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--------- > [{"id":"5d284b17e8e20477f68474b0","tags":[],"presenter":[],"tv":[],"game":[],"fashionSeason":[],"fashionDesigner":[],"brands":[],"trackingPixel":[],"sponsor":[],"_layout":[{"content":"The Lion King (2019)","type":"title"},{"content":"","type":"subtitle"},{"content":{"id":"5d284cb8e8e2047d868474c8","altText":"The Lion King 2019","image":{"name":"lion-king-main.jpg","fileName":"lion-king-main.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":508014,"path":"one/media/5d28/4cb8/e8e2/047d/8684/74c8"},"caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"Another month, another Disney remake of an animated classic. There are two reasons that this film exists, and neither is because anything was missing from 1994’s furry *Hamlet*. The first is to show off genuinely dazzling visual effects, technological marvels that give us photo-real animals in an absolutely convincing setting. The second is to showcase the ability of Disney and director [Jon Favreau](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jon-favreau/){:target=_blank}, following 2016’s reimagining of *[The Jungle Book](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/jungle-book-3-review/){:target=_blank}*, to assemble a world-class voice cast. But it’s still not enough to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the great king of the past.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"id":"5d284cc1728776095b806e53","altText":"The Lion King 2019","image":{"name":"lion-king-rev2.jpg","fileName":"lion-king-rev2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":620389,"path":"one/media/5d28/4cc1/7287/7609/5b80/6e53"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"images"},{"content":"It doesn’t seem right to describe this as \"live action\", when the visuals were created in the London offices of visual effects wizards MPC. Whatever its category, the immediate and overwhelming impression is so life-like that you expect David Attenborough to start narrating at any moment. Every hair and whisker is in place, every footprint raises a puff of dust. You'll believe that Pride Rock is a real place somewhere in Africa, watching over a landscape kept in careful balance by the stewardship of its great lion king, Mufasa. He is voiced, once again, by [James Earl Jones](https://www.empireonline.com/people/james-earl-jones/){:target=_blank}, because some things are sacrosanct even in this mixed-up age. Our hero, Mufasa’s son Simba (JD McCrary; replaced in adulthood by [Donald Glover](https://www.empireonline.com/people/donald-glover/){:target=_blank}), is just as cute and clumsy as ever as he takes his first steps into the big, wide world.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Beautifully crafted and carefully conceived, without ever entirely justifying its existence.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"The big problem with this photo-realism, however, is that animal mouths are not designed for words, and their faces do not express human emotion. What we gain in realism we lose in expression, even in their limpid eyes; it’s distinctly jarring when these cats speak, and even more when they break into song. You can't help but mentally impose the performances of their 2D predecessors and see far more, well, animation in the older characters. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"This emotional gap is somewhat covered over by a talented voice cast, with [Chiwetel Ejiofor](https://www.empireonline.com/people/chiwetel-ejiofor/){:target=_blank} making a bitter yet seductive Scar and [John Oliver](https://www.empireonline.com/people/john-oliver/){:target=_blank} snarking up a storm as the fussy Zazu. But it's not until [Billy Eichner](https://www.empireonline.com/people/billy-eichner/){:target=_blank} and [Seth Rogen](https://www.empireonline.com/people/seth-rogen/){:target=_blank} rock up as Timon and Pumba, respectively, that the film finds its groove. Favreau gives them their head, and they inject a much-needed shot of humour and energy into all the Shakespearean drama of Pride Rock. For a while they succeed in lifting the pace from a stately big-cat stalk to a full stampede, at least until Simba’s old pal Nala ([Beyoncé Knowles-Carter](https://www.empireonline.com/people/beyonce-knowles/){:target=_blank}) turns up and drags him back to save the pride from evil uncle Scar’s predations. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxUdkP7l_wQ"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"It’s all beautifully crafted and carefully conceived, without ever entirely justifying its existence. A few new songs increase the running time and chances of an Oscar, yet mean it sometimes drags before the lost prince returns to reclaim his throne. So, you might feel the love tonight, but perhaps not quite as much as before.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"The Lion King (2019)","subtitle":"","content":["Another month, another Disney remake of an animated classic. There are two reasons that this film exists, and neither is because anything was missing from 1994’s furry *Hamlet*. The first is to show off genuinely dazzling visual effects, technological marvels that give us photo-real animals in an absolutely convincing setting. The second is to showcase the ability of Disney and director [Jon Favreau](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jon-favreau/){:target=_blank}, following 2016’s reimagining of *[The Jungle Book](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/jungle-book-3-review/){:target=_blank}*, to assemble a world-class voice cast. But it’s still not enough to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the great king of the past.","It doesn’t seem right to describe this as \"live action\", when the visuals were created in the London offices of visual effects wizards MPC. Whatever its category, the immediate and overwhelming impression is so life-like that you expect David Attenborough to start narrating at any moment. Every hair and whisker is in place, every footprint raises a puff of dust. You'll believe that Pride Rock is a real place somewhere in Africa, watching over a landscape kept in careful balance by the stewardship of its great lion king, Mufasa. He is voiced, once again, by [James Earl Jones](https://www.empireonline.com/people/james-earl-jones/){:target=_blank}, because some things are sacrosanct even in this mixed-up age. Our hero, Mufasa’s son Simba (JD McCrary; replaced in adulthood by [Donald Glover](https://www.empireonline.com/people/donald-glover/){:target=_blank}), is just as cute and clumsy as ever as he takes his first steps into the big, wide world.","The big problem with this photo-realism, however, is that animal mouths are not designed for words, and their faces do not express human emotion. What we gain in realism we lose in expression, even in their limpid eyes; it’s distinctly jarring when these cats speak, and even more when they break into song. You can't help but mentally impose the performances of their 2D predecessors and see far more, well, animation in the older characters. ","This emotional gap is somewhat covered over by a talented voice cast, with [Chiwetel Ejiofor](https://www.empireonline.com/people/chiwetel-ejiofor/){:target=_blank} making a bitter yet seductive Scar and [John Oliver](https://www.empireonline.com/people/john-oliver/){:target=_blank} snarking up a storm as the fussy Zazu. But it's not until [Billy Eichner](https://www.empireonline.com/people/billy-eichner/){:target=_blank} and [Seth Rogen](https://www.empireonline.com/people/seth-rogen/){:target=_blank} rock up as Timon and Pumba, respectively, that the film finds its groove. Favreau gives them their head, and they inject a much-needed shot of humour and energy into all the Shakespearean drama of Pride Rock. For a while they succeed in lifting the pace from a stately big-cat stalk to a full stampede, at least until Simba’s old pal Nala ([Beyoncé Knowles-Carter](https://www.empireonline.com/people/beyonce-knowles/){:target=_blank}) turns up and drags him back to save the pride from evil uncle Scar’s predations. ","It’s all beautifully crafted and carefully conceived, without ever entirely justifying its existence. A few new songs increase the running time and chances of an Oscar, yet mean it sometimes drags before the lost prince returns to reclaim his throne. So, you might feel the love tonight, but perhaps not quite as much as before."],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1562168321,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Helen O'Hara","publicationDate":1562922193519,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"3","verdict":"The great circle of life has thrown up a gorgeous, star-studded story, but trading feeling for realism means that we lose something of the original film’s excellence. ","nutshell":"Young Simba (JD McCrary, later Donald Glover) is destined to become king of Pride Rock like his father Mufasa (James Earl Jones). But his uncle Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor) plots for the throne, and Simba ends up alone in exile. 