★★★★☆ Based on Isaka Kōtarō’s 2010 novel MariaBeetle, Bullet Train comes thundering out of the station, a runaway delight of forward momentum, style and excess. Directed by the man behind John Wick, Atomic Blonde and Deadpool 2, David Leitch once again proves himself one of the most adept action directors in Hollywood.
★★★★☆ Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Perry Henzell’s classic 1972 crime thriller makes its way once again to British screens. With a sensational soundtrack, a terrific central performance from reggae master Jimmy Cliff, and violence as unvarnished as Mean Streets, The Harder They Come has lost none of its excitement.
★★☆☆☆ 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.
★★★★☆ 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.
★★★★★ A family car journey isn’t always an enticing premise – either for a film or in real life. But in Panah Panahi’s feature debut Hit the Road, the ride is one that both the audience and the family featured probably wish would last forever. It’s an intimate, frequently funny, poignant and deeply moving piece of work.
★★★★★ Combining hallucinatory and often abstract visuals, history, and conventional fly-on-the-wall filmmaking, All Light, Everywhere is a fascinating experiment in documentary form. Theo Anthony’s premise, that vision in all its forms constructs the world as much as it captures it, is not especially new.
Returning to its traditional early-July slot after two editions disrupted by Covid, the 56th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival felt very much like business as usual. The renovated pool was open and the music was blaring as the festival ran from 1-9 July in the picturesque setting of the chocolate-box Bohemian spa town.
★★☆☆☆ 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.
★★★★☆ After the large-scale brutality of political horror film New Order, Mexican provocateur Michel Franco returns with a low-key study in deceptive behaviour and enigmatic motives. Tim Roth headlines as a man attempting to escape his past and present, while on holiday with loved ones at a resort in Acapulco.
★★★☆☆ The Sadness is a nasty and thoroughly unpleasant survival horror film set in the Taiwanese capital of Taipei, directed by Canadian first-timer Rob Jabbaz. Warning: this movie is not for the faint-hearted and requires a strong tolerance for depictions of brutality and sexual violence on screen.