Cinema

Current highlights from Barcelona's English-language cinema scene


The latest reviews

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2

  • Rated as: 1/5

Cinema lovers, you should thank God for Kevin James. This oft-ridiculed screen giant is here to answer a question that has plagued mankind for decades now: what would a film be like if every single person involved made as little effort as humanly possible? It’s been six years since the inexplicably successful ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop’, and our hero (Kevin James) is in a rut. His wife has left him, his mother was flattened by a milk truck and his daughter Maya (Raini Rodriguez) is planning to leave home. (read more)

The Pyramid

  • Rated as: 2/5

Who would you choose to take along on a pioneering Egyptian tomb excavation? Chances are, it wouldn’t be a guy who looks like Indiana Jones’s bookish, bad-tempered uncle, the year’s most hapless screen blonde and the mouthy one from ‘The Inbetweeners’. Yet here they are, getting into all manner of scrapes inside a millennia-old structure buried deep in that part of the Sahara desert that looks suspiciously like California. (read more)

Run All Night

  • Rated as: 3/5

Deep into his career rebirth as a gruff-talking action hero, Liam Neeson looks like he’s having the time of his life slumming it. But ‘Run All Night’ reminds you of a particular set of skills he’s been deprioritising, namely his acting chops. A New York City-set chase film that, in its better moments, nears the sweet spot last occupied by 1993’s ‘The Fugitive’, it gives Neeson an actual character to play. He is Jimmy Conlon, a washed-up mob hitman whose fearsome reputation has been marinating at the bottom of a Scotch glass. When Jimmy’s estranged adult son, Mike (Joel Kinnaman), witnesses a brutal crime that quickly escalates into a self-defence killing, both Conlons are targeted by Jimmy’s old boss. (read more)

Lost River

  • Rated as: 2/5

Hey, girl—go with what you know. Actor turned auteur Ryan Gosling’s nutty (and not in a good way) adult fairy tale goes off the rails early and often. You almost have to give it props for how resolutely batshit it is. Almost. Amid the crumbling houses of American everytown Lost River lives single mom Billy (Christina Hendricks) and her two sons, preadolescent Franky (Landyn Stewart) and teenage Bones (Iain De Caestecker). Their only neighbors are Rat (Saoirse Ronan)—so named because she has a pet rat—and her mute, mentally unsound grandmother, played in a wasted cameo by exploitation-movie goddess Barbara Steele. (read more)

Mortdecai

  • Rated as: 2/5

The Hollywood elite’s stalkerish obsession with the English aristocracy takes a peculiar new turn in this off-key, globetrotting action comedy. Johnny Depp plays the title character, a hereditary peer complete with a mansion near London, a manservant and a not entirely convincing Terry-Thomas accent, who carries out a little art-world espionage on the side. Set on the trail of a missing Goya by policeman and love rival Martland (Ewan McGregor), Mortdecai and his prim lady wife (Gwyneth Paltrow, inevitably) travel the world sipping cognac, sneering at the locals and staying one step ahead of a gang of Russian thugs. (read more)

The Guest

  • Rated as: 4/5

‘See [insert actor’s name here] as you’ve never seen them before!’ isn’t always a successful marketing strategy. One suspects obsessive fans of Dan Stevens’s ill-fated Matthew Crawley in ‘Downton Abbey’ (are they called Dandies? Dantons? Crawfish?) would be content to see the actor play nothing but rakish, tweed-waistcoated toffs until the end of his days. For the rest of us, however, the surprising new side he shows in Adam Wingard’s sharp, rattling retro thriller is a welcome switch-up. Those blandly blond good looks, here accessorised with an apple-pie American accent, are put to sinister use. (read more)

The Divergent Series: Insurgent

  • Rated as: 2/5

What a waste of Shailene Woodley the ‘Divergent’ franchise is turning out to be. As butt-kicking Tris, the ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ actress is the best thing about this second film of Veronica Roth’s monster-selling YA novels (basically ‘The Hunger Games’ with tattoos). After the lifeless first film, ‘Insurgent’ finds a pulse, but its far-fetched post-apocalyptic world still feels invented solely to make room for a copy-Katniss, lethally-tough heroine. (read more)

Starred Up

  • Rated as: 3/5

The industrious and prolific British writer-director David Mackenzie has been plugging away on the fringes of the film industry for well over a decade now, producing work both beloved (‘Young Adam’, ‘Hallam Foe’) and derided (‘Spread’, ‘You Instead’). With ‘Starred Up’, a prison drama written by Jonathan Asser, a one-time poet who used to run therapy sessions with prisoners, he may just manage his first bonafide hit. (read more)

More film reviews

Recommended films

Pride

  • Rated as: 5/5

Inherent Vice

  • Rated as: 4/5

Selma

  • Rated as: 5/5

Calvary

  • Rated as: 4/5

Chappie

  • Rated as: 4/5

Nightcrawler

  • Rated as: 5/5

Whiplash

  • Rated as: 4/5
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