Sophie Monks Kaufman

Sophie Monks Kaufman

Articles (11)

The best horror movies and shows of 2024 (so far) for a truly scary watch

The best horror movies and shows of 2024 (so far) for a truly scary watch

Last year, a genre usually filled with shambling zombies and sentient mounds of carnivorous goo birthed leftfield successes like M3GAN and Skinamarink, low-budget horror hits that elbowed their way to viral status, even amid the giddy fluorescence of Barbie and prestige awardsiness of Oppenheimer.  By contrast, this year’s slate of scares probably won’t catch too many people sleeping. 2024 is loaded with genre prequels, sequels and spin-offs, from MaXXXine, the third instalment of Ti West’s cult-fave franchise, to the alien-invasion terror of A Quiet Place: Day One, to the extremely-long-awaited Beetlejuice 2. But given that horror is historically a genre of small expectations and big surprises, there’s bound to be something that pops up to frighten the bejeepers out of us when we least expect it. Here’s the best of what’s freaked us out so far.  🎃 The 100 best horror films ever made 😱 The scariest movies based on a true story 💀 The best horror movies of 2023

The 100 best TV shows of all time you have to watch

The 100 best TV shows of all time you have to watch

Television used to be considered one of the lowest forms of entertainment. It was derided as ‘the idiot box’ and ‘the boob tube’. Edward R Murrow referred to it as ‘the opiate of the masses’, and the phrase ‘I don’t even own a TV’ was considered a major bragging right. And for a long time, it was hard to say that television’s poor reputation was undeserved.  A lot has changed. Television is now the dominant medium in basically all of entertainment, to the degree that the only thing separating movies and TV is the screen you’re watching on. Now, if you don’t own a television – or a laptop or a tablet or a phone – you’re basically left out of the cultural conversation completely. The shift in perception is widely credited to the arrival of The Sopranos, which completely reinvented the notion of what a TV show could do. But that doesn’t mean everything that came before is primordial slurry. While this list of the greatest TV shows ever is dominated by 21st century programs, there are many shows that deserve credit for laying the groundwork for this current golden age. Chiseling them down to a neat top 100 is difficult, so we elected to leave off talk shows, variety shows and sketch comedy, focusing on scripted, episodic dramas, comedies and miniseries.  So don’t touch that dial – these are the greatest TV shows of all-time. Recommended: 📺 The best TV and streaming shows of 2023 (so far)🔥The 100 greatest movies of all-time🎬The most bingeable series on Netflix

Renate Reinsve: ‘What would I have done this film hadn’t happened? Become a carpenter’’

Renate Reinsve: ‘What would I have done this film hadn’t happened? Become a carpenter’’

Norwegian native Renate Reinsve made a decision to give up acting, disillusioned by a slew of one-dimensional roles. The very next day, one of the most acclaimed directors working in the country, Joachim Trier, called to say he wanted her to be the leading lady in his next film. That now double Oscar-nominated anti-romcom, The Worst Person in the World, won Reinsve a Best Actress gong at Cannes for her gorgeously open performance as a woman navigating an ongoing existential crisis with joy. And she’s still pinching herself.  Everyone from Dakota Johnson to Jamie Lee Curtis has raved about this film. Any theories as to why it’s connecting with people so strongly?‘It’s trying to say something about how people connect to each other in the time we live in. People feel taken seriously because the film leaves space for the audience to fill in the blanks. It breathes, so it doesn’t push any emotion or tell you what to feel and think. It doesn’t give answers, but it asks a lot of good questions.’ Has there been a piece of feedback that stopped you in your tracks? ‘Paul Thomas Anderson described some acting that I did in one part of the movie as “the best acting in the world” at a Q&A. Then he said, “Do you think you weren’t nominated for an Oscar because people didn’t see the movie or because they’re stupid?” I was sitting there with tears in my eyes and the veins in my forehead pumping out. He is my favourite director, so that was huge. I can retire now.’ Photograph: MUBI There’s

