Perfect Days

Koji Yakusho and Arisa Nakano in Perfect Days. Image courtesy Madman Entertainment

PG, 125 minutes Four Stars Review by © Jane Freebury Simplicity and lyrical fluidity are hallmarks of the style of veteran German filmmaker, Wim Wenders. So are the faces of the actors who inhabit his characters, seen through an inquisitive, searching camera. This long and languorous character study of a Tokyo man in late middle… Continue reading Perfect Days

Io Capitano

MA 15+, 122 minutes Four Stars Review by © Jane Freebury This story out of Africa is drawn from first-person accounts by survivors of the harrowing overland journey across the continent to Europe. If people managed to reach the port of Tripoli, Libya, one more leg remained. A boat trip across the Mediterranean under perilously… Continue reading Io Capitano

Shirley

Regina King and Lucas Hedges in Shirley. Image courtesy Netflix

M, 118 minutes Netflix 3 Stars Review by © Jane Freebury The groundswell for civil rights was growing in 1972 but it took a Black American woman, a teacher from Brooklyn, to galvanise the mood for change when she pressed ahead with her campaign for president. This is a remarkable true story with much to… Continue reading Shirley

How To Have Sex

MA 15+, 91 minutes Four Stars Review by © Jane Freebury If a sense of déjà vu begins to develop as the best holiday ever descends into the worst nightmare, this rite of passage story takes shape as a counter-narrative. How To Have Sex charts the course of a young woman on a schoolies binge… Continue reading How To Have Sex

The Great Escaper

M, 96 minutes Three Stars Review by © Jane Freebury This affectionate tribute to two great names of the screen is a gentle and dignified finale that will leave few dry-eyed who have followed their long careers. The film’s tone, peppered with moments when we assume the veteran actors are being true to themselves, suits… Continue reading The Great Escaper

Four Daughters

M, 100 minutes 3 Stars Review by © Jane Freebury Among a group of terrorists arrested in Libya in 2016 were two young Tunisian sisters who remain in prison, sentenced recently to even more time behind bars. One of them has a child who was conceived when the girls joined Islamic State. This docudrama is… Continue reading Four Daughters

The Zone of Interest

Rudolf Hoss (Christian Friedel), centre, at home with family and kids in The Zone of Interest. Image courtesy A24

M, 105 minutes 5 Stars Review by © Jane Freebury So much careful and thoughtful prep has gone into this film, told with such restraint, but the impact is devastating. Is it any wonder, it is a Holocaust movie after all? Yes, but it is so much more than that. Very loosely based on the… Continue reading The Zone of Interest

Fallen Leaves

Alma Poysti and Jussi Vatanen in Fallen Leaves. Image courtesy Palace Films

M, 81 minutes 4 Stars Review by © Jane Freebury It’s not yet winter in this new film from Finland, but a chill in the air has you reaching for an extra layer of clothing. There seems little warmth or connection between people by way of compensation either, especially in the lives of the odd… Continue reading Fallen Leaves

Riceboy Sleeps

Dohyun Noel Hwang and Choi Seung-yoon in Riceboy Sleeps. Image courtesy Icon Film

M, 117 minutes 4 Stars Review by © Jane Freebury After watching this migrant story about leaving Korea behind and building a new life in Canada, I found food was frequently mentioned in my viewing notes. Eating, alone or in company, frequently has key significance in some of the key scenes in this film with… Continue reading Riceboy Sleeps

Anatomy of a Fall

MA 15+, 152 minutes 5 stars Review by © Jane Freebury As they must, it’s the small details that matter on the day a man dies, suddenly and mysteriously, after falling from the upper floor of a chalet in the alps. In the background there are glorious mountains, in the foreground a family tragedy that… Continue reading Anatomy of a Fall

Two Tickets to Greece

Laure Calamy, Olivia Cote and Kristin Scott Thomas in Two Tickets to Greece. Image courtesy Palace Films

M, 111 minutes 4 Stars Review by © Jane Freebury Blazing sunlight, deep blue seas, white-washed walls and plenty of space on the beach for everyone to do their own thing. The siren call of the Greek islands is timeless, but the enticing holiday destination is put under serious strain with an incompatible travel companion.… Continue reading Two Tickets to Greece

Maestro

Carey Mulligan and Bradley Cooper in Maestro. Image courtesy Netflix

M, 129 minutes 4 Stars Review by © Jane Freebury It is curious that, after relatively little on screen about the subject, there have in the last year been two high-profile movie portraits of the lives of orchestra conductors. The dramatic potential is a revelation. Who knew? The conductor played by Cate Blanchett in last… Continue reading Maestro

Master Gardener

M, 111 minutes 2 Stars Review by © Jane Freebury The dungarees with a pair of pruning shears protruding from the front pocket were to be expected, but not the slicked down, short back-and-sides and the haggard look. We expect a gardener to look like a man of the earth, robust and relaxed, but as… Continue reading Master Gardener

Uproar

M, 110 Minutes 3 Stars Review by © Jane Freebury This light-hearted drama with deadly serious intent is as good-natured as its charismatic young lead actor, Julian Dennison. Eight years have passed since the young Maori stole the show from the effortlessly amiable Sam Neill in Hunt for the Wilderpeople, when he played a foster… Continue reading Uproar

Napoleon

MA 15+, 158 minutes 4 Stars Review by © Jane Freebury The defiant, scowling figure slouching on the French throne on the flyers that advertise Ridley Scott’s latest epic, need not feel too defensive about the latest film made about him. As a biopic, it barely scratches the surface and leaves so many questions about… Continue reading Napoleon

Saltburn

MA 15+, 131 minutes 3 Stars Review by © Jane Freebury For someone hanging out for an invitation to stay with members of the English upper class on their country estate, this clever, queasy drama may give them pause. Equally, welcoming a stranger as a house guest may give their moneyed, potential hosts pause too.… Continue reading Saltburn

Paris Memories

Virginie Efira in Paris Memories. Image courtesy Vendetta Films

M, 103 minutes 4 Stars Review by © Jane Freebury It is hardly surprising that filmmaker Alice Winocour felt the need to tell a story connected with the Paris terrorist attacks of November 2015, when her younger brother, Jeremie, had witnessed it first-hand. He was at the rock concert at the Bataclan on the night… Continue reading Paris Memories

Foe

M, 110 Minutes 3 Stars Review by © Jane Freebury Late into the evening, a car travels through arid, spectral landscape before stopping outside an isolated farmhouse. The young couple inside do not seem to be expecting anyone at such a late hour, but soon it isn’t quite clear who between them knows quite what.… Continue reading Foe

Monolith

M, 93 minutes 3 Stars Review by © Jane Freebury In an age of blockbusters with budgets over 200 million dollars, here is a movie that confirms some things can still be done. Every now and then a very low-budget film like Monolith comes along showing that a film that didn’t need buckets of money… Continue reading Monolith

Killers of the Flower Moon

M, 206 minutes 4 Stars Review by © Jane Freebury The latest movie from living legend, Martin Scorsese, brings together two of the actors that he has made famous, Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio, but the character at the centre of Killers of the Flower Moon is a calm, softly spoken First Nations woman… Continue reading Killers of the Flower Moon