CineVue

Film reviews and more

Film Review: Belfast

★★★★☆ Does a filmmaker use cinema as his or her own confessional booth or a darkened space in which to escape the harsh realities of the outside world? When the curtain closes and the lights go down on Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast, it’s clear that this deeply autobiographical project is a vessel for both.

Film Review: Mass

★★★★☆ There are no easy answers in Fran Kranz’s Mass – and perhaps no answers at all. One of the strongest debut features to have premiered at last year’s Sundance, it exhibits all of the signs of a very promising career behind the camera lie ahead for the first-time writer-director.

Film Review: Cicada

★★★★☆ Background noise cannot be ignored in Matt Fifer and Kieran Mulcare’s exceptional debut feature Cicada. Aural triggers that recall repressed traumas are as vivid and immediate as smells or visual memories for Ben (Fifer) and Sam (Sheldon D. Brown).

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: 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: 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: 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.

#LFF 2021: Paris, 13th District review

★★☆☆☆ Told in a loose beginning, middle and end, Jacques Audiard’s criss-crossing Paris, 13th District revolves principally between the film’s three central characters: Émilie (Lucie Zhang), Camille (Makita Samba) and Nora (Noémie Merlant).

#LFF 2021: ear for eye review

★★★★★ A visionary crossover of the theatrical and the cinematic, ear for eye demonstrates writer-director debbie tucker green’s remarkable creative versatility and clarity of expression. Hitting the big screens of the London Film Festival and small […]