The 50 coolest filmmakers in the world right now

The 50 coolest filmmakers in the world right now

What makes a filmmaker cool? In the heyday of the studio system it might have been about creative autonomy, an office on the lot and the studio barman knowing how to mix your Martini. In the heady, revolutionary days of the ’60s and ’70s, a devil-may-care attitude, radical new stories to tell, and ideally a beard of some description might have marked you out as the hipster’s auteur of choice. Times have changed, though. The moviemaking world has fewer boundaries, more entry points and finally, slowly but surely, more hunger to share stories by women and people of colour.  There’s a long way to go but we wanted to celebrate a time of gradual change by singling out the filmmakers who are genuinely moving the dial. The ones swinging for the fences in their choice of material and the way they’re bringing it to the screen. They’re not all new names – you’ll find some old stalwarts on here – but they all have in common a restless urge to do something different, exciting, bold. They come from across the planet and reflect all genres, and every kind of movie and moviemaking style. To take it a step further, we’ve asked a few of them – Rian Johnson, Barry Jenkins and Lynne Ramsay, among others – to share what makes them tick as movie lovers: the scenes that make them laugh hardest, the cinemas they stan for, the cities that inspire them, and the movies that have left them cowering in the back row. Even the posters that they had up on their bedroom walls growing up. Turns out that a lo

Spencer, la película basada en la vida de Diana, princesa de Gales

Spencer, la película basada en la vida de Diana, princesa de Gales

⭑⭑⭑⭑✩ Hacer una película de autor basada en un ícono tan profunda y emocionalmente consagrado en la imaginación del público como la princesa Diana requiere ingenio. Afortunadamente, el director chileno, Pablo Larraín, tiene esa cualidad con creces. Utiliza los hechos conocidos sobre la Princesa del Pueblo de cabello emplumado y voz entrecortada, y algunos imaginarios, para hacer girar una visión de la vida singular, barroca y con matices psicológicos dentro de una jaula dorada, habilitada por una actuación virtuosa de Kristen Stewart. "Son sólo tres días", murmura mientras conduce para pasar la víspera de Navidad, el día de Navidad y el día de San Esteban en Sandringham con los suegros. Se infiere rápidamente que la aventura de Charles con Camilla está en marcha, al igual que la bulimia de Diana y su condición de perseguida con obsesión por los paparazzi. Estos problemas psicológicos la marcan como un lastre en un entorno donde lo importante es no armar nunca un escándalo. Al igual que hizo en el retrato de 2016 de una Primera Dama igualmente icónica, Jackie, Larraín no escatima en gastos para hacer que la propiedad real tenga un esplendor ornamentado que raya en el gótico. Un retrato de Enrique VIII en el comedor sirve como recordatorio de quién, y qué, se considera digno de adoración en este mundo. Stewart es extraordinaria al conjurar una forma enrarecida de energía neurótica. Es una mujer moderna y complaciente con la gente, madre y esposa despreciada, y para colmo, ha c

Céline Sciamma: ‘Kids were like half-citizens during the pandemic’

Céline Sciamma: ‘Kids were like half-citizens during the pandemic’

Portrait of a Lady on Fire catapulted French director Céline Sciamma into a new dimension of recognition. She has been making gorgeous emotional character studies with queer themes since her 2007 debut feature Water Lilies. Yet the power of the 18th century lesbian romance caused awards to rain down, including the Best Screenplay and the Queer Palm at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.  Petite Maman is a disarmingly modest next step. It is a domestic miniature driven by captivating performances from 9-year-old twins Josephine and Gabrielle Sanz. Nelly (Josephine Sanz) is trying to understand mother Marion’s unhappiness after the death of her own mother. In the woods surrounding Marion’s childhood home, she meets a young girl who looks exactly like her (Gabrielle Sanz). As they play together, delicate emotions seep out. We spoke to Sciamma about the ethics of working with child actors, how Portrait of a Lady on Fire changed her life and her work on Jacques Audiard’s forthcoming romantic drama Paris, 13th District. What was the inspiration for this tender and beautiful domestic story?‘This image popped up into my mind about five years ago of two little girls building a tree hut in the woods. I was like: “One is the mother and one is the daughter,” and this image felt both peaceful and troubling. I wrote it very, very fast because I had a lot of desire for it.’ Photograph: © Lilies Films How did you get such mature and self possessed performances out of the nine-year-old twins, Jo

Emerald Fennell: ‘Villains are fun but rare. Showing weakness is more interesting’

Emerald Fennell: ‘Villains are fun but rare. Showing weakness is more interesting’

