Filmed three years ago but only released this October, Waiting For You is a whisper of a drama and feels long at an hour and a half. Directed by feature first timer Charles Garrad, the film is well cast, competently produced and nicely shot but comes across as far too slight to register in any meaningful or memorable way.
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True Scotsman and genre maestro David Mackenzie was always going to produce a more measured take on the historic Scottish fight for independence than Mel ‘Braveheart’ Gibson. It comes as no surprise then that Mackenzie’s tale of love and war is as stark as it is occasionally syrupy and much more politically dense than Gibson’s Oscar-winning epic.
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Critics seem to have taken against Bohemian Rhapsody with curious animosity. It’s not the film’s fault per se – directed in hodgepodge by both Bryan Singer and Dexter Fletcher, this is pretty inoffensive entertainment – but because it replaced a potentially more interesting take on the Queen story. When Sacha Baron Cohen was subbed for Rami Malek, in the role of lead singer Freddie Mercury, the project became much safer. If you’re after dramatic depth, you’ll be disappointed; if you’re happy with slightly sanitised fun, this will, indeed, rock you.
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Not ten years into her career, Amandla Stenberg boasts a remarkable oeuvre. Having shot to fame in Gary Ross’ inaugural Hunger Games, the young star has already accumulated a string of leading roles, an NAACP nomination and Beyoncé music video appearance. In The Hate U Give, Stenberg offers those unfamiliar with her work a chance to understand her stratospheric rise. This is a powerful performance from a premiere talent. It helps, of course, that the film is terrific.
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Imagine a heist film in which the heist itself was conceived almost as an afterthought. That’s not a criticism, mind. No, it is a key selling point for Steve McQueen’s powerful new drama, his first since 2013’s Oscar dominating 12 Years a Slave. Widows is essentially light-hearted by comparison to that tale of slavery but still packs a powerful punch. As for genre, it matters little; in McQueen’s own words: ‘it’s all about the story.’
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Charm and likability can paper over even the most bloated of gaping romcom cracks. Sleepless in Seattle, for instance, is stalkerish hokum, but people still adore it. Rose Byrne, star of Jesse Peretz’s new genre offering, Juliet, Naked, has both charm and likability in abundance, so it’s odd just how drab this all feels. Based on a contrived Nick Hornby novel, the film has a ready audience; unfortunately, they’re ready to be a little bored.
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