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13 articles


Film Review: 'Timbuktu'

8 hours ago

★★★★☆"Tire it, don't kill it," shouts a hunter to his party as they pursue a gazelle across the desert plain in a jeep. The men let off sporadic shots with the assault rifles they will later use to rip apart the sculptures and effigies that represent a culture their new Islamic regime is trying to suppress. Abderrahmane Sissako's Timbuktu (2014) - getting a release after permiering at last year's Cannes - is a beautiful drama fuelled by a sense of urgent and righteous anger. But there's sadness here as well as hope. Kidane (Ibrahim Ahmed) lives with his wife, Satima (Toulou Kiki), and their daughter, Toya (Layle Walet Mohamed), in the desert near a town which has been taken over by the Islamic police.

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- CineVue UK

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Film Review: 'The Dead Lands'

11 hours ago

★★★☆☆ There's much to be said for genre films that strip things back to their fundamental elements and hit the ground running, shorn of all contrivances and elaborate special effects. Whilst much is going on in Toa Fraser's The Dead Lands (2014), it is primarily a lean and undeniably brutal actioner that claims to be the first film to truly showcase Maori martial arts. This is the case to a certain extent; it forefronts bone-crunching combat as it follows a young warrior through dangerous territory. Though it can feel a little one-note as times, spectacular landscapes and a drop of mysticism elevate this slick tribal thriller that calls to mind Mel Gibson's heart-pounding Apocalypto (2006).

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- CineVue UK

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DVD Review: 'Gente de Bien'

21 hours ago

★★★★☆ There are a number of key scenes in Columbian director Franco Lolli's superb Gente de Bien (2014) - a playful title that means both 'Decent People' and 'Well-off People' - where it feels like it was written as a sequel to Vittorio De Sica's Bicycle Thieves (1948). The setting (Bogotá) and the language (Spanish) are immaterial to the notion that the neorealist classic is this French-Colombian co-production's spiritual cousin. The story of a working-class man and his son passing through an upper-class world (thanks to a kindly employer) is a beautifully observed tale about familial estrangement, the false consciousness of the class system and reconciliation between a parent and child that barely know each other.

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- CineVue UK

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DVD Review: 'Polish Cinema Classics Vol.III'

21 hours ago

★★★★☆ "Polish films are... boring..." claims Engineer Mamon in Marek Piwowski's The Cruise (1970), widely considered the country's original 'cult' film. A tongue-in-cheek microcosm of the Communist state in which it was produced, it sits perfectly within the third volume of Second Run's excellent Polish Cinema Classics series alongside Krzysztof Zanussi's Camouflage (1977) and Wojciech Marczewski's Shivers (1981). Both of the latter filmmakers were featured in Volume 2 of the series and whilst neither film here quite matches the defining masterworks produced previously, this is another impressive triptych that proves Mamon wrong and showcases three distinct approaches to challenging the social order.

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- CineVue UK

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DVD Review: 'Testament of Youth'

21 hours ago

★★★★☆ James Kent's magnificent feature debut Testament of Youth (2014), based on Vera Brittain's bestselling memoir about the First World War, is a real tearjerker that should move male and female audiences alike and appeal to fans of Joe Wright's Atonement (2007). Screenwriter Juliette Towhidi (Love, Rosie) focuses on Brittain's coming of age - from the rural idyll where she grew up, through the hallowed halls of Oxford, to the horrors of war - the loss she endured and the carnage she witnessed. All naturally led her down the path of pacifism. Vera (Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina), is desperate to study at Oxford but her father (Dominic West) disapproves of her academic ambition.

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- CineVue UK

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Kinoteka 2015: 'The Promised Land' review

22 hours ago

★★★★★ It has been sixty years since the release of Andrzej Wajda's first film, Generation (1955), and in that time he has directed over fifty more. 1975's The Promised Land, which was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 42nd Academy Awards, is one of his very best. That's no mean feat in a filmography brimming with social deconstruction and boasting riches like Ashes and Diamonds (1958) and Man of Marble (1977). Based on the novel of the same name by Nobel laureate Wladyslaw Reymont, Wajda's drama paints an absorbing portrait of late 19th century Poland, caught in the vice-like grip of commercialism.

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- CineVue UK

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DVD Review: 'The Interview'

22 hours ago

★☆☆☆☆ Watching the completely feckless and puerile outing that is The Interview (2014) is to watch the death of a bromance. Seth Rogen and James Franco have worked together onscreen for nearly two decades. In that time, audiences have watched these two actors become a formidable comic duo, delivering some of the most screwball comedies in recent memory. With this latest outing, there's no shortage of idiocy and it rarely ever works. Perhaps the vain hope that audiences would continue to tolerate the mind-boggling lack of competence or construction of proper comedy is what drove Rogen and Franco to create The Interview.

