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13 articles


Film Review: 'Still the Water'

5 hours ago

★★★★☆A contender for last year's Palme d'Or - if not the most deserving, according to its modest director - Naomi Kawase's Still the Water (2014) is a fluid, dreamlike tone poem of mothers and fathers, death and continuance. Violent waves crash on the shore of the film's Japanese island, sweeping to land the tattooed corpse of an unknown man. This event will subtly impact on the lives of two young teenagers who live nearby. Kyoko (Jun Yoshinaga) is a courageous young girl with a penchant for going swimming in her school uniform, even though the beaches are closed because of the discovery of the body. She, meanwhile, is gradually falling in love with the bashful, elusive Kaito (Nijiro Murakami).

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- CineVue UK

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Film Review: 'The First Film'

5 hours ago

★★★★☆ Gilbert Adair began the first chapter of Flickers (1995), his deeply personal and often eccentric odyssey into the history of the movies - written to mark the centenary of the Lumière brothers' public exhibition of short films shot and projected on their Cinematographe device in Paris's Grand Café Boulevard des Capucines in 1895 - with a grandiose "Let there be light!". It is a mark of cinema's uniqueness as an art form, that it can be so fittingly compared to such a momentous and mystical occasion as the Big Bang. Adair's wonderful book, mixing selected film stills (one for each year) and textual analysis, kicks off with a Lumière short, known as Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory.

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- CineVue UK

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Film Review: 'Amy'

10 hours ago

★★★★☆ Bafta-winning British director Asif Kapadia made his name with his brilliant 2012 biographic documentary Senna, which told the story of the young Brazilian race driver whose early death in a crash in the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix made him into a tragic icon. With Amy (2015) - which premieried at Cannes and is released int he UK this week - we have a similarly tragic chronicle of a death foretold, but whereas Senna had that one moment of horrible impact, this latest tale is the story of one long car crash. Amy Winehouse grew up in London, a Jewish girl with the voice of an old fashioned jazz singer and an emerging style that bespoke a love of a former era.

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- CineVue UK

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Edinburgh 2015: 'Iona' review

10 hours ago

★★★☆☆

This year's Edinburgh International Film Festival drew to a close with Iona (2015), Scott Graham's follow-up to his much praised debut feature Shell (2012). Set against the beautiful, isolated terrain of the titular Scottish island, Iona retains much of the previous film's affinity for avocative cinematography and the hidden, often unarticulated troubles lurking within, even if its narrative doesn't prove to be quite as interesting. After a brutal crime, Iona (Ruth Negga) escapes Glasgow with her teenage son Bull (Ben Gallagher) and seeks refuge on her namesake island, where she finds safety with Daniel (Douglas Henshaw).

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- CineVue UK

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Edinburgh 2015: 'The Messenger' review

21 hours ago

★★☆☆☆ Bogged down by a directionless narrative and pedestrian execution, David Blair's The Messenger (2015) benefits slightly from a committed performance from rising British actor Robert Sheehan. But even that isn't enough to hold the audiences attention, meaning scope for this film is limited. Jack (Sheehan) is a troubled soul. Ever since he was a child, he's been haunted by voices of the dead. Unable to escape, no matter how much alcohol he drinks or pills he pops, Jack is stuck in a vicious cycle, targeted by those who died with unfinished business. The latest of which is Mark (Jack Fox), a murdered reporter who never got the chance to say goodbye to his wife (Tamzin Merchant).

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- CineVue UK

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Interview: Desiree Akhaven's 'Appropriate Behaviour'

21 hours ago

"I love Curb Your Enthusiasm. I want to feel just as entitled as any rich, middle aged white man; that's how entitled I want my protagonist to be." Desiree Akhaven does not consider herself to be a political filmmaker. In her debut feature Appropriate Behaviour (2014), which she wrote and directed, she stars as Shirin, a bisexual Iranian-American, going through a break-up with her long- term girlfriend, Maxine. The film premiered at Sundance in 2014, followed by a successful festival run and a critical reception that signals a cult film in the making. Shirin is a typical hip twenty-something, roaming the gaping chasm between adolescence and maturity in Brooklyn's creative bubble, equally insecure, self-assured, self-absorbed, and dealing with heartbreak.

