Cinema

Current highlights from Barcelona's English-language cinema scene


The latest reviews

The Equalizer

  • Rated as: 1/5

Denzel Washington plays Robert McCall, a Boston widower, all-night-diner regular and avenging angel who likes to even the odds. If you’re an abused prostitute in need of a pimp beatdown, he’ll be there. If you’re a chubby co-worker lacking the motivation to lose weight and land that big security-guard promotion, he’ll put you on a fitness regimen. But there’s some sad maths happening when Hollywood tries to equalise one of its most distinctive leading men with generic action parts that even Liam Neeson would scowl at. (read more)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

  • Rated as: 2/5

“A little froth” is what NYC journalism-school grad April (Megan Fox) seems headed for, as her station steers her toward puff pieces. It’s a good thing, then, that one night’s snooping around the docks puts her in contact with our crime-busting “heroes in a half shell,” who quickly take over the movie (relegating Fox to the duty of cowering behind pylons). Utterly inessential, this slightly cheap-looking reboot of the Turtles franchise is froth too—it might even be too tame for the kids who make up the target audience. (read more)

How I Live Now

  • Rated as: 3/5

Kevin Macdonald’s slightly drab adaptation of Meg Rosoff’s popular teen novel would be nothing without Saoirse Ronan playing pain-in-ass Daisy. Poker-straight bleached hair, angry black eyeliner and huffy snarl, she’s perfect as Rosoff’s prickly, vulnerable 16-year-old – dumped in the English countryside for the summer to live with her boho British cousins as Word War III breaks out. (read more)

Annabelle

  • Rated as: 2/5

Horror filmmakers are terrible at putting away childish things – least of all creepy Annabelle, a doll with burning eyes and skin the slightest hint of rotting green. She’s been sprung from her glass case in 2013’s ‘The Conjuring’ for this underwhelming prequel. Everything organic from James Wan’s retro smash feels aggressively ‘vintage’ and showy in this film directed by his cameraman, John R Leonetti. Set in a Charles Manson-spooked 1969, it stars a young couple, Mia (Annabelle Wallis) and John (Ward Horton), who – if you haven’t guessed it from their names – are about to live through their own ‘Rosemary’s Baby’. (read more)

Winter Sleep

  • Rated as: 4/5

Like his last film ‘Once Upon a Time in Anatolia’, Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s ‘Winter Sleep’ unfolds before the epic backdrop of Turkey’s rural steppes, an already unforgiving landscape now made even more alienating by snow, ice and wind. But while that film, an existential murder mystery, was a patchwork of silence and extraordinary images punctuated by pointed chat, here talk is the order of the day. ‘Winter Sleep’ gives us a few days in the life of Aydin (Haluk Bilginer), a hotel owner and landlord in a remote Anatolian community where houses are carved into rock. Aydin’s relationships with his young wife Nihal (Melisa Sözen) and sister Necla (Demet Akbag) are troubled. (read more)

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them

  • Rated as: 3/5

All the lonely people, where do they all belong? For Eleanor Rigby (Jessica Chastain), the damaged, ill-named figure at the heart of Ned Benson’s strikingly ambitious directorial debut, that’s a riddle not easily solved. Reeling from tragedy, Eleanor hacks off her hair, re-enrolls in college classes and uproots from downtown Manhattan to the Westport, Connecticut, home of her parents (William Hurt and Isabelle Huppert), all with nary a word to her bar-owner husband, Conor (James McAvoy). While she grieves through reinvention, Conor juggles multiple losses: searching for his AWOL wife, mending his relationship with his own father (Ciarán Hinds) and facing the closure of the East Village haunt he runs with his best friend (Bill Hader). (read more)

The Hundred-Foot Journey

  • Rated as: 3/5

If you catch whiffs of ‘Chocolat’, you’re not imagining them: this middlebrow culture-clash foodie fable, based on a novel by Richard C Morais, shares more than just a director with that Juliette Binoche confection from 2000. There’s also the quaint, postcard-ready French setting, the heavy-handed musings on the mystical power of spices and a prickly, purse-lipped antagonist butting against change. The latter, Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren, in a deliciously salty turn), oversees a starched-linen fine-dining temple in southern France. Her primary concern is securing yet another Michelin star – that is, until thrifty Mumbai import Papa (Om Puri) and his brood move in across the road to open a vindaloo-stirring, AR Rahman-soundtracked eatery of their own, helmed by kitchen-prodigy son Hassan (Manish Dayal). (read more)

The Drop

  • Rated as: 3/5

European actors do an uneven job of bringing a 'hey-yous-guys' Brooklyn crime drama to life in the English-language debut of Belgian director Michaël R Roskam ('Bullhead'). The film's distinctly working-class Catholic vibe is best attributed to novelist-screenwriter Dennis Lehane ('Mystic River'), whose source material – a 2009 short story called 'Animal Rescue' – has been expanded by the author himself into a script that probably worked better on the page (and in his original setting of Boston's scrappy Dorchester). Largely set in a dark, roomy Irish pub that bears little resemblance to the hipster-laden borough that Brooklyn has become, 'The Drop' focuses on a trio of characters shivering through one chilly January. (read more)

More film reviews

Recommended films

Gone Girl

  • Rated as: 5/5

Boyhood

  • Rated as: 5/5

Begin Again

  • Rated as: 4/5

Locke

  • Rated as: 4/5

Chef

  • Rated as: 4/5

The Dance Of Reality

  • Rated as: 4/5

Winter Sleep

  • Rated as: 4/5