Film, Romance

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Interview: Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero of The Room

25 Feb 2014

The two filmmakers discuss their so-bad-it's-good movie and Sestero's book, The Disaster Artist

When I meet Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero, I am woefully under-prepared. I’d come along to tonight’s screening of The Room – part of the Cameo Cinema’s centenary celebrations – as a paying punter, expecting to witness a bit of Tommy’s madness on-stage…

A New York Winter’s Tale

24 Feb 20142 stars

Colin Farrell and Russell Crowe star in a fantasy-romance overburdened with mawkish sentimentality

Akiva Goldsman, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of A Beautiful Mind, makes his keenly anticipated directorial debut with an adaptation he also penned of Mark Helprin’s popular fantasy novel but for all of its lofty ambitions, A New York Winter’s Tale…

Mood Indigo

24 Feb 20142 stars

Michel Gondry's latest effort is a chaotic mess overflowing with unexplained ideas

Adapted from a novel by French writer Boris Vian, Michel Gondry's return to France after the bloated Hollywood excess of The Green Hornet is a bittersweet love story overburdened by directorial tricks. There's a delicate romance buried within, but…

Interview: film director Alain Guiraudie discusses Stranger by the Lake

14 Feb 2014

The film is a provocative tale of love, passion and treachery set against a gay cruising area

His name may not be as familiar as his two openly gay French director colleagues François Ozon and André Téchiné, but Alain Guiraudie is emerging from the shadows thanks to Stranger by the Lake. His provocative tale of love, passion and treachery set…

Only Lovers Left Alive

14 Feb 20144 stars

Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston star in Jim Jarmusch's anti-vampire, vampire film

Jim Jarmusch has made a career out of subverting the norms of genre filmmaking – indeed, his work is a genre unto itself. After the divisive The Limits of Control, his latest film (which is best described as an anti-vampire vampire film) signals a…

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Love is in the Air

11 Feb 20143 stars

A fluffy French twist on a typical high concept Hollywood romantic comedy

True romance is marked by missed opportunities and second chances in Love is in the Air, a slick, fluffy French confection that slides down as easily as an extra helping of tarte tatin accompanied by a dollop of creme chantilly. It is a very French…

Endless Love

11 Feb 20142 stars

A by-the-numbers love story starring Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde

Franco Zeffirelli's original 1981 film Endless Love (itself based on Scott Spencer's 1979 novel) was notable for featuring a very young Tom Cruise in a minor role as an arsonist. Shana Feste's remake, however, struggles to be notable for anything at…

George MacKay celebrated sex scene with hug

10 Feb 2014

Film gossip

George MacKay and his 'How I Live Now' co-star and crew celebrated filming their first sex scene with a hug. The 21-year-old actor stars as Eddie who falls in love with Daisy (Saoirse Ronan) in 2013's drama, and although it wasn't awkward filming the…

Interview: Director Spike Jonze on the Oscar-nominated Her

21 Jan 2014

The former music video maker discusses techno-romance and replacing Samantha Morton

At 44, he may be approaching middle age, but there’s still something unspeakably cool about Spike Jonze. In his teens, he was photographing skateboarders and BMX bikers. In his twenties, he was making landmark music videos like the Beastie Boys…

Cuban Fury

16 Jan 20143 stars

Nick Frost, Chris O'Dowd and Rashida Jones star in lightweight salsa dancing romcom

If it didn’t sound like a totally awful poster quote, Cuban Fury might be billed as ‘From half the team that brought you Shaun of the Dead’. Conceived by and starring Nick Frost, it’s produced by Nira Park, the woman behind all of Frost’s collaborations…

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Her

16 Jan 20144 stars

Spike Jonze's 'sci-fi romance' is thoughtful, tender and bristles with invention

After his disappointing adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are, Spike Jonze returns in blazing form with the beguiling Her. Already being dubbed as a sci-fi/ romance, such simplification barely does justice to a story that feels both forward-looking…

Labor Day

16 Jan 20142 stars

An unintentionally hilarious melodrama starring Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet

Jason Reitman is the closest thing we have to a 21st century Billy Wilder with his fondness for sharply written, tart tasting explorations of modern mores. Juno and Up in the Air proved that there is still intelligent life at work in American comedy.