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There are two...","pullQuotes":["Beautifully crafted and carefully conceived, without ever entirely justifying its existence."],"embeds":[{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxUdkP7l_wQ"}],"heroImage":[{"id":"5d284cb8e8e2047d868474c8","altText":"The Lion King 2019","image":{"name":"lion-king-main.jpg","fileName":"lion-king-main.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":508014,"path":"one/media/5d28/4cb8/e8e2/047d/8684/74c8"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"images":[{"id":"5d284cc1728776095b806e53","altText":"The Lion King 2019","image":{"name":"lion-king-rev2.jpg","fileName":"lion-king-rev2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":620389,"path":"one/media/5d28/4cc1/7287/7609/5b80/6e53"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""}],"lastModifiedAt":1562922193327,"lastModifiedBy":"publish","composed":{"fashionSeason":[],"sponsor":[],"tv":[],"author":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f","fashionDesigner":[],"game":[],"presenter":[],"heroImage":["5d284cb8e8e2047d868474c8"],"trackingPixel":[],"brands":[],"publications":["5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74"],"categories":["5d111266a91b155aa798c906"],"primaryPublication":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","people":["5d111272a91b155aa798d5a6","5d11128ca91b155aa798ef70","59e4c91bf9648a12d2ed7915","5d1112b8a91b155aa799137c","5d111449a91b155aa799ca19","5d1113c9a91b155aa79999cd","5d111414a91b155aa799b4f7","5d1112c3a91b155aa7991bc7","5d11134ba91b155aa7996b90","5d1112a5a91b155aa79904f8"],"images":["5d284cc1728776095b806e53"],"tags":[],"film":["5d111511a91b155aa79a46cf"]}},{"id":"5d24a7fa04d08c870dbf237d","tags":[],"presenter":[],"tv":[],"game":[],"fashionSeason":[],"fashionDesigner":[],"brands":[],"trackingPixel":[],"sponsor":[],"_layout":[{"content":"Annabelle Comes Home","type":"title"},{"content":"","type":"subtitle"},{"content":{"id":"5d24a92404d08c78edbf23a0","altText":"Annabelle Comes Home","image":{"name":"annabelle-comes-home.jpg","fileName":"annabelle-comes-home.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":774797,"path":"one/media/5d24/a924/04d0/8c78/edbf/23a0"},"caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"*[Annabelle Comes Home](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/annabelle-home/){:target=_blank}* is gifted with what might be the ultimate haunted house set-up. Having fully established the dead-eyed Annabelle doll as a toy not to be messed with in the *[Conjuring](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/conjuring-review/){:target=_blank}* franchise, and the two previous *[Annabelle](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/annabelle-review/){:target=_blank}* spin-offs, it’s a neat idea to then set it loose in the spooky artefact-laden home of the franchise’s veteran paranormalists, Ed and Lorraine Warren. Chuck in the well-worn ‘baby babysitter’ trope, and *Annabelle Comes Home* should be a Friday night funhouse blast.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"id":"5d24a93504d08c166dbf23a1","altText":"Annabelle Comes Home","image":{"name":"annabelle-comes-home-2.jpg","fileName":"annabelle-comes-home-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":677144,"path":"one/media/5d24/a935/04d0/8c16/6dbf/23a1"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"images"},{"content":"Sadly, after the well-crafted scares of [David F. Sandberg](https://www.empireonline.com/people/david-f-sandberg/){:target=_blank}’s *[Annabelle: Creation](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/annabelle-creation-review/){:target=_blank}*, this threequel never capitalises on that killer concept. It starts well enough, with a prologue centred around [Wilson](https://www.empireonline.com/people/patrick-wilson/){:target=_blank} and [Farmiga](https://www.empireonline.com/people/vera-farmiga/){:target=_blank}’s Warrens — they’re the much-needed heart of the *Conjuring*-verse, and their warm, lived-in dynamic never fails to connect. But from there, the film has to deliver a whole extra set-up to get to the main plot — that their daughter, Judy ([Grace](https://www.empireonline.com/people/mckenna-grace/){:target=_blank}), is being left in the care of goody two-shoes babysitter Mary (Iseman) for a few days, when Annabelle will once again cause havoc thanks to the meddling of Mary’s anarchic pal, Daniela (Sarife).","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Sluggishly paced and lacking in inspiration","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"If it takes too long to get going, *Annabelle Comes Home* also never quite kicks into full gear — it’s a film content to roll out every cliché one by one, without twisting them into something new and fun. The doll itself takes a back seat for much of the runtime, instead compelling other spirits to terrorise the teen trio — from killer brides and creepy priests, to the more effective folklore-inspired Ferryman, who feels most likely to get his own spin-off. More laughably, there’s the ‘Hellhound of Essex’ — who not only feels incongruous but stretches the budget beyond its capabilities.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rS7S5E0f10"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"It’s not completely without merit. The introduction of what’s-in-the-box boardgame Feeley Meeley leans successfully into the film’s spooky sleepover vibe, the performances are fine enough, and it deals out some welcome in-camera frights. But the characters are painfully slow on the uptake, considering they’re in such an overt horror-movie scenario, and the confused machinations that set Annabelle loose leave Sarife’s character both largely unlikeable and woefully inconsistent. Sluggishly paced and lacking in inspiration, *Annabelle Comes Home* proves that this doll works best when the filmmakers are willing to really play with it","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Annabelle Comes Home","subtitle":"","content":["*[Annabelle Comes Home](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/annabelle-home/){:target=_blank}* is gifted with what might be the ultimate haunted house set-up. Having fully established the dead-eyed Annabelle doll as a toy not to be messed with in the *[Conjuring](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/conjuring-review/){:target=_blank}* franchise, and the two previous *[Annabelle](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/annabelle-review/){:target=_blank}* spin-offs, it’s a neat idea to then set it loose in the spooky artefact-laden home of the franchise’s veteran paranormalists, Ed and Lorraine Warren. Chuck in the well-worn ‘baby babysitter’ trope, and *Annabelle Comes Home* should be a Friday night funhouse blast.","Sadly, after the well-crafted scares of [David F. Sandberg](https://www.empireonline.com/people/david-f-sandberg/){:target=_blank}’s *[Annabelle: