A critical look at cinema

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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.

Night Moves.
Night Moves: an environmental thriller with an intractable problem at its core
By Ryan Gilbey - 26 August 10:30

Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning star as eco-warriors in Kelly Reichardt’s tense new film, two radicals who plan to blow up a hydroelectric dam.

The Rover.
Sun, sand and sadism: The Rover by David Michôd
By Ryan Gilbey - 15 August 11:00

Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson star in David Michôd’s distopian thriller The Rover: a film with an uncertain mission at its core, like a post-apocalyptic Dude, Where’s My Car?

Robin Williams.
We should remember Robin Williams for his mistakes, as well as his triumphs
By Ryan Gilbey - 12 August 15:21

Robin Williams, who died yesterday aged 63, was a powerhouse performer. He will be remembered primarily for his electric, comic roles, but to appreciate his talents fully we need to look to his mistakes.

Life after death: Christie and Whishaw in Lilting
Lilting shows how language is not always a barrier to intimacy
By Ryan Gilbey - 08 August 16:15

Ben Whishaw stars as a grieving lover in this tale of cross-generational, Anglo-Chinese friendship. 

The Deer Hunter.
After 36 years, The Deer Hunter remains one of the most fascinating films on Vietnam
By Ryan Gilbey - 05 August 12:42

Though the notorious Russian roulette scene looms large, The Deer Hunter is a tender – and even optimistic – depiction of the human capacity to endure.

Snowpiercer.
It's some kind of miracle that Snowpiercer was ever released - and it was worth the wait
By Ryan Gilbey - 25 July 12:34

Despite its occasional longeurs and lapses of logic, post-global-freeze thriller Snowpiercer is an intoxicating mishmash of stunts and ideas which deserves to be seen in UK cinemas.

Andy Serkis as the ape-leader Ceasar.
Monkey business: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is smart, ravishing and bleak
By Ryan Gilbey - 18 July 12:50

The latest addition to the Planet of the Apes franchise is the toughest yet - the transition from playful ape and human interaction to bloody horror comes across as scarily plausible.

Steven Soderberg.
Steven Soderbergh's strange retirement: off-Broadway, brandy and television
By Ryan Gilbey - 16 July 17:58

“Nobody’s talking about movies the way they’re talking about their favourite TV shows,” says veteran director Steven Soderbergh, whose retirement, which isn’t really a retirement, has been stirring up controvesy this week.

The Rutles.
A selection of the best Python projects outside of Monty Python
By Ryan Gilbey - 14 July 13:01

Ryan Gilbey celebrates the best work by individual Pythons outside of their famous collaborations, from John Cleese’s slick Brit-flick A Fish Called Wanda to Eric Idle’s Beatles pastiche The Rutles.

Mason (Ellar Coltrane) and his father (Ethan Hawke) in Linklater’s family drama.
In Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, time fades away
By Ryan Gilbey - 10 July 16:29

Made over more than a decade, this is a film that reminds us life is seen by children from a different angle.

Goltzius and the Pelican Company.
The play’s the thing: Peter Greenaway’s Goltzius and the Pelican Company
By Ryan Gilbey - 08 July 13:00

Critics and audiences may have long given up on British painter-turned-director Peter Greenaway, but his sensuous, smart, arty films are asking questions few others would dare to contemplate.

Darth Vader.
Jon Spira's Elstree 1976: memorialising the unseen performers in the first Star Wars
By Ryan Gilbey - 03 July 13:06

Jon Spira's forthcoming documentary Elstree 1976 focuses on the Star Wars cast members time forgot: from voice-artists to extras and wookiees.

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