Reviews & features

A Season in France

10 Jun 20193 stars

North African director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun paints a human face on the refugee crisis in a Paris-set drama

Great expectations are harried away to weary desperation in A Season in France. This plaintive drama from North African director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (recipient of the 2010 Cannes Jury Prize for A Screaming Man) paints a human face on the refugee crisis…

Sometimes Always Never

10 Jun 20193 stars

Bill Nighy is as excellent as ever in this somewhat self-conscious comedy drama

Between Bill Nighy's fastidious lead and the title's nod to the rules for buttoning up (or not) suit jackets, this gently melancholic comedy drama from debut director Carl Hunter is a mite too fussy for its own good. Though the role of a dryly elegant…

Balloon

10 Jun 20193 stars

Solidly told thriller based on one family's daring attempt to flee East Germany

People went to extraordinary lengths to escape from East Germany. In the opening titles of Balloon, we are reminded that between 1976 and 1988 some 38,000 tried and failed to cross the Berlin Wall. 462 lost their lives in the attempt. Previously the…

The Hummingbird Project

10 Jun 20194 stars

Quirky, intriguing tech drama from Kim Nguyen, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Alexander Skarsgård

Revelling in the precise minutia of its technological geekery while also taking a deep dive into the far more complex realms of human endeavour, The Hummingbird Project is a quirky, intriguing drama which largely rests on the strength of its leads. It's…

We the Animals

10 Jun 20194 stars

Magical coming-of-age tale that follows a biracial boy as he learns to love himself

Jonah, the observant narrator of this film, the one whose vibrant and volatile working-class family life unfolds before us, is a half Puerto Rican boy living in upstate New York. As played by Evan Rosado, he wanders round wild woods with his two…

Sacha Polak on Dirty God: 'That's why we make films; to show people that they are not so alone in the world'

7 Jun 2019

Director discusses why the protagonist of her new film refuses to be defined by her scars, or behave as you might expect

If you thought that watching X-Men battle speeding space shuttles or the Men in Black take on legions of aliens was the bravest thing you'd see on the big screen this summer, you'd be wrong. That honour belongs to Jade, the protagonist of Dutch…

Liam Gallagher: As It Was

6 Jun 20193 stars

The motor-mouthed musician is the subject of a fun but repetitive documentary

Whether you love him or loathe him, there is something inherently amusing about Liam Gallagher. There's the provocative outbursts, the swagger, the comical contrast between his exceptional talent and his childish behaviour. The Oasis frontman didn't…

Boyz In the Wood: 'They took us out to the woods and got all freaky with us'

6 Jun 2019

The young cast of Boyz In the Wood chat about the film's early success, their mischievous adult co-stars, and what Eddie Izzard is really like

Ninian Doff has previously been better known as the creator of music shorts for artists including Royal Blood, Migos, Miike Snow and Chemical Brothers. Now he's created Boyz in the Wood, his debut feature in which a quartet of lads attempting to gain…

Focus on Spain: four films to catch at EIFF

6 Jun 2019

Edinburgh International Film Festival places a focus on Spanish cinema for its 73rd edition

The Edinburgh International Film Festival returns this year with a wide range of choices for film enthusiasts. Running from Wed 19–Sun 30 Jun around the culturally-vibrant capital city, the festival promises to offer great sights along the way of…

X-Men: Dark Phoenix

5 Jun 20193 stars

Sophie Turner is at the fore of an initially fantastic but ultimately frustrating series closer from Simon Kinberg

Just as Avengers: Endgame recently marked the end of one giant phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so Fox's X-Men franchise brings to a close its main series after a 19-year run. It's been a long, erratic saga, which occasionally had something to…

What to expect from the 2019 Edinburgh International Film Festival

5 Jun 2019

Edinburgh rolls out its red carpet for a packed programme of the best cinema the world has to offer

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2019 Despite being one of the world's longest-running celebrations of the medium, the Edinburgh International Film Festival has consistently kept its finger on the pulse of cinema for the past 73 years…

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone orchestral tour: here's how to get presale tickets

4 Jun 2019

Czech National Symphony Orchestra brings John Williams' magical score to life this September

The Harry Potter Film Concert Series is back and will be livening up Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone with a unique tour this September. The film will be screened in 13 UK cities with orchestral accompaniment. Presale tickets for the tour go on…

Lucien Greaves: 'No matter how much you trust somebody you don't know ultimately what's going to be made of your life's work'

4 Jun 2019

Spokesperson and co-founder of The Satanic Temple discusses appearing in Penny Lane's documentary Hail Satan?