Creation](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/annabelle-creation-review/){:target=_blank}*, this threequel never capitalises on that killer concept. It starts well enough, with a prologue centred around [Wilson](https://www.empireonline.com/people/patrick-wilson/){:target=_blank} and [Farmiga](https://www.empireonline.com/people/vera-farmiga/){:target=_blank}’s Warrens — they’re the much-needed heart of the *Conjuring*-verse, and their warm, lived-in dynamic never fails to connect. But from there, the film has to deliver a whole extra set-up to get to the main plot — that their daughter, Judy ([Grace](https://www.empireonline.com/people/mckenna-grace/){:target=_blank}), is being left in the care of goody two-shoes babysitter Mary (Iseman) for a few days, when Annabelle will once again cause havoc thanks to the meddling of Mary’s anarchic pal, Daniela (Sarife).","If it takes too long to get going, *Annabelle Comes Home* also never quite kicks into full gear — it’s a film content to roll out every cliché one by one, without twisting them into something new and fun. The doll itself takes a back seat for much of the runtime, instead compelling other spirits to terrorise the teen trio — from killer brides and creepy priests, to the more effective folklore-inspired Ferryman, who feels most likely to get his own spin-off. More laughably, there’s the ‘Hellhound of Essex’ — who not only feels incongruous but stretches the budget beyond its capabilities.","It’s not completely without merit. The introduction of what’s-in-the-box boardgame Feeley Meeley leans successfully into the film’s spooky sleepover vibe, the performances are fine enough, and it deals out some welcome in-camera frights. But the characters are painfully slow on the uptake, considering they’re in such an overt horror-movie scenario, and the confused machinations that set Annabelle loose leave Sarife’s character both largely unlikeable and woefully inconsistent. Sluggishly paced and lacking in inspiration, *Annabelle Comes Home* proves that this doll works best when the filmmakers are willing to really play with it"],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1562686661,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Ben Travis","publicationDate":1562684184541,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"2","verdict":"Lacking the style and scares of the better Conjuring movies, Annabelle Comes Home plays its tantalising spookhouse concept a little slow and far too straight.","nutshell":"When paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) leave their daughter Judy (Mckenna Grace) in the care of babysitter Mary (Madison Iseman), it’s not long before reckless teen Daniela (Katie Sarife) comes along and unwittingly unleashes the Annabelle doll — along with a bunch of other malicious spirits.","excerptOverride":"","urlOverride":"","canonical":"","metaDescription":"The evil doll is back in another Conjuring spin-off. Read the Empire review.","metaTitle":"","trackingScript":{},"openGraphDescription":"","openGraphTitle":"","excludeFromFBIA":false,"excludeFromAppleNews":false,"excludeFromCDP":false,"saveHistory":[{"fullname":"Ben Travis","id":"5d1209fe5004e74a9b3cf55e","slug":"ben","ts":1562684129394},{"fullname":"Unknown","ts":1562684130305},{"fullname":"Ben 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inspiration"],"embeds":[{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rS7S5E0f10"}],"heroImage":[{"id":"5d24a92404d08c78edbf23a0","altText":"Annabelle Comes Home","image":{"name":"annabelle-comes-home.jpg","fileName":"annabelle-comes-home.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":774797,"path":"one/media/5d24/a924/04d0/8c78/edbf/23a0"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"images":[{"id":"5d24a93504d08c166dbf23a1","altText":"Annabelle Comes 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Dead Don't Die","type":"title"},{"content":"","type":"subtitle"},{"content":{"id":"5d2457b004d08c7d32bf1e09","altText":"The Dead Don't Die","image":{"name":"dead-dont-die.jpg","fileName":"dead-dont-die.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":643398,"path":"one/media/5d24/57b0/04d0/8c7d/32bf/1e09"},"caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"[Jim Jarmusch](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jim-jarmusch/){:target=_blank} is no stranger to visiting other worlds. In *[Dead Man](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/dead-man-review/){:target=_blank}*, he went Western; in *Ghost Dog: The Way Of The Samurai*, he dabbled in Mob movies; in *[Only Lovers Left Alive](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/lovers-left-alive-review/){:target=_blank}*, he hung out in a cool-as-fuck rock star vampire world. But whatever his flirtations with genre, every Jarmusch film remains recognisably Jarmuschian. *The Dead Don’t Die* follows that trend, blending his signature low-key style with some high-end genre affectations. But the tension between the two worlds is never quite resolved.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Which is not to say there’s not a huge amount to admire here, and the set-up is extremely strong. Like [Richard Linklater](https://www.empireonline.com/people/richard-linklater/){:target=_blank} or [Kelly Reichardt](https://www.empireonline.com/people/kelly-reichardt/){:target=_blank}, Jarmusch likes to simply plonk a camera in front of interesting, down-to-earth characters, and let them just shoot the shit. And that’s how the first act rumbles on, as we are slowly introduced to a quietly colourful array of simple everyday folk in a simple everyday town — named ‘Centerville’, to heavy-handedly emphasise just how simple and everyday it is.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"id":"5d24580804d08cfcffbf1e10","altText":"The Dead Don't Die","image":{"name":"dead-dont-die-2.jpg","fileName":"dead-dont-die-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":677303,"path":"one/media/5d24/5808/04d0/8cfc/ffbf/1e10"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"images"},{"content":"Some of it feels recognisably politically incorrect for middle America, or really any insular community: we witness regulars at 
the local diner gossip about the “foreign woman” who’s just started working at the town morgue, while another character wears a Trumpian red baseball cap (with a decidedly more offensive slogan). Like much of his filmography, Jarmusch is content to spend some quality time with his characters, and the film’s early scenes show a subtlety of observation that perhaps doesn’t remain as the running time rolls on.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"After an intriguing start, 
*The Dead Don’t Die* plateaus.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"Guiding us through Centerville are two police officers, played by [Bill Murray](https://www.empireonline.com/people/bill-murray/){:target=_blank} and [Adam Driver](https://www.empireonline.com/people/adam-driver/){:target=_blank}, who take a relaxed approach to law enforcement and a serious approach to coffee and doughnuts. Murray and Driver are two of Jarmusch’s favourite muses — the De Niro and DiCaprio to his Scorsese, if you like — and few actors capture that lacksadasical sense of humour quite as well as them, both faces almost Buster Keaton-esque in their deadpan resolve. Through the pair we are introduced to a vast ensemble of supporting characters — effectively an entire cast of cameos. It’s hard to pick a favourite among so many gently glorious little turns, from [Danny Glover](https://www.empireonline.com/people/danny-glover/){:target=_blank}’s essentially decent old store owner, to [RZA](https://www.empireonline.com/people/rza/){:target=_blank}’s cryptically wise delivery man, to [Tom Waits](https://www.empireonline.com/people/tom-waits/){:target=_blank}’ hairy hermit, to [Tilda Swinton](https://www.empireonline.com/people/tilda-swinton/){:target=_blank}’s Scottish samurai.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"And for a little while, it feels like this could just be a freewheeling (if slightly off-kilter) portrait of small-town life, like a wackier version of Jarmusch’s previous film, *[Paterson](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/paterson-review/){:target=_blank}*. But something is rumbling in the background, and soon the foreground too; a hand reaching through the soil of a grave marks the moment the film reaches through into more formulaic genre territory.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Patience is always a virtue in a Jarmusch movie, of course; he is a master of slow cinema. But after such an intriguing start, 
