Film Review: Paddington 2

★★★★☆ The bear from deepest, darkest Peru is back, now firmly established in his north London home of 32 Windsor Gardens with the Browns and ready for another adventure with Paddington 2. Paul King is once again at the helm, as well as a few cast additions. The first Paddington was a joyful and somewhat…

Film Review: The Silence of the Lambs

★★★★★ With an opening jogging sequence only rivalled by Jonathan Glazer’s Birth, Jonathan Demme’s chilling masterpiece The Silence of the Lambs still manages to send tingles down the spine 26 years on from its original theatrical release. It’s intriguing to revisit the film in light of the recent release of Mindhunter, which premiered on Netflix…

Film Review: Thor: Ragnarok

★★★★☆ New Zealand director Taika Waititi brings his comic skills to the latest Marvel instalment Thor: Ragnarok – a gleefully rainbow-coloured romp that feels like a Saturday morning cartoon on a big budget, packed with the director’s brand of off-beat humour.We begin with a laboured prologue explaining the film’s title, informing us that Asgard, the…

Film Review: The Lure

★★☆☆☆ Filmmaker Tomas Leach offers up his sophomore feature The Lure, a sombre-toned study of an eccentric millionaire who hides $3 million of gold in the Rocky Mountains, luring thousands of fortune-seekers out on a wild goose chase in search of riches and redemption.Seven years ago, former art dealer Forrest Fenn decided to hide $3…

Film Review: Logan Lucky

★★★★☆ After a four-year hiatus Steven Soderbergh has returned to feature filmmaking with Logan Lucky – and what a return it is. Channing Tatum is Jimmy Logan, a devoted father struggling to cut a deal with his ex-wife (Katie Holmes) for custody of their daughter.Deciding to even the odds with his run of bad luck,…

Film Review: A Ghost Story

★★★★☆ Using Virginia Woolf’s short story A Haunted House as a primer, Sundance Film Festival alumni David Lowery returns with his third feature, A Ghost Story, in what is a visually arresting, poignant tale of loss and grief starring Casey Affleck and a superb Rooney Mara.With a pervading eerie quality, Lowery’s twist on a classic…

Film Review: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

★★☆☆☆ In his latest film, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, French director Luc Besson offers up a phantasmagorical sci-fi where the thrust is squarely focused on world-building and spectacle, but with scant attention paid to characters and plot.The film is based on a French comic series that Besson has been longing to…

Film Review: Miss Sloane

★★★★☆ There’s little doubt that the success of John Madden’s latest film, Miss Sloane, lays in the blisteringly chilly performance from Jessica Chastain as a Washington lobbyist who plays the political system like chess, happy to sacrifice anyone – even allies – in her wake.In the opening moments of the film she faces off against…

Film Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

★★★☆☆ Three years on from their first outing, James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy return with Volume 2. The result is a difficult second album that attempts to rekindle the hijinks of the first with a popping-candy aesthetic, but sadly lacks in narrative drive.The film opens in the 1980s. Quill’s father Ego (a digitally revitalised…

Film Review: Beauty and the Beast

★★★★☆ It’s been nearly three decades since the release of Disney’s first attempt at Beauty and the Beast and now, like Cinderella and The Jungle Book before it, the Oscar-winning animation has been given the live-action treatment, this time with Bill Condon at the helm. Disney has been careful, as they did with previous live-action…

Film Review: Silence

★★★★☆ God’s Will, or the lack thereof, lies at the core of Martin Scorsese’s Silence, based on the novel by the Japanese author Shûsaku Endô. It’s a contemplative, hushed tale marked with moments of violent ecstasy (in the true sense of the word), that rounds off Scorsese’s triptych of films concerning faith, following on from…

Film Review: Fantastic Beasts

★★★★☆ Five years on from the final instalment of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, we return to the Wizarding World for an enchanting tale of magical mayhem with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. There is no Radcliffe to be found as the story opens in prohibition-era New York, some 80 years before…