Film reviews and more

Nick Hilton

#LFF 2019: Greed review

★★☆☆☆ Michael Winterbottom reunites with his perennial stars Steve Coogan and Shirley Henderson for a satire of the superrich set in the days running up to a lavish 60th birthday party in Mykonos. Coogan plays Sir Richard McCreadie, a clear pastiche of Philip Green that skims just wide enough of biography to keep the film out of a lawsuit. […]

Film Review: Mid90s

★★☆☆☆ Written and directed by Jonah Hill, Mid90s paints a deeply personal, sun-drenched vision of skate culture in Los Angeles, as seen through the eyes of its teenage protagonist. It’s the latest production from A24, the company who brought us Moonlight, Lady Bird and Eighth Grade, who have established themselves as the foremost voice in films about the pains and pressures of growing up. Mid90s represents […]

Film Review: Mary Queen of Scots

★★☆☆☆ Josie Rourke’s Mary Queen of Scots is the latest attempt to tell the well-worn story of Mary Stuart, who challenged the protestant hold on the English throne under Elizabeth I. Starring Saoirse Ronan in the titular role and Margot Robbie as Elizabeth it is, in short, two hours of overwrought, stagey nonsense that somehow fails to avoid also […]

Film Review: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

★★★☆☆ Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is the latest instalment in a projected pentalogy from J.K. Rowling, which finds Eddie Redmayne’s Newt Scamander doing battle with Johnny Depp’s eponymous Grindelwald, whilst a selection of the, also eponymous, fantastic beasts dart fleetingly through the streets of Paris. In truth, the plot is much far more complex even than that. […]

Film Review: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

★★★☆☆ As cultural curiosities go, they don’t get much more curious than Fred Rogers. A Pennsylvania pastor with a penchant for puppetry, he became the soft-spoken voice of public broadcasting for children over the course of fifty years. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, the new documentary from Oscar-winner Morgan Neville, charts the rise (with no fall) of an American […]

#LFF 2018: Can You Ever Forgive Me? review

★★★☆☆ In the 1990s, biographer Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy), frustrated with lack of interest in a mooted project about vaudeville legend Fanny Brice, and struggling with money and alcohol issues, began a spree of literary forgery that amounted to over 400 faked letters. Melissa McCarthy has quietly been on a real bum streak of late (The Boss, Life of […]

Film Review: Ocean’s 8

★★★☆☆ Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s trilogy was, briefly, the hottest property in Hollywood. The star-studded cast of his 2001 Rat Pack remake delivered a film that was flawlessly confident, engaging and, above all, fun. It was as pure a two hours of joy as cinema could deliver, but Soderbergh went somewhat off-piste with the two sequels, including a particularly low moment where […]

Film Review: Book Club

★★★★☆ Four older women, bonded by the passage of time and extremely expensive interior design, meet for a monthly book club. Their world is turned upside down when Fifty Shades of Grey is chosen for the group. This sounds like an elevator pitch from hell and yet somehow it snuck past financiers and ended up on our screens in […]

Film Review: On Chesil Beach

★★☆☆☆ Edward Mayhew (Billy Howle) and Florence Ponting (Saoirse Ronan) are young, beautiful and in love. They’ve just married and taken a honeymoon on Chesil Beach in Dorset, where their marriage, and lives, slowly begin to unfold. As prestige literary adaptations go, On Chesil Beach has arrived with little fanfare. The May release day suggests no great confidence that it can […]

Film Review: Tully

★★★☆☆ Jason Reitman’s career has been on an odd trajectory since he smashed into the mainstream with his 2008 teen classic Juno. Since then he’s produced Academy Award bait (Up in the Air), Nicholas Sparks-style schmaltz (Labor Day), and outright trash (Men, Women and Children). In the midst of this tonal and qualitative vacillation, he briefly reunited with Juno […]

Film Review: Truth or Dare

★★☆☆☆ The plot of Blumhouse’s latest horror Truth or Dare, in so far as it can be discerned by human eyes, sees a group of sexy college students getting lured into a deadly drinking game whilst on Spring Break in Mexico. So far, so generic. Led by level-headed Olivia (Lucy Hale) they return to their college – located conveniently […]

Film Review: The Internet’s Own Boy

★★★☆☆ In January 2013, Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz committed suicide following a series of protracted legal battle over copyright infringement after downloading JSTOR articles. It was the tragic conclusion to years of persecution, frustration and innovation. The Internet’s Own Boy (2014) takes a close look at Swartz, both as a person and as an icon for the internet generation. […]