Film, Hannah McGill

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Interview: Carol Morley, ‘Mass hysterias tend to centre on the anxieties of their times’

2 Apr 2015

The director of Dreams of a Life talks about her new film, The Falling, starring Maisie Williams

Best known thus far for the dynamic and thought-provoking documentary Dreams of a Life, which examined how a once-popular young woman could die alone and lie forgotten for years, writer / director Carol Morley is now making waves with new fiction film…

Kidnapping Freddy Heineken

30 Mar 20152 stars

Anthony Hopkins distinguishes himself in an otherwise curdled caper

The true story of the 1983 kidnapping in the Netherlands of the chairman and heir of the Heineken brewing company, which resulted in the largest ransom ever paid for an individual, is told here in the language of the superficial, blokey caper movie.

Dior and I

23 Mar 20153 stars

Low-key, engaging documentary focusing on the iconic fashion house

There has been a small glut of fashion documentaries over recent years, and director Frédéric Tcheng has been involved with some of the best of them: he co-directed, wrote and edited the wonderful Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel, and co-edited…

Dark Summer

16 Mar 20153 stars

Paul Solet is at the helm of an intermittently scary but rather po-faced horror

A teen horror with an indie movie aesthetic and a self-consciously solemn vibe, Paul Solet's Dark Summer has promising elements at the outset: a distinctly creepy protagonist with whom it’s uncomfortable to have one’s sympathies aligned; and a pertinent…

Hinterland

23 Feb 20153 stars

Childhood friends are reunited in this sincere but uneventful debut

This British two-hander is prettily shot, credibly performed and sure of what it wants to achieve – though its particular aspirations won’t do much for viewers who prefer films in which stuff happens, or who have an aversion to post-adolescent…

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Noah Baumbach's While We’re Young opens Glasgow Film Festival 2015

9 Feb 2015

The director's films include The Squid and the Whale, Greenberg & Frances Ha

Born in Brooklyn to a novelist and a film critic, Noah Baumbach has a privileged intellectual’s squeamish loathing of privileged intellectuals: the characters in his films very often combine ample cerebral and creative gifts with an utter dearth of…

Love is All

9 Feb 20153 stars

Delightful, slightly rudderless documentary from the great Kim Longinotto

The noted British documentarian Kim Longinotto – director of Divorce Iranian Style and Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go, among many others – oversees one of those whirling carousels of dusted-off archive footage that serve to remind us what a busy and…

I Am Yours

26 Jan 20153 stars

Amrita Acharia excels in the feature debut of Norwegian director Iram Haq

Anchored by a splendid lead performance from Amrita Acharia, but a little directionless otherwise, this semi-autobiographical Norwegian drama from debut writer-director Iram Haq examines one young woman’s struggle to accommodate the pressures of single…

Q&A: Charlie Lyne on directing Beyond Clueless

16 Jan 2015

An homage to the glorious teen movies of the 90s

British film critic Charlie Lyne pays tribute to the teen movie, in particular its 1990s incarnation, with Beyond Clueless, an affectionate but determinedly anti-ironic appreciation. With reference to some 200 films, narration by actress and teen movie…

Guys and Dolls

15 Dec 20145 stars

Joseph L Mankiewicz’s musical starring Brando and Sinatra returns to the big screen

The gritty, gutsy, funny short stories of Damon Runyon form the basis for this most rousing and delightful of big studio musicals, which boasts Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, a smart script and some of the best screen songs ever. The setting is a…

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The Green Prince

8 Dec 20143 stars

Fascinating but flawed documentary focussing on an Israeli informant

‘The Green Prince’ was the codename used by Israel’s intelligence service for its most highly placed informant, Mosab Hassan Yousef, when he was passing information to them on Hamas’ activities during the Second Intifada. So, at least, runs Yousef’s own…

Eastern Boys

1 Dec 20144 stars

Morally complex, skilfully performed French thriller from Robin Campillo

A transgressive sexual connection gives way to a deeper, far more risky bond in this elegantly made and morally complex French thriller. Daniel (Olivier Rabourdin) initially solicits young Latvian immigrant Marek (Kirill Emelyanov) solely for sex...

