With little fanfare, and certainly no warning, Roma draws you in, lulls you, charms you and thoroughly destroys you. This is the first Spanish-language film by Alfonso Cuarón since 2001 and is without question the most personal the Mexican director has ever made. A stunning recreation of Cuarón own childhood, Roma is quietly mesmerising and profoundly affecting.
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Unexpectedly, this latest Spider-feature – the hero’s first to be animated – has taken up the mantle of legacy and epitaph. Released in the same year the creative world lost both Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, Into the Spider-Verse celebrates the friendly neighbourhood character their collaboration gave birth to back in 1962 and does so in style. The best Spider-Man film since 2004? You bet.
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Mortal Engines roars into action with so exhilarating, if wildly chaotic, an opening that expectation cannot help but hit an early high. This is, after all, a production billed as being from the makers of Lord of the Rings. Whereas such vibrance is retained in the film’s pace and visual spectacle, however, the fluctuating energy of its storytelling can’t help but slightly disappoint.
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Lynne Ramsay doesn’t do straightforward when it comes to adapting books to film. It’s why we will never see her take on ‘The Lovely Bones’, latterly hashed from Alice Sebold by Peter Jackson, and explains how You Were Never Really Here can so lyrically draw from the eponymous novella of Jonathan Ames without recourse to exposition or, often, dialogue. The result is sensory cinema that is as concerned with imparting to audiences an experience as it is telling a story.
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Not ten months since Sebastián Lelio walked away from February’s Oscars with an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language, the Chilean-Argentine director returns to UK screens with another tremendous feature, this one his English language debut. Thought provoking but no less thoroughly cinematic, Disobedience continues A Fantastic Woman’s explorations of sexuality and normative entrapment, whilst adding concerns of religious liberty and expectation. A sublime trio of leading performances make for an elegant cherry on the cake.
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You’d expect an uplifting Dolly Parton soundtrack to be more effective at saving a film like Dumplin’. This is the story of a plus sized young woman who enters a beauty pageant in a burst of body positive rebellion. It’s twee, syrupy and as flat as a gluten, lactose and flavour free pancake.
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Try to imagine, for a moment, the dismay at Leavesden when Warner Bros. realised that Andy Serkis’ take on The Jungle Book would not only invite comparison to a Disney animated classic but also that studio’s hugely successful remake. Despite some flaws, Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle deserves to be judged on its own merits, of which there are many. This Kipling adaptation takes time to get used to but is generally worth the effort.
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