The week before the shoot began on Emerald Fennell’s filmmaking debut, Promising Young Woman, its London-born writer-director received a home-movie clip from her mum of herself aged seven. ‘She was asking me what I’d like to do when I grow up. I said, ‘‘‘I want to be an actress and write stories about murder!’’’ ‘Stories about murder’ is a fair summation of Killing Eve, the Emmy-winning assassin drama, whose second season Fennell wrote, while her stature as an actress has grown with credits on Call The Midwife, Albert Nobbs and Vita & Virginia. She is best known as Camilla Parker-Bowles on The Crown, a role she imbues with perky entitlement. For all these creative strings to her bow – not forgetting children’s book author – the new one of ‘director’ means the most. ‘It’s the pinnacle for me,’ she says. How painful, then, to have theatrical release held in suspended animation. Pre-pandemic, Promising Young Woman was to be out in UK cinemas for April 2020. This was pushed back to December, and now, finally, April 2021. ‘The thing I am very sad about is that, even though some people will be able to see it in theatres, the likelihood is most won’t,’ says Fennell, ‘and it’s a film I made specifically to be watched communally.’ My mum asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up. I said, ‘I want to be an actress and write stories about murder!’ The communal elements come from reservoirs of emotion running beneath the surface of this rape-revenge film, as it builds to a finale of ove

Prometo volver

Prometo volver

⭑⭑⭑⭑✩ Proxima es el nombre de una estrella brillante que está a 4.2 años luz de la Tierra. También, es el nombre de la Estación Espacial Internacional que transportará a la francesa Sarah (Eva Green), el estadounidense Mike (Matt Dillon) y el ruso Anton (Aleksey Fateev), en una misión a Marte que durará un año. Será la primera vez que Sarah estará en el espacio. Su expareja aprovecha la gravedad y toma la custodia de su hija de ocho años, Stella (Zélie Boulant), y su mascota, una gata llamada Laika, mudándose a Alemania. Los diálogos son una mezcla de francés, inglés, alemán y ruso en un ámbito políglota, una característica de las películas de la directora Alice Winocour. Ella crea un vínculo entre las naciones, entre los planetas y entre las normas domésticas. Los espectadores se quedarán esperando los espectáculos de ciencia ficción similares a la secuencia de luces de color en 2001: Odisea en el espacio (Stanley Kubrick) o el vacío infinito de Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón). Prometo volver sucede en la Tierra y hace una crónica de las intensas preparaciones fiscales requeridas a los astronautas antes del despegue. El rodaje fue en los centros de formación reales: el Centro Europeo de Astronautas (EAC) de Colonia, Star City, Moscú y el Cosmódromo de Baikonur en Kazajstán. Cada día trae un régimen riguroso, mientras vemos a Sarah cuando está corriendo en una caminadora, haciendo tareas con tiempo limitado submarinas y girando por un brazo electrónico y gigante. Para el montaje con

Wholesome things to do in London

Wholesome things to do in London

It’s hard to make time for wholesome pleasures when the city exerts a relentless pressure to be productive, but you have to! Everything is riding on your capacity to feel alive. When you’re overwhelmed by work, social life can mean saying ‘yes’ to the pub, or a party, or whatever-it-is lubricated by booze. Over-drinking doesn’t always spell drama; it does cause tiredness. So how can we tap into London’s more energising riches? My goal here was to track down pursuits that could slot into a routine without too much fuss or expense. Whittled down from a long list, these all left an afterglow of pure joy and made me feel that maybe, just maybe, life is good?

‘Animals’ stars Holliday Grainger and Alia Shawkat on freedom and friendship

‘Animals’ stars Holliday Grainger and Alia Shawkat on freedom and friendship

Dubbed ‘“Withnail and I” with girls’ by Caitlin Moran, Emma Jane Unsworth’s novel ‘Animals’ was published in 2014. Now she has adapted it for a film directed by Sophie Hyde (‘52 Tuesdays’) featuring Alia Shawkat as debonair rebel Tyler and Holliday Grainger as sidetracked writer Laura. Powered by MDMA (smashed-up cola Chupa Chups), cocaine (icing sugar) and gallons of white wine (apple juice), their combined energy captures the euphoria of wild nights out in Dublin, the repetitive nature of a lifestyle of coming up and coming down, and the private desires that can drive even the closest friends apart. This is a two-hander friend romance carried by your shared energy. As actors, do you know when you’re nailing that rapport? Holliday Grainger: ‘You hope to. You can feel it if it feels fake, but I put a lot of my trust in Sophie, to be honest. It is difficult to bring that night-time energy when it’s 6am on a film set.’Alia Shawkat: ‘You have to be present in each moment, then hope it all comes together. But it’s as much a surprise to us as anybody.’ ‘I think that by being vulnerable you're able to be braver than by analysing something.’ ‘Animals’ is about two friends trying to be free in different ways. Is it possible to be free as a woman while craving a traditional relationship? HG: ‘Freedom is a state of mind and it’s up to you to make sure that you keep that, and that the people around you know you need it. Of course, there are responsibilities that come with having a famil

Is this AI the future of filmmaking?

