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John Bleasdale

Venice 2023: The Theory of Everything review

★★★★☆ The ‘multiverse’ is one of the worst concepts to enter storytelling since Victoria Principal woke up in Dallas and discovered it had all been a dream. And so it’s weird to find yourself in a universe where the concept finally gets a decent cinematic treatment in Timm Kröger’s The Theory of Everything, not to be confused with Eddie Redmayne’s black hole.

Venice 2023: Hit Man review

★★★★☆ Tales of lone assassins and guns for hire are all based on urban myths. That’s the fact gleefully revealed in Richard Linklater’s latest crime comedy Hit Man, premiering at Venice this week. “Think about it,” asks the film’s protagonist Gary Johnson (Glen Powell), “is someone really going to risk the death penalty for a few thousand bucks.” It’s a good point.

Venice 2023: Green Border review

★★★★☆ From sub-Saharan Africa to Afghanistan, Syria to Iraq and Iran, the climate crisis, drought, war, and oppression has created a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions. It is treated as an ethical conundrum, but it isn’t. Either we wish to save those who are in danger of dying, or all our talk of human rights is just so much hot air. This is the core concern of Green Border.

Venice 2023: Evil Does Not Exist review

★★★★☆ Once, when talking about Stanley Kubrick’s seminal Barry Lyndon, Martin Scorsese referred to the film’s “almost Japanese sense of time”. If one was to be cynical, one could snipe that it’s just a fancy way of saying a film is boring, but it goes to the point of how cinema makes the relativity of time visible and tangible to the audience.

Venice 2023: Priscilla review

★★★★☆ Following Baz Luhrmann’s deliriously over-the-top 2022 film Elvis comes Sofia Coppola’s decidedly more understated Priscilla. In fact, it’s the polar opposite of Elvis both aesthetically and emotionally. If Luhrmann captures the whole lotta shakin’, Coppola is more concerned with the end of lonely street for The King’s beleaguered wife.

Venice 2023: The Killer review

★★★☆☆ The perennial theme of the hitman is so of the zeitgeist at the moment that just in this latest Venice edition there are three films with the figure of the assassin as protagonist. Harmony Korine’s Aggro Dr1ft, Richard Linklater’s Hitman and now David Fincher’s The Killer join a culture neck-deep in John Wicks and Equalizers, Black Widows and Liam Neesons.

Venice 2023: Maestro review

★★★★☆ Bradley Cooper is back in the director’s chair for another musically-oriented film, a biopic of the composer Leonard Bernstein entitled Maestro. And yet, this isn’t really a conventional biopic at all. Rather, it’s the portrait of a marriage between Bernstein (Cooper) and Felicia (a luminous Carey Mulligan who takes the headline credit). His career is more in the background, yet occasionally comes to the fore with exhilarating force.

Film Review: Asteroid City

★★★☆☆ One of the most unmistakable filmmakers currently working, Wes Anderson is the go-to stylist for A.I.-generated parodies. His distinctive colour palettes, flat, lateral camera moves, diorama scene design and starry deadpan performances of witticism clipped from The New Yorker mean that most can pre-visualise his films before they even buy a ticket.