*The Dead Don’t Die* plateaus, dramatically, comedically and frightfully. [George Romero](https://www.empireonline.com/people/george-romero/){:target=_blank} is referenced, both directly and indirectly, from the grave-reaching hand onwards. But the genre has moved on since Romero’s 1970s heyday. Zombies no longer hold the power they once had; they need something more than moaning and stumbling. Even the zombie comedy is no longer novel, with the likes of *[Shaun Of The Dead](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/shaun-dead-review/){:target=_blank}* and *[Zombieland](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/zombieland-review/){:target=_blank}* offering witty, cine-literate takes on the template. It’s not clear what fresh ideas *The Dead Don’t Die* can offer here.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pf7yaOmQo6Q"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"Much of its in-universe rules are borrowed directly from Romero: like 1978’s *[Dawn Of The Dead](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/dawn-dead-2-review/){:target=_blank}*, these ghouls are all obsessed with the one thing they desired as living beings. Here it’s given a rather first-base 21st-century spin, the zombies wailing about WiFi and Bluetooth, which feels like an overly didactic *Black Mirror* first draft. Zombies have always been a useful parable, an allegory in which to feed on the brains of modern society, and the stuff about a dying Earth certainly feels more prescient. But what is Jarmusch really trying to say about capitalism that Romero didn’t already say in 1968?","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"There are other problems with the film elsewhere: some audacious swings into meta-comedy feel overly smug, while one particular character reveal is so bonkers and out-of-place that you wonder why it wasn’t left on the cutting room floor. But in spite of itself, *The Dead Don’t Die* remains a Jarmusch joint, to the end. It’s still a disarming world to hang out in; you just wish it could have been a little less indulgent","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"The Dead Don't Die","subtitle":"","content":["[Jim Jarmusch](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jim-jarmusch/){:target=_blank} is no stranger to visiting other worlds. In *[Dead Man](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/dead-man-review/){:target=_blank}*, he went Western; in *Ghost Dog: The Way Of The Samurai*, he dabbled in Mob movies; in *[Only Lovers Left Alive](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/lovers-left-alive-review/){:target=_blank}*, he hung out in a cool-as-fuck rock star vampire world. But whatever his flirtations with genre, every Jarmusch film remains recognisably Jarmuschian. *The Dead Don’t Die* follows that trend, blending his signature low-key style with some high-end genre affectations. But the tension between the two worlds is never quite resolved.","Which is not to say there’s not a huge amount to admire here, and the set-up is extremely strong. Like [Richard Linklater](https://www.empireonline.com/people/richard-linklater/){:target=_blank} or [Kelly Reichardt](https://www.empireonline.com/people/kelly-reichardt/){:target=_blank}, Jarmusch likes to simply plonk a camera in front of interesting, down-to-earth characters, and let them just shoot the shit. And that’s how the first act rumbles on, as we are slowly introduced to a quietly colourful array of simple everyday folk in a simple everyday town — named ‘Centerville’, to heavy-handedly emphasise just how simple and everyday it is.","Some of it feels recognisably politically incorrect for middle America, or really any insular community: we witness regulars at 
the local diner gossip about the “foreign woman” who’s just started working at the town morgue, while another character wears a Trumpian red baseball cap (with a decidedly more offensive slogan). Like much of his filmography, Jarmusch is content to spend some quality time with his characters, and the film’s early scenes show a subtlety of observation that perhaps doesn’t remain as the running time rolls on.","Guiding us through Centerville are two police officers, played by [Bill Murray](https://www.empireonline.com/people/bill-murray/){:target=_blank} and [Adam Driver](https://www.empireonline.com/people/adam-driver/){:target=_blank}, who take a relaxed approach to law enforcement and a serious approach to coffee and doughnuts. Murray and Driver are two of Jarmusch’s favourite muses — the De Niro and DiCaprio to his Scorsese, if you like — and few actors capture that lacksadasical sense of humour quite as well as them, both faces almost Buster Keaton-esque in their deadpan resolve. Through the pair we are introduced to a vast ensemble of supporting characters — effectively an entire cast of cameos. It’s hard to pick a favourite among so many gently glorious little turns, from [Danny Glover](https://www.empireonline.com/people/danny-glover/){:target=_blank}’s essentially decent old store owner, to [RZA](https://www.empireonline.com/people/rza/){:target=_blank}’s cryptically wise delivery man, to [Tom Waits](https://www.empireonline.com/people/tom-waits/){:target=_blank}’ hairy hermit, to [Tilda Swinton](https://www.empireonline.com/people/tilda-swinton/){:target=_blank}’s Scottish samurai.","And for a little while, it feels like this could just be a freewheeling (if slightly off-kilter) portrait of small-town life, like a wackier version of Jarmusch’s previous film, *[Paterson](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/paterson-review/){:target=_blank}*. But something is rumbling in the background, and soon the foreground too; a hand reaching through the soil of a grave marks the moment the film reaches through into more formulaic genre territory.","Patience is always a virtue in a Jarmusch movie, of course; he is a master of slow cinema. But after such an intriguing start, 
*The Dead Don’t Die* plateaus, dramatically, comedically and frightfully. [George Romero](https://www.empireonline.com/people/george-romero/){:target=_blank} is referenced, both directly and indirectly, from the grave-reaching hand onwards. But the genre has moved on since Romero’s 1970s heyday. Zombies no longer hold the power they once had; they need something more than moaning and stumbling. Even the zombie comedy is no longer novel, with the likes of *[Shaun Of The Dead](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/shaun-dead-review/){:target=_blank}* and *[Zombieland](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/zombieland-review/){:target=_blank}* offering witty, cine-literate takes on the template. It’s not clear what fresh ideas *The Dead Don’t Die* can offer here.","Much of its in-universe rules are borrowed directly from Romero: like 1978’s *[Dawn Of The Dead](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/dawn-dead-2-review/){:target=_blank}*, these ghouls are all obsessed with the one thing they desired as living beings. Here it’s given a rather first-base 21st-century spin, the zombies wailing about WiFi and Bluetooth, which feels like an overly didactic *Black Mirror* first draft. Zombies have always been a useful parable, an allegory in which to feed on the brains of modern society, and the stuff about a dying Earth certainly feels more prescient. But what is Jarmusch really trying to say about capitalism that Romero didn’t already say in 1968?","There are other problems with the film elsewhere: some audacious swings into meta-comedy feel overly smug, while one particular character reveal is so bonkers and out-of-place that you wonder why it wasn’t left on the cutting room floor. But in spite of itself, *The Dead Don’t Die* remains a Jarmusch joint, to the end. It’s still a disarming world to hang out in; you just wish it could have been a little less indulgent"],"pullQuotes":["After an intriguing start, 
