Detroit Review

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One of the immediate takeaways from Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit is that its relative newcomer lead, Algee Smith, should be a cinematic superstar. As Larry Reed, frontman of Motown band The Dramatics and victim of hideous police brutality, Smith shows that he can switch from charmingly suave to infectiously terrified, all the while wowing with a phenomenal singing voice. He needs to be brilliant, as do the rest of the cast, constantly trapped in intense close quarters, with Bigelow’s frantic camera lurching in for invasive close-ups in this savagely claustrophobic film.  Continue reading

The Limehouse Golem Review

Limehouse Golem

With the ever increasing serialisation of modern TV series, often stretching plots over more than 10 hours, the idea of a 100 minute, cinematic murder mystery is something of a welcome novelty in 2017. Starting promisingly, with a fun framing device and a litany of camply lurid killings, The Limehouse Golem looks as if it’s going to be a perfect answer for anyone missing the now-rare traditional detective film. As it goes on, however, it loses focus on its titular murderer, to its detriment, leaving the middle act disappointingly muddled and forcing the film into a rushed finale that has to pack in too much drama.  Continue reading

Final Portrait Review

Final Portrait

‘All I’m trying to do is to show people the world as I perceive it’ confesses Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti (Geoffrey Rush) to his portrait subject, art critic James Lord (Armie Hammer). It’s a notable line both for its universal truth about any and every artist and for its neat summation of the best and worst aspects of Final Portrait – an intriguing and amusing, if slight, look into the mind of an artist that also happens to be almost as frustrating as its myopic lead character. Just like those that Giacometti comes into contact with, Stanley Tucci’s film gets drawn into the gravitational pull of the man, losing some of its other ambitions in the process.  Continue reading

Atomic Blonde Review

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Adapted from graphic novel The Coldest City, David Leitch’s John Wick follow up Atomic Blonde might have ditched the name of its source material for its title, but has kept the spirit of the words. Atomic Blonde is freezing cold, from its colour palette to ice queen heroine Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) to its deliberate keeping of the audience at an emotional distance. This latter choice keeps Atomic Blonde in second place behind its Keanu Reeves-starring spiritual predecessor, lacking the soul and campy wit of that series, but Leitch’s incredible knack for brutal fight choreography and sleek style always keeps things moving at an entertaining clip. Continue reading

Dunkirk Review

Dunkirk

Very few other filmmakers working today are as intrigued by time and its workings as Christopher Nolan, and none are as good at integrating this fascination with the sort of bombastic excitement that he so consistently delivers. With his war epic, Dunkirk, Nolan strikes the perfect balance between his typically clever treatment of time’s relationship with stories and a heart on sleeve disaster film, paying tribute to the heroes and survivors of the Miracle of Dunkirk. It’s his shortest film since his 1998 debut, Following, and his first non-sci-fi film in over a decade but no less ambitious for it, entering the canon as possibly Nolan’s best film and one of the greatest examples of the World War 2 genre.  Continue reading

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Review

Valerian City Planets

As an inspiration for Star Wars and countless other sci-fi franchises ever since its 1967 publication, the French comic Valerian by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mezieres has in many ways already been adapted into a variety of different movies. Which is why it’s so impressive that Luc Besson’s take on this universe feels so wildly original. It’s bright, gorgeous, and every step takes you somewhere that you’ve never quite seen the like of. Brilliant visuals, imaginative set-pieces, and design that feels like Besson mashing up Star Wars, Star Trek, and Firefly, Valerian seems like it should be a sure fire hit.  Continue reading

The Big Sick Review

Big Sick

2017 has, thus far, not been a great year for big screen comedies. Obviously, films like Get Out, Baby Driver, and the two MCU entries so far have been funny, but in terms of high-profile, straight-up comedy, we’ve had Lego Batman (good), The House (bad), and Baywatch (atrocious). So it’s understandable that the release of The Big Sick was greeted with such excited fanfare. It’s sweet, warmly funny, and tells an interesting story from an uncommon perspective. Yet, unfortunately, it is not the game-changing comedy that it was hyped up as, very likable indeed, but lacking in the consistent laughs that made films like Sing Street and The Nice Guys last year such unadulterated joys.  Continue reading