Opinion: Blue is the Warmest Colour is great on love, bad on lesbian sex

7 Nov 2013

Director Abdellatif Kechiche says that 'love is cosmic', but his film fails to convey queer nuances

‘There’s a banality to how a lot of directors represent female bodies and female pleasure, partly because they borrow from the industrial handbook of male-oriented pornography,’ wrote Manohla Dargis in The New York Times, after viewing Blue Is The…

The Broken Circle Breakdown

16 Oct 20134 stars

Felix Van Groeningen's visual feast of a film shows all the colours of love

Like a kaleidoscope of human experience shifting from images of joy to those of sorrow, The Broken Circle Breakdown dazzles as it draws you in. It's a poetic, sometimes devastating tale of love and loss set to a soundtrack of Belgian bluegrass. On paper…

Le Week-End - a recommendation from Visible Fictions' Douglas Irvine

15 Oct 2013

The artistic director of the kids' theatre urges you to see the Jim Broadbent-starring romcom

I create a lot of work for younger audiences – maybe this is the reason I’m so excited to see Hanif Kureshi and Roger Michell’s latest cinematic collaboration, Le Week-End. Starring the brilliant Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan, this tale of a…

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Enough Said

14 Oct 20134 stars

A heart-warming and frequently hilarious romcom starring James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus

The late James Gandolfini had rare charm as an actor – to such an extent that in The Sopranos he turned a violent sociopath into one of the most compelling and likeable characters on television. Gandolfini was seldom used well on film so it’s wonderful…

Romeo and Juliet

14 Oct 20132 stars

Carlo Carlei's take on Shakespeare's much-told tale is far too reverent to the source material

Shakespeare’s classic story of star-crosssed lovers arrives in our cinemas thanks to co-production company Swarovski, and the results have the same ring of bling to them. This film puts the Bard behind glass; there’s lots of dazzle in the earrings…

The To Do List

4 Oct 20133 stars

Aubrey Plaza stars in Maggie Carey's unconventional and original teen sex comedy

It’s refreshing to see a teen sex comedy unfold from a female perspective, even if it’s slutty, potty-mouthed and often mean-spirited. But then much of the appeal of Maggie Carey’s The To Do List lies in the way that it flies in the face of convention…

Kelly + Victor

25 Sep 20132 stars

A dark and brooding tale of obsessive love scuppered by shallow writing and a fragmented structure

A dark and brooding tale of obsessive love, Kieran Evans’ take on Niall Griffiths’ novel might just as easily be dubbed Last Tango in Liverpool. This Merseyside-set story begins as Victor (Julian Morris), out celebrating his 28th birthday at a…

Diana

20 Sep 20131 star

A shambolic and hugely speculative look at one of the love affairs of the Princess of Wales

The producers of Diana would have us believe that their film offers a compelling and compassionate portrait of the Princess of Wales during the final two years of her life. What emerges instead is a shambolic and hugely speculative look at one of her…

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The Film Formula: About Time

5 Sep 2013

We analyse the familiar elements in Richard Curtis' time travel romcom

Richard Curtis has made a career writing Richard Curtis Films, so it's no surprise to see About Time sharing some genetic material with the likes of Four Weddings and a Funeral. Bumbling Englishman (Domhnall Gleeson) falling for free-spirited American…

Profiles: Charlie Hunnam and Dakota Johnson, stars of Fifty Shades of Grey

3 Sep 2013

We measure up the two newly-announced stars of the 'mommy porn' adap against the roles they'll play

Name: Charlie Hunnam Born: Newcastle, England, 1980 (33 years old) You'll know him from... Robots vs aliens blockbuster Pacific Rim, in which he played the pilot of a ginormo-bot tasked with punching the ruddy daylights out of behemoid…

Upstream Colour: what on earth does it mean?

28 Aug 2013

Shane Carruth's alluring and enigmatic drama is pondered by three List film critics

WARNING: Major spoilers ahead

From Up on Poppy Hill

29 Jul 20133 stars

Studio Ghibli's latest is an oddly conceived animation that partners community spirit with incest

Studio Ghibli have never played it safe by churning out sequels and remakes; instead they have chosen to push boundaries, notably with 1988’s groundbreaking Grave of the Fireflies, which stunningly depicted the lingering last few days of two children…

Paris-Manhattan

16 Jul 20133 stars

A fluffy French romance about a woman obsessed with Woody Allen

By his own high standards, Woody Allen may only have made one great film (Midnight in Paris) this century, but his cinematic and literary output is well worth celebrating. That said, there’s something almost creepy about the slavish devotion to Allen…