*The Dead Don’t Die* plateaus."],"embeds":[{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pf7yaOmQo6Q"}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1562168321,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"John Nugent","publicationDate":1562663335184,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"3","verdict":"It’s a lesser Jarmusch, yes — but it’s still a Jarmusch.","nutshell":"After polar fracking sends Earth off its axis, the residents of the sleepy town of Centerville start to notice some strange events: the days are longer, the animals have all disappeared — and the dead are rising.","excerptOverride":"","urlOverride":"","canonical":"","metaDescription":"","metaTitle":"","trackingScript":{},"openGraphDescription":"","openGraphTitle":"","excludeFromFBIA":false,"excludeFromAppleNews":false,"excludeFromCDP":false,"saveHistory":{"fullname":"Ben Travis","id":"5d1209fe5004e74a9b3cf55e","slug":"ben"},"publications":[{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","amp":null,"preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}}],"categories":[{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c906","name":"Reviews","furl":"reviews","parent":{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903","name":"Movies","furl":"movies"},"composed":{"parent":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903"}}],"author":{"id":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f","fullname":"Ben","furl":"ben"},"people":[{"id":"5d1112eda91b155aa799387a","furl":"jim-jarmusch","name":"Jim 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It’s a little bit Linklater, a little bit Andrew Haigh (*Weekend*), but Wootliff’s film, helped by her two magnetic leads, Laia Costa and Josh O’Connor, creates a spark and an intimacy that feels fresh and real.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"id":"5d274c16728776b43280632d","altText":"Only You","image":{"name":"only-you-2.jpg","fileName":"only-you-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":654310,"path":"one/media/5d27/4c16/7287/76b4/3280/632d"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"images"},{"content":"*Only You* is less a May-to-September romance, more May-to-July. Refreshingly, Spanish council worker Elena (Costa) is nine years older than English Ph.D student Jake (O’Connor). The pair hook up on a Glasgow New Year’s Eve through the oldest meet-cute ruse in the book — grabbing a cab at the same time — 
but somehow Costa, O’Connor and Wootliff make it work. Soon they are back at Costa’s homely flat, flirting to Elvis Costello’s ‘I Want You’, the sex discreetly played out on hands. Their one-night stand turns into a living-together-thing and, surrounded by Elena’s friends with kids, they decide to try for a baby. Yet it’s here that their bubble begins to burst,the couple struggling to conceive — no film has more weeing on sticks — as a lengthy IVF process tests their bond to the limit.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Wootliff’s writing makes a down-to-earth but clever use of the age gap, mining it for both humour and drama. She also displays an intelligent use of elision, letting us fill in gaps in the storytelling without spoon-feeding. Early doors the relationship rings sweet, sexy and authentic. *[God’s Own Country](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/god-country-review/){:target=_blank}*’s O’Connor is all boyish charm with a mile-wide romantic streak but it’s Costa, best known for one-take wonder *[Victoria](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/victoria-review/){:target=_blank}*, who has the emotional heavy lifting to do, trying to process feelings of inadequacy and guilt all the while facing a whirlwind of baby parties and child talk.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6R_HGs4qgw"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"When the couple move into their conception woes, the drama gets slightly caught in a holding pattern which might indeed reflect Elena and Jake’s plight but starts to get repetitive. Still, Wootliff’s filmmaking is a strong mixture of the thoughtful — sex is used as a storytelling device to subtly mark the state of play in the relationship — and the instinctive — DP Shabier Kirchner’s camerawork is often fluid and close up, playing fast and loose with focus to make things feel immediate and intimate. Elsewhere *Only You* is also a visually enticing film, the streets and parks of Glasgow, so often depicted as a tad gloomy, a very pretty place to fall in love. Or maybe that’s what Costa and O’Connor do for you: make you see the world through their eyes.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Only You","subtitle":"","content":["Given the budget, logistics and small cast required, it is perhaps surprising there are relatively few British takes on the US indie romantic drama staple. *Only You*, the feature debut of TV screenwriter Harry Wootliff, is that rare effort that could go toe-to-toe with its American counterpart, a passionate, moving love story told with nuance and heart. It’s a little bit Linklater, a little bit Andrew Haigh (*Weekend*), but Wootliff’s film, helped by her two magnetic leads, Laia Costa and Josh O’Connor, creates a spark and an intimacy that feels fresh and real.","*Only You* is less a May-to-September romance, more May-to-July. Refreshingly, Spanish council worker Elena (Costa) is nine years older than English Ph.D student Jake (O’Connor). The pair hook up on a Glasgow New Year’s Eve through the oldest meet-cute ruse in the book — grabbing a cab at the same time — 
but somehow Costa, O’Connor and Wootliff make it work. Soon they are back at Costa’s homely flat, flirting to Elvis Costello’s ‘I Want You’, the sex discreetly played out on hands. Their one-night stand turns into a living-together-thing and, surrounded by Elena’s friends with kids, they decide to try for a baby. Yet it’s here that their bubble begins to burst,the couple struggling to conceive — no film has more weeing on sticks — as a lengthy IVF process tests their bond to the limit.","Wootliff’s writing makes a down-to-earth but clever use of the age gap, mining it for both humour and drama. She also displays an intelligent use of elision, letting us fill in gaps in the storytelling without spoon-feeding. Early doors the relationship rings sweet, sexy and authentic. *[God’s Own Country](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/god-country-review/){:target=_blank}*’s O’Connor is all boyish charm with a mile-wide romantic streak but it’s Costa, best known for one-take wonder *[Victoria](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/victoria-review/){:target=_blank}*, who has the emotional heavy lifting to do, trying to process feelings of inadequacy and guilt all the while facing a whirlwind of baby parties and child talk.","When the couple move into their conception woes, the drama gets slightly caught in a holding pattern which might indeed reflect Elena and Jake’s plight but starts to get repetitive. Still, Wootliff’s filmmaking is a strong mixture of the thoughtful — sex is used as a storytelling device to subtly mark the state of play in the relationship — and the instinctive — DP Shabier Kirchner’s camerawork is often fluid and close up, playing fast and loose with focus to make things feel immediate and intimate. Elsewhere *Only You* is also a visually enticing film, the streets and parks of Glasgow, so often depicted as a tad gloomy, a very pretty place to fall in love. Or maybe that’s what Costa and O’Connor do for you: make you see the world through their eyes."],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1562168320,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Ian Freer","publicationDate":1562596974000,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"4","verdict":"Despite the generic title, Only You is an emotional treat, lit up by stellar charisma from Laia Costa and Josh O’Connor. And debutante Harry Wootliff is a filmmaker to watch.","nutshell":"After what initially feels like a New Year’s Eve fling, Spanish council worker Elena (Leia Costa) and English Ph.D student Jake (Josh O’Connor) — nine years her junior — jumpstart a relationship, quickly moving in together. It’s only when the loved-up pair look to have a child that cracks start to form. 