Five star - Film Reviews

Latest Guardian Film Reviews sorted by Star Rating. Cut the crap!
  1. The Falling review – a fascinating, dreamlike tale of teenage transgression
    An outbreak of hysterical fainting at a girls’ school is the basis for this wonderfully strange and funny film about forbidden desire
    5 stars
  2. A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence review – a unique hallucinatory trilogy
    A new darkness of tone pervades the conclusion to Swedish auteur Roy Andersson’s incredible film about the human condition
    5 stars
  3. Star Wars: Armada review – epic space battles on your dinner table
    The pre-painted ships and custom dice peeking out from the box beg to be played. But is it worth the price?
    5 stars
  4. Grounded review – Anne Hathaway goes full throttle in one-woman show
    Hathaway gives a heightened performance as a drone pilot and director Julie Taymor turns up all the dials, in a chilling play about the effects of killing by remote control
    4 stars
  5. The Falling review – swoon with a view
    Carol Morley joins the ranks of Britain’s best film-makers with this enigmatic tale of apparent mass hysteria at a girls’ school
    4 stars
  6. A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence review – Swede dreams
    Roy Andersson’s surreal black comedy moves from hilarious to horrifying in the conclusion of his existential trilogy
    4 stars
  7. Meadowland review – every parent’s nightmare
    Olivia Wilde and Luke Wilson star as a couple whose son goes missing at a gas station, in a well-crafted and heartbreaking debut
    4 stars
  8. Stonehearst Asylum review – supremely entertaining Poe-inspired gothic thriller
    This well-done riff on an Edgar Allan Poe story about blurring lines between doctors and patients puts the eccentric characters to the fore and keeps Poe’s subtleties intact
    4 stars
  9. Au Revoir l’Été review – sweetly erotic Japanese drama in the Eric Rohmer vein
    Here is a sweet summer breeze of a film – the charming, sensuous tale of an 18-year-old girl who goes to stay with her aunt at the seaside and gets mixed up in all manner of romantic entanglements
    4 stars
  10. Avengers: Age of Ultron review – Whedon's heroic cavalcade of fun
    The follow-up to The Avengers may be the harbinger of a new deluge of superhero movies, but if all turn out as entertaining as this one, what’s the problem?
    4 stars
  11. Home From Home: Chronicle of a Vision review – evocative, surprising and very entertaining
    The final instalment of Edgar Reitz’s remarkable epic Heimat is a dreamily evocative 1840s prequel
    4 stars
  12. The Last Five Years review – an engaging musical romcom
    Anna Kendrick and Jordan Jamie shine in this classy tale of a couple’s break-up adapted from a 2001 stage show
    4 stars
  13. Thought Crimes review – is it a criminal act to think about committing a crime?
    A compelling documentary about New York’s ‘cannibal cop’ raises uncomfortable questions about how far fantasy can go before it is interpreted as conspiracy to murder
    4 stars
  14. Home from Home: Chronicle of a Vision review – addictively epic
    Edgar Reitz’s fifth, beautifully monochrome instalment in the supra-epic Heimat series sees the German villagers dreaming of escape to Brazil
    4 stars
  15. The Last Five Years review – pitch-perfect Anna Kendrick performance
    Anna Kendrick is extraordinary in this two-hander raking over the coals of a relationship: it’s a lean, mean, musical machine
    4 stars
  16. The Salvation review – a fistful of western
    Levring’s is a western in the old school, complete with burning heat, bitter revenge and Mads Mikkelson’s Lee Van Cleef-style farmer
    4 stars
  17. Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story of Dream Alliance review – it’s a winner
    This likable documentary traces the story of the barmaid in a Welsh village pub who persuaded her regulars to fund a racehorse
    4 stars
  18. Cry of the City review – pacy, hardboiled New York crime thriller
    Director Robert Siodmak brings a terrific neorealist style to this tense, punchy 1948 movie
    4 stars
  19. Glassland review – knockout performances, almost flawless drama
    Toni Collette nails her role brilliantly in this devastating study of the troubled relationship between an alcoholic mother and her taxi-driver son
    4 stars
  20. Graham Coxon, Olivia Chaney, Alasdair Roberts and others: Shirley Inspired review – starry Shirley Collins tribute
    Released in part to raise funds for a film about folk star Shirley Collins, this triple-album tribute features a remarkable cast of players
