2019 Film Reviews – 49: The Great Hack [dir. Karim Amer & Jehane Noujaim; 2019]

I realise that various news sources have already covered the information this documentary presents about the activities of Cambridge Analytica (and if you’re not aware of the organisation, I suggest you look it up with delay), but Amer and Noujaim’s documentary encapsulates and presents it all in frighteningly compelling fashion. From the work of The Guardian’s Carole Cadwalladr, to the not-unproblematic involvement of Christopher Wylie, … Continue reading 2019 Film Reviews – 49: The Great Hack [dir. Karim Amer & Jehane Noujaim; 2019]

2019 Film Reviews – 48: The Man From UNCLE [dir. Guy Ritchie; 2015]

Although I tend to gravitate towards the less popcorn-strewn screens at my local multiplex, I adore the fact that cinema can embrace an almost endless range of styles. And I’ve always believed that all stories – no matter what genre they’re in – can be told well. The Man From UNCLE – throwaway froth though it is – could have been charming. It could have … Continue reading 2019 Film Reviews – 48: The Man From UNCLE [dir. Guy Ritchie; 2015]

2019 Film Reviews – 47: Hitsville: The Making Of Motown [dir. Benjamin Turner & Gabe Turner; 2019]

You don’t really need an excuse to spend two hours in the company of some of the most irresistible music ever recorded. But if you insist on having a documentary backdrop to the likes of Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson doing their thing, then Hitsville fulfils the role with great charm. Taking its inspiration from Motown founder Berry Gordy’s policy of approaching the … Continue reading 2019 Film Reviews – 47: Hitsville: The Making Of Motown [dir. Benjamin Turner & Gabe Turner; 2019]

2019 Film Reviews – 46: Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood [dir. Quentin Tarantino; 2019]

As someone who has long maintained that Quentin Tarantino is the single most overrated, most infantile film-maker of our times and treats his audience with a contempt and a disdain that should have seen him relieved of his camera years ago, I was rather surprised by how much I enjoyed the first two-thirds of his latest effort. Meandering around both the streets of Los Angeles … Continue reading 2019 Film Reviews – 46: Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood [dir. Quentin Tarantino; 2019]

2019 Film Reviews – 45: Ad Astra [dir. James Gray; 2019]

I’m not as allergic as some to the use of voiceovers in cinema. But I can find not one single reason to justify its presence in Ad Astra, apart from being a means to emphasise how patronising the movie is as a whole. Its opening premise is promising, if tenuous: an emotionally-detached astronaut is sent on a dangerous mission to contact his father, who may … Continue reading 2019 Film Reviews – 45: Ad Astra [dir. James Gray; 2019]

2019 Film Reviews – 44: Bait [dir. Mark Jenkin; 2019]

It’s not often that a film genuinely manages to present a fresh and surprising visual style, but Mark Jenkin’s Bait pulls of the feat with understated self-assurance. What’s interesting is that it does so by turning to the past. Its story of a Cornish village affected by the decline of age-old industries – and the buying-up of properties by Airbnb-savvy Londoners – couldn’t be more … Continue reading 2019 Film Reviews – 44: Bait [dir. Mark Jenkin; 2019]

2019 Film Reviews – 43: Happy End [dir. Michael Haneke; 2017]

You know you’re in Haneke Land when a film starts with a young girl using some anti-depressants to kill her pet hamster… and then decides to find out what effect an overdose would have on her mother. From that point onwards, it’s bleakness all the way. But I have a lot of time for the director’s acidic vision of the world, because he invariably presents … Continue reading 2019 Film Reviews – 43: Happy End [dir. Michael Haneke; 2017]