Money Monster

George Clooney and Jack O'Connell in Money Monster  copyright TriStar Pictures 2016


Director: Jodie Foster           

Screenplay: Jamie Linden and Alan DiFiore & Jim Kouf

Stars: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O’Connell

Rating: * * * (out of 5)


Fast, slick, enjoyable – and resonant with you for about as long as yesterday’s stock market movements, Money Monster has the mainstream box-office in its sights as much as it’s targeting the 1%. Jack O’Connell’s financially stiffed blue-collar drone is as mad as hell at George Clooney’s shyster TV pundit, so takes him hostage and straps an explosive vest to Clooney’s designer suit, while Clooney’s producer and Jiminy Cricket-esque conscience Julia Roberts has to keep the show on the air. Clooney’s a fool, sure, but he’s a side-shoal to the real vampire squid squeezing us dry and before you can say Stockholm Syndrome, our impromptu studio co-hosts are out to unmask the real villains, embodied by Dominic West’s grinning CEO.

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American Honey

Sasha Lane in American Honey


Director: Andrea Arnold

Stars: Sasha Lane, Shia LeBeouf, Riley Keough, Arielle Holmes

Rating: * * * ½ (out of 5)


A hypnotic state-of-the-underclass-nation address by a great British director who dares to delve into the underbelly of American society that its own filmmakers rarely probe: it’s surely hyperbolic to call American Honey the dread-headed stepchild of The Grapes of Wrath and Spring Breakers, but Andrea Arnold certainly feels like she’s shooting for something that all-encompassing and sensory-overloading here, in her tale of a feral pack of disadvantaged kids on the road selling magazine subscriptions. Arnold’s heroine Star (knockout debutant Sasha Lane, who recalls a mix of Lisa Bonet’s fragility and Michelle Rodriguez’s fight) is a clear transatlantic trailer trash cousin – though lacking even a trailer – to Fish Tank’s council estate Mia, complete with broken home life and dependent younger tots, yearning for a way out. She finds it when she escapes to join Jake (Shia LaBeouf, seizing the chance to channel his more outré leanings) and Krystal (Riley Keough)’s ragtag troupe of outcast; though the cost of independence days and the intoxication of young love comes at a steep price.

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Sebastian Schipper – Victoria / DAZED

Victoria (Curzon Artificial Eye)

Shooting an entire thriller movie in one take: director Sebastian Schipper on his bank robbery thriller film Victoria.


“One city. One night. One take.” If the high-concept tagline for acclaimed new German thriller Victoria is quick and punchy, then all the greater to contrast the extended, torturous logistics of shooting a 138-minute film in one continuous shot. Yet that’s the feat director Sebastian Schipper’s team have dazzled audiences with since the film debuted last year – and no wonder.
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The Weinstein Company 'For Your Consideration' Trade Ad for 'Carol'


Every movie awards season, the barrage of industry trade ads trying to solicit votes – sometimes for baffling causes – is coded by three simple, seemingly nonchalant words:


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Curzon Film Magazine – Youth


Michael Caine excels in Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth.


A quick glimpse at the protagonist of Paolo Sorrentino’s latest film, Youth – an older gentleman with neatly slicked back hair, dapper tailoring and thick-rimmed glasses – and you’d be forgiven for assuming the Italian filmmaker’s habitual muse, the great Neapolitan actor Toni Servillo (star of four Sorrentino features, including The Consequences of Time (2004) and Oscar-winning The Great Beauty (2013)), is once again his leading man. Read more

The Hateful Eight

Kurt Russell and Samuel L. Jackson in The Hateful Eight


Director-Screenwriter: Quentin Tarantino

Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins

Rating: * 1/2 (out of 5)


Well, we can’t say we weren’t forewarned. The eighth film by Quentin Tarantino, as he himself proudly bills it in the opening credits, is as hateful a movie experience as I can remember. Read more

Shadowboxing – The Making of Raging Bull

Robert DeNiro in Raging Bull

It’s the best boxing movie ever made. It’s possibly the best movie ever made. 25 years after creating a legend, Leigh Singer asks how a punch-drunk Martin Scorsese, backed by Robert De Niro, got off the canvas to deliver the knockout of Raging Bull.


Labor Day, September 1978: Martin Scorsese is too sick to work, let alone celebrate the public holiday. Hospitalised after blacking out, he’s bleeding, by several accounts, from every orifice. Internally, too. Officially, a dangerous cocktail of Read more

5 Visual Themes in Wings of Desire / BFI

Wings of Desire (1987)
Credit: © Wim Wenders Stiftung 2014

Five visual themes in Wings of Desire – Wim Wenders’ immortal film about watching

It’s been voted the second best film of the 1980s, but what makes Wim Wenders’ fantasy about two angels observing life in Berlin still so resonant today? These five extracts give a clue to the film’s enduring richness.


Few modern films have made the transition to instant classic as quickly as Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire (1987). His tale of a guardian angel in a still-Wall-divided Berlin who falls in love with – and to earth for – a melancholy trapeze artist is a canny merging of cerebral formal experimentalism and unabashed popular romanticism that swept up highbrow critics and a larger mainstream audience than did typical ‘challenging’ foreign-language cinema of the day (leading US film magazine Premiere’s 1980s wrap-up poll voted it second only to Raging Bull as film of the decade). Still a quintessential ‘arthouse’ film, its bold use of style (black-and-white, existential voiceover, languorous pacing) – and content (overt symbolism and culture blending, from Rilke-inspired poetry to Nick Cave’s post-punk anthems) fostered an appreciation, even a devotion that endures to this day. Read more

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