Is this AI the future of filmmaking?

Struggling with his latest screenplay, filmmaker Oscar Sharp took a leftfield approach to solving his writer’s block: he co-created an AI to do the writing for him. The Brit had moved to LA to cut his teeth as a Hollywood screenwriter in 2016, only to fall into a depressed funk. At a low ebb, he heard from a friend, ‘tech-wizard’ Ross Goodwin, who’d pioneered a machine – then known as ‘Jetson’ – that could write poetry. Could it turn out a script too, Sharp wondered? The pair fed it hundreds of science-fiction scripts, including ‘Alien’, ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, turning the screenplay that emerged into a nine-minute short called ‘Sunspring’. It debuted at the Sci-Fi London film festival, with ‘Jetson’ surprising audience members during a Q&A by spontaneously announcing that its name was actually Benjamin. ‘Machines desperately need us to connect with each other emotionally in order to exist’ Benjamin, née Jetson, is a computer code that operates a bit like your phone’s predictive text. To start writing, it needs ‘seed data’: a first few words to set it going. From there, it comes up with letter-by-letter guesses informed by the most commonly used letter formations in the input data. Sharp and Goodwin could increase the randomness of these guesses by ‘turning up the temperature’ of Benjamin’s output code. So what’s it like watching a film written by Benjamin? Two minutes into ‘Sunspring’ my brain starts to ache from the effort of trying to make sense of dial

Listings and reviews (23)

Abigail

Abigail

4 out of 5 stars

Tchaikovsky’s ballet ‘Swan Lake’ opens with soft-lapping melodies, before building to several great crashing crescendos. And so it is with Ready or Not pair Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett’s raucously entertaining, ballet-themed gorefest. Abigail is a vampire film that pirouettes over your funny bone while sinking its teeth into your neck… over and over again. Six testy individuals stake-out a 12-year-old girl as she’s driven home from ballet practice. They drug and kidnap little Abigail (still in her tutu) and zip her into a bag during a set-piece that’s too slick to be tense. Then it’s off to the creepy isolated mansion where the rest of the film unfolds.  ‘No real names, no back stories, no grab ass,’ says Giancarlo Esposito, their de facto leader, as he welcomes the crew and hands each of them a fake name. But our watchful heroine ‘Joey’ (Melissa Barrera) is able to read the back stories on her co-conspirators: these are cocky bent cop ‘Frank’ (Dan Stevens), stern military man ‘Rickles’ (William Catlett), corrupt meathead ‘Peter’ (Kevin Durand), hacker princess ‘Sammy’ (Kathryn Newton), and walking shambles Dean, played by the late Angus Cloud (the film is dedicated to his memory). All they need to do is guard Abigail (Matilda the Musical’s Alisha Weir) for 24 hours until her father pays a ransom and they get $7 million richer. Sounds simple, right? It’s a gory horror that creates a genre we never knew we needed From there, the pace picks up and bloody-but-mysteri

Someone’s Daughter, Someone’s Son

Someone’s Daughter, Someone’s Son

4 out of 5 stars

As the title indicates, Someone’s Daughter, Someone’s Son wears its heart on its sleeve. It’s a passionate documentary that asks whether we see our homeless population as worthy of equal rights – and whether we even see them in the first place. ‘When we think of homeless people, we think of them as “other”, “them”, “not us”. It could never happen to us, could it?,’ says the narrator over a scratchy home video of a little girl’s birthday party in 1989. Moments later we learn that the little girl ran away from home at the age of 14.  What the little girl went through before she became the filmmaker, Lorna Tucker, sets the vulnerable tone of a documentary that draws its soul from the stories of former and current homeless people in the UK. Darren, Emma and Laura in London. Jamie in Edinburgh. Earl in South Shields.  Without pushing an angle too hard, Tucker shows a pattern of young people fleeing domestic violence and families riven with substance abuse. By giving space to her interviewees, she deepens our superficial understanding of the problems and solutions involved. Emma and Laura in London say that they feel safer sleeping on the streets than in a hostel, even though there are a dangerous couple of nocturnal hours between partygoers going home and day workers heading out.  As the title hints, this passionate doc wears its heart on its sleeve A distinction is made between the policy of rushing people into temporary housing to cosmetically reduce homeless numbers, and genui