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Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"“Stoic” and “dependable” are ideas that come up a lot in David Fairhead’s enjoyable if hardly groundbreaking portrait of Neil Armstrong, the test pilot-turned-astronaut who became the first human being to set foot on the moon. They are also terms that could describe the film itself. Fairhead, director of last year’s equally solid *Spitfire* doc, has mounted a film that ticks all the boxes but doesn’t do it with much flair, edge or depth.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Structurally the film takes a womb-to-tomb approach, tracing Armstrong’s strict Ohio upbringing, his passion for flight (he got a flying licence before a driving licence), his three years in Korea on active duty and his rise to lead the Apollo 11 mission. Interspersed are more personal threads— the death of his daughter Karen aged two that played so deeply into [Damien Chazelle](https://www.empireonline.com/people/damien-chazelle/){:target=_blank}’s *[First Man](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/first-man-review/){:target=_blank}* biopic — and his life post his epoch-defining achievement, a reluctant career in public speaking, entering the corporate world and divorcing his wife Janet (“He said he would change,” she says about the end of the marriage. “He had 38 years to change”). There feels more to these topics than the film is willing to get into.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"The story is told through talking heads with Armstrong’s family and colleagues (Buzz Aldrin is absent — the pair didn’t get on), but the film’s masterstroke is having [Harrison Ford](https://www.empireonline.com/people/harrison-ford/){:target=_blank} narrate Armstrong’s own words, the actor imbuing the astronaut’s thoughts with an apt no-nonsense gravitas. There’s some lovely home movie footage and it gives a good account of the moon landing itself — there is a tense bit where Armstrong struggles to find a parking space on the lunar surface.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHcKtU2n63s"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"But this tried and trusted approach — overegged by an insistent score — doesn’t do enough to bring the by now familiar tale to life, and coupled with a central figure who wouldn’t trouble Amy Winehouse or Maradona in the compelling documentary subject stakes means *Armstrong* never reaches the stars (you get the sense the saltier Janet — a NASA widow — might have provided a more interesting, leftfield way into the story). In the wake of the awe-inspiring *[Apollo 11](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/apollo-11-review/){:target=_blank}*, *Armstrong* feels solid and dependable — like the man himself — but little else.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Armstrong","subtitle":"","content":["“Stoic” and “dependable” are ideas that come up a lot in David Fairhead’s enjoyable if hardly groundbreaking portrait of Neil Armstrong, the test pilot-turned-astronaut who became the first human being to set foot on the moon. They are also terms that could describe the film itself. Fairhead, director of last year’s equally solid *Spitfire* doc, has mounted a film that ticks all the boxes but doesn’t do it with much flair, edge or depth.","Structurally the film takes a womb-to-tomb approach, tracing Armstrong’s strict Ohio upbringing, his passion for flight (he got a flying licence before a driving licence), his three years in Korea on active duty and his rise to lead the Apollo 11 mission. Interspersed are more personal threads— the death of his daughter Karen aged two that played so deeply into [Damien Chazelle](https://www.empireonline.com/people/damien-chazelle/){:target=_blank}’s *[First Man](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/first-man-review/){:target=_blank}* biopic — and his life post his epoch-defining achievement, a reluctant career in public speaking, entering the corporate world and divorcing his wife Janet (“He said he would change,” she says about the end of the marriage. “He had 38 years to change”). There feels more to these topics than the film is willing to get into.","The story is told through talking heads with Armstrong’s family and colleagues (Buzz Aldrin is absent — the pair didn’t get on), but the film’s masterstroke is having [Harrison Ford](https://www.empireonline.com/people/harrison-ford/){:target=_blank} narrate Armstrong’s own words, the actor imbuing the astronaut’s thoughts with an apt no-nonsense gravitas. There’s some lovely home movie footage and it gives a good account of the moon landing itself — there is a tense bit where Armstrong struggles to find a parking space on the lunar surface.","But this tried and trusted approach — overegged by an insistent score — doesn’t do enough to bring the by now familiar tale to life, and coupled with a central figure who wouldn’t trouble Amy Winehouse or Maradona in the compelling documentary subject stakes means *Armstrong* never reaches the stars (you get the sense the saltier Janet — a NASA widow — might have provided a more interesting, leftfield way into the story). In the wake of the awe-inspiring *[Apollo 11](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/apollo-11-review/){:target=_blank}*, *Armstrong* feels solid and dependable — like the man himself — but little else."],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1562168320,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Ian Freer","publicationDate":1562585664000,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"3","verdict":"The 50th anniversary of the moon landings has brought a welter of reminiscences and Armstrong, while entertaining enough, does little to distinguish itself from the pack.","nutshell":"The life and times of Neil Armstrong, the aeronautical engineer and astronaut who became the first person to walk on the moon on 20 July 1969. ","excerptOverride":"","urlOverride":"","canonical":"","metaDescription":"","metaTitle":"","trackingScript":{},"openGraphDescription":"","openGraphTitle":"","excludeFromFBIA":false,"excludeFromAppleNews":false,"excludeFromCDP":false,"saveHistory":[{"fullname":"Ben Travis","id":"5d1209fe5004e74a9b3cf55e","slug":"ben","ts":1562931746689},{"fullname":"Unknown","ts":1562931746890}],"publications":[{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","amp":null,"preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}}],"categories":[{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c906","name":"Reviews","furl":"reviews","parent":{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903","name":"Movies","furl":"movies"},"composed":{"parent":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903"}}],"author":{"id":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f","fullname":"Ben","furl":"ben"},"apiVersion":"1.0","createdAt":1562931233025,"createdBy":"publish","v":3,"primaryPublication":{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","googleAnalyticsId":"","fbiaAudienceNetworkPlacement1":"","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}},"furl":"armstrong","urls":["empire/movies/reviews/armstrong/"],"excerpt":"“Stoic” and “dependable” are ideas that come up a lot in David Fairhead’s...","embeds":[{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHcKtU2n63s"}],"heroImage":[{"id":"5d2871e87287762c328071be","altText":"Armstrong","image":{"name":"armstrong-main.jpg","fileName":"armstrong-main.