Cinema
The Manchester Review

Araf, dir. Didem Pekün, reviewed by Dr. Clara Dawson

Stills from ‘Araf’, courtesy of artist, 2018. Araf | Berlinale Film Festival | Forum Expanded For the 13th year of its running, the Forum Expanded of Berlinale (14-26 February) took the title ‘A Mechanism Capable of Changing itself’, inviting expressions and explorations from documentary filmmakers of the specific agency of cinema. The curatorial team consisted […]

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David Hartley

Get Out, dir. Jordan Peele, reviewed by David Hartley

What makes Jordan Peele’s Get Out such a curiosity is the strangeness that comes of its organic genre blending. The film feels like it began life as a comedy, evolved into a dark comedy, then evolved again into a horror thriller with a kitschy edge of comedy constantly echoing in. It feels cultivated rather than […]

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David Hartley

Call Me By Your Name, dir. Luca Guadagnino, reviewed by David Hartley

I’ve often thought that if the Academy wanted to expand their award categories, a statuette for Best Scene would make for an intriguing accolade. Sometimes a film offers up a moment so exquisite and affecting it can feel as if it is embedding itself deep inside within you, never to be shaken. My case-in-point last […]

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David Hartley

Dunkirk, dir. Christopher Nolan, reviewed by David Hartley

It has now been six months since the release of Dunkirk but its nomination for the Best Picture Oscar gives us a chance to return to it for a reconsideration, with a little pocket of distance as a cushion. At the time of release, the film was, for the most part, very warmly received – […]

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David Hartley

Lady Bird, dir. Greta Gerwig, reviewed by David Hartley

There is much that is familiar in Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird. It is a coming-of-age tale about a high school teenager which hits many of the expected narrative beats; there are arguments with parents, deep-talk with teachers, intensely felt loves and devastating break-ups. There’s a school play, a prom dance, a boozy party. But Lady […]

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David Hartley

The Shape of Water, dir Guillermo Del Toro, reviewed by David Hartley

To be swept up in the current of Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water is to be bathed in the peculiar comfort afforded by the dark fairy-tale genre: there will be horrors, there will be monsters, but there will also be a magic which is on our side and will carry us safely back […]

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David Hartley

Phantom Thread, dir. Paul Thomas Anderson, reviewed by David Hartley

I entered the world of Phantom Thread on very scant details and I would recommend the same approach for everyone else. Despite it’s subject matter, this is a film with no bluster or pretensions; it simply wants to pin you in place and tell you its story while it soaks you in its variations of […]

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The Manchester Review

The Final Year, dir. Greg Barker, reviewed by James Chonglong Gu

Aired at HOME MCR, the on-the-fly documentary The Final Year, directed by Greg Barker, provides us with an unprecedentedly intimate insider’s look at the inner workings of the Obama administration in its last months; the not-so-distant past that gave way to the new Trump-era. In 2008, when the exhilarating news broke that Barack Hussein Obama […]

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The Manchester Review

The Post, dir. Steven Spielberg, reviewed by David Hartley

With the current political pressures being exerted on news media in the US, cinematic comfort-blanket Steven Spielberg seems super-delighted to have emerged with such a timely film. In interviews, he’s pitched The Post as a rallying cry for the embattled news media of today; the posters shouting STREEP and HANKS like they are totemic warriors […]

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The Manchester Review

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri dir. Martin McDonagh, reviewed by David Hartley

With the proclamation of its title and the weathered defiance of Frances McDormand’s thousand-yard stare, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a film which demands attention. And it has garnered it, both from the critics and the Academy, as it edges ahead as the Oscars’ frontrunner, and deservedly so, perhaps. It’s by no means an […]

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The Manchester Review

The Florida Project dir. Sean Baker, reviewed by David Hartley

The latest in an emerging genre of a kind of post-Obama American social realism, The Florida Project lands us smack bang in the sticky heat of a Floridan summer in the run-down outskirts of the Magic Kingdom. Disneyland is a looming presence kept mostly off screen, but gaudily implied by the structures of our Orlando […]

