Film reviews and more

CineVue UK

Film Review: Pier Kids

★★★★☆ Premiering in 2019 at the LA Outfest Film Festival, Elegance Bratton’s feature debut arrives on UK screens. Following in the footsteps of legendary documentary Paris Is Burning, Pier Kids is a poignant and chaotic study of the community of young black gay men and trans women who congregate at the piers of Hudson River Park, New York City. […]

Film Review: Next Door

★★★★☆ Spanish-German actor Daniel Brühl makes his directorial debut with this delightfully taut, blackly comic satire. Brühl is perhaps best-known to a global audience as the all-seeing, all-scheming Marvel villain Helmut Zemo, but Next Door upends Brühl’s signature cool-headedness by placing his hapless actor Daniel at the mercy of determined and vengeful neighbour, Bruno (Peter Kurth). In Next Door, […]

Film Review: Balloon

★★★★★ Pre-eminent Tibetan director Pema Tseden returns to screens with his latest, finally released in the UK after premiering at the Venice Film Festival two years ago. Balloon is a poetic, bleak, funny, and deeply humane portrait of life in rural Tibet. In the early 1980s, Drolkar (Sonam Wangmo), lives in the mountains with husband Dargye (Jinpa), his father […]

Film Review: The Alpinist

★★★★☆ Filmmaking partners Peter Mortimer and Nick Rosen, known for their extensive documentary work on climbing and for their Reel Rock Film Tour films, set their sights on Marc-André Leclerc, a legend in the climbing world living in relative obscurity. The Alpinist is a portrait of a disarmingly awkward and charming young man, driven to the most extreme of […]

Film Review: The Story of Looking

★★★★☆ In the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown, prolific director and cinephile Mark Cousins adapts his book of the same name into a visual study of the art of looking at the world. Cousins’ films are always personal, but underpinned by his imminent cataract surgery, The Story of Looking is among his most deeply felt. Cousins frames his film […]

Film Review: Prisoners of the Ghostland

★★★☆☆ Sion Sono’s debut film in the English language is an East-meets-West genre medley centred on the hero monomyth, and crucially the samurai movie’s influence on both the modern western and post-apocalyptic actioner. Meanwhile, Nicolas Cage gets to do his thing, and that’s always welcome. Prisoners of the Ghostland is an oddball movie that leaves you wondering if they […]

Film Review: The Lost Leonardo

★★★★☆ Ten years ago, London’s National Gallery exhibited a heavily restored Salvator Mundi, allegedly painted by Leonardo da Vinci, the attribution of which is fiercely contested. Tracing the painting from discovery to its eventual record-breaking private sale, documentarian Andreas Koefoed’s latest is about how art can become a vector for vanity, status and raw power. For anyone hoping for […]

Film Review: Wildfire

★★★★☆ In the months leading up to the UK’s departure from the European Union, troubled Kelly (the late Nika McGuigan) returns to her and her sister Lauren’s (Nora-Jane Noone) Northern Irish hometown after disappearing a year ago, unearthing a decades-old truth about the death of their mother. Broken borders abound in director Cathy Brady’s feature debut. The opening scene […]

FrightFest 2021: The Sadness review

★★★☆☆ The Sadness is a nasty and thoroughly unpleasant survival horror film set in Taiwan, directed by Canadian first-timer Rob Jabbaz. Warning: this movie is not for the faint-hearted and requires a strong tolerance for depictions of sexual violence on screen. Jim and Kat are a young couple living in Taipei, Taiwan. The world has been suffering a global pandemic […]

FrightFest 2021: Evie review

★★☆☆☆ Emmerdale actor Dominic Brunt moonlights as a horror filmmaker. Evie, his fourth time on bullhorn duties, co-directed with Jamie Lundy, is based on the Celtic and Norse myth of the selkie, a derivative of the better-known mermaid. For Brunt, Evie is both a step up and a step back. Its gloomy beach-set scenes are atmospheric and rugged. In other words, he […]

FrightFest 2021: The Retaliators review

★★★★☆ The Retaliators is a rock ‘n’ roll ride into the freaky side of vengeance. Bridget Smith and Samuel Gonzalez Jr’s bloody thriller transgressively argues for violence as a rejuvenating force, a great problem-solver, and eye-for-an-eye revenge being a righteous act. Written by first-time screenwriters Darren and Jeff Allen Geare, The Retaliators deserves praise for its storytelling and plotting. For a good […]

FrightFest 2021: Knocking review

★★★★☆ A middle-aged woman, released from a psychiatric facility, moves into a block of flats. Settling in and finding her feet again, one night she begins to hear a thumping sound. Nobody else hears it. Is she going mad or is she on to something? The fictional feature debut of Swedish documentary filmmaker Frida Kempff, Knocking is a powerful statement on […]