Cinema

Current highlights from Barcelona's English-language cinema scene


The latest reviews

’71

  • Rated as: 3/5

Belfast, 1971, and Gary (Jack O'Connell), a young private in the British army, is thrown in at the deep end of the Troubles; more than that, his hands are tied and there are bricks in his pocket. This quiet lad from Derbyshire has barely been in Belfast a day when he finds himself in the middle of a violent street riot sparked by a heavy-handed house search by police in a Catholic area. Matters turn worse when he becomes separated from his colleagues and has to flee down menacing alleys and up war-torn streets to escape with his life. As night falls, the stark reality of the situation begins to look more like something from a foggy, street-lamp-lit nightmare. (read more)

Redirected

  • Rated as: 1/5

This painfully unfunny, laddish and tiresomely anarchic crime comedy is interesting only for being a British-Lithuanian co-production, set partly in London but mostly in Vilnius and its surrrounds. When a robbery goes wrong, a rag-tag bunch of likeable British chancers are chased to Lithuania by a much harder bunch of crims led by, oh yes, Vinnie Jones, older but shoutier as ever. Some of the sadistic treatment meted out to the Brits abroad by the locals might make some Eastern Europeans chuckle, and there are surely cultural references that fly over British viewers’ head. But this is basic, hackneyed stuff, essentially Guy Ritchie exported, diluted and cheapened, like bootleg vodka.

Whiplash

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice

You already know the ferocious jazz teacher played by JK Simmons in the electrifying New York-set drama ‘Whiplash’ if you've seen things like ‘Full Metal Jacket’, ‘Battle Royale’ and – just to be clear – the grizzly bear in ‘Grizzly Man’. Clad fully in black, biceps bulging, Simmons’s Fletcher exudes attitude: he rules the top department of an elite New York music school with a clenched first. Part of the joy of watching dramas like this must be a masochistic thrill in seeing young hopefuls suffer. (read more)

Taken 3

  • Rated as: 3/5

When the dismal ‘Taken 2’ became France’s biggest ever global hit, a third instalment was inevitable. The only question was: would writer-producer Luc Besson and director Olivier Megaton be happy just to coast along, offering audiences another brainless cavalcade of shakycam action and growling macho nonsense? We catch up with ex-CIA operative Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) in yet another emotional tangle. (read more)

Hector and the Search for Happiness

  • Rated as: 2/5

Simon Pegg plays the world’s most unconvincing psychiatrist in this fluffy, irritating Brit comedy. He’s Hector, who leaves his successful London practice and hot girlfriend (Rosamund Pike) to travel around the world searching for the secret to happiness. The problem for comedian Pegg (Shaun of the Dead) is that the role requires a bit of Serious Acting—and every time he puts on his compassionate face, he just looks smug. (read more)

Paddington

  • Rated as: 4/5

Anyone with fond memories of the books or a dusty Paddington Bear sitting on a shelf in their childhood bedroom can rest easy: this first-ever movie take on Peru’s furriest export is a cuddly, thoughtful triumph. But not too cuddly. The beauty of this winning film from ‘Harry Potter’ producer David Heyman and writer-director Paul King (‘The Mighty Boosh’) is that it’s charmingly simple. But it also offers a sharp modern spin on Michael Bond’s London-set stories without being cynical. For kids, it’s fun, fast and sweet. For adults, it’s a parable of immigration: the story of a big-eyed outsider having his hopeful dreams challenged by the realities of the British capital. (read more)

Still Mine

  • Rated as: 3/5

Octogenarian farmer Craig Morrison (James Cromwell) sets out to build a small single-story house for himself and his ailing wife, Irene (Geneviève Bujold), in this rural Canadian drama. Morrison’s passed-down-from-the-ages approach to construction, however, butts up against an officious building inspector, putting the project in jeopardy. Providing the film’s foundation, Cromwell is adept at revealing emotional layers lurking under the surface of his flannel-clad old-timer. (read more)

The Gambler

  • Rated as: 3/5

The original 1974 version of 'The Gambler' benefitted from both James Toback’s tight, original script and the fully believable gambling addiction of high-flying star James Caan. Four decades later, the same story, adapted by William Monahan ('The Departed') and directed by Rupert Wyatt ('Rise of the Planet of the Apes') feels tired, egocentric and a touch false. Partly that's because we’re supposed to accept Mark Wahlberg as Jim, an English-literature professor with a secret life. His cynical monologues to his students – at one point, delivered from a defeated position lying on his desk – bear little resemblance to the modern-day classroom. (read more)

More film reviews

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