The novelty’s vanished, but Now You See Me 2 doesn’t cheat

2 Stars (2 / 5)

How many stage magic heist films do we need?

When Now You See Me was released back in 2013, the conceit at least seemed original: a quartet of Robin Hood magicians, known as the Four Horsemen, stage (literally) a series of audacious robberies targeted at the rich and unethical.…

Remainder is an open-ended tale of obsession and recreation

3 Stars (3 / 5)

 

A pale, distracted young man (Tom Sturridge) limps across a busy road, leaving a wheelie case behind him.

No sooner has he crossed, however, than there’s a shower of glass from a nearby skyscraper. A moment later he’s creamed by a plummeting mass of wires and plastic — his blood pools around him.…

The Nice Guys is Kiss Kiss Bang Bang with a fun ’70s retrofit

4 Stars (4 / 5)

 

The Nice Guys is your standard Shane Black neo-noir buddy comedy with a ’70s retrofit but that’s no bad thing.

The film is a wild and seedy ride from the top of the derelict Hollywood sign, through — occasionally literally — the deluxe shag pads of Beverly Hills, and all the way down through the mean streets of L.A.

Victoria: a one-take thrill ride through night-time Berlin

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

 

One take, 138 minutes. From a strobe-lit club to a pale Berlin dawn, Sebastian Schipper’s Victoria plays out in real time over the course of a single eventful night.

Twenty-something Spanish barista Victoria (Laia Costa), drinking alone at a bar, hooks up with a gang of happy-go-lucky chancers, including punch-drunk Brando-alike Sonne (Frederick Lau).…

Green Room is gut-wrenching, sometimes literally

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

 

Blue Ruin, Green Room. 

Writer-director Jeremy Saulnier is certainly not a director afraid to deal in primal colors: the bright green woodlands of Oregon into which down-on-their-luck punk band The Ain’t Rights stray, playing an impromptu gig to an audience of neo-Nazis; the visceral red of the horrific gore that results when band member Pat (an endearingly mumbly Anton Yelchin) stumbles upon a murder.…

Midnight Special lays its light on us

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

 

The fourth film of 37-year-old Arkansan director Jeff Nichols, Midnight Special feels like a narrative made to fit its title.

Named for an old folk standard, it follows Roy (Michael Shannon), and his son, Alton (Jaeden Lieberher), a goggle-wearing preteen gifted with supernatural abilities.

In 10 Cloverfield Lane, Abrams et al swing by Maple Street

4 Stars (4 / 5)

 

One woman, two men, and an underground bunker. 

As its residential title might suggest, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a far more localized affair than its so-called spiritual predecessor, found-footage monster flick Cloverfield.

Both the output of J.J.

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.…

Spectre summons up the ghosts of the Bond franchise to diminishing returns

3 Stars (3 / 5)

The evocatively titled Spectre, 24th installment of the Bond franchise, is a film steeped in continuity but light on originality.

While capitalizing on the back-story laid down for Daniel Craig’s super-spy in Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, and Skyfall – the first incarnation of the character to have much by the way of continuity – it finds the time, over the course of 138 minutes – which also makes Spectre the longest film in the franchise – to riff on nearly every previous episode from the series’ 53 year history.…

Desierto is an arid slice of indie thriller

2 Stars (2 / 5)

 

When you come from a Hollywood directing dynasty how do you established yourself as an independent filmmaker in your own right?

Not having a critic mention it in the first line of their review probably helps, but it’s a point that bears reflecting on.…