Category Archives: Reviews

FILM REVIEW: Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Irishman’

By Ray Bennett Martin Scorsese’s puerile veneration of low-life thugs and violent sociopaths reaches its apotheosis in his leadenly dull crime picture ‘The Irishman’, available now on Netflix. Over nearly three-and-a-half tedious hours, he takes a hoodlum named Frank Sheeran … Continue reading

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TIFF FILM REVIEW: Chinonye Chukwu’s ‘Clemency’

By Ray Bennett TORONTO – Alfre Woodard gives a profound and memorable performance in writer-director Chinonye Chukwu’s ‘Clemency’, a moving examination of the personal tolls exacted by the death penalty. Most such stories focus on the victim and the condemned … Continue reading

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FILM REVIEW: Natalie Portman in ‘Vox Lux’

By Ray Bennett TORONTO – Just as in ‘Jackie’ two years ago, Natalie Portman gives a scintillating performance of a driven and complicated woman in a not very successful picture. Director and screenwriter Brady Corbet’s ‘Vox Lux’, which opens today … Continue reading

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Cheers to our Will, not sorry old George

By Ray Bennett Today is St. George’s Day named for the patron saint of several places  such as Aragon, Catalonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal and Russia. Oh, and England. We English, of course, don’t mark April 23 in … Continue reading

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FILM REVIEW: Cruz and Bardem in ‘Everybody Knows’

By Ray Bennett LONDON – Married Spanish Oscar-winners Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem have become a reliable partnership onscreen and their latest feature together, ‘Everybody Knows’, is a bright addition to their canon. It opens today in the United Kingdom.

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FILM REVIEW: Adam McKay’s ‘Vice’

By Ray Bennett LONDON – American writer-director Adam McKay’s political satire ‘Vice’ does for Washington what his 2015 film ‘The Big Short’ did for Wall Street with the same mix of techniques that includes sharp humour, characters speaking to camera, … Continue reading

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FILM REVIEW: Josie Rourke’s ‘Mary Queen of Scots’

By Ray Bennett LONDON – Josie Rourke’s pedestrian costume saga ‘Mary Queen of Scots’ offers a revisionist and modernist view of the would-be monarch who threatened Elizabeth I’s reign and was executed aged 44 in 1587 but it fails to … Continue reading

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FILM REVIEW: Jon S. Baird’s ‘Stan & Ollie’

By Ray Bennett LONDON – Jon S. Baird’s ‘Stan & Ollie’ appears well intended but it has two central problems. One is the decision to portray the great silent comics Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy as sad clowns and the … Continue reading

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FILM REVIEW: Yorkos Lanthimos’s ‘The Favourite’

By Ray Bennett LONDON – Fasten your corsets, it’s going to be a bumpy night. Yorkos Lanthimos’s costume romp ‘The Favourite’ is a cartoonish depiction of the fiery relationships between 18th century Queen Anne, her best friend and senior courtier … Continue reading

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TV REVIEW: The Coen Bros’ ‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs’

By Ray Bennett LONDON – The Coen Brothers have taken Netflix for a ride with their anthology production ‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs’. It’s a western ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ in which they have dusted off some mostly hoary old … Continue reading

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