CineVue

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Reviews

Film Review: There Is No Evil

★★★★★ Winner of the Golden Bear at last year’s Berlin Film Festival and banned in its home country of Iran, Mohammad Rasoulof’s eighth film as director intensely scrutinises Iran’s use of the death penalty through the lens of four separate episodes.

Film Review: Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn

★★★★☆ The tragicomic absurdity of cultural morality is the target of prolific Romanian filmmaker Radu Jude’s latest feature, the bawdy social satire – and 2021 Golden Bear winner – Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn.

Film Review: The First Wave

★★★★☆ Within the first five minutes of Matthew Heineman’s The First Wave, an elderly man is told “I love you, baby” by his wife via a jittery FaceTime call, goes into arrest, is brought back by a team of medics and then, suddenly, flatlines. It’s March 2020, and this same story will play out with alarming regularity.

Film Review: Drive My Car

★★★★★ Japanese director Ryûsuke Hamaguchi spins out Haruki Murakami’s fable of a theatre director and his chauffeur into an intimately detailed, three-hour study of grief, loss and acceptance.

Film Review: Petite Maman

★★★★★ A rich, autumnal gem of a film, Céline Sciamma’s Petite Maman effortlessly blends reality with fairytale, past with present, to explore notions of loss, grief and acceptance. At just 72 minutes, it is short and sweet, but yet another exquisitely made, deeply moving feature from the French writer-director.

Film Review: The Power of the Dog

★★★★☆ Adapting American author Thomas Savage’s 1967 novel of the same name for the big screen, Kiwi writer-director Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog is a meditative yet punishing exploration of man’s animal instincts.

Film Review: Natural Light

★★★★☆ Taking its cues from Tarkovsky’s Ivan’s Childhood, and comparable in both tone and content to Václav Marhoul’s 2019 The Painted Bird in its study of war’s corrosive effects on the human soul, Natural Light illuminates the fading glow of humanity amidst horror.

Film Review: Eternals

★★☆☆☆ Hot off her extraordinary success with the Oscar-winning Nomadland, director Chloé Zhao orchestrates the latest entry in Marvel’s supersized superhero series.

Film Review: Spencer

★★★★☆ A collision of ghosts past and future haunt the present in Pablo Larraín’s Spencer. By turns insidious and caustic, claustrophobic and free-wheeling, it is a nightmarish fairy-tale where little chance of a happily-ever-after exists.

Film Review: Last Night in Soho

★★☆☆☆ A nostalgic, blood and rain-splattered love letter to London and all that is and has ever been good, bad and decidedly ugly about the Big Smoke, Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho is, surprisingly, the director’s first effort to screen at the London Film Festival.

Film Review: Azor

★★★☆☆ Tracking the dealings of a Swiss banker growing increasingly frantic to hang on to lucrative clients spooked by the turmoil, Azor eschews outward thrills or genre intrigue in favour of unspoken dread.

Film Review: Passing

★★★★☆ The directorial debut of Rebecca Hall, Passing is an intoxicating, dreamlike adaptation of Nella Larsen’s novella of the same name. A deeply personal endeavour for the first-time writer-filmmaker, this tale of race, gender and social mobility in late 1920s New York is told with poise and a softly-spoken fervour.

Film Review: Wild Indian

★★★☆☆ The past cannot and will not stay buried in Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr.’s Wild Indian. A tale of generational violence passed down from fathers to sons, it features two young men who share a despicable secret, scarring them for life in ways both struggle to reconcile.

Film Review: Dune

★★★★☆ Denis Villeneuve returns to the big screen with his adaptation of Frank Herbert’s science fiction epic. Grander in scope than any of Villeneuve’s work yet, Dune is proper, ambitious blockbuster filmmaking for grown-ups.

Film Review: The French Dispatch

★★★★☆ The French Dispatch of Wes Anderson’s latest film’s title is a fictional magazine, set up by proprietor and editor Arthur Howitzer Jr. (Bill Murray), a European supplement for a Kansas newspaper owned by his father.