Hoard

Hoard

4 out of 5 stars

It’s strange that something as messy as human intimacy is so frequently sanitised on screen, to the point that when a film marinates in the muck of a very particular love language, this rancidity is a breath of fresh air. Luna Carmoon’s debut feature about the daughter of a hoarder comes home bearing prizes, after premiering at the Venice Film Festival, announcing a young British talent capable of blending realism with surrealism to create a vivid personal language that defies simple interpretations. The first of two timelines belongs to Hayley Squires’ (I, Daniel Blake) compelling whirlwind Cynthia who pushes the phrase ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ to its teetering endpoint. She’s a caring-yet-manic mother who drills young Maria (Lily-Beau Leach) to bring home debris in her lunchbox. The duo’s prime bonding activity is dumpster diving. Maria panics that their love will run out without the fuel of new additions to their ‘catalogue of love’.   Carmoon creates a clashing sensibility by infusing their trash jungle with wonder, as fairy lights twinkle and the sound design drums up the conspiratorial cosiness of a folie à deux. There is something of a The Florida Project-upon-south-London to the depiction of a flawed single mother with the energy to make her child deliriously happy.  But this does not last. Cut to 18-year-old Maria (Saura Lightfoot Leon) living with a kind, conventional foster mother (Samantha Spiro) in a house that in the absence of remarkable feat

Brother

Brother

3 out of 5 stars

There’s a gravitas to Canadian filmmaker Clement Virgo’s handsome yet patchy drama about racially-charged desperation in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough. Told episodically through the eyes of adult Michael (Lamar Johnson), whose flashbacks slowly reveal why protective older brother, Francis (Aaron Pierre), is no longer around, Brother is adapted from David Chariandy’s 2017 prize-winning novel about the sons of Caribbean immigrants and their all-elusive better life.  The film chops between three different timelines, showing Michael and Francis as young kids grappling with an absent father and news reports of bloodshed close to the apartment block where they live with a barely present, overworked mother, Ruth (Marsha Stephanie Blake). The meat of the story unfolds across the brothers’ precarious teen years, as their contrasting personalities are formed – Michael, timid; Francis, confrontational – under the twin shadows of encroaching gang violence and humiliating police surveillance (sirens are heard so regularly that they might as well be part of the sound design). In the final timeline, a decade later, Michael and a catatonic Ruth navigate loss.  Although he retains the sweep of the novel, Virgo struggles to replicate its observational texture and the tension is undone by an atmospheric vagueness, full of pregnant pauses that only stretch out the run-time. The influence of Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight is felt in a gliding camera that strives to find low-lit beauty in muted spac

La Chimera

La Chimera

4 out of 5 stars

Italian social realism heightened by myth and magic is a subgenre that has become Alice Rohrwacher’s stock in trade. For the first time, her leading man is English as Josh O’Connor switches Prince Charles’s finery in The Crown for a dirty cream suit to play Arthur, the wandering soul at the heart of her most emotionally wrought film to date. La Chimera, true to its title, is a hybrid beast that merges the earthly with the ethereal, illuminating the criminalised archaeological digs of the working class ‘tombaroli’ in 1980s Umbria while immersing us in the mental state of a man on the brink. Arthur has a unique form of a genius. Armed with a divining rod he can identify the precise spots where Etruscan artefacts lie buried. These are excavated, in one case involving a tomb that leaves Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in the dust. They are then sold onto a shady art dealer whose respectable front means that Arthur and his band of merry tombalari are the ones shouldering all of the risks.  In fact, we meet Arthur on the other side of jail time, as he takes the train to Tuscany. Cinematographer Hélène Louvart uses beautiful bleached colours and a vignetted frame to create the nostalgia of a postcard from a lost time. We are introduced in flashback to Beniamina, an old flame whose fate is a mystery but whose memory still burns brightly for Arthur.  O’Connor is sublime, alternately charming and aggressive, and indifferent to reactions to his volatile behaviour. Local girls flirt

