Taylor Sheridan’s left-field, superior detective drama set on a snowy Wyoming native reservation has atmosphere, tension and a terrific cast. Unfairly criticised for its racial politics on release, this is part police procedural, part revenge Western and has some finely nuanced playing from all involved, with Jeremy Renner finally getting to prove his acting chops in a thoroughly understated but dominant performance. Continue Reading
A quiet, still, French coming of age drama centres on a bisexual teenager exploring her feelings in an early relationship with a young female artist.
It’s an understated drama of existential moodling in the finest French tradition, but, being French, isn’t exactly shy about depicting the two leads ‘getting along famously’ in a couple of extended love scenes. Continue Reading
Saoirse Ronan dazzles in this unabashedly romantic adaptation of the Colm Tóibín coming-of-age novel as a reluctant Irish migrant. A top supporting cast adds weight to a flat screenplay, with the exception of love interest Tony, veering between puppy-dog innocent Italian boy, and stalker-ish would-be serial killer. No wonder our Soairse has a Sliding Doors moment back in Ireland. Continue Reading
Denis Villeneuve gets the award for most intelligent film of 2016 with this thoughtful, understated sci-fi of first contact with an alien race. Uncompromising, alienating and alienated, Arrival is the antidote to all those crash-bang-zap alien invasion movies of the last decade.
In a script that Arthur C. Clarke, Asimov or Philip K. Dick would admire, Villeneuve’s unreliable narrative plays with time; what’s a flashback and what’s present – or indeed future?
Oh, and Amy Adams again proves she’s one of the best actresses of her generation. Continue Reading
A taut and efficient thriller from director Dennis Villeneuve (Arrival, Prisoners), Sicario is embroiled in the US-Mexican drug war, as Emily Blunt’s DEA agent struggles to stay on the moral high ground as part of a covert intelligence task-force. It’s a dirty war with moral and physical hazard at every turn; violence is sudden and brutal.
Sicario (“hit man” in Spanish), shows it’s cards even from it’s very title and is obliged to switch focus from Blunt to Benicio Del Toro’s driven avenger. It’s a messy and distracting switch, and while Del Toro is at his best in years, there’s a bigger question over Blunt’s casting. Continue Reading
A workmanlike, if white-washed, live-action version of the classic animé fails to ignite, despite a lavish cyberpunk setting. Scarlett Johanssen copes admirably with future-shock existential moodling as The Major, but you can’t help but think the time for this came and went before either Robocops or Total Recalls. Or Dredds. Or… well, you get the picture. Continue Reading
I know… but the original is my young lady’s favourite animation as a kid, so we went to see it. Which begs the question: when there’s so much CGI on screen, including Dan Stevens’ beastly face, can you really consider this remake ‘live action’?
When it’s all just an excuse for uber-cynical Disney to wring more money from old properties, it’s even harder to give a fig for singing household utensils, however well Emma Watson flags her feminist credentials.
And as for the alleged ‘gay moment’, I barely noticed. But then I used to live in Brighton… get over it, people. Josh Gadd is camp as Christmas as LeFou, but no worse than C3PO or any number of other comedy sidekicks. Continue Reading