Happy End (Fr/Austria) ⭐⭐½

When a Michael Haneke film clicks (Hidden or Amour), it can be an incredible and exquisite thing but when it doesn't (Funny Games), it can be irritating as hell. Unfortunately this family drama about the wealthy Laurents is more of the latter. Jean-Louis Trintignant plays the patriarch and Isabelle Huppert and Mathieu Kassovitz, his grown-up …

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The Killing of a Sacred Deer ⭐⭐⭐⭐

As the best way of going in to this excellent movie is without any fore-knowledge or preconceptions, I am keeping this review deliberately vague. A follow-up to Yorgos Lanthimos’s widely lauded The Lobster, IMHO this is the better movie.  Is it a horror movie, a revenge-thriller or a (very) black comedy? Maybe all three. Deft …

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Brawl in Cell Block 99 ⭐⭐⭐½

In writer-director S. Craig Zahler's debut, Bone Tomahawk, he mixed genres and turned a Western into something much more violent and horrifying. He does it again in his follow-up, this time for the grindhouse prison revenge drama. The storyline cannot be more straightforward but unusual for a film of this genre, Zahler interestingly decides to …

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Funny Cow ⭐⭐⭐⭐

In sixties chauvinistic Britain,  Funny Cow faces  the challenge of becoming a stand up comedian. Beautifully directed by  Adrian Shergold with great widescreen cinematography, Funny Cow really does show no sign of its budgetary limitations. This is an excellent and intelligent piece of British movie- making. With its roots  firmly in the kitchen sink dramas …

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The Shape Of Water ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Re-inventing The Creature from the Black Lagoon as an inter-species love story, with an eye firmly on E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Guillermo del Toro manages to marry his sci-fi fantasy geek credentials with the big fluffy romantic he is at heart. Set in the early 60s, this allows his sumptuous production design to create an Amelie-like …

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Most Beautiful Island ⭐⭐⭐½

Luciana (played with authentic cash-strapped anxiety by director-writer-producer Ana Asensio) is an undocumented Spanish immigrant who has moved to New York to put space between her and a family tragedy.  She has to take work where she finds it, so when her Russian friend Olga tells her about a highly paid no-questions-asked mystery job that …

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