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The Manchester Review

78/52, dir. Alexandre O’Phillipe, reviewed by David Hartley

There must be a palpable sense of trepidation when filmmakers and documentarians approach the topic of film itself, when the camera has to fetishize its mirror image in the form of a genius auteur or the upstart aesthetics of an eternally restless art form. Here, director Alexandre O’Phillipe reaches out like Indiana Jones for the […]

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The Manchester Review

Loving Vincent, dir. Dorota Kobiela & Hugh Welchman, reviewed by David Hartley

It is testament to the startling depth of film as an art medium that it has so brazenly brushed off all doom-laden interlopers that threatened to sink it – the coming of sound, the collapse of the studio system, the rise of TV, the internet, CGI, 3D, Netflix, and so on. In truth, film is […]

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The Manchester Review

Bladerunner 2049, dir. Denis Villeneuve, reviewed by David Hartley

I admit to a certain level of despair when reboot culture caught up with Blade Runner and this sequel was announced. I’d long held the original close as a piece of cinematic perfection; science fiction at its absolute zenith; a flawed gem, endlessly fascinating and, in its various iterations, strangely mercurial. But in the intervening […]

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The Manchester Review

Bitter Tears: The Films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, HOME, reviewed by Tristan Burke

Bitter Tears: The Films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, HOME, May 7-31. It is well known that the great West German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s work rate was prodigious. In a brief career between 1969 and 1982 he directed forty films and two television series, and wrote twenty-four stage plays and four radio plays. He not […]

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The Manchester Review

CRIME: Hong Kong Style season, HOME, reviewed by Laura Swift and Joel Swann

CRIME: Hong Kong Style season, HOME, February 4 – April 7, 2016 HOME’s ambitious season Crime: Hong Kong Style featured some twenty films over the course of two months, including films ranging from forgotten classics like The Swallow Thief, to international blockbusters such as Police Story, to several UK premieres. The season can be judged […]

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The Manchester Review

Always (Crashing) season, HOME, reviewed by Tristan Burke

Always (Crashing) season, HOME, March 18-31, 2016 The gap in the literary landscape left by J.G. Ballard’s death in 2009 is still very much with us. He was probably the single most important post-war English novelist, and he opened up the scope and style of the English novel far beyond the sentimental, bourgeois realism that […]

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The Manchester Review

CRIME: Hong Kong Style season, HOME, preview and interview with Andy Willis by Laura Swift and Joel Swann

CRIME: Hong Kong Style at HOME, February – April 2016 Chinese New Year celebrations in Hong Kong usually begin and end without making international headlines, but this year was different. On the evening of February 8th, the heavy-handed policing of street vendors in Mong Kok gave rise to the violent stand-offs that are now being […]

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The Manchester Review

The Revenant (2016), dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu, HOME, reviewed by Fran Slater

When you went to see a film at The Cornerhouse you could feel secure in the fact that it had already received an important seal of approval. The Cornerhouse didn’t just show any film. It had to be considered a little bit special, and a little bit different, to make it onto the silver screen. […]

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The Manchester Review

The Hateful Eight (2016), dir. Quentin Tarantino, HOME, reviewed by Fran Slater

The Hateful Eight, dir. Quentin Tarantino, HOME, January 17 2016 Few films receive the levels of interest and attention that a new Quentin Tarantino release does. Over the last couple of months you’ll have seen the images everywhere. Samuel L. Jackson and Kurt Russell standing in the snow with their guns firmly grasped in their […]

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The Manchester Review

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2015), dir. Isao Takahata, The Cornerhouse, reviewed by Peter Wild

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, Manchester Cornerhouse, March 14 2015 Last year, with The Wind Rises, we saw the last film by Hayao Miyazaki, the man responsible (if we can say a single man is responsible) for making the name of Studio Ghibli, the Japanese Disney, a global brand. This year, we see The […]

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The Manchester Review

The Two Faces of January (2014), dir. Hossein Amini, reviewed by Fran Slater

The Two Faces of January is the latest feature film from director Hossein Amini, whose previous works include 2011 hit Drive and 2012 blockbuster Snow White and the Huntsman. The success of both these films has led to increased levels of interest in his latest work. Set in the early 1960s, the film gets off […]

