Reviews & features

The Hole in the Ground

25 Feb 20193 stars

Irish director Lee Cronin's first feature is an unsettling, well-acted horror

'Do you ever look at your kids and not recognise them?' single mother Sarah (Seána Kerslake) asks her employer Louise (Simone Kirby) in this atmospheric Irish chiller that plays out under suitably gloomy skies. With echoes of Invasion of the Body…

Isn't It Romantic

25 Feb 20193 stars

Rom-com parody that boasts an enjoyably knowing performance from Rebel Wilson

It's not so much love but irony that's in the air in Isn't It Romantic, a glossy satire which relies heavily enough on the traditions it is attempting to skewer that it rather undermines its own point. Still, a down-to-earth, knowing performance from…

Miss Bala

25 Feb 20192 stars

Lightweight remake of the acclaimed Mexican crime drama, starring Gina Rodriguez

The US box office failure of Catherine Hardwicke's remake of the acclaimed 2011 Spanish-language thriller perhaps reflects post-Sicario fatigue with lurid fictions about cross-border conflict. The portrayal of Mexico as a seething cauldron of…

All Creatures Here Below

25 Feb 20192 stars

GFF 2019: Karen Gillan stars in a grim social realist drama following a poverty-stricken couple

Director Collin Schiffli joins forces once again with writer and actor David Dastmalchian on All Creatures Here Below, their second collaboration after 2014's harrowing Animals, which followed a drug-addicted homeless couple. In their latest effort, the…

Dragged Across Concrete

25 Feb 20193 stars

GFF 2019: Mel Gibson heads up another compelling exercise in ultra-violence from S Craig Zahler

After a gimmicky start with his cannibal western Bone Tomahawk, writer-director S Craig Zahler found his style with the extreme barbarism of Brawl in Cell Block 99. His distinctive fusion of deadpan humour, nihilism and extreme violence makes for an…

Only You

22 Feb 20194 stars

GFF 2019: Laia Costa and Josh O'Connor are superb in a devastating relationship drama

Raw and, for some, devastatingly relatable, Only You is an in-depth look at a lesser-seen consequence of falling in love, as it focuses on the agony of infertility. It's the assured directorial debut of Harry Wootliff, a BAFTA nominee for his 2004 short…

Woman at War

22 Feb 20194 stars

GFF 2019: Immensely enjoyable Icelandic comedy about an environmental activist

Heroes come in all shapes and guises; in Benedikt Erlingsson's rousing follow-up to the sublimely silly Of Horses and Men the rebel with a noble cause is ostensibly respectable choir conductor Halla (Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir). This 50-year-old…

Best film and TV screenings to see with live orchestra in 2019

21 Feb 2019

Enjoy orchestral celebrations of Pixar, Hans Zimmer, The Goonies and many more

In a generation of remakes and never ending sequels, there is a new way to give nod to the classics you love. Film and television shows are being screened around the UK accompanied by live orchestras. This immersive, chill inducing, way of watching…

Ella Smith on Ray & Liz: 'Without it meaning to be a didactic political piece, it really smacks people in the forehead'

21 Feb 2019

Richard Billingham's debut feature film explores poverty, boredom and addiction truthfully and unflinchingly

'There's a lovely quote that the mandate of art is to shock people not with what they don't know but with what they already know deep down. The truth of the film shines through and without it meaning to be a didactic political piece, it really smacks…

Fighting with My Family

21 Feb 20192 stars

GFF 2019: Crude and sexist dramedy, inspired by the story of a real female wrestler

'Can you smell what The Rock is cooking?' bellows Dwayne Johnson in the archive footage which opens wrestling opus Fighting with My Family, based on the true story of Saraya-Jade Bevis, aka Paige. Her journey from the dismal venues of Norwich to filling…

Mothers' Instinct

21 Feb 20193 stars

GFF 2019: A friendship between two housewives turns deadly in this Belgian thriller

A fond female bond becomes bent and twisted in Mothers' Instinct (Duelles), an elegant psychological thriller from Belgian director Olivier Masset-Depasse (Illégal). Echoing Hitchcock with a hint of The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, it has bourgeois…

Papi Chulo

21 Feb 20194 stars

GFF 2019: Matt Bomer is wonderfully affecting in a feel-good tale centring on an unlikely friendship

'It never rains in Southern California…it pours,' goes the refrain in Albert Hammond's song, repeatedly played in the car of troubled LA weatherman Sean (Matt Bomer) in Irish director John Butler's smart comedy drama. The term 'papi chulo' means 'pimp…

Mid90s

20 Feb 20194 stars

GFF 2019: Jonah Hill's directorial debut is an artistically ambitious coming-of-ager

