CineVue

Film reviews and more

Christopher Machell

Film Review: The Falling World

★★☆☆☆ At a retreat in upstate New York, law student Lark (Ayumi Patterson) gradually uncovers a web of mystery and deceit that has ensnared her friends. American director Jaclycn Bethany’s second feature, The Falling World contains moments of intrigue but a limp script and a cast of unengaging characters make this effort fall flat.

Film Review: Fire of Love

★★★★☆ On 3 June 1991, famed French volcanologists Katia and Maurice Krafft made their final, fateful expedition to an erupting volcano. The eruption at Mount Unzen, near Nagasaki, killed the pair in a devastating pyroclastic flow. Documentarian Sara Dosa crafts an impassioned picture of the world’s most celebrated married volcanologists.

Film Review: A Chiara

★★★★☆ Continuing the series that he began with Mediterranea and A Ciambra, Italian-American director Jonas Carpignano’s third feature gives further dimension to the world and lives of the ‘Ndrangheta crime syndicate of Calabria. A Chiara is arguably Carpignano’s most accomplished work to date.

Film Review: Thor: Love and Thunder

★★☆☆☆ Taika Waititi returns to direct his second instalment of the Thor saga. Leaning even further into the comedy that made Ragnarok such a riot, upping the visual ante and raising the emotional stakes, Waititi’s follow-up has all the makings of the God of Thunder’s best adventure yet. Sadly, Love and Thunder proves that it is possible to have too much of a good Thor.

Film Review: Faya Dayi

★★★★☆ The chewing of khat leaves in Ethiopia is a tradition dating back centuries and is often used by Sufi Muslims as part of their religious experience. In Faya Dayi, which premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, Mexican-Ethiopian director, producer and cinematographer Jessica Beshir finds vivid inspiration in the practice.

Film Review: Pleasure

★★★★☆ Adapted from her 2013 short of the same name, Swedish director Ninja Thyberg’s debut feature is an unflinching look at the 21st century porn industry. Featuring a knockout star performance from newcomer Sofia Kappel, Pleasure’s depiction of the reality of working in porn is lucid, often harrowing and occasionally tender.

Film Review: Il buco

★★★★★ In 1961, while wealthy Milanese businessmen scaled the Pirelli Tower, Giulio Gècchele led the first expedition into its deepest abyss, Calabria’s 700-metre deep Abisso del Bifurto. For his third feature, Milan-born director Michelangelo Frammartino dramatises the expedition in a study of humanity’s hubris against nature’s immovable permanency.

Film Review: Jurassic World Dominion

★☆☆☆☆ After recusing himself from directing duties for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Colin Trevorrow is back to finish the job with this sixth instalment of the prehistoric franchise. The original Jurassic Park was replete with quotable lines: “Clever girl”, “Spared no expense” etc. With Dominion, this zinger from The Lost World feels more apt: “Oh, this is gonna be bad”.

Film Review: Bergman Island

★★★★☆ Having premiered at Cannes last year, Mia Hansen-Løve’s eighth feature makes its way onto UK screens. Bergman Island is at once an ambivalent love-letter to the Swedish master director Ingmar Bergman and a charming study of the complexities of relationships, the creative process, and the ways that one invariably influences the other.

Film Review: Olga

★★★★☆ French-born director Elie Grappe’s film about an exiled Ukrainian gymnast, set largely in 2013-14 during the Ukrainian Maidan protests and subsequent revolution, was delayed in 2020 by the Covid-19 pandemic, premiering last year. It’s a deeply bitter irony, then, that the very catastrophe that Olga warns against should only find notice now.