    4 stars
  21. Roar review: big cat movie that injured 70 crew is re-released! Run! Towards it!
    Tippi Hedren’s leg was broken, Melanie Griffith required facial reconstructive surgery, the director got gangrene and the cinematographer needed 200 stitches on his scalp. To see this 1981 lion drama - on limited release this Friday – is to become a dog person
    4 stars
  22. Force Majeure review – compelling, intelligent and grimly entertaining
    Ruben Östlund’s tale of a couple’s disintegrating relationship in the wake of an avalanche is a triumph of calm detachment
    4 stars
  23. Jauja review – a magical mind-bender of the subtlest kind
    Lunar landscapes and a haunting score co-written by star Viggo Mortensen lend a surreal quality to Lisandro Alonso’s Patagonian period drama
    4 stars
  24. Good Kill review – piercing psychological study of the effects of drone use
    Andrew Niccol’s smart and serious drama never loses sight of the collateral damage as Ethan Hawke’s drone pilot pays a personal price
    4 stars
  25. Force Majeure review – after the avalanche
    This deliciously chilling drama charts the aftershocks that tear through a middle-class skiing holiday following a life-changing event in the Alps
    4 stars
  26. While We’re Young review – humour tempered with experience
    Director Noah Baumbach returns older, wiser and funnier with this insightful comedy of midlife manners and meltdown
    4 stars
  27. Anesthesia review – diverse characters come together in a Crash-style setup
    The brainy and engaging drama explores how a wide range of people were involved in an scene of violence – but the structure is its least interesting element
    3 stars
  28. Avengers: Age of Ultron review – entertaining nonsense
    Multiple superheroes fight for humanity – and screen time – in Joss Whedon’s frantic franchise
    3 stars
  29. The Emperor’s New Clothes review – sporadically entertaining
    Michael Winterbottom’s documentary about Russell Brand’s anti-capitalism campaign rarely rises above schoolboy levels of content and tone
    3 stars
  30. Au revoir l’été review – subversive drama
    Koji Fukada skewers modern Japanese society through the eyes of a teenage girl who dreams of escape
    3 stars
  31. Far From the Madding Crowd review – less haste, more feeling
    An atmospheric adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s tortured romance stumbles in its race to the finish
    3 stars
  32. The Good Lie review – orphans adrift
    Child refugees go from war-torn Sudan to culture clash in America in this powerful and affecting tale
    3 stars
  33. Exit review – bittersweet midlife crisis
    A woman’s lonely battle against a life in collapse provides comedy and pathos in Chienn Hsiang’s directorial debut
    3 stars
  34. The Priest’s Children review – anti-contraception comedy with a dark side
    This comedy about a priest trying to encourage the dwindling population of a small island to have more babies treads a fine line between light and dark
    3 stars
  35. Harlock Space Pirate review – dazzling CGI manga reboot
    Captain Harlock and his skull-faced space train steam around the galaxy getting into spectacular space battles in an adventure that impresses with its visuals more than with its story
    3 stars
  36. Exit review – sensitive Taiwanese mid-life drama
    Chen Shiang-chyi gives an outstanding performance as a lonely menopausal women in Chienn Hsiang’s semi-hopeful drama
    3 stars
  37. The Dorkels review – grotty reality and symbolism in French crime drama
    A youngster accompanies his relatives on an armed robbery in Hue’s film blurring the lines between fiction and documentary
    3 stars
  38. The Good Lie review – stirring Reese Witherspoon drama about Sudanese refugees in Kansas
    It might sound like a soft-soap proposition, but Philippe Falardeau’s drama starring Witherspoon as a counsellor to Sudan’s ‘lost boys’ is actually rather funny and winning
    3 stars
  39. Rigor Mortis review – startlingly grisly if occasionally cliched horror
    Juno Mak’s effective semi-remake of 1980s Hong Kong horror-comedy series Mr Vampire finds an actor plunged into a maelstrom of supernatural shocks
    3 stars
  40. The Emperor’s New Clothes review – Russell Brand takes on the corporate plutocracy
    Michael Winterbottom collaborates with Russell Brand in this entertaining, well-judged attack on the dishonesty and mediocrity of Britain’s corporate overlords
    3 stars
  41. The Age of Adaline review – Blake Lively brings out the best in Harrison Ford
    A woman stuck forever in her 20s, with a daughter in her 80s, bumps into an old flame who is also her new flame’s dad. Then things get emotional … and Harrison Ford gives his best performance in years
    3 stars
  42. Gored review – the only way is Hemingway in grisly bullfighting study
    This documentary about a supremely brave – and cruel, and possibly disturbed – bullfighter, which has premiered at Tribeca, may well have a different effect on its audience than its director intended
