Reviews & features

Ma

30 May 20191 star

Octavia Spencer turns psycho in a shambolic chiller from Tate Taylor

Blumhouse Productions – home of low-budget horror (Paranormal Activity), more ambitious genre fare (Get Out) and the occasional critically acclaimed drama (BlacKkKlansman) – have a rare misfire on their hands with this disappointing psychological…

Edinburgh International Film Festival reveals its full 2019 programme

29 May 2019

Festival's 73rd outing includes a focus on American and Spanish cinema, new culinary adventures and Toy Story 4

Every year, the Edinburgh International Film Festival hits silver screens across the city, delivering to our doorstep a veritable feast of cinematic wealth from across the world. From the highbrow art house to your summer feel-good blockbuster, the EIFF…

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

28 May 20193 stars

Michael Dougherty takes the reins of a reverent and action-packed addition to the MonsterVerse

When director Gareth Edwards revived Godzilla in his 2014 film, fans complained that the atomic lizard didn't bank enough screen time in his own show. Similar complaints certainly can't be levelled at this third entry in the MonsterVerse franchise…

The Lighthouse

28 May 20195 stars

Cannes 2019: Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe face off in a strikingly realised psychological thriller from Robert Eggers

Robert Eggers brought a spare, stark rigour to his feature debut The Witch that promised much for the future. He more than delivers on that promise with The Lighthouse, an oppressive, richly textured slow-burn of a psychological thriller, pitched…

A Vigilante

27 May 20194 stars

Olivia Wilde is phenomenal in this sucker punch revenge drama from Sarah Daggar-Nickson

Fuelled – and grounded – by an astonishing, animalistic central performance from Olivia Wilde, this feature debut from Australian filmmaker Sarah Daggar-Nickson uses its bare-bones narrative to deliver a sucker punch study of an abused woman taking back…

Thunder Road

27 May 20195 stars

Emotionally raw and excruciatingly funny portrait of a flailing cop, from debut director Jim Cummings

Bruce Springsteen's songs capture the hope, disappointment and sorrow of the American Dream in one fell swoop; Jim Cummings' stirring debut feature not only references the singer's 1975 working-class anthem in its title, it plays out as a passionate…

Sunset

27 May 20194 stars

László Nemes follows his Oscar-winning debut with another supremely confident film set in 1913 Budapest

With Son of Saul, the Hungarian writer-director László Nemes not only won an Oscar with his very first feature, but created one of the definitive Holocaust dramas. It was a staggering achievement; but how on earth do you follow it? If there was any…

Young Ahmed

24 May 20192 stars

Cannes 2019: Disappointing radicalisation drama from the Dardenne brothers

Celebrated Belgian filmmakers the Dardenne brothers weave a flimsy social realist yarn about a radicalised Muslim teenager who is fixated on killing his teacher. Over a period of weeks, Ahmed's mother (Claire Bodson) notices drastic changes in her son's…

Booksmart

24 May 20194 stars

Geek girls party hard in an effervescent and edgy comedy from actor-turned-director Olivia Wilde

Geek girls get a well-deserved blowout in the fabulous first feature from actor-turned-director Olivia Wilde. The teen party movie has been done to death but Booksmart feels box-fresh in its focus on characters who have traditionally been sidelined.

The Secret Life of Pets 2

23 May 20193 stars

Cutesy and chaotic animated sequel that should please kids more than parents

A sequel to the 2016 animated kids' movie about what pets get up to when we're not at home, this picks up the story of New York mutt Max (Patton Oswalt, taking over from disgraced comedian Louis CK). Alongside rescue dog Duke (Eric Stonestreet), Max…

Matthias & Maxime

23 May 20192 stars

Cannes 2019: A kiss jeopardises a friendship in this unpersuasive effort from Xavier Dolan

Best known for Laurence Anyways, Tom at the Farm and Mommy, writer-director Xavier Dolan's finest films have been searing, immaculately crafted autobiographical dramas that allowed him to analyse life, love and suffocating family ties. Sadly, Matthias…

Parasite

23 May 20195 stars

Cannes 2019: Slickly directed and darkly hilarious satire from Bong Joon-ho

The view from the cramped basement apartment where Ki-taek (Song Kang-ho) lives with his wife Chung-sook (Chang Hyae-jin) and two grown-up children is grim. All unemployed, the family make ends meet via home-based schemes, folding pizza boxes and…

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

22 May 20193 stars

Cannes 2019: Tarantino's star-studded period mosaic is compelling, provocative and uneven

Cinema is the ultimate purveyor of dreams for Quentin Tarantino. It has allowed him to recreate lost times, recalibrate familiar genres and even rewrite history in the case of Inglourious Basterds. Perhaps we should blame him for the rise of fake news?