Having worked with directors as diverse as the Coen brothers, Martin Scorsese, Bennett Miller and Phil Lord / Christopher Miller, there was no easy answer as to what style Jonah Hill would plump for to kickstart his own filmmaking career. In the end…

A Bread Factory director Patrick Wang: 'I told people these films were comedies because we couldn't find any hope'

20 Feb 2019

Filmmaker shines a light on community art centres

An economist and a filmmaker have more in common that you might think. 'Most people assume they're completely divorced from each other,' explains Patrick Wang, himself an American economist turned filmmaker. 'I like that, for both, you start from a…

Capernaum

18 Feb 20195 stars

Captivating Lebanese drama following a resourceful and determined boy on the streets of Beirut

Capernaum is a rare and thrilling film. Propelled by a seething sense of injustice, it fuses expert storytelling with a striking cinematic sensibility to take the viewer on a gripping, highly emotional journey through life on the streets of…

Cold Pursuit

18 Feb 20191 star

Liam Neeson is out for revenge yet again in an offensive and cliched remake

Genre cliche and offensive stereotypes pile up in drifts in Cold Pursuit, a thriller which hangs solely on Liam Neeson's gruff on-screen persona. Hans Petter Moland is at the helm of this remake of his 2014 Norwegian original In Order of Disappearance…

Old Boys

18 Feb 20193 stars

Alex Lawther stars in this sweet-natured, boarding school-set riff on Cyrano de Bergerac

The increasingly ubiquitous Alex Lawther (The End of the F***ing World, Ghost Stories) stars in this sweet-natured spin on Cyrano de Bergerac, set at an all-boys boarding school in the 1980s. He plays sensitive, awkward scholarship student Amberson, who…

On the Basis of Sex

18 Feb 20193 stars

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the subject of an inspiring and romantic biopic

How appropriate that on a wave of films centred on strong female characters one of them should be about iconic US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, also fondly known as Notorious RBG and the subject of a recent documentary (from Julie Cohen and…

Josh O'Connor: 'I pinch myself every now and then'

14 Feb 2019

Rising star talks about his lead role in romantic drama Only You, screening at Glasgow Film Festival

Every actor needs a defining role early in their career. For Josh O'Connor, it was playing the taciturn farm hand Johnny Saxby in Francis Lee's 2017 award-winner God's Own Country. Since then, his career has exploded, from being nominated for a BAFTA…

Stephen Merchant: 'When Dwayne Johnson goes in front of a wrestling crowd it's like Elvis has come on – it's insane'

14 Feb 2019

Writer and director of Fighting with My Family explains how The Rock got him into wrestling

The extraordinary tale of WWE superstar Paige was memorably documented in 2012 Channel 4 documentary The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family. It's a fascinating portrait of two generations of professional wrestlers all living in a modest Norwich council…

Joe Cornish: 'It's a miracle this movie got made because it's not the sort of film they make any more'

13 Feb 2019

The Kid Who Would Be King director talks about Arthurian legend, his Ant-Man saga and his love of scary kids films

Almost eight years after his critically lauded debut feature, Attack the Block, writer/director Joe Cornish is finally back with Arthurian family adventure The Kid Who Would Be King. Starring Louis Ashbourne Serkis (son of Lorraine Ashbourne and Andy…

Wallace & Gromit celebrate 30th anniversary with Musical Marvels spring tour

13 Feb 2019

Interactive orchestral event features new footage and old favourites

Crackin' news Gromit, the minds Carrot Productions have created a interactive musical experience like no other. Wallace & Gromit's Musical Marvels brings to life the UK's most dynamic duo with help of the Picture House Orchestra and presenter Matthew…

Happy Death Day 2U

12 Feb 20193 stars

Entertaining slasher sequel that takes inspiration from Back to the Future Part II this time round

A slasher movie version of Groundhog Day, Blumhouse Productions' Happy Death Day proved a surprise hit in 2017, becoming briefly famous for knocking Blade Runner 2049 off the top spot of the US box office. The sequel reunites the entire cast, as well as…

Jonah Hill: 'We want black and white because we want certainty but real confidence is living in uncertainty'

11 Feb 2019

As he makes his directorial debut with Mid90s, which opens this year's Glasgow Film Festival, Hill discusses his connection to the skateboarding scene

It seems like it's only a matter of time before Hollywood's biggest stars make the transition from being in front of the camera to behind it. Actors like Clint Eastwood, Angelina Jolie, Ben Affleck, George Clooney and, most recently, Bradley Cooper…

A Private War

11 Feb 20194 stars

Esteemed war reporter Marie Colvin is the subject of a compelling biopic starring Rosamund Pike

Recent films about fictional war correspondents have been about women – Juliette Binoche in 1,000 Times Good Night, Isabelle Huppert in Louder Than Bombs – highlighting the fact hat this most dangerous of journalistic specialisms is not a male province.