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":646174,"path":"one/media/5d28/71e8/7287/762c/3280/71be"},"caption":"","credits":""}],"lastModifiedAt":1562931746670,"lastModifiedBy":"publish","composed":{"fashionSeason":[],"sponsor":[],"tv":[],"author":"5d120a065004e74a9b3cf55f","fashionDesigner":[],"game":[],"presenter":[],"heroImage":["5d2871e87287762c328071be"],"trackingPixel":[],"brands":[],"publications":["5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74"],"categories":["5d111266a91b155aa798c906"],"primaryPublication":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","people":["59e4c919f9648a12d2ed784e"],"tags":[],"film":["5d286f0772877629b5807185"]}},{"id":"5d286b70e8e20484a28477b2","tags":[],"presenter":[],"tv":[],"film":[{"id":"5d286b58e8e2041b458477b0","title":"Kursk: The Last Mission","website":"","furl":"kursk-the-last-mission","composed":{}}],"game":[],"fashionSeason":[],"fashionDesigner":[],"brands":[],"trackingPixel":[],"sponsor":[],"_layout":[{"content":"Kursk: The Last Mission","type":"title"},{"content":"","type":"subtitle"},{"content":{"id":"5d286d24728776586780715e","altText":"Kursk: The Last Mission","image":{"name":"kursk-rev.jpg","fileName":"kursk-rev.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":497846,"path":"one/media/5d28/6d24/7287/7658/6780/715e"},"caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"_Kursk: The Last Mission_ is an unusual mix of talents: director [Thomas Vinterberg](https://www.empireonline.com/people/thomas-vinterberg/){:target=_blank}, best known as one of the leading lights of the ultra-realist Dogme 95 movement; screenwriter Robert Rodat, the scribe behind *[Saving Private Ryan](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/saving-private-ryan-review/){:target=_blank}* and *[The Patriot](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/patriot-review/){:target=_blank}*; and a cast that mixes talents stretching from [Matthias Schoenaerts](https://www.empireonline.com/people/matthias-schoenaerts/){:target=_blank} to [Léa Seydoux](https://www.empireonline.com/people/lea-seydoux/){:target=_blank} to [Max von Sydow](https://www.empireonline.com/people/max-von-sydow/){:target=_blank} to [Colin Firth](https://www.empireonline.com/people/colin-firth/){:target=_blank}. Tackling the tragic 2000 true story of the Russian submarine left stranded for seven days at the bottom of the Barents Sea following a series of explosions, _Kursk: The Last Mission_ (titled _The Command_ in the US) is an intermittently entertaining old-school disaster movie, helped by strong craft, hindered by on-the-nose writing and an overwhelming sense of the familiar.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"It all starts very *[Deer Hunter](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/deer-hunter-review/){:target=_blank}*, with the Kursk submarine crew enjoying bro hijinks and a big wedding before setting off for sea, shipman Mikhail Averin (Schoenaerts) saying goodbye to a pregnant wife (Seydoux) and young son. When it gets under the water and the accident occurs, the action flits between underwater survival situations (freezing to death, diminishing oxygen) and dry-land dramas as the Russians refuse help from the international community (aka Colin Firth in sensible knitwear) over sheer pride and the families fight for news of their loved ones, Seydoux getting some meaty scenes in the process.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"id":"5d286d2de8e20409b48477dc","altText":"Kursk: The Last Mission","image":{"name":"kursk-2.jpg","fileName":"kursk-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":749247,"path":"one/media/5d28/6d2d/e8e2/0409/b484/77dc"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"images"},{"content":"Script-wise, it’s standard disaster-movie shenanigans (a *[Poseidon Adventure](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/poseidon-adventure-review/){:target=_blank}*-style hold-your-breath swim told in one long epic take) with a little bit of old school World War I camaraderie (there’s a few sing-songs). But the action is enlivened by strong filmmaking. Alexandre Desplat’s spare score is impeccable and Vinterberg’s regular DP, Anthony Dod Mantle, makes the confines of a sub both constricting and beautiful. Vinterberg makes the interesting choice of bookending the film with a squeezed aspect ratio, only opening out in the close quarters of the sub that makes it simultaneously intimate and epic. It’s just a shame the power of the form is rarely matched by the potentially absorbing content.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Kursk: The Last Mission","subtitle":"","content":["_Kursk: The Last Mission_ is an unusual mix of talents: director [Thomas Vinterberg](https://www.empireonline.com/people/thomas-vinterberg/){:target=_blank}, best known as one of the leading lights of the ultra-realist Dogme 95 movement; screenwriter Robert Rodat, the scribe behind *[Saving Private Ryan](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/saving-private-ryan-review/){:target=_blank}* and *[The Patriot](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/patriot-review/){:target=_blank}*; and a cast that mixes talents stretching from [Matthias Schoenaerts](https://www.empireonline.com/people/matthias-schoenaerts/){:target=_blank} to [Léa Seydoux](https://www.empireonline.com/people/lea-seydoux/){:target=_blank} to [Max von Sydow](https://www.empireonline.com/people/max-von-sydow/){:target=_blank} to [Colin Firth](https://www.empireonline.com/people/colin-firth/){:target=_blank}. Tackling the tragic 2000 true story of the Russian submarine left stranded for seven days at the bottom of the Barents Sea following a series of explosions, _Kursk: The Last Mission_ (titled _The Command_ in the US) is an intermittently entertaining old-school disaster movie, helped by strong craft, hindered by on-the-nose writing and an overwhelming sense of the familiar.","It all starts very *[Deer Hunter](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/deer-hunter-review/){:target=_blank}*, with the Kursk submarine crew enjoying bro hijinks and a big wedding before setting off for sea, shipman Mikhail Averin (Schoenaerts) saying goodbye to a pregnant wife (Seydoux) and young son. When it gets under the water and the accident occurs, the action flits between underwater survival situations (freezing to death, diminishing oxygen) and dry-land dramas as the Russians refuse help from the international community (aka Colin Firth in sensible knitwear) over sheer pride and the families fight for news of their loved ones, Seydoux getting some meaty scenes in the process.","Script-wise, it’s standard disaster-movie shenanigans (a *[Poseidon Adventure](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/poseidon-adventure-review/){:target=_blank}*-style hold-your-breath swim told in one long epic take) with a little bit of old school World War I camaraderie (there’s a few sing-songs). But the action is enlivened by strong filmmaking. Alexandre Desplat’s spare score is impeccable and Vinterberg’s regular DP, Anthony Dod Mantle, makes the confines of a sub both constricting and beautiful. Vinterberg makes the interesting choice of bookending the film with a squeezed aspect ratio, only opening out in the close quarters of the sub that makes it simultaneously intimate and epic. It’s just a shame the power of the form is rarely matched by the potentially absorbing content."],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1562168321,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Ian Freer","publicationDate":1562584471000,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"3","verdict":"A by-the-numbers underwater disaster flick ripped from real-life tragedy, Kursk: The Last Mission is well made and enjoyable but lacks the power and detail that befits the subject matter.","nutshell":"August 2000. Russian submarine the Kursk heads out to sea on training exercises. When a practice torpedo explodes inside the nuclear-powered vessel, the submersible becomes rooted at the bottom of the Barents Sea.","excerptOverride":"","urlOverride":"","canonical":"","metaDescription":"","metaTitle":"","trackingScript":{},"openGraphDescription":"","openGraphTitle":"","excludeFromFBIA":false,"excludeFromAppleNews":false,"excludeFromCDP":false,"saveHistory":[{"fullname":"Ben Travis","id":"5d1209fe5004e74a9b3cf55e","slug":"ben","ts":1562930088082},{"fullname":"Ben 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Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"After covering The Beatles with *[Eight Days A Week: The Touring Years](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/beatles-eight-days-week-touring-years-review/){:target=_blank}*, [Ron Howard](https://www.empireonline.com/people/ron-howard/){:target=_blank} mounts a straightforward but enjoyable portrait of Luciano Pavarotti, one of 20th century music’s greatest talents. In many ways Howard’s film mirrors its protagonist; populist, fun but seemingly able to turn a blind eye to some of his story’s darker, more dubious corners. