A critical look at cinema

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Beyond Clueless: a visual essay on teen movies from 1994-2004.
Beyond Clueless: a giant campus of candy-coloured teen life
By Ryan Gilbey - 23 January 13:10

Half-love letter, half-biopsy, Charlie Lyne's documentary analysis of teen movies is full of flashes of madness.

Have we met before? The mutable Oscar Isaac.
Welcome to Oscar season — Oscar Isaac season, that is
By Ryan Gilbey - 22 January 12:52

Oscar Isaac exploits his unique charisma and mutable appearance in two of the biggest films released this awards season.

Marion Cotillard has received a surprise Best Actress nomination for Two Days, One Night. Photo: Getty
The 2015 Oscar nominations: no surprises, but a few oddities
By Ryan Gilbey - 15 January 17:13

There is little to surprise a seasoned awards-watcher in this year’s nominations – Ryan Gilbey gives his verdict.

Miles Teller and J K Simmons in the percussion-based psychological thriller Whiplash.
Whiplash and Foxcatcher show there's more than one way to skin a fox
By Ryan Gilbey - 15 January 13:46

Despite strikingly similar prodigies and deranged mentors, Whiplash and Foxcatcher offer two very different takes on the mentor/pupil relationship.

Take another look: visitors to the National Gallery in Frederick Wiseman’s documentary. Photo: ANDREW EVANS
A view unbroken: the poignancy of Frederick Wiseman's National Gallery documentary
By Ryan Gilbey - 08 January 16:55

The paintings are anything but dry in Frederick Wiseman's documentary about the London gallery.

Ethan Hawke.
Ethan Hawke on working with River Phoenix: “I never felt more ordinary in my life”
By Ryan Gilbey - 05 January 18:33

The smart, insightful and oddly underrated US actor Ethan Hawke on first meeting River Phoenix, the Sony hacking crisis and “the beauty of censorship”.

David Robert Mitchell’s chiller It Follows offers more than just frights (although it does those too).
From monster franchises to arthouse gems: films to look forward to in 2015
By Ryan Gilbey - 01 January 11:10

The new year already offers the promise of Tilda Swinton in a fetching wig and the scariest film since Halloween. What's not to like?

We love ya, tomorrow: Quvenzhané Wallis stars in the new remake of Annie, directed by Will Gluck
Thrills, flops and hard knocks: films to watch this Christmas
By Ryan Gilbey - 22 December 15:54

Ryan Gilbey casts an eye over the Christmas fare.

Premiere.
Gossip about the hacked Sony emails isn’t news, or newsworthy, or remotely justifiable
By Ryan Gilbey - 18 December 11:01

These are not politicians, or powerful corporations meddling with our data, they are Hollywood executives bickering like anyone else. The free speech argument just doesn’t add up.

Manic pixel dream Orcs: suspense-free battles fail to convince in the third Hobbit film.
Time to say goodbye: the end cannot come too soon for the third Hobbit film
By Ryan Gilbey - 12 December 13:04

The first two parts of Peter Jackson’s super-sized Hobbit trilogy held their own, but the director squanders all his best assets in this sorry mess of a final installment.

Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking in the forthcoming biopic “The Theory of Everything”.
The lure of the biopic: the best of an ever-popular film format
By Ryan Gilbey - 09 December 15:34

Cinemas are going to be full of biopics in the next couple of months – in preparation, Ryan Gilbey picks the best examples of the form from the past few years.

Hard bargain: Rabourdin (left) and Emelyanov in Eastern Boys
Station to station: Eastern Boys is a cool French take on the politics of desire
By Ryan Gilbey - 04 December 15:56

This gritty tale of eastern European rent boys in Paris might at first sound like Ken Loach gone gay. But the effect is more redolent of a Gus Van Sant spin on Oliver Twist.

Jonathan Brugh.
From Orson Welles to What We Do in the Shadows: A brief history of the mockumentary
By Ryan Gilbey - 20 November 17:40

The greatest offerings from the only new film genre to have emerged in the last 50 years.

Heavy-handed treatment: Benedict Cumberbatch is Alan Turing in The Imitation Game
Computer says no: How has The Imitation Game managed to make Alan Turing’s story so dull?
By Ryan Gilbey - 13 November 16:39

The way Turing’s story is told is comparable to the montage in Big Brother when Davina McCall told evictees: “Let’s have a look at your best bits.” The Imitation Game is Alan Turing’s best bits.

Life Itself.
Life Itself, the new Roger Ebert documentary, shows just how important a critic can be
By Ryan Gilbey - 13 November 13:22

Nineteen months after his death in April 2013, a new documentary tells the story of Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert - his bravery in the face of illness, and his uniquely democratic approach to cinema.

