Blu-ray Review: Murder in the Cathedral

★★★☆☆ When T.S. Eliot consented to an adaptation of his 1935 verse drama Murder in the Cathedral, his vision of the murder of Thomas Becket in 1170, he predicted a “very unusual film”. He wasn’t wrong. George Hoellering’s picture is a cold, austere vision, full of linguistic poetry; undeniably stagy but also packing in moral…

Film Review: ‘Dans la Cour’

★★★☆☆ French icon Catherine Deneuve graces our screens once again in Pierre Salvadori’s Dans la Cour (2014), a delicate Parisian tragicomedy about a community in an upmarket Parisian apartment block. Dark and emotionally complex, it still offers moments of eccentric silliness. French TV comedian Gustave Kervern stars as Antoine, a grizzled, lonely drunkard who abruptly…

Interview: Carol Morley, ‘The Falling’

Carol Morley was in high spirits on the breezy spring morning CineVue met her (she likens press junkets to speed dating). The wind rustled in the air outside, but not with the sense of foreboding mysticism of her remarkable new feature, The Falling (2014). They are the winds of change, of a Britain embracing counter-culture…

Film Review: ‘Gemma Bovery’

★★☆☆☆ “A boring woman sick of her boring life is not boring,” claims Martin (Fabrice Luhini), the nosey French neighbour of Gemma Arterton’s titular Gemma Bovery (2014). He’s the narrator of this strangely quaint adaptation of Posy Simmons’s graphic novel that updates Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary into a sarky modern setting. Martin, a former publisher…

DVD Review: ‘The Voices’

★★★☆☆ Ryan Reynolds deserves at least some credit for the patchwork of roles he’s picked recently. There’s the countless rom-coms, his superhero duds, acting work with Atom Egoyan and Rodrigo Cortés, but there are also curiosities like The Voices (2014). A jet-black horror comedy featuring severed heads in fridges and a gamut of talking animals…

Interview: Ruben Östlund, ‘Force Majeure’

“Have you cried as an adult?” My question to Ruben Östlund, the director of ice-cold Swedish black comedy Force Majeure (2014), is not as impertinent as it might appear. It’s a reference to a scene of his film in which patriarch Tomas (Johannes Kuhnke), on holiday with his family at a luxury French ski resort,…

Film Review: ‘Mr. Holmes’

★★★☆☆ Benedict Cumberbatch need not worry his boots are being filled. Ian McKellen’s take on Sherlock Holmes is more Sunday teatime viewing than prime-time blockbuster, but its stately pace doesn’t preclude Mr. Holmes (2015) from being a delightful romp all the same. McKellen reunites with director Bill Condon, who helped him to an Oscar nomination…

DVD Review: ‘Love Is Strange’

★★★★☆ Two stand-out performances from John Lithgow and Alfred Molina illuminate Love Is Strange (2014), the new film from Keep the Lights On (2012) director Ira Sachs. Like 2013’s comparable Chilean offering Gloria, it’s the story of love in an older generation and just as moving. Lithgow and Molina play Ben and George, two Manhattanites…

DVD Review: ‘National Gallery’

★★★★☆ Painting has only “the speed of light to tell its story,” explains one tour guide in pro documentarian Frederick Wiseman’s National Gallery (2014), a study of the Trafalgar Square institution. Wiseman’s film is nearly three hours in length (still an hour shorter than his previous effort, 2013’s At Berkeley), but every frame seems to…

Film Review: ‘We Are Monster’

★★☆☆☆ The murder of Zahid Mubarek at Feltham Young Offenders’ Institution in 2000 is the harrowing subject of British director Antony Petrou’s We Are Monster (2014), a clumsy and facile character study into his killer, Robert Stewart; an apparently well-researched drama that feels more like a hopeless shot in the dark at reaching the inner…

Interview: Kristian Levring, ‘The Salvation’

Kristian Levring looks like one of the characters in his new film The Salvation (2014) – a distinct face, long dark hair, you could imagine him taking out someone with a rusty Victorian sniper. But the Danish director, who lives in North London, is more the intellectual than the aggro marksman, a former Dogme 95…

Film Review: ‘Hyena’

★★★☆☆ Opening films at festivals are often easygoing curtain-raisers that provide a bit of glamour before guests scatter into all manner of inevitable industry after-parties. But guests at last year’s 68th Edinburgh International Film Festival stumbled out of a violent, cerebral, police noir. It was a brave choice, that never quite convinced as the right…