Ford v Ferrari review motor-racing drama gets stuck in first gear

Matt Damon and Christian Bale star in a handsome-looking but dull account of the rivalry between the US and Italian car-makers Ford v Ferrari is a great-looking, handsomely produced but tiringly acted and inert sports drama about two good ol boys from the self-admiring world of motor racing which a character here wryly calls turning left for four hours. This picture goes straight ahead for two and a half. Based on a true story, it is crammed with unearned emotional moments and factory-built male characters whose dedication to their sport we are expected to find adorable and heroic by turns. This is a standard-issue, middleweight biopic-type film, which comes complete with the now mandatory three factual sentences over the closing …

Hustlers review J-Lo’s stealing strippers saga is a vicarious thrill

The multi-hyphenate star delivers a standout turn in a snappy, fact-based caper about strippers scamming Wall Street bankers After the dog days of August, littered with one lazily patchworked Hollywood product after another, theres something wickedly indulgent about the arrival of Hustlers, a slick, flashy, seductively entertaining segue from one season to the next. Its ideally positioned, premiering at the Toronto film festival before a mid-September release: it matches the immediate gratification of a summer movie with the artful substantiveness of an awards contender yet remains not quite definable as either. Based on The Meddler was a warm surprise at Toronto in 2015, a world traditionally seen through leering male eyes is now blessed with a canny, incisive female lens. …

Sam Taylor-Johnson: Ive lost people very dear to me through addiction

The film-maker on adapting James Freys controversial rehab memoir A Million Little Pieces Since leaving the art world to become a film-maker, Sam Taylor-Johnson has shown impressive range. Her debut feature film, Nowhere Boy (2009), was a tender depiction of John Lennons childhood. She followed it with the less tender Fifty Shades of Grey in 2015. Now shes back with A Million Little Pieces, an adaptation of James Freys scandalous semi-memoir about his rehab after years as an alcoholic and drug addict. Taylor-Johnson co-wrote the screenplay with her husband, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who also stars in the film. They live, most of the time, in Los Angeles. You read A Million Little Pieces when it came out in 2003. It obviously …

Tarantino’s gruesome revenge fantasies are growing more puerile and misogynistic | Caspar Salmon

The director dials up the stomach-churning violence in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. If only he had something meaningful to say Compare and contrast two screen deaths. In Quentin Tarantinos second film, Pulp Fiction in 1994, John Travoltas Vincent Vega accidentally shoots Marvin, a minor character, in the face. The killing happens mid-sentence, in the blink of an eye; in the process Vince covers himself and his acolyte Jules in blood and guts. The scene is played for laughs and succeeds: the horror and suddenness of the event coax an appalled hilarity from viewers, exacerbated by the two hitmens reaction, which is to bicker about mundane practicalities. In Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Manson family member Susan Atkins, …

Men in Black: International review a galactically gormless fall to earth

This latest outing for the government agents tasked with policing pesky space invaders is a charmless and pointless affair Its time once again for what must now be called the Meh in Black, making another intensely tiresome and pointless reappearance, now with Chris Hemsworth on exceptionally charmless animatronic form in their dark suits, like Tussaud dummies with a contractual obligation to appear in a bad film. They are equally dead-eyed with or without the dark glasses. The MiB franchise based on Lowell Cunninghams 1990 comic book series about secret government agents battling aliens was looking pretty moribund at the time of the third film in 2012, when Josh Brolin gamely joined the familiar duo of Tommy Lee Jones and Will …

Best films of 2019 so far

Charlize Theron flips into funny with Seth Rogen, Mel Gibson picks Vince Vaughn as his accomplice and Avengers reach their Endgame the finest movies yet this year released in the UK The Favourite A New Years Day release date in the UK for Yorgos Lanthimoss period romp kicked the year off in fine style; Olivia Colmans Oscar win two months later was the crowning glory. What we said: A reminder that the idea of royalty as polite and picturesquely sentimental is something that came in with Queen Victoria: The Favourite is more punk than that. Its a rousingly nasty, bleary, hungover punchup. Read the full review An Impossible Love A daughters life is shaped by her fathers arrogance and her …

John Singleton: maverick director with a radical edge

Boyz N the Hood sent audiences reeling and marked the start of an uneven career for a writer-director whose films were rooted in lived experience Hollywood wasnt ready for Boyz N Mean Streets or Fellinis Snowfall Singleton arguably did not have the fully realised directorial career that others had. Imperious debut Ice Cube in Boyz n the Hood. Photograph: Allstar/Columbia But most other directors couldnt boast of anything approaching the ferocity of his Boyz N the Hood, a masterpiece that seems to thump, judder and pulse with police helicopter rotor blades, or semiautomatic gunfire, or music in the streets. Cuba Gooding Jr plays Tre; Ice Cube is his troubled friend Doughboy and Morris Chestnut is Doughboys brother Ricky. Tyra Ferrell …

Juanita review Alfre Woodard anchors middling Netflix drama

The ever-dependable character actor brings vitality to the role of a woman in search of more in a film that cant quite match her Any diversion from the usual, even if it involves a 20-hour Greyhound ride, holds promise for Juanita, the titular character of a new Netflix drama tasked with the laudable goal of thrusting an often sidelined character into the spotlight. The film focuses on a nurse, played by the dependable character actor Alfre Woodard fresh from an acclaimed performance in Clemency, the first film by a woman of color, Chinonye Chukwu, to win the Grand Jury prize at Sundance, and a recurring role in Luke Cage who decides to flee the constraints that make up her existence …