Pacifiction

Pacifiction

4 out of 5 stars

Why is there always trouble in paradise? In Spanish director Albert Serra’s fictional present-day Polynesian idyll, a threat sneaks up between waves of dreamlike images.  French high commissioner to Tahiti, De Roller (The Piano Teacher’s Benoît Magimel), moves through political and social spaces with the aesthetic of an off-duty rock star in his tinted glasses, hawaiian shirts and cream suit. He’s a big fish in a small pond, at least until rumours about a resumption of nuclear testing begin to spread. It’s quickly obvious that, in contrast with the French military, he’s actually a small fish. Subtle observations about different shades of colonial power infuse what is – above all else – a strikingly gorgeous film. De Roller is taken out to sea for an extraordinary business meeting in a place where 50-foot waves climb the widescreen frame. Plot is forgotten. Character is forgotten. The roaring, white-tipped azure ocean is all that matters. This scene is a serene outlier, as political intrigue sneaks in via het-up conversations with stressed locals. Magimel gives De Roller a poise that slowly comes undone once he sees that he is further from the seat of power than he’d previously imagined. It’s a strikingly gorgeous film, full of long and naturalistic takes His closest confidante is transgender hospitality worker Shannah (Pahoa Mahagafanau, a megawatt discovery with no prior credits). Mahagafanau is consistently captivating, exuding a grace that is all the more palpable amid the

Men

Men

2 out of 5 stars

Why is the grass around the English country house where Harper (Jessie Buckley) comes to stay after the death of her ex-husband (Paapa Essiedu) a hallucinogenic shade of chartreuse? No reason, except for aesthetic shock value. Overly-produced, emotionally empty images dominate a film that makes broad gestures towards the subject of toxic masculinity, while failing to land a single point in meaningful detail.  Buckley is an all-in performer and her grounding presence enables Men’s promise to linger for the first act. She humours her temporary landlord, Geoffrey (Rory Kinnear), an affable country posho whose odd comments are framed as somehow loaded. In the time-honoured fashion of folk horrors like The Wicker Man, exploring the local countryside reveals Strange Goings On – not least a satyr-like nude in the corner of a field. Harper notices him, but does not notice that every single man and boy in the village has the same face. That face belongs to Rory Kinnear, pulling off enough roles to rival Alec Guinness in Kind Hearts and Coronets, Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove, or, if you want to get really granular, Dick Van Dyke in the ‘Inheritance Death’ episode of Diagnosis Murder. This casting choice, though entertaining, scans like a cheap gimmick. As a bloody spectacle, it’s absurdly kitsch rather than exhilarating Garland builds expectations by creating a suggestive atmosphere that, as the horror and home-invasion elements kick in, leads to an anticlimax. Harper’s traumatic b

Spencer

Spencer

4 out of 5 stars

Making an arthouse film based on an icon as deeply and emotionally enshrined in the public imagination as Princess Diana takes ingenuity. Fortunately, Chilean director, Pablo Larraín, has that quality in spades. He uses the known facts about the feathered-haired, breathy-voiced People’s Princess – and a few imagined ones – to spin a singular, baroque and psychologically-nuanced vision of life inside a gilded cage, enabled by a virtuoso performance by Kristen Stewart. ‘It’s just three days,’ she murmurs as she drives up to spend Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day in Sandringham with the in-laws. It is quickly inferred that Charles’s affair with Camilla is well underway, as is Diana’s bulimia and her hunted status as a paparazzi obsession. These psychological troubles mark her as a liability in an environment where the important thing is to never make a fuss.Just as he did in 2016’s portrait of an equally iconic First Lady, Jackie, Larraín spares no expense to render the royal estate in an ornate splendour that verges on the gothic. A portrait of Henry VIII in the dining room serves as a reminder of who – and what – is deemed worthy of worship in this world.  Stewart is extraordinary at conjuring up a rarefied form of neurotic energy. She is a modern woman and a people-pleaser, a mother and a spurned wife, and to top it off she’s begun to hallucinate Anne Boleyn. A member of the palace staff (a gaunt Timothy Spall) is deputised to coldly monitor her every move, interfe

