stephen Frears’ latest film Victoria and Abdul. Sadly, a cliché-ridden plot ultimately inhibits what could have been a spritely historical period drama.Frears […]

Film Review: My Pure Land

★★★★☆ Offering a rarely-seen perspective on Pakistan – particularly in the West – Sarmad Masud’s My Pure Land could be described as a ‘feminist western’, but it is richer and deeper, both politically and psychologically, than the genre usually allows.Based on a true story, teenager […]

Film Review: Mother!

★★★★★ Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky returns to cinema screens with Mother!, an utterly insane film starring Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem, which begins as a haunted house tale before transforming into an allegorical journey.Aronofsky has always been a filmmaker […]

Toronto 2017: Breathe review

★★★☆☆ At the age of 28, Robert Cavendish was paralysed from the neck down by polio. Given only months to live on a respirator, he beat the odds and became one of the longest living ‘responauts’. Andy Serkis takes on Cavendish’s story with biopic Breathe.Opening […]

Film Review: Unicorn Store

★★★★☆ Debut director Brie Larson tackles millennial growing pains in Unicorn Store, a super sweet, affecting comedy with a magical premise and a terrific central performance from Larson herself. Flunking out of art school and still living at home, Kit’s (Larson) life has stalled. The […]

Film Review: Racer and the Jailbird

★★☆☆☆ Racer Bibi (Adèle Exarchopoulos) gets her adrenaline kicks on the track, but Jailbird Gigi (Matthias Schoenaerts) takes his rush from pulling bank jobs with his friends. When the two fall in love, Gigi must decide whether to confess what he does, or give it […]

Film Review: Chappaquiddick

★★★☆☆ By 1969, Ted Kennedy (played here by Jason Clarke) was the only a surviving brother of the famed political dynasty. But on 18th July of that year, a terrible accident on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts put paid to Kennedy’s presidential aspirations. John Curran’s dramatisation of […]