Cold comfort: Matthew McConaughey as Cooper in Nolan's space opera
Home from home: Christopher Nolan’s space movie Interstellar fails to launch
By Ryan Gilbey - 06 November 15:12

It’s hard to care about the future of civilisation when we meet so few members of it worth saving and most of those behave like they know they’re in a movie.

Primal fear: Samuel (Noah Wiseman) in psychological drama The Badabook
If you’re feeling sinister: this season’s crop of Halloween horrors
By Ryan Gilbey - 30 October 15:35

Ryan Gilbey is chilled by new releases The Badabook, Annabelle and It Follows.

Ronald Zehrfeld and Nina Hoss in Christian Petzold’s “Phoenix”.
The digital world hasn’t saved us from being hoaxed – if anything, it has made it more likely
By Ryan Gilbey - 27 October 15:10

Meanwhile, the suspension of disbelief is getting harder and harder to pull off.

Tanks for the memories: Brad Pitt and crew in Fury, a misfiring mix of horror and schmaltz
Belly of the beast: Brad Pitt’s new war movie veers from horror to schmaltz
By Ryan Gilbey - 17 October 15:18

For every stab at dirty realism in Fury, there is a sanitising touch to make everything clean again.

The original cast of Ghostbusters.
Dad’s Army and Ghostbusters: how to reboot a beloved comedy without ruining it
By Ryan Gilbey - 16 October 12:31

The news that both a Dad’s Army film and Ghostbusters 3 are in the works is great for nostalgia fans. But how do you go about updating something well-loved without wrecking it?

Pucker up: Shahid Kapoor as Haider/Hamler and Shraddha Kapoor as Arshia/Ophelia
To pout or not to pout: Hamlet goes Bollywood
By Ryan Gilbey - 14 October 10:56

Bhardwaj relocates the action to Kashmir in the mid-1990s. If the graft doesn’t quite take, it’s because the film is so persuasive in portraying the oppression of the Kashmiri people that the woes of Hamlet seem small beer.

Pride.
Did Pride really deserve an adult rating in the US? Yes, it did
By Ryan Gilbey - 08 October 13:15

The Motion Picture Association of America may have a poor track record on equality - but in the case of Pride their decision was just and correct.

Other side of perfect: Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) and Amy (Rosamund Pike).
David Fincher’s Gone Girl is a grim comedy about the impossibility of perfection
By Ryan Gilbey - 02 October 15:00

This film, adapted by Gillian Flynn from her bestselling thriller, is a whodunnit without a body.

Fading icon: Havana Segrand (Julianne Moore) stars in Cronenberg’s satire.
David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars sees Hollywood as a disease
By Ryan Gilbey - 25 September 17:11

Maps to the Stars places elements of ghost story, black comedy and Hollywood satire in a screwball framework.

George Sluizer.
George Sluizer (1932-2014): The obsessive director behind River Phoenix’s last film
By Ryan Gilbey - 23 September 12:10

The Dutch director, who has died aged 82, stole the unfinished reels for Phoenix’s last film Dark Blood from after coming close to death in 2007.

“The Riot Club” is based on Laura Wade’s Bullingdon Club-inspired Royal Court play “Posh”.
If only the lads of The Riot Club were a little less revolting
By Ryan Gilbey - 18 September 13:07

Lone Scherfig’s film adaptation of the 2010 play Posh feels unbalanced: we want to see a bit of naughty fun before the nastiness kicks in.

In The Basement.
2014 London Film Festival preview: French house music, Austrian basements and the British Harmony Korine
By Ryan Gilbey - 05 September 12:17

Our film critic Ryan Gilbey previews the 58th London Film Festival, which opens next month.

Stranger at the door: Dan Stevens as David
Downton to downright nasty: Dan Stevens’s dramatic transformation
By Ryan Gilbey - 04 September 16:46

In The Guest, Stevens plays David, a stranger who pitches up on the doorstep of a grieving American family. He claims to be a friend of their eldest son, who died in combat in Afghanistan but it’s clear to the viewer he’s bad news. 

Eva Green.
Beaten to a pulp: Why the hyper-stylised Sin City is in need of Raymond Chandler
By Ryan Gilbey - 29 August 10:00

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For imagines what 1940s cinema might have looked like with CGI and no Hays Code - but it falls short of that era’s crackling dialogue, smoky characters and emotional pull.

Dogfight proves that a famous name is not the only reason to adapt a film for the stage
By Ryan Gilbey - 28 August 15:15

Dogfight at the Southwark Playhouse shows that a musical using an existing film as its springboard is no more or less likely to succeed than an entirely original work. And rightly so.

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