Spencer

Spencer

4 out of 5 stars

No es fácil hacer una película de autor sobre un icono tan profundamente arraigado en el imaginario popular como la princesa Diana, pero Pablo Larraín tiene calidad de sobra para enfrentarse al reto. Utiliza algunos hechos conocidos –y otros imaginados– para confeccionar una visión singular, barroca y matizadamente psicológica de la vida en una jaula dorada de Lady Di, con una virtuosa interpretación de Kristen Stewart. Como hizo en el retrato de una primera dama igualmente icónica, 'Jackie' (2016), Larraín no escatima recursos para rodear a la familia real en un esplendor que roza el gótico. Es una película extraordinaria a la hora de conjurar un ambiente enrarecido por la neurosis, y además lo hace detallando los factores que contribuyeron al frágil estado mental de Diana (como la fría monitorización de cada pequeño movimiento suyo). Y es que a Larraín no le interesa el biopic, sino mostrar cómo el deseo de ser una princesa rica y bonita se convierte en una pesadilla, algo que 'Spencer' consigue con un tono claustrofóbico y decadente. Estreno el 19 de noviembre.

Spencer

Spencer

4 out of 5 stars

No és fàcil fer una pel·lícula d’autor sobre una icona tan profundament arrelada en l’imaginari popular com la princesa Diana, però Pablo Larraín té qualitat de sobres per enfrontar-se al repte. Utilitza alguns fets coneguts –i altres d’imaginats– per confegir una visió singular, barroca i matisadament psicològica de la vida en una gàbia daurada de Lady Di, amb una virtuosa interpretació de Kristen Stewart. Com va fer en el retrat d’una primera dama igualment icònica, 'Jackie' (2016), Larraín no escatima recursos per envoltar la família reial en una esplendor que frega el gòtic. És una pel·lícula extraordinària a l’hora de conjurar un ambient enrarit per la neurosi, i a més ho fa detallant els factors que van contribuir al fràgil estat mental de Diana (com ara la freda monitorització de cada petit moviment seu). I és que a Larraín no li interessa el biopic, sinó mostrar com el desig de ser una princesa rica i bonica es converteix en un malson, cosa que 'Spencer' aconsegueix amb un to claustrofòbic i decadent. Estrena el 19 de novembre.

The Last Letter From Your Lover

The Last Letter From Your Lover

3 out of 5 stars

Shailene Woodley has such raw intensity as a performer that she shows up any tired elements of a film production, just as silk shows up polyester. As Jennifer, the amnesiac romantic heroine, in Augustine Frizzell’s adaptation of the Jojo Moyes’s 2012 novel The Last Letter From Your Lover, Woodley works as a double-edged sword, lifting every moment that she’s on screen while making the clichés in operation seem extra dull. The story works across three timelines. In London, 1965, Jennifer returns from hospital after a car crash to live with husband Lawrence (Joe Alwyn). She has no memory of anyone or anything until passionate love letters hidden around the house prompt her to piece things back together.  Cue the next timeline: an open-top car takes coastal roads as Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood’s Summer Wine plays. Lawrence has whisked Jennifer off to the French Riviera, only to be called away by work. Happily, journalist Anthony (Callum Turner) is there to keep her company. The fantastical concept of being marooned in paradise with an attractive stranger is played for all its worth. Amid lush period costumes, the chemistry between Woodley and Turner proceeds with gratifying slowness, each step down an irreversible path measured and counted. In the third timeline – present-day London – Ellie (Felicity Jones, the only actress who can get away with saying ‘Holy moly!’) is a newly single journalist at the fictional The London Chronicle who stumbles upon an old love letter. Aided

Proxima

Proxima

4 out of 5 stars

Proxima is the name of a flare star 4.2 light years away from Earth. It is also the name of the International Space Station that will transport French astronaut Sarah (Eva Green), American astronaut Mike (Matt Dillon) and Russian astronaut Anton (Aleksey Fateev) on a year-long mission to Mars. This will be Sarah’s first time in space. Her ex appreciates the gravity of this opportunity and takes custody of their eight-year-old daughter Stella (Zélie Boulant) and pet cat Laika, installing them in his German home. Dialogue slips between French, English, German and Russian in the multilingual realm that is Alice Winocour’s third feature as director. Hers is a space between nations, between planets and between domestic norms. Viewers expecting sci-fi spectacles akin to the coloured-light sequence in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey or the infinite void in Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity will be in for a surprise. Proxima plays out on Earth, chronicling the physically intense preparations required of astronauts ahead of lift-off. Filming took place in real training facilities: the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Star City in Moscow and the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.  Each day brings a gruelling regime, as we watch Sarah running on a horizontal treadmill, performing time-pressure tasks underwater and being swung around by a giant electronic arm. Spicing up what feels like a meditative training montage are the emotional stakes of the mother-daughter relationship, and th