Tale of Tales: a baroque fairy-tale full of gilt and gore

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

Tale of Tales is The Brothers Grimm as Terry Gilliam should have made it.

Inspired by Giambattista Basile’s Pentamerone — from which the film gets its name — and directed by Gomorrah’s Matteo Garone, it weaves together three archetypal fairytales: the jovial king (John C.

Everybody Wants Some!! will likely prove the feel-best film of 2016

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

 

In the last twenty-three years, it’s safe to say that Richard Linklater has moved on from Dazed and Confused. In the case of Everyone Wants Some!!, he hasn’t had to travel very far.

Linklater’s 1993 coming-of-age comedy is arguably the finest cinematic portrayal of the American high school experience since The Breakfast Club.…

The Witch is a theological nightmare that will get under your skin – and, just possibly, that bit deeper.

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Is there a more potent symbol in American mythology than that of the witch?

Though an export of the old world, the witch is also a symbol of modernity – a frightening sort of  progressiveness. For potions and spells read medicine and psychology; healing and hysteria.…

Trumbo is a barnstorming triumph of cinematic liberalism

4 Stars (4 / 5)

 

From Sunset Boulevard to Argo, Hollywood has always been in the business of self-mythologizing.

It’s not often, though, that the industry takes its licks for the mistakes it’s made along the way.

Writ large among them is, of course, the blacklist, which saw scores of talented, Left-leaning film-makers left out in the cold as the paranoia surrounding Communism reached fever pitch.…

Bridge of Spies is a classic Cold War drama from the master of popular cinema

2015 was the year of onscreen espionage: Spy, Kingsman, Mission: Impossible, and, of course, Specter. Bridge of Spies seems like the first one likely to trouble Uncle Oscar.

The film opens in 1957 at the “height of the Cold War” as a title card helpfully informs us.…

Assassination makes Sergio Leone look like the soul of brevity

2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

 

At once an old-fashioned action-adventure of the sort Harrison Ford once felt so at home in, an elegiac historical drama with shades of Sergio Leone, and a guts-and-glory shoot ‘em up that recalls Inglourious Basterds, Choi Dong-hoon’s Assassination offers up plenty of bang for its buck.

Suffragette is a worthy but overly respectable

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

 

As with The Imitation Game, which kicked off last year’s London Film Festival, Suffragette — another period drama — is a quintessential work of British cinema. It too tells an important story.

Instead of the huts of Bletchley Park, we find ourselves at an East End laundry circa 1913, the workplace of Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan) and dozens of other industrious women.…

Inherent Vice is stoner noir par excellence

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

 

From aspiring porn stars in the sun-drenched ‘70s to megalomaniacal, turn-of-the-century oil barons, Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the most uniquely identifiable directors currently working in cinema.

His projects range enormously in topic and scope; all that connects his work is a handful of recurring themes and a certain visual acuity that marks him as a director.…

Exodus: Gods and Kings is a Biblical epic with a humanist slant

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

 

Of all the obscure film genres to make a comeback in recent years, who among us expected the resurgence of the Biblical epic?

Thanks to Aronofosky’s triumphantly bats**t crazy Noah, it seems we can now expect a slew of Old Testament supermen to be battling it out with the comic book contingent for control of our screens.…

Fury is a war film full of sound and signifying a lot

4 Stars (4 / 5)

 

Is there anything quite so cinematic as war? The mud, the blood, the bullets, the explosions; the scale, the intimacy; the stakes, both large and small.

An elegantly uniformed rider on a pale horse makes his way through a graveyard of shattered military hardware.…