Cinema

Current highlights from Barcelona's English-language cinema scene


The latest reviews

What If?

  • Rated as: 3/5

It’s easy to joke about Daniel Radcliffe (not in a mean way, more like teasing a little brother). But we’ll have to stop now, because Harry Potter is all grown-up and he can act. He’s lovely in this hipster-ish romcom, playing a medical school dropout who falls in love with a girl (Zoe Kazan) at a house party in Toronto. She leaves it too late, waiting till he’s walking her home, to tell him her relationship status: ‘My boyfriend will be wondering what happened to me.’ As her friend says later, she’s ‘mind-cheating’. The rest of the film is a will-they-won’t-they (what do you think?) update of ‘When Harry Met Sally’. (read more)

Locke

  • Rated as: 4/5

British screenwriter Steven Knight has always shown a keen eye for real life, with his London-set scripts for ‘Dirty Pretty Things’ and ‘Eastern Promises’. But he’s often tended to lay on the plot a bit thick – not least in his recent debut as a director, 2013’s ‘Hummingbird’, which gave us Jason Statham as a homeless vigilante on the rampage in Soho. It was hardly Ken Loach. But with ‘Locke’, his second feature, Knight delivers a story that could hardly be more taut. For its entire running time the only character on screen is Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy), a Welsh building-site manager driving across England in an attempt to juggle several fragile pieces of his work and home lives. (read more)

22 Jump Street

  • Rated as: 3/5

No one, not even its creators, was prepared for the runaway success of the 2012 reboot of ’80s cop-kitsch TV series ‘21 Jump Street’. Instead of a cheapo cash-in, here was a charming, smartly self-mocking romp fronted by the most likeable and unlikely comedy double act in recent memory – Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill. This follow-up scores cynical laughs from the idea that it could never match up to the gleeful surprise factor of the original. And it doesn’t – but that’s kind of okay. ‘I want you to do exactly what you did last time,’ barks the Chief of Police to undercover goons Jenko (Tatum) and Schmidt (Hill) – and it’s a maxim the movie takes to heart. (read more)

The Congress

  • Rated as: 3/5

‘Waltz With Bashir’ director Ari Folman takes a determined stride into the past with this dizzying, disjointed, always fascinating live action-animation hybrid. ‘The Congress’ takes equal inspiration from chilly, socially prescient science fiction – notably Bertrand Tavernier’s troubling 1980 satire ‘Death Watch’ – the dayglo cartoon fantasies of ‘Heavy Metal’ animator Ralph Bakshi and the psychological, psychedelic fantasy of authors like Michael Moorcock and Alasdair Gray. The result is loopy and eye-ravishing, but just a little too scattershot to really hit home. (read more)

Into the Storm

  • Rated as: 2/5

A simple tornado just isn’t enough for the modern disaster movie. They’re just not sufficiently scary unless a) there are also sharks involved or b) there are loads of them. Wisely (if hardly scientifically), this shakycam screamer adopts the latter approach – and when the badass cyclones do muscle into town, ripping up schools, banks and airports willy-nilly, the film is fairly fun to watch. Sadly, everything else about it is, well, a bit of a disaster. (read more)

Hoodwinked Too!: Hood vs Evil

  • Rated as: 1/5

Like its shabby 2005 predecessor, this sequel's plasticine animation is roughly five years behind its kids'-film competitors – though to be fair, the datedness extends to all corners of the film's reimagining of 'Little Red Riding Hood'. ('Silence of the Lambs' and 'Scarface' references? A character using the term 'jiggy' while another blurts out, 'Buckle up, homies – it's on!'? Seriously?) The more this sequel tries to vainly reach for pop-culture hipness, the more it devolves into a slice of sub-'Shrek' riffing and the kind of potty humour that involves the big bad Wolf (Patrick Warburton) taking a shot to the crotch and deadpanning, 'Okay, I can taste my own butt.' (read more)

Step Up 5: All In

  • Rated as: 3/5

‘Why does there always have to be a huge great dance-off?’ muses one character just before a huge great dance-off. Why? Because that's the ‘Step Up’ way. Operating in a universe of physical illogicality as fantastical as any Busby Berkeley musical, the ‘Step Up’ series is an impeccably choreographed law unto itself. More predictable than a Bond movie, the good guys will always triumph via the medium of dance, after the requisite set-backs, and that’s just fine, because no-one watches a ‘Step Up’ movie for the suspenseful plot – the devil is in the details. In the case of ‘Step Up 5: All In’, the devil in question is Alexxa Brava, a dodgy Vegas pop diva offering impoverished dance troupes a coveted three year Caesar’s Palace residency. (read more)

Belle

  • Rated as: 3/5

Sometimes you find yourself wishing for an alternative version of the film unfolding before your eyes. ‘Belle’ is a good-looking and exceedingly polite film where perhaps a more complex one with less good manners would have been better. It’s the story of a mixed-race girl, Dido Belle (played first by Lauren Julien-Box, then Gugu Mbatha-Raw), who was brought up by an aristocratic family in Hampstead’s Kenwood House in the late 1700s. Dido was the daughter of a high-born naval officer and a black woman about whom very little is known. (read more)

More film reviews

Recommended films

The Kings of Summer

  • Rated as: 4/5

Locke

  • Rated as: 4/5

Chef

  • Rated as: 4/5