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- CineVue UK

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Interview: Ruben Östlund talks 'Force Majeure'

21 hours ago

"Have you cried as an adult?" My question to Ruben Östlund, the director of ice-cold Swedish black comedy Force Majeure (2014), is not as impertinent as it might appear. It's a reference to a scene of his film in which patriarch Tomas (Johannes Kuhnke), on holiday with his family at a luxury French ski resort, implodes when he comes to terms with cowardly fleeing from an avalanche without his wife and kids. "Yeah, of course" he replies, "but not in that horrible 'man-cry' way like in the film. If you don't cry in the right way, you get no sympathy at all. If it suddenly bursts out, tears, snot, it comes out in something that is not sympathetic at all." Those kind of caustic judgements are the catalyst for Force Majeure's glacial look into human relationships.

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- CineVue UK

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DVD Review: 'Force Majeure'

21 hours ago

★★★☆☆ What could have easily been a glib provocation turns out to be rigorous examination of masculinity in crisis in the hands of Swedish director Ruben Östlund. Force Majeure (2014) tests the limits (or troughs) of masculinity in the post-liberal age, charting the effects of decades of progression and asks: what is left of the hunter-gatherer in 2015? It's a fascinating inverse of the traditional narrative of the unreconstructed male ego that is so common in cinema - pictures like John Cassavetes' Husbands (1970) or Ted Kotcheff's Wake in Fright (1971) - but what ultimately fascinates is that both strands end up in the same place - cowardice.

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- CineVue UK

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DVD Review: 'Story of My Death'

29 June 2015 8:00 AM, PDT

★★★★☆ The libertine rationalism of pre-revolutionary France is fed to the lions in Albert Serra's strange and transfixing Story of My Death (2013). A low-lit union of bloody thighs and throats, it plucks two infamous seducers from the annals of history and literature and uses them to metaphorically wander through a social dusk, taking one last look at the sun before it is consumed by the night. Typical of the Catalan filmmaker, this is dense and cryptic stuff, in which the air of a musty baroque mansion is a thick with ideas as it is dust. Winner of the top prize at Locarno, it now receives a DVD release in the UK through the tireless purveyors of under-appreciated world cinema, Second Run.

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- CineVue UK

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DVD Review: 'Jupiter Ascending'

29 June 2015 6:00 AM, PDT

★★★★☆ Both of the following are true: Jupiter Ascending (2015) is a giddy, sweeping adventure filled with interesting characters and stunning visuals; Jupiter Ascending is a frustrating experience, filled with dead ends, vanishing subplots and too much exposition. Perhaps, coming from the perennially ambitious brother and sister duo Andy and Lana Wachowski, writer-directors of The Matrix (1999) and the divisive Cloud Atlas (2012) - co-written & directed with Tom Tykwer - this is to be expected. Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) is an undocumented Russian immigrant living in Chicago, cleaning houses with her mother and aunt.

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- CineVue UK

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DVD Review: 'It Follows'

29 June 2015 4:00 AM, PDT

★★★★☆ Boiling terror down to essentials can be a winning formula for horror films: the phone call in Scream (1996), or the video tape in The Ring (1998). Perhaps, the best example is John Carpenter's 1982 remake The Thing, with its shape-shifting alien lurking amidst the blank spaces of Antarctica. With a similarly unspecific title, David Robert Mitchell's It Follows (2014) has the kind of barebones high concept that is beguiling in its simplicity and is realized in a rich and artful manner. Jay Height (Maika Monroe) is a young college student, living in Michigan, hanging out with her friends, drifting, a kind of sad thoughtful beauty.

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- CineVue UK

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DVD Review: 'Beyond the Lights'

29 June 2015 12:58 AM, PDT

★★★★☆ Tales of impossible love and the trappings of fame and fortune have long been staples of Hollywood cinema. However, to accuse Gina Prince-Bythewood's Beyond the Lights (2014), a romantic melodrama about the human price of stardom, of being derivative would be to ignore the significance of its message. A rebuke to the misogyny of the music industry, Prince-Bythewood's latest is a quietly radical appropriation of mainstream narratives that aims to challenge the status quo. A brief Brixton-set prologue establishes the strained relationship between Noni (played in her youth by India Jean-Jacques) and her competitive mother, Macy Jane (Minnie Driver).

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- CineVue UK

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DVD Review: 'Appropriate Behaviour'

29 June 2015 12:49 AM, PDT

★★★★☆ Joining the latest throng of female filmmakers baring their souls - and bettering their mainstream equivalents - through homegrown autobiographical independent films is the talented Desiree Akhavan, whose debut feature Appropriate Behaviour (2014) is something of a doyenne in the way it depicts an area of sexuality usually shied away from in cinema. Like Lena Dunham before her - whose HBO series Girls (2012-present) Akhavan recently appeared in - the Iranian-American writer, director, producer and actor takes total command of her maiden cinematic voyage, crafting something that is as insightful and raw as it is frequently hilarious.

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- CineVue UK

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13 articles



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