Film reviews and more

Zoe Margolis

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Film Review: Nomadland

★★★★★ Adapted from Jessica Bruder’s non-fiction book Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century, the Oscar and Bafta-winning Nomadland is writer and director Chloé Zhao’s third feature-length film and is a beautiful and compassionate portrait of people living on the outskirts of American society. In 2011, after the economy collapsed, it leaves the […]

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Film Review: Synchronic

★★★☆☆ Blending science fiction, crime drama and psychedelia, Synchronic is the wildly eccentric fourth film by American filmmaking duo Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead (The Endless, Spring). New Orleans paramedic team and best friends Steve (Anthony Mackie) and Dennis (Jamie Dornan) find themselves working a series of strange jobs which involve some bizarre […]

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Film Review: Judy & Punch

★★★☆☆ Turning the traditional story of Punch and Judy on its head with a joyously feminist reinterpretation, debut writer and director Mirrah Foulkes offers an accomplished delight with Judy & Punch. Set in the anarchic and outlandish town of Seaside – which, ironically, is located nowhere near the coast – puppeteers Judy and […]

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#LFF 2019: Blackbird review

★★★★☆ Set around a vast estate on the northeast American coast, in Roger Michell’s Blackbird, a family comes together over one last weekend to say their goodbyes to matriarch Lily (Susan Sarandon). Lily has a terminal illness which causes such physical deterioration that her body will eventually shut down entirely, leaving her unable […]

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Film Review: The Peanut Butter Falcon

★★★★☆ A seemingly mismatched road-trip buddy movie, Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz’s The Peanut Butter Falcon is heartwarming and filled to the brim with humour and charm. Mourning the loss of his brother Mark (Jon Bernthal), fisherman Tyler (Shia LaBeouf) is struggling to make ends meet and resorts to stealing the crab catch […]

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Film Review: The Flood

★★★★☆ Anthony Woodley’s The Flood follows Eritrean refugee Haile (the extremely impressive Ivanno Jeremiah) on a journey full of hazard over oceans and across borders, as we see him arrive in the UK hoping to find solace and safety. Instead, Haile comes face to face with Wendy (Lena Headey), the hardened immigration officer who clearly is […]

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Film Review: Mari

★★★★☆ An ambitious debut feature by writer-director Georgia Parris, Mari is a tender, intimate exploration of life and death, expressed through movement and dance. When choreographer Charlotte (Bobbi Jene Smith) discovers she is pregnant and that her grandmother Mari is dying, it turns her world upside down and makes her question her own […]

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Film Review: Thunder Road

★★★★☆ Opening with an excruciating but perversely funny funeral scene, Thunder Road is unapologetic in showing the rawness and devastation death can have on people. Eulogising his dead mother – via a humiliatingly awful song and dance routine – is Texan police officer Jim Arnaud, a deeply troubled man, who over the slow-build […]

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Film Review: Green Book

★★★☆☆ Exploring the politics of race and class in 1960s America, Green Book attempts to shine a light on the civil rights era through an inspirational buddy drama. It works for the most part, but at best it’s a somewhat sentimental and nostalgic look back on American history, and at worst it’s racism […]

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Film Review: Sorry to Bother You

★★★☆☆ Ambitious. Witty. Original. Surreal. Ridiculous. These all describe writer Boots Riley’s directorial debut Sorry To Bother You, and yet none of them quite encapsulate how innovative and genre-defying it is. It’s a screwball comedy, it’s absurdist sci-fi, it’s a satire on capitalism, and yet it also manages to be a political call-to-arms; […]

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Film Review: Been So Long

★★★★★ Tinge Krishnan’s Been So Long is a musical delight of heart-warming songs, sardonic British humour, and fantastic performances. Set in London’s Camden Town, its usual grittiness glossed over with a romantic, Technicolor lens, the story avoids posturing with the usual tropes of inner-city life, and instead offers its characters hope. This London may […]

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Film Review: The Wife

★★★★★ Joan Castleman (Glenn Close) has intellect, charm, and elegant diplomacy. Her husband Joe (Jonathan Pryce), meanwhile, is the personification of a ditzy writer: flyaway hair, scraggly beard, incapable of having any structure to his life – whether that’s remembering to take daily medication, or marital fidelity – and entirely dependent on his wife […]

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Film Review: Lucky

★★★★★ Lucky follows the journey of a 90-year-old atheist who finds himself at the precipice of life. It begins like a beautifully slow comedy, filled with the quirks of Lucky’s daily routine and his almost mystical interactions with the town’s unique characters, but then it expands into a heart wrenching meditation on death; […]

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Film Review: Yardie

★★★★☆ Idris Elba’s impressive directorial debut is an adaptation of Victor Headley’s novel Yardie. A hugely successful indie book, sold in hairdressers, clothing shops and nightclubs, it went on to become a cult hit. The book was, at the time (1992), the first populist Black title aimed at a Black British audience, and […]

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Film Review: The Happytime Murders

★★★☆☆ Marking the film debut of Henson Alternative, a banner of The Jim Henson Company that specialises in adult content, The Happytime Murders is a puppet-based black comedy which definitely isn’t for kids. Based in a world where puppets and humans co-exist, the plot centres on puppet ex-detective-now-private-investigator Phil Phillips (Bill Barretta) trying […]

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Film Review: The Escape

★★★★☆ The Escape is an emotional exploration of a fractured marriage, but something much darker is at its core: depression and an existential crisis. Gemma Arterton is magnificent as Tara, the stay-at-home mother juggling never-ending laundry loads and repetitive breakfast routines for excitable children, whilst yearning for something more meaningful. Tara seems to […]