CineVue

Film reviews and more

Christopher Machell

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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 […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Film Review: Second Spring

★★★★☆ Degenerating health and the nearing horizon of mortality are handled sensitively in director Andy Kelleher’s lyrical debut fiction feature. Second Spring is a film about endurance and acceptance, tackling its subject matter with quiet poise where a lesser film might have fallen to mawkish sentiment. Archaeologist Kathy Deane, (Cathy Naden) is passionate, intelligent […]

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Film Review: Pig

★★★★☆ What would you get if you crossed John Wick with The Truffle Hunters? In his feature debut, American director Michael Sarnoski has the answer to a question that no one asked. As a result, Pig offers something strangely tender and even sometimes lyrical, wrapped up in the trappings of a noirish thriller […]

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Film Review: New Order

★★☆☆☆ Following its premiere in Venice last year, Mexican director Michel Franco’s sixth feature receives its UK release this week. Depicting a fictional uprising in an unnamed Mexican city, New Order ably depicts the terror, confusion and violence of political revolution, but stops short of offering meaningful context. Nestled amidst a wealthy suburb, […]

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Film Review: The Fever

★★★★★ The shadow of far-right Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, who once compared the indigenous people of Brazil as animals living in a zoo and whose policies have accelerated the decimation of the Amazon rainforest, hangs over veteran documentarian Maya Da-Rin’s first fiction feature like a sickness. Da-Rin’s documentary credentials bring an authenticity that […]

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Film Review: Nowhere Special

★★★★☆ “This is the most important decision of my life”, single father John (James Norton) pleads to his social worker. “How will I know if I’ve got it right?” The decision in question, and the premise of Italian director Uberto Pasolini’s latest film Nowhere Special, is who will adopt John’s son, Michael (Daniel […]

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Film Review: Sweat

★★★★☆ Swedish director Magnus von Horn follows up his 2015 feature debut The Here After with Sweat, depicting three days in the life of an Instagram influencer. Structured in parts like a thriller, Sweat is truly most successful as a character study, while its representation of social media gives rise to a nuanced […]

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Film Review: It Must Be Heaven

★★★★☆ Ten years since his last film, renowned Palestinian filmmaker Elia Suleiman makes a welcome return to the fore. At its premiere at Cannes, It Must Be Heaven was selected for the Palme d’Or, garnered a Special Jury Mention and received a standing ovation. It’s not hard to see why: his latest is […]