Opinion: gender depiction in sci fi ahead of Teknowomen film season

11 Nov 2014

'Sex and sexual politics have often played a significant part in its mainstream manifestations'

Those of us who grew up in the 80s or 90s might reasonably have expected social friction about gender roles to be a matter for the history books by the unimaginably futuristic 21st century. Surely all that was going to be sorted out, along with world…

Leviathan

4 Nov 20145 stars

Exceptional, award-winning drama from Russian writer-director Andrey Zvyagintsev

First feted for his striking 2003 debut The Return, and celebrated since for The Banishment and Elena, Andrey Zvyagintsev is a director of heavyweight gifts, whose films are distinguished by both their visual beauty and their narrative ambition. This…

The Case Against 8

3 Nov 20143 stars

Elegant but unbalanced account of the fight against a controversial amendment

The eight of the title refers to Proposition 8, which would have added to California's Declaration of Rights the specification that marriage be permitted only between a man and a woman, and was ruled as unconstitutional in 2010. Ben Cotner and Ryan…

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Ghostbusters

27 Oct 20145 stars

This 30th anniversary reissue of Ivan Reitman's 1984 classic is most welcome

For many of us, the fact that Ghostbusters is in a position to have a 30th anniversary re-release is one of those chilling little reminders of how shockingly old we seem to have inadvertently become. For others, it may be a chance to experience in…

Violette

29 Sep 20144 stars

Martin Provost's sophisticated biopic stars Emmanuelle Devos as Violette Leduc

This elegant but deeply felt biopic charts the messy rise to counter-culture fame of French post-war novelist Violette Leduc, played by the always compelling Emmanuelle Devos. Whilst emerging from a wartime career as a black marketeer into writing…

Still the Enemy Within

29 Sep 20144 stars

Documentary on the miners' strike from Owen Gower illuminates a passionately fought conflict

An interesting companion piece to the acclaimed comedy Pride, providing pertinent social history in the context of current debates about privilege, representation and poverty in modern Britain, Still the Enemy Within is a thorough account of the 1984-5…

You and the Night

29 Sep 20143 stars

Eric Cantona and Béatrice Dalle star in an oddly lovable orgy dramedy

Looking for the orgy? You’ll find it up Fassbinder Street, left at Almodóvar Corner, on the corner of Pierre et Gilles. Be sure to wear your eye-patch or maid’s uniform, and to bring a poignant story detailing what made you so depraved… Set among the…

Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival 2014: Film highlights

19 Sep 2014

The annual arts fest features screenings of Ana Ana, The Crash Reel and Silver Linings Playbook

How’s your mental health? There is every chance you might have a lengthy answer to that question; and no less chance that you’d like to keep it to yourself. Mental health issues are vastly prevalent, but carry a stigma that can make them a good deal…

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Night Will Fall

15 Sep 20143 stars

Andre Singer's documentary acts as a sobering reminder of the horrors of the Holocaust

That the Holocaust is so frequently invoked in justification of a raft of contradictory positions (not least, as ‘Godwin's Law’ reminds us, as a self-righteous point-scorer in online debates) is all the more reason for frequent reminders of its…

At Berkeley

8 Sep 20144 stars

An epic but enlightening documentary from Frederick Wiseman looking at the revered institution

The veteran documentarian Frederick Wiseman applies a methodical but delicate touch to his examinations of American institutions, depicting the lives of workers and participants in aspects of public life in long observational takes without voiceover or…

The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz

26 Aug 20144 stars

A gripping and revealing documentary that tells the heartbreaking story of an internet legend

As digital culture matures, stories about its innovators and pioneers proliferate, preparing to become its myths. What adds nuance is the fact that these entrepreneurs were not the thrusting alpha males who went into space, invented modern advertising…

Interview: Hannah Murray discusses her new film God Help The Girl

19 Aug 2014

Games of Thrones actress on her co-stars, Belle and Sebastian and why she loves Glasgow

You wouldn’t necessarily expect auditioning for a modestly budgeted British indie film to be an intimidating prospect for an actress who has chalked up roles in huge British and American drama series, as well as performing on the West End stage. But God…

The Invisible Life

8 Jul 20142 stars

A sluggish effort from Portuguese director Goncalves, returning to filmmaking after almost 30 years

Portuguese director Vitor Gonçalves was much-celebrated for his 1986 debut A Girl in Summer, but has taken until now to follow it up – with a piece that’s sadly unlikely to put him back on the map. With awkwardly theatrical acting, zero expositional…