2019 Film Reviews – 51: Embrace Of The Serpent [dir. Ciro Guerra; 2015]

Returning after a few years to a film with which you were originally impressed is always an interesting experience, not least because it gives you a chance to test your memory of it. In the case of Embrace Of The Serpent – Ciro Guerra’s account of a couple of explorers undertaking a dangerous journey along the Amazon in different time periods – I found myself … Continue reading 2019 Film Reviews – 51: Embrace Of The Serpent [dir. Ciro Guerra; 2015]

2019 Film Reviews – 50: Judy [dir. Rupert Goold; 2019]

I don’t normally insist that films must possess a degree of contemporary relevance, but it’s hard to watch Judy without wondering why its creators felt this particular story had to be told now, and in this way. Yes, there are attempts to link Hollywood’s oppressive treatment of Judy Garland with current fears about movie moghuls’ abusive exploitation of women, but they frequently comes across as … Continue reading 2019 Film Reviews – 50: Judy [dir. Rupert Goold; 2019]

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]