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Film Review: The Touch

Reviewed by Lee Hill

The reissue of the rarely seen 1971 film, The Touch, Ingmar Bergman’s first collaboration with an American studio, is part of a retrospective now playing at the British Film Institute until the end of March. Whether seen separately or with other Bergman films (the BFI is also promoting Persona, The Seventh Seal and The Magic Flute with targeted campaigns), The Touch, despite its problematic history, confirms the director’s reputation as a compassionate, albeit unsentimental explorer of men and women in intense states of joy, despair, loss, love, hope and grief.

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Film Review: The Shape of Water

Reviewed by Rachael Kaines

With The Shape of Water Guillermo del Toro has finally returned to form. A charming and beautiful romance as well as a tale (tail) of underdogs (fish) of all shapes and sizes. del Toro manages to represent many marginalised aspects of society in the setting of America during the cold war (even a group we never knew were marginalised — fish men).

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DVD Release: Brimstone

Reviewed by Nadia Bee

Out of all the imaginable Wild Wests, director Martin Koolhaven has conjured up, in Brimstone, a world where fear and resistance meet overwhelming sadism. Scenes of intolerable cruelty unfold in visually sumptuous settings, with music -by Junkie XL – to match. Meanwhile the lives those scenes depict are harsh, dour, and almost entirely without respite. This is a grand film, with an ambitious story and an exceptional cast. Every frame looks beautiful.

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Film Review: The Nile Hilton Incident

Reviewed by Rachael Kaines

Tarik Saleh delivers with The Nile Hilton Incident a compelling and taut thriller, that manages to remain engaging and unpredictable right up to its end. The transportation of the specific Scandi thriller style, with all its preoccupation with corruption and mistreatment of unseen minorities to Egypt works very well. A lot of the issues this type of thriller tends to deal, corruption and accountability for crimes, with are tangible and pervasive in the pre-revolutionary Cairo in which the film is set.

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Film Review: Loveless

Reviewed by Lee Hill

For international audiences, Andrey Zvyagintsev is THE Russian director in the way that Andrei Tarkovsky was in the 80s. Since his astonishing debut in 2003, The Return, he has found a way to combine portraits of individuals in crisis with wider examinations of Russia’s inability to move away from totalitarianism. In his last two films, Elena (2011) and Leviathan (2014), relationships between men and women are severely disrupted if not shattered by the social, economic and political dysfunction of Putin’s Russia. Zvyagintsev views the citizens of his fractured homeland not just with the eye of a poet, but a clinician’s knack for making sense of the fragments and the grim reflections of what is left.

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Film Review: The Mercy

Reviewed by Lee Hill

In 1968, Donald Crowhurst, family man, struggling inventor and amateur sailor, was determined to boost the profile of a navigation device too ahead of its time. He decided to enter the Golden Globe, an around the world race sponsored by The Sunday Times. Despite not having sailed beyond the coast of Devon and struggling to keep his tiny company going, Crowhurst felt the risk was worth it. He convinced local businessmen to underwrite the construction of a state-of-the-art Trimaran, but building delays forced Crowhurst to start his voyage in late autumn as weather conditions in the Atlantic and Pacific became more challenging.

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Film Review: The Square

Reviewed by Lee Hill

In his 1946 essay, Politics and the English Language, George Orwell said: “…if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation, even among people who should and do know better.” Clear thinking, common sense, open debate and reason face new threats from the grip that marketing, branding, spin, “fake news” and other forms of intellectual cheerleading now have over our lives. The extent to which this corruption can infect even the most progressive nations, organisations, communities and individuals is one of the many themes of The Square, Ruben Östlund’s problematic follow-up to his 2014 arthouse hit, Force Majeure.

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Film Review: Phantom Thread

Reviewed by Rachael Kaines

Not quite the harrowing experience some might be expecting, Phantom Thread is closer to a perverse romantic comedy than a serious or dark drama. If the idea of watching people throw beautiful barbs at each other over a breakfast table sounds appealing, then Phantom Thread is your film.

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Interview: Megan Maczko On Her Role In Ninth Cloud

As The Ninth Cloud is released in the UK, lead actress Megan Maczko discusses her passion for voicing video games, working with Tom Hanks, the hazards of auditioning and the challenges of being an American living in England.

Megan, you play Zena, the protagonist, In THE NINTH CLOUD. How would you describe her?

Zena is a young woman living with an incredible amount of chaos in her heart, desperately seeking the answers to life’s great questions in order to circumvent the pain that she feels from the loss of her parents, from being all alone in the world. She’s delicate but tries desperately to keep that hidden from the world and the people she’s chosen to let in her to life. She’s eccentric, vulnerable, bold, compassionate, guarded and naive.

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