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- CineVue UK

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Kinoteka 2015: 'The Last Day of Summer' review

26 May 2015 1:07 AM, PDT

★★★★☆ Novelist turned filmmaker Tadeusz Konwicki excelled at crafting an atmosphere of the otherworldly on the screen. Though 1965's Jump may be more widely known and highly regarded, a similar milieu pervades The Last Day of Summer (1958), Konwici's first film behind the camera. Ostensibly a straightforward relationship drama far more in the social realist vein typical of Polish cinema at that time, it contains a lyrical quality that elevates an otherwise conventional allegory. It provides the lens through which to discover a poetry that from which a far less literal understanding of the film can transform it from littoral rhyme to deeply poignant ode.

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- CineVue UK

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Film Review: 'We Are Many'

26 May 2015 1:05 AM, PDT

★★★★☆ It is difficult to remain withdrawn while watching We Are Many (2014) mostly because this documentary tracks an event that still remains in the collective consciousness of the audience viewing it. This is a film that calls back to a sort of politicised nostalgia and makes an example of one of the most momentous occasions in the canon of peacetime protesting. The tracking of this watershed moment is competently and potently put together, making for very absorbing viewing. Full of fire and brimstone, this documentary serves as a reminder of the power of the populace and acts as a call to still act on one's beliefs. It lays heavy on the emotions and memories of its contributors.

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- CineVue UK

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Kinoteka 2015: 'Austeria' review

26 May 2015 12:48 AM, PDT

★★★★☆ There's a moment of cinematic perfection around forty minutes into Jerzy Kawalerowicz's Austeria (1981). It's an instant of the kind of visual poetry that enlivens the medium in the viewer's mind and reminds us of the simple potency that film can have in the hands of a real master. A girl runs through a field, fleeing the sound of soldiers' gunshots. The picture is desaturated, like many films involving war; her dress is bright white against a sea of brown fronds in a clearly perishing crop. Suddenly she stops; she's been hit. And Kawalerowicz slowly turns the colour on to reveal a field of blood-red shrubbery, symbolically painted by her death. It's utterly chilling and incomprehensibly beautiful.

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- CineVue UK

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Kinoteka 2015: 'Ashes and Diamonds' review

26 May 2015 12:39 AM, PDT

★★★★★ In 1956 there was a seismic political shift in Poland known variously as the Polish Thaw or Polish October. The Stalinist period ended and the entire country went through a process of comparable liberalisation that naturally extended to the filmmaking community. Free of the constraints placed upon the medium by the Soviet Union - which shackled both narrative opposition and formal experimentation - the likes of Andrzej Wajda were able to cast off their irons. With social realism no longer imposed as a matter of course, Wajda set about making the third feature in what is now referred to as his 'war trilogy'; the remarkable and deeply symbolic, Ashes and Diamonds (1958).

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- CineVue UK

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Cannes 2015: Jacques Audiard's 'Dheepan' wins Palme d'Or

25 May 2015 1:56 AM, PDT

The results are in. The closing ceremony of the 68th edition of the Cannes film festival began more like the Oscars than the glamorous but abrupt ceremonies of old; with John C. Reilly scat-singing and a sense of anticipation with a field which was more open than previous years. Son of Saul was the Palme d'Or favourite with many critics, including this one, but in the end László Nemes had to settle for second prize - the Grand Prix - for his harrowing day-in-the-life of a Sonderkommando. Still, a remarkable achievement for a debut film which boldly sticks to its experimental approach and provides a horrifically immersive experience of the Holocaust at ground zero. However, it was French director Jacques Audiard who instead received the Palme d'Or for his social realist Tamil in Paris thriller, Dheepan.

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- CineVue UK

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Cannes 2015: 'Youth' review

25 May 2015 1:36 AM, PDT

★★★☆☆ Paolo Sorrentino's Youth (2015), his latest meditation on aging, memory and mortality, premièred at Cannes in competition today to assorted cheers and boos. This review is going to fall somewhere between the two. Retired composer Fred Ballinger (Michael Caine) is spending his holiday undergoing a variety of health treatments in a spa resort in the Swiss Alps, along with his old friend and film director Mick (Harvey Keitel), his daughter Lena (Rachel Weisz) and Jimmy Tree (Paul Dano), a Hollywood actor preparing for a new role in a German film. In the evening the world's most elegant pub band plays covers on a revolving stage which is eminently suitable for a striking opening shot.

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- CineVue UK

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