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  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    ★★★★

    Rick Dalton, former star of the western series Bounty Law, and his stunt double/chauffeur/best friend Cliff Booth, are washed up. In Quentin Tarantino's latest film-about-film, somehow only his second set in Los Angeles, there's a sadness in the air as Rick finds his Hollywood status shifting: not slowly fading out of the culture's collective memory, as stars often do, but losing his status as a folk hero. He struggles for work, and though he's still recognised on the street, as…

  • Blinded by the Light

    Blinded by the Light

    ★★★★

    Gurinder Chadha’s follow-up to the Delhi-set Viceroy’s House brings us a little closer to home – Luton, in fact – with this moving real-life tale of a British Asian teen in 1987 who pursues his dreams with a shot in the arm from the music of Bruce Springsteen. 17-year-old Javed is studying for his A-Levels, helping his family through tough financial circumstances, and dreaming of becoming a writer. Based on a memoir by writer Sarfraz Manzoor (also co-writer of the…

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  • The Favourite

    The Favourite

    ★★★★

    Yorgos Lanthimos has almost certainly watched, and re-watched, Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon. 

    A profoundly cynical view of human nature? A cast of grasping social climbers, and a study of the ever-shifting (and cyclical) balance of power?  That's not to mention the aesthetic touches.Natural light conspicuously illuminates each scene, and shots from wide-angle lenses strand our characters in the midst of too-large bedchambers and dining halls at the heart of England's power. The claustrophobic court of Queen Anne, in more than…

  • Varda by Agnès

    Varda by Agnès

    ★★★★

    Before watching, I was somewhat vague about the subject of Agnès Varda’s final film. Was this a simple greatest hits package, as would be fitting for a final film which its genius director described as a farewell to the cinema? Or a more personal docu-journey, as with Varda’s more recent material?

    The answer is neither. The legendary director’s restless mind – always asking questions, or seeking new answers to old ones – renders Varda by Agnès a much more strange…