Category Archives: Reviews

Fighting With My Family | Review

★★★★

Thanks not least to a joyful extended cameo from Dwayne Johnson, Fighting With My Family rocks. Penned and directed by Stephen Merchant, here is a British underdog tale done well. Think Billy Elliot meets Rocky meets The Royle Family and you’re there. Following the well furrowed path of sporting film formulae – and showboating a terrific cast of characters along the way – this is a gem as funny and heartfelt as they come.

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Capernaum | Review

★★★★★

You may have heard in recent news about the Indian man threatening to sue his parents for giving birth to him without his consent. Raphael Samuel believes it to be wrong to bring children into the lifelong suffering of the world. His stunt seeks to promote anti-natalism, a philosophy based on the idea that, because life is so miserable, procreation should cease immediately. If you think this is insane, watch Capernaum.

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Alita: Battle Angel | Review

★★★

Somewhere between Rupert Sanders’ Ghost in the Shell and Christian Rivers’ Mortal Engines falls Robert Rodriguez’s Alita: Battle Angel. Like the former, this is Hollywood mangled manga, being opted from hit Japanese franchise Gunnm. Like the later, the film comes from a producer known for visual spectacle and overlong screenplays: James Cameron, in this case. If Alita does little to disprove the theory that western cinema can do no justice to East Asian anime, it certainly offers enough style, flair and action to disguise the troubling lack of substance.

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Sorry Angel | Review

★★★★

On occasion, it’s a real test of strength to endorse certain films. That’s not because they’re utter tripe, but because they manage to pull off tackling tough topics with such a blithe ease that it seems a bit wrong on a human level to recommend them. Sorry Angel is one such film but it has absolutely nothing to apologise for.

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Happy Death Day 2U

★★

Sky high ambition turns out an admirable failure in this sequel to 2017 comic horror hit Happy Death Day. Christopher B. Landon returns as writer and director of the film, which knowingly adds Back to the Future II to its roster of influences. While, there’s still much to enjoy here, Landon’s script feels too overcooked and underdeveloped to truly stir engagement . You can’t fault him for trying though, especially with left turns this bonkers.

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Old Boys | Review

★★

In a neat turn of events, Alex Lawther’s latest adolescent reject is free of the gruelling angst the young star has spent the best part of his career perfecting. As school beating stick Amberson, he’s actually quite the charmer in his own eccentric way. Quaint charm is the gentle soul of Old Boys, a so so feature debut from two time BAFTA short nominee Toby MacDonald. Though the film ultimately falls flat of its promise, it does so in a genial and occasionally witty fashion.

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BAFTA Shorts 2019 | Review

★★★★

Don’t expect much by way of exuberance and joy from this year’s BAFTA shorts. Perhaps it’s a sign of the times? Released as a portmanteau feature this week, ahead of Sunday’s ceremony, the prospective live action and animated nominees are a strong grouping but even those that are not desperately sad come with a air of melancholia. There are eight in total and together they stretch to just over an hour and fifty minutes.

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