Lady Bird ⭐⭐⭐½

The surprise film in this year's LFF is Greta Gerwig's directorial debut that she also wrote. If you know Gerwig's work as an actress, there is no surprise here as this has the same quirky and witty sentiments of her other films - but thankfully, this is not Damsel in Distress 2. As Christine McPherson, …

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The Nile Hilton Incident ⭐⭐⭐⭐

In the days immediately before the Arab Spring, a woman is killed in a bedroom at Cairo’s Nile Hilton hotel.  Noredin (Fares Fares), a casually corrupt police detective, is given the case to investigate. At first, he treats the case as just another opportunity to take a few more bribes, but as things develop his …

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The Cakemaker (Is) ⭐⭐

A married Israeli man on business in Berlin meets a young German baker and begins a year-long relationship with him in this patience testing, slow and predictable Israeli drama. Despite two solid performances from Tim Kalkhof, who plays the emotionally repressed baker and Sarah Adler, who plays the married man's wife, the film already begins …

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Bad Genius ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Fast Times at Bangkok High meets Oceans Eleven. Dramatising an enterprising exam-cheating syndicate, this could be read as a critique of social inequalities in Thailand or simply enjoyed as a first-rate caper-thriller. Slick and sharp direction, engaging characters, and a witty script add up to a roller-coaster ride of a movie which is genuinely suspenseful …

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Downsizing ⭐⭐½

Alice goes down the rabbit hole and meets a Norwegian doomsday cult. Downsizing started well. A brilliant premise and the light satirical touches expected from Alexander Payne. It also has uniformly sound performances, including Matt Damon doing his Everyman thing to good effect (lots of lingering shots of him looking thoughtful), a handful of cameos …

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Lady Bird ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Absolution for the sin of Damsels in Distress   A gem of a surprise movie at this year's London Film Festival. Great Gerwig's directorial debut is a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age movie with a mother / daughter love story at its core. Tender and witty,  never crossing the line into sentimentality,  and boasting a stellar performance from Saoirse …

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