Aladdin

22 May 20193 stars

Guy Ritchie's live action take on the animated original is a flawed but enjoyable musical adventure

This live action spin on 1992's Aladdin, from director Guy Ritchie, is Disney's latest stab at making flesh its animated classics. It's perhaps the Mouse House's riskiest reboot to date for a couple of reasons: Ritchie is coming fresh off the stinker…

Rocketman

21 May 20193 stars

Fantasy replaces fact in this fun biopic of Elton John, from director Dexter Fletcher

Biopics are usually feeble fare if their subject is still living and potentially litigious. Considering Sir Elton John is alive, kicking and executive producer of his own dramatised story, produced by his husband David Furnish, this had plenty of…

Jim Cummings on Thunder Road: 'Once I understood who Jim was, I wondered; how can we put him through heaven and hell?'

21 May 2019

Cummings discusses his American comedy-drama which he has directed, written and stars in

It's a cliché of screenplay development that a writer should take the best bits of their story, cram them into the first ten minutes, and then write eighty more with the same high quality. It worked for Jim Cummings, who wrote, directed and starred in…

A Hidden Life

20 May 20194 stars

Cannes 2019: Terrence Malick brings a timely urgency to the true story of a conscientious objector

'The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.' The famous assertion, most commonly attributed to Edmund Burke, couldn't be more apt when considering Terrence Malick's latest. Set between 1939 and 1943 and based on true…

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

20 May 20195 stars

Cannes 2019: Women are front and centre of this scintillating and sensual period piece from Céline Sciamma

Céline Sciamma follows the gorgeous Girlhood with a queer period drama set in 18th century Brittany that portrays a scintillating slow-burn romance between two women in a time when their lives were determined by social standing and marriage. The film…

Diego Maradona

20 May 20193 stars

Cannes 2019: Asif Kapadia profiles the legendary footballer in his characteristic style

After Senna and Amy, British director Asif Kapadia completes his unofficial trilogy with another documentary portrait of a fallen star, peerless footballer Diego Armando Maradona. Focusing primarily on his eight years in Italy, when he propelled Napoli…

Little Joe

20 May 20194 stars

Cannes 2019: Eye-catching, botanically themed sci-fi from Jessica Hausner that keeps you guessing

Balancing work and motherhood is one of the many dilemmas single mum and scientist Alice (Emily Beecham) is facing. She's speaking to a therapist about it, but is struggling with severe guilt for wanting to spend more time at the lab than with her…

Jamie Bell on Rocketman: 'I think Bernie was much more comfortable in his own skin. Elton had a harder time with that'

20 May 2019

BAFTA-winning British actor discusses playing Bernie Taupin in Dexter Fletcher's dazzling Elton John bio

Dressed in black, Jamie Bell is sitting in London's Mandarin Oriental hotel pondering Elton John. He was just eleven when Princess Diana died and the flamboyant British singer re-released 'Candle in the Wind', originally his hymn to Marilyn Monroe. 'I…

Pain and Glory

18 May 20193 stars

Cannes 2019: A filmmaker looks back over his life in the latest from Pedro Almodóvar

A reclusive film director reflects on the moments that made him in the latest from movie maestro Pedro Almodóvar. Although unmistakable in its autobiographic elements and visual vibrancy, Pain and Glory finds the flamboyant filmmaker in subdued…

Sorry We Missed You

17 May 20194 stars

Cannes 2019: Ken Loach takes a typically compassionate look at Broken Britain in this gruelling and poignant drama

The casualties of Broken Britain continue to inspire heartfelt human drama from director Ken Loach and his screenwriting partner Paul Laverty. Sorry We Missed You is less of a fanfare for the common man than a cry of anguish for those in the grip of an…

Atlantique

17 May 20194 stars

Cannes 2019: Striking debut from actress-turned-director Mati Diop that immerses itself in the refugee crisis

Director Mati Diop returns to the shores of Dakar, Senegal to revisit the lost souls of her lyrical 2009 docufiction short about the men that set sail across the treacherous ocean in search of brighter prospects in Spain. With this narrative feature…

The Dead Don't Die

15 May 20194 stars

Cannes 2019: Bill Murray and Tilda Swinton star in Jim Jarmusch's idiosyncratic take on the zombie film

There's a great joke in the gloriously dark 'Teddy Perkins' episode of Atlanta that targets the flagrant fascism of Trump's America; a character takes a marker and deletes the letters on a confederate flag hat, turning the words 'Southern Made' into 'U…