    3 stars
  43. The Town That Dreaded Sundown review – a southern-fried Scream
    Short on scares, maybe, but this remake of a notorious 70s horror film is done with invention and brio
    3 stars
  44. Dark Horse review – good-humoured documentary about unlikely Welsh Grand National winner
    A feelgood horseracing story that was just waiting to be made into a Pride-style drama
    3 stars
  45. The Salvation review – Dogme 95 meets Ford and Leone
    Mads Mikkelsen is a Danish immigrant with the sun in his eyes in Kristian Levring’s reverent western pastiche
    3 stars
  46. Closer to the Moon review: political theory just got much more interesting
    The story of a heist movie, made using real-life robbers and based on actual events, released as a propaganda film in 1960s Romania to deter political seditionaries – you couldn’t make it up
    3 stars
  47. Among the Believers review – portrait of radical Islam in Pakistan veers from balance to condemnation
    Hemal Trivedi and Mohammed Ali Naqvi’s profile of controversial school head Maulana Abdul Aziz, which has premiered at the Tribeca film festival, reflects the religious changes – and stasis – in Pakistan
    3 stars
  48. The Invisible Life review – intriguing study of male loneliness
    Vítor Gonçalves’s first film for 29 years displays a devotion to darkness but is sometimes exasperatingly inert
    3 stars
  49. Stones for the Rampart: Battle for Warsaw review – all the fun of the fight
    A pair of young saboteurs undermine German occupation, but at what cost, in Glinski’s thrills-and-spills wartime drama
    3 stars
  50. Planetary review – beautiful, moving and a bit dull
    Guy Reid’s documentary is a welcome reminder that the future of the Earth is still not assured, but it’s painfully sanctimonious at times
    3 stars
  51. Gente de Bien review – growing up fast in Bogotá
    A reluctant father has much to learn in this believably naturalistic drama that artfully explores Colombia’s class differences
    3 stars
  52. Monkey Kingdom review – Tina Fey narrates tale of two simians
    Disneynature documentary has some awesome footage – a monkey stole my birthday cake! – but a forced narrative creeps in
    3 stars
  53. Bypass review – poverty in poetic detail
    Duane Hopkins refines his hard-bitten brand of British social realism with a compelling portrait of a man ground down by ill fortune
    3 stars
  54. John Wick review – an almost zen-like exercise in wholesale slaughter
    Keanu Reeves excels as an impassive assassin in this enjoyable shoot-’em-up thriller
    3 stars
  55. Danny Collins review: Al Pacino is caught between rock and a soft place
    This directorial debut of the Crazy Stupid Love writer is the cliched yet irresistible tale of a washed-up singer trying to win back his long-abandoned family – and cop off with Annette Bening
    3 stars
  56. Cobain: Montage of Heck review – a poignant authorised documentary
    With hindsight and a trove of home movies, this hefty film is able to show the whole arc of Kurt Cobain’s life – from sensitive, talented child to sensitive, talented rock star
    3 stars
  57. Bypass review – giving weight to marginalised lives
    This sombre, sometimes poetic social-realist drama is about the kind of characters that other films pass by, focusing on the hardships that they face
    3 stars
  58. Jauja review – an angry, existential quest in Patagonia
    Viggo Mortensen lends star power to a strange and opaque reworking of The Searchers, set amid an eerie South American landscape
    3 stars
  59. Drone review – a cool-headed doc about killing by remote control
    The victims of drone strikes, and some of the soldiers responsible, speak out about this controversial method of warfare
    3 stars
  60. Fast & Furious 7 review – an orgy of explosions
    Keep your brain in neutral and enjoy the ride as men in machines do battle and a large part of Los Angeles gets blown up
    3 stars
  61. The Duff review – kooky but unconvincing
    Bianca is the ‘Designated Ugly Fat Friend’: cue high-school drama and a few laughs
    3 stars
  62. Stonehearst Asylum review – hammy, Hammer-ish fun
    A doctor falls for a patient in a sanatorium in this overdone Poe-inspired chiller starring Michael Caine and Kate Beckinsale
    2 stars
  63. Darkest Day review – cheap but plucky zombie drama
    Unusual locations and editing make up for leaden acting and a one-man-and-a-synth soundtrack in this Brtish undead caper
    2 stars
  64. Maggie review – Arnie stumbles through zombie day-care
    Arnold Schwarzenegger can’t emote subtly enough to carry this indie apocalypse fantasy about a father putting off bringing his zombie daughter to the slaughter
    2 stars
  65. Adult Beginners review – tear-jerker fluff needs to grow up
    Admirable performances from Rose Byrne and Bobby Cannavale can’t save the latest trite indie dramedy about an emotionally stunted sad sack
