Film Review: Straightheads Does violence beget violence? Can revenge satisfy? These are the themes of Dan Reed’s graphic thriller Straightheads. “Straighthead” is gang slang for anyone not involved in crime and Reed attempts to portray how violence, in particular rape, can turn the straightest person into a crazed, vengeful murderer. It is
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Review: Days of Glory Empires are like cruel lovers: they demand everything, but if you give in, you’re screwed. It is the message of Days of Glory Rachid Bouchareb’s Oscar nominated story about the African Army in the Second World War. The army, gathered from the French colonies, was instrumental in the liberation
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Film Review: The Illusionist Hollywood loves magicians. It is easy to see why: illusion is at the heart of the director’s art, the mirage on screen is a deception of light, sound and hollow sets in which actors pretend to be what they are not. Besides, Hollywood is nothing if not self-regarding. Neil
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Dreamgirls Pity the poor film critic and what they have to sit through. Half way through Bill Condon’s car crash of a musical Dreamgirls I wrote in my notes: “Please, no more singing.” I was ground down by the sheer mediocrity of a score that sought to celebrate Motown’s glory
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Film review: Children of Men Filmic visions of the future have a habit of turning familiar places into wild, unrecognisable landscapes and directors from Fritz Lang on have found the urge to dress the future in fantasy fetish wear irresistible. Cities teem with flying cars, their drivers wearing ludicrous all-in-one suits that can only
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Vulnerability in starkly macho clothing contrasted against ball-crushing femininity is nothing new for Besson. Nikita offered us a beautiful woman able to kick ass, while Jean Reno’s performance as conflicted, gentle assassin Leon in the eponymous film is a landmark of recent cinema history.

The Wind That Shakes The Barley

With an Irish patriot song for its title, Ken Loach’s masterful The Wind That Shakes The Barley at first appears to be a partisan view of the events that lead to the Irish Free State in 1921. But Loach is a more complex filmmaker than that


No one can fault her commitment to the role. She lends Bree’s unwanted masculinity a brittle self-consciousness that is painful to watch. As she awaits her transformation from man to woman Bree is awkwardly aware that she is an approximation. Her feminism lacks the knowing leeriness of the drag artiste or the blithe confidence of a born woman.

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