Goodbye Christopher Robin Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin

‘You’ve got to do the things you love, with the people you love, because you never know what’s going to happen next’ advises kindly nanny Olive (Kelly Macdonald) to her six year old charge Christopher Robin Milne (Will Tilston). It’s a nice sentiment, albeit one that doesn’t often apply to Goodbye Christopher Robin itself, a period piece biopic that follows most of the expected beats, but with such charm (and occasional bite) that it’s hard to begrudge it its lack of originality. Not as cuddly as the trailers made out, it’s still a sweet and accessible slice of family entertainment.  Continue reading

Advertisements

Loveless Review

Loveless

If Russia ever decides it needs a new tourism board, the last person it’ll call up will be Andrey Zvyagintsev. With Leviathan and now Loveless, his recent output has made Putin’s nation seem less like a functioning country than the place from which the end of the world will emanate outwards. Apocalypses, whether of the familial or the Mayan kind, loom large in every scene of Loveless, a powerful and politically charged story of children receiving the punishments that their parents have earned. Ice cold to a fault, but still compelling and distressing, it’s a call to arms to all the parents and elders of Russia to finally render their country habitable for its youth.  Continue reading

The Villainess Review

Villainess

In its opening 10 minutes, The Villainess positively explodes out of the gate, with one of the best mass brawls since The Raid 2. As Sook-Hee (Ok-Bin Kim) shoots, slices, and smashes her way through an entire drug cartel, Byung-Gil Jung’s film makes a furiously exciting statement of intent that it unfortunately can’t quite keep up for its full two hour runtime. The action here is exquisitely done, but there’s not enough of it to ignore a rather impact-free love story and a central conspiracy that is far too convoluted to fully invest in. When it’s in full swing, it’s thrillingly kinetic, but the pace dips all too often.  Continue reading

First They Killed My Father Review

First They Killed My Father

One of the first films to announce Netflix’s arrival on the original movie production scene was 2015’s Beasts of No Nation. A child’s-eye view of a brutal civil war, it inspired plaudits and festival and awards glory, and now, in 2017, Netflix seem to have a companion piece for Beasts in the form of First They Killed My Father. Angelina Jolie’s latest directorial effort, adapted by Loung Ung (played by Sareum Srey Moch) from her own memoir of her experiences as a child under the horrendous yoke of the Khmer Rouge, unfortunately comes up short in comparisons to Cary Fukunaga’s film. It’s well-intentioned and occasionally gripping, but ultimately lacks the power this story requires.  Continue reading

The Death of Stalin Review

Death Stalin

The work of Armando Iannucci has often focused on the absurdity of power and its more than imperfect use in the hands of very fallible people. With The Death of Stalin, he reaches the logical conclusion of this theme, highlighting the darkly idiotic heart of one of the most far-reaching and violent dictatorships the world has ever known. As Stalin lay dying in 1953, no one dared enter his room to help him, for fear that they would get themselves killed for admitting the great leader’s human vulnerability. It’s a ridiculous, and deeply tragic, way for anyone to die, and it’s this line between laughs and gut-deep fear that Death of Stalin walks at all times.  Continue reading

The Killing of a Sacred Deer Review

Killing Sacred Deer

With The Lobster, Yorgos Lanthimos moved his capacity for originality from the bizarre social commentary of Dogtooth into the realm of high-concept sci-fi, with mixed results. Now, with a no less unique and surprising film, Lanthimos turns his eye to something much more traditional, with the superb The Killing of a Sacred Deer turning to Medieval morality plays, Greek tragedies, and the Old Testament for its inspirations. Turning a family inside out to pay for the sins of the father, this taboo shattering and enthralling film unravels its mysteries slowly but ruthlessly, creating a marrow-deep feeling of unease, punctuated by genuine hilarity.  Continue reading

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Review

Three Billboards Day 04_118.dng

‘Look at all the pretty things’ warbles a song on Mildred Hayes’s (Frances McDormand) car radio. It’s a piece of advice that she and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri refuse to heed, and it’s for the best. This is an excoriating, hilarious film from Martin McDonagh, examining grief and vengeance, collective culpability, and the power of individual forgiveness, anchored by a top form Frances McDormand. Humanity’s ugly side is out in full force in the town of Ebbing, and simple prettiness is nowhere to be found, with hope instead coming from more difficult, multifaceted places.  Continue reading