    2 stars
  66. Being 14 review – what's French for frenemies?
    Directed by a 23-year-old, this is a dour portrait of a bunch of argumentative teens, which suffers from comparison to other coming-of-age movies
    2 stars
  67. Dirty Weekend review – Neil LaBute's odd couple fail to convince
    Alice Eve and Matthew Broderick raise a few laughs, but never shake the artifice in this secrets-and-lies comedy about colleagues stuck in Albuquerque
    2 stars
  68. Unfriended review - I know who you Skyped last summer but iStill don't care
    A film that takes place entirely within a computer screen has its moments but ultimately isn’t worth emailing home about
    2 stars
  69. Scherzo Diabolico review – horror/humour hybrid is no Coen bros caper
    Adrián García Bogliano’s kidnapping tale gone awry has moments of geniune electricity but is just too nasty for its own good
    2 stars
  70. Orion review – the reluctant Elvis-alike turned pretender to the King's throne
    Jeanie Finlay’s ode to Jimmy Ellis, who looked like Elvis, sounded like Elvis and didn’t want to be like Elvis until after Presley’s death, tries to make a country and western classic out of a one-hit wonder
    2 stars
  71. Glassland review – all too solemn realism
    A fine central performance lifts this dour Irish drama about a cabbie coping with his alcoholic mother
    2 stars
  72. A Little Chaos review – Alan Rickman’s giddy historical fantasia
    Kate Winslet digs in pluckily as a 17th-century gardener in love
    2 stars
  73. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 review: segway sequel rumbles through the motions
    Six years after cinema’s first taste of Kevin James’s plump sucker security guard comes this amiably shameless cashgrab followup
    2 stars
  74. In Transit review: Albert Maysles' final film snoozes en route to no destination
    The last movie by the late documentarian is about the Chicago to Seattle railroad and is actually slightly duller than you might imagine