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The Manchester Review

Django Unchained (2012), dir. Quentin Tarantino, reviewed by Janet Rogerson

Two years before the American Civil War, Django (Jamie Foxx), a freed slave turned bounty hunter makes his way to Mississippi to free his wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), a slave at the Candieland plantation owned by Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). We have come to expect a highly stylised, postmodern extravaganza whenever Tarantino directs, and we […]

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The Manchester Review

The Impossible (2012), dir. Juan Antonio Bayona, reviewed by Janet Rogerson

The Impossible tells the story of a middle-class British family holidaying in Thailand at Christmastime. Unluckily for them (and many others) their trip coincides with the 26th December 2004 tsunami. The build-up is short: they are a typical family, three boys, one a disgruntled adolescent, played impressively by Tom Holland, (who is destined to learn […]

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Ian Pople

Gangster Squad (2013), dir. Ruben Fleischer

by Ian Pople

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The Manchester Review

End of Watch (2012), dir. David Ayer, reviewed by Janet Rogerson

by Janet Rogerson

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Ian Pople

I, Anna (2012), dir. Barnaby Southcombe

by Ian Pople

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Ian Pople

Once upon a time in Anatolia (2011), dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan

The Jury in Cannes were obviously feeling that films should be on the slow side last year.  Having given the Palme D’Or to Terence Malick’s ‘Tree of Life’, they gave the Grand Jury Prize to this very, very slow, exquisitely shot film from Turkey’s Nuri Bilge Ceylan.  Ceylan’s film lives almost entirely in real time.  […]

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Ian Pople

Coriolanus (2011) dir. Ralph Fiennes

It’s difficult, unfortunately, to sit through the first twenty minutes of Ralph Fiennes’ modern rendering of Coriolanus without distraction. And these distractions do rather shake the whole project. The first distraction is that the shaven headed Fiennes’ looks uncomfortably like his recent portrayal of Voldemort in the Harry Potter films; a look that tends to […]

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Ian Pople

Dreams of a Life (2011), dir. Carol Morley

Dreams of a Life is a mesmerising film. It’s beautiful photography seems almost to belong to a different film, and it’s exquisite pacing and narrative arc show Carol Morley to have an iron control over her film. In part, the film comprises a series of talking heads of the ‘friends’ of Joyce Vincent, whose body […]

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Ian Pople

A Separation (2011), dir. Asghar Farhadi

Asghar Farhadi’s magnificent directorial debut asks one central question; how is it possible to take decisions and not be selfish, particularly in the family? When Simin (Leila Hatami) wants to take her daughter Termeh (Sarina Farhadi) abroad for a better life, her husband, Nader (Peyman Moaadi), won’t go. His father to whom is devoted has […]

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Ian Pople

Attack the Block (2011), dir. Joe Cornish

Attack the Block is that increasingly rare thing; a terrific British comedy. It’s a film that balances a sharp, critical social conscience about life for young London boys with no real male role models, with very slickly handled, alien invasion movie. And if that sounds like Shane Meadows meets ET then try to forget that […]

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Ian Pople

Brighton Rock (2010), dir. Rowan Joffe

Donald Davie described Larkin’s poetry as a ‘poetry of lowered sights and patiently diminished expectations.’ By setting his version of Graham Greene’s novel in the summer of 1964, Rowan Joffe sets the film at a moment when society was moving between that lowered vision, and the newer world of the ‘swinging sixties’. Thus, Joffe pitches […]

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Ian Pople

Uncle Boonmee who can recall his past lives (2010), dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Beloved of Cannes, Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s films are deeply arthouse.  Since Blissfully Yours from 2002 won ‘Un Certain Regard’, Weerasethakul’s films have won prize after prize at festivals all over Europe, and Uncle Boonmee won the director the Palme Dor, this year. Weerasethakul is one of those directors for whom linear narrative seems an impediment rather […]

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Ian Pople

Winter’s Bone (2010), dir. Debra Granik

This wonderful film is held together by a mesmerising central performance from Jennifer Lawrence and immaculate direction by Debra Granik. The story is well-known by now. Lawrence as Ree Dolly is the seventeen-year old who holds her family together. Her mother is a catatonic depressive, and Ree has two younger siblings, Sonny, her twelve-year old […]

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