A critical look at cinema

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Pegg is best-known for comedy, but says he would still like to “do some serious acting”. Photo: Getty
Is it time to take Simon Pegg seriously?
By Ryan Gilbey - 21 May 18:18

The actor’s comments about the infantilisation of culture have caused a storm. Is he right to want to put away childish things?

French twist: Anaïs Demoustier stars as Claire. Photo: IMAGE.NET
Dark comedy The New Girlfriend is a ravishing portrait of a family after death
By Ryan Gilbey - 21 May 15:43

The films of François Ozon are polymorphously perverse.

BOOM! Looking back at the crude, cheapo, scuzzy brilliance of the original Mad Max
By Ryan Gilbey - 14 May 15:42

As Mad Max: Fury Road hits our screens, we look back at the 1979 original exploitationanza.

Ghost-writing: Shelley Hennig in Unfriended
Facetime your fears: Unfriended is a surprisingly up-to-date horror film – set on a laptop screen
By Ryan Gilbey - 30 April 10:29

We’ve seen too many Friday the thirteenth films to buy the sight of teenagers venturing into the deep, dark forest, but the deep, dark internet is another matter.

Avengers, assemble: in Marvel’s latest offering, the camera never stops moving.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is at once too much and never quite enough
By Ryan Gilbey - 23 April 17:20

If the Marvel fan base, like an elephant, is large but easily startled, Roy Andersson's minimalist vignettes in A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence ask the viewer to endure discomfort.

David Mamet in 1992. Photo: Johnny Boylan/Rex
Red flag to a raging bull: David Mamet’s move to the right
By Ryan Gilbey - 21 April 8:46

Ryan Gilbey examines Mamet’s plays for clues to his changing politics.

The Swedish family in Force Majeure witnesses a controlled avalanche.
Force Majeure's manipulative morality feels like a passé dinner-party game
By Ryan Gilbey - 20 April 11:41

The more outlandish the film becomes, the looser its grip.

Matt Smith as Bully in Lost River.
Ryan Gosling's directorial debut, Lost River, proves he isn't perfect after all
By Ryan Gilbey - 08 April 17:04

This film isn’t bad. Worse: it’s mediocre.

Ben Still and Naomi Watts in While We're Young.
Noah Baumbach's While We're Young goes beyond the usual tired hipster stereotypes
By Ryan Gilbey - 25 March 16:31

A Brooklyn-based comedy that's more than just jokes about avocado and almond-milk sorbet.

Moon child: Li’l Bamboo in Takahata’s folk tale.
Small wonders: the simple pleasures of The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
By Ryan Gilbey - 19 March 15:19

Japanese animation ­company Studio Ghibli favours contemplation over manufactured climaxes, and this film is no different.

Girls on film: it's time to celebrate women critics, the liveliest voices in cinema
By Ryan Gilbey - 11 March 11:31

Why has it taken us so long to realise that the strongest, most exciting voices, shaping our opinions of cinema are women?

Desiree Akhavan and Rebecca Henderson in Appropriate Behaviour. Photo: Peccadillo Pictures
More Annie Hall than Girls, Appropriate Behaviour pulses with emotion
By Ryan Gilbey - 06 March 11:36

Writer and director Desiree Akhavan has created an authentic, relatable story – with a heroine we hope will triumph.

Julianne Moore won the Best Actress Oscar for Still Alice.
Selective memory: why does Still Alice pull so many punches?
By Ryan Gilbey - 05 March 11:41

Clever pacing and Julianne Moore's Oscar-winning performance can't disguise the hedged bets and risks not taken.

Fear eats the soul: Hugh (Jake Weary) and Jay (Maika Monroe)
It Follows: a film about a sexually transmitted curse forces us to face mortality itself
By Ryan Gilbey - 26 February 11:23

Ryan Gilbey reviews It Follows, directed by David Robert Mitchell.

Alejandro González Iñárritu’s “Birdman” took the Best Picture award at the 2015 Oscars. Image: Fox Searchlight
Why the Oscars chose Birdman over Boyhood for Best Picture
By Ryan Gilbey - 23 February 12:40

Richard Linklater’s Boyhood is clearly the superior film, but the Academy isn’t considering long-term trends or trying to make a statement. Like an impetuous child, it just grabs the thing that feels good in that particular moment.

Pablo Larrain with the silver bear for The Club. Photo: Andreas Rentz/Getty
Wayward priests and sexual neuroses: highlights from the Berlin Film Festival
By Ryan Gilbey - 17 February 12:00

There was far more to the festival than Fifty Shades.

The Berlin film festival.
Genau or never: Timelines and plotlines alike confuse at the Berlin Film Festival
By Ryan Gilbey - 16 February 9:42

Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups is insipid – but Andrew Heigh's 45 Years proves it's not all bad. 

Actors Jamie Dornan (L) and Dakota Johnson at a fan screening of Fifty Shades Of Grey. Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images
More M&Ms than S&M: Fifty Shades of Grey is noxiously sweet – and totally blank
By Ryan Gilbey - 12 February 13:10

We can’t disparage these actors any more than we can blame a man in a hammerless world for failing to bang a nail into the wall.

Liv Corfixen with her husband Nicolas Winding Refn. Photo: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images
“My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn” shows the toll that filmmaking can take on directors
By Ryan Gilbey - 06 February 9:31

The film, made by Winding Refn’s wife Liv Corfixen, is an intriguing contribution to the film-behind-the-films genre and a revealing study of ambition and vulnerability.

Fiercely modern and aggressively cinematic: David Oyelowo as Dr Martin Luther King, Jr in Selma
Supreme leaders: what Selma and The Interview tell us about the power of the leading man
By Ryan Gilbey - 05 February 15:33

The civil rights drama and political farce could not seem more different. But David Oyelowo and James Franco share a dynamism sadly overlooked in awards season.

Phoenix and Witherspoon star in the cartoon-like film.
From comedy to confusion, Inherent Vice shows the corruption of the hippie dream
By Ryan Gilbey - 29 January 10:22

Thomas Pynchon's novel makes for a wistfully funny film adaptation.

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?

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