'I think we do a public service even in our most crass, blasphemic acts,' explains spokesperson and co-founder of The Satanic Temple, Lucien Greaves – a pseudonym as his real identity is a secret. Recently recognised as a church by the United Federal…

The Nightingale

3 Jun 20194 stars

Sundance London 2019: Agonisingly brutal period thriller from Jennifer Kent

Australian director Jennifer Kent follows 2014's The Babadook with a historical horror-show that comes face to face with the atrocities committed during the colonisation of her home country. Playing out as a bush-based revenge thriller with a western…

After the Wedding

3 Jun 20192 stars

Sundance London 2019: Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams head up this gender-swapped remake

Lavish nuptials have been the scene of much melodrama on both the big and small screen. But, as its title suggests, Bart Freundlich's latest collaboration with wife Julianne Moore is in no hurry to reveal its hand, saving its showdown until the morning…

Dirty God

3 Jun 20194 stars

A young woman deals with the aftermath of an acid attack in this riveting drama from Sacha Polak

A young woman is scarred by an acid attack in this London-set drama from Dutch filmmaker Sacha Polak, co-written by Susie Farrell. In a topical move, Polak has cast an actress who has real facial scarring: Vicky Knight, who was burned in a fire as a…

Eating Animals

3 Jun 20194 stars

Natalie Portman narrates a sobering factory farming documentary from Christopher Dillon Quinn

If ever a single film could inspire you to turn vegetarian it is Eating Animals. Christopher Dillon Quinn's sobering documentary offers a clear-eyed account of the rise of factory farming in America. The consequences can be measured in declining…

Gloria Bell

3 Jun 20194 stars

Julianne Moore excels yet again as Sebastián Lelio reworks his breakthrough film

As played by Julianne Moore, Gloria Bell is a lovelorn independent woman in her 50s, something that few films deem worth portraying. Chilean director Sebastián Lelio's film deviates from the norm by being sensitive to Gloria's highs and lows, even if…

Sam Bain on Corporate Animals: 'I felt like there was untapped comic potential in people trapped together'

3 Jun 2019

Peep Show writer Bain and director Patrick Brice discuss their latest project starring Demi Moore

Workplace satire meets extreme survival film in Corporate Animals when a group of employees on an outdoor pursuits team bonding experience get stuck in a cave. Directed by Patrick Brice and written by Peep Show's Sam Bain, the pitch-black humour is…

Always Be My Maybe

31 May 20193 stars

Fresh elements merge with formula in this enjoyable romcom starring Ali Wong and Randall Park

Friendships which blossom into romance are one of the most-seen staples of the romcom. If Always Be My Maybe reinvigorates the formula with its Asian-American leads, deadpan delivery and welcome forays into the surreal, it adheres, somewhat jarringly…

Animals

31 May 20194 stars

Sundance London 2019: Alia Shawkat and Holliday Grainger play muckers in Sophie Hyde's latest

'My feminism is about blazing a new way through old traditions,' announces a defiant Laura (Holliday Grainger) as she tries on wedding dresses in the disapproving presence of her non-conformist best friend Tyler (Alia Shawkat). With one approaching 30…

The Farewell

31 May 20194 stars

Sundance London 2019: Grief and culture clashes power this heartfelt comedy drama from Lulu Wang

The family comedy is given a poignant new twist in Lulu Wang's deeply personal tale of grief and cultural clashes, inspired by her Chinese grandmother's diagnosis of stage IV lung cancer in 2013. It's a subject that Wang talked about on an episode of…

Let's go to the movies with Johnnie Walker

31 May 2019

The official whisky partner of the 73rd EIFF has a long history of supporting the film industry

From Hollywood blockbusters to small screen drama, Scotch Whisky deserves an Oscar for its commitment to film. And Johnnie Walker is certainly no stranger to the big screen, appearing in some of the world's biggest movies of the past 60 years.

Hail Satan?

30 May 20194 stars

Sundance London 2019: Activist group The Satanic Temple are the focus of Penny Lane's sharp documentary

It might sound scary but, with a rising membership and a mission to 'encourage benevolence and empathy among all people', The Satanic Temple – founded by Lucien Greaves and Malcolm Jarry in 2013 – is certainly worthy of examination. In this entertaining…

Late Night

30 May 20194 stars

Sundance London 2019: Mindy Kaling is the writer and star of a shrewd comedy co-starring Emma Thompson

Comedian Mindy Kaling brings her piquant perspective to a classic tale of an outsider entering a hostile workplace. Taking on an industry she knows all too well, TV comedy, the writer-star piles subjects for discussion up high, framing her observations…