    2 stars
  75. Child 44 review – where did the thrills go?
    Tom Hardy heads an international cast (all speaking with hyeavy Ryussian accyents) in a dull and stodgy adaptation of Tom Rob Smith’s KGB page-turner
    2 stars
  76. Amar Akbar & Tony review – a Bollywood piggybacker without the charm
    Atul Malhotra’s ladcom borrows from classic Bollywood comedy, but is unambitiously pursuing the post-pub crowd
    2 stars
  77. The Town That Dreaded Sundown review – tricksy horror sequel
    This confusingly structured followup to a 1976 cult favourite plays with the conventions, but it’s for fans of the genre only
    2 stars
  78. Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends review – overdone samurai panto
    Part three of a pointlessly drawn-out trilogy loses momentum thanks to its superfluous supporting cast of shriekers
    2 stars
  79. Tin review – sudsy melodrama in a Cornish mining village
    Jenny Agutter leads an assortment of broadly drawn characters cavorting and colliding as a community faces an uncertain future
    2 stars
  80. Woman in Gold review – Helen Mirren twinkles
    A woman fights the Austrian government to win back a Nazi-looted Klimt painting in this bland take on a true story
    2 stars
  81. Lost River review – Ryan Gosling’s misguided labour of love
    With shades of David Lynch and Night of the Hunter, Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut lacks imagination or identity
    2 stars
  82. Cobain: Montage of Heck review – romanticised portrait of Nirvana singer
    There’s no shortage of home movie footage of Kurt Cobain, but his brilliance is only revealed at the end of this padded-out documentary
    2 stars
  83. John Wick review – the action sequences grind on and on
    Keanu Reeves’s zonked acting style only works in juxtaposition with funny dialogue, but this film is humourless, violent and generic
    2 stars
  84. Woman in Gold review – sorry, it’s a fake
    Even Helen Mirren, in strange contact lenses, can’t banish the whiff of cheese from this badly acted and badly written film
    2 stars
  85. Lost River review – a fantastically annoying film
    Ryan Gosling might yet become an interesting director, but his first effort behind the camera is fatuous and shallow
    2 stars
  86. Hot Tub Time Machine 2 review – the final, desperate throbs of the bromance
    John Cusack is awol, and the promotion of budgie-smuggling Rob Corddry to male lead signals a move towards ever more crass and stale gags
    2 stars
  87. Vincent van Gogh: A New Way of Seeing review – a painting-by-numbers portrait
    Beyond the predictable mix of talking heads and voiceover narrative is a serviceable work – and a primer on how to pronounce the artist’s name
    2 stars
  88. NH10 review - a misogynistic slasher movie with a topical twist
    A couple travels to the countryside only to run into trouble in this often monotonous thriller
    2 stars
  89. Altman review – a hagiographic romp
    The fascinating career of director Robert Altman is reduced to platitudes in this frustrating documentary
    2 stars
  90. Tea & Sangria review – shoestring-budget romantic comedy that just doesn’t cut it
    There’s something heroic in the effort it must have taken Peter Domankiewicz to make this romantic comedy about an Englishman moving to Madrid for love – but sadly it’s also a total stinker
    1 star
  91. Child 44 review – borscht-thick accents and several shades of Volga mud
    Tom Hardy gives a typically odd performance in this shaky adaptation of Tom Rob Smith’s bestseller
    1 star
  92. Amityville Playhouse review – horror franchise sinks to a new low
    Lots of bad things happen in the 13th Amityville film: bad special effects, bad writing, bad directing and very bad acting
    1 star
  93. A Little Chaos review – a load of compost
    Matthias Schoenaerts neuters his sex-god reputation, Kate Winslet gets maverick with potted plants, and Alan Rickman almost hijacks his own movie in a weedy horticultural romp through the court of the Sun King
    1 star
  94. The Longest Ride review: stop the wooing, I want to get off
    The 10th Nicholas Sparks film adaptation mashes up a college girl meets bull-rider romance with the long drawn-out life story of a childless war veteran – to gruesome effect
    1 star
  95. Wooden Crosses review – Philip French on Raymond Bernard’s first world war classic
    An intense experience of pain, endurance and survival, Bernard’s film was aimed at making audiences ‘hate and despise war’
    unrated
  96. Book reviews roundup: Alfred Hitchcock, A Decent Ride and Words Without Music
    What the critics thought of Peter Ackroyd’s Alfred Hitchcock, Irvine Welsh’s A Decent Ride and Philip Glass’s Words Without Music
    unrated
  97. Guardian Live: Songs for Alexis
    At a Guardian Live screening of Songs for Alexis, panelists discussed the importance of seeing a range of trans characters in film and how online communities have made things better for young trans people
    unrated
  98. Alfred Hitchcock; The Man Who Knew Too Much reviews – how the master exploited our fears
    Two new analyses of Alfred Hitchcock’s macabre imagination are equally compelling
    unrated
  99. Good Kill; Drone review – illuminating perspectives on modern warfare
    The facts of Andrew Niccol’s US drone warfare drama are rendered even more chilling by a revealing documentary on the subject
    unrated
  100. Network review – Philip French on Paddy Chayefsky and Sidney Lumet’s enduring satire
    This meticulous Watergate-era satire on American life remains a brave, outspoken work
    unrated
Next page (older reviews)
Powered by the Guardian
By Gideon Goldberg