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"The film surprisingly starts in 1985 with Pavarotti up the Amazon, trying to bring opera to the masses in the jungle like a scene from [Herzog](https://www.empireonline.com/people/werner-herzog/){:target=_blank}’s *[Fitzcarraldo](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/fitzcarraldo-review/){:target=_blank}*. It’s an idea — Pavarotti’s desire to share his passion with the widest possible audience — that runs through the whole story, as Pavarotti keeps on increasing the size of his markets, from his debut in *La Bohème* in 1961, to the first live opera at the Met (Pavarotti admits to being a nervous wreck), to teaming up with rock concert promoter Harvey Goldsmith (who is good value as a talking head, recalling how Pavarotti gave his parents a private rendition of ‘Ave Maria’), to ruling the world with the Three Tenors concert alongside Placido Domingo and José Carreras — the footage will still make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Gets by on the ebullience of its subject.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"But even when Pavarotti seemingly couldn’t get even more popular, his attempts to fuse classical opera with pop by teaming up with the world’s biggest contemporary artists (in the name of charity) brought him to an even wider crowd, even in the face of classical music snobbery. Bono tells the story of how the singer won over his housekeeper as a means of engaging Bono in a Sarajevo concert, the U2 frontman calling him “a great emotional arm-wrestler… he will break your fucking arm.”","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjGPHd0iU60"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"Time and again, *Pavarotti* tells vibrant tales — Pavarotti used to bring suitcases of tortellini on tour with him — and is good on the technicalities of his talent, explaining his mastery of breathing, his virtuoso ability to hit a run of high Cs and his talent for making the tenor range sound warm and organic. There’s great archival footage, running the range from Johnny Carson to an Amex ad, to show his growing stature in the pop consciousness, but what Howard’s film doesn’t really do is offer a point of view or an angle. If there were criticisms from the elite classical world, they are glossed over. And equally his marital affairs — with soprano Madelyn Renee, then with his assistant Nicolette Mantovani (34 years his junior) which proved a scandal in Italy — are given an easy ride. It’s not the most rigorous or insightful documentary, then, but gets by on the ebullience of its subject and his ability to interpret some of the world’s most beautiful music.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Pavarotti","subtitle":"","content":["After covering The Beatles with *[Eight Days A Week: The Touring Years](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/beatles-eight-days-week-touring-years-review/){:target=_blank}*, [Ron Howard](https://www.empireonline.com/people/ron-howard/){:target=_blank} mounts a straightforward but enjoyable portrait of Luciano Pavarotti, one of 20th century music’s greatest talents. In many ways Howard’s film mirrors its protagonist; populist, fun but seemingly able to turn a blind eye to some of his story’s darker, more dubious corners. ","The film surprisingly starts in 1985 with Pavarotti up the Amazon, trying to bring opera to the masses in the jungle like a scene from [Herzog](https://www.empireonline.com/people/werner-herzog/){:target=_blank}’s *[Fitzcarraldo](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/fitzcarraldo-review/){:target=_blank}*. It’s an idea — Pavarotti’s desire to share his passion with the widest possible audience — that runs through the whole story, as Pavarotti keeps on increasing the size of his markets, from his debut in *La Bohème* in 1961, to the first live opera at the Met (Pavarotti admits to being a nervous wreck), to teaming up with rock concert promoter Harvey Goldsmith (who is good value as a talking head, recalling how Pavarotti gave his parents a private rendition of ‘Ave Maria’), to ruling the world with the Three Tenors concert alongside Placido Domingo and José Carreras — the footage will still make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end. ","But even when Pavarotti seemingly couldn’t get even more popular, his attempts to fuse classical opera with pop by teaming up with the world’s biggest contemporary artists (in the name of charity) brought him to an even wider crowd, even in the face of classical music snobbery. Bono tells the story of how the singer won over his housekeeper as a means of engaging Bono in a Sarajevo concert, the U2 frontman calling him “a great emotional arm-wrestler… he will break your fucking arm.”","Time and again, *Pavarotti* tells vibrant tales — Pavarotti used to bring suitcases of tortellini on tour with him — and is good on the technicalities of his talent, explaining his mastery of breathing, his virtuoso ability to hit a run of high Cs and his talent for making the tenor range sound warm and organic. There’s great archival footage, running the range from Johnny Carson to an Amex ad, to show his growing stature in the pop consciousness, but what Howard’s film doesn’t really do is offer a point of view or an angle. If there were criticisms from the elite classical world, they are glossed over. And equally his marital affairs — with soprano Madelyn Renee, then with his assistant Nicolette Mantovani (34 years his junior) which proved a scandal in Italy — are given an easy ride. It’s not the most rigorous or insightful documentary, then, but gets by on the ebullience of its subject and his ability to interpret some of the world’s most beautiful music."],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1562168320,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Ian Freer","publicationDate":1562582496000,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"3","verdict":"The film soft-peddles any sense of controversy but what emerges is an entertaining portrait of a generous, funny, larger-than-life figure. And the music is sublime.","nutshell":"Told via a mixture of archive footage and contemporary talking heads, Pavarotti is the soup-to-nuts story of the rise of a baker’s son who became the world’s greatest tenor. 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When a temporarily blinded Vic becomes his passenger, the driving go-getter endures shoot-outs and the obligatory stop at a strip club (albeit with an effective twist) before he can hope for the five-star rating he desperately needs.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8xsEDGrIh8"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"There’s a dystopian tinge in the fact that Stu feels compelled to risk his life for his rating, but it’s drowned out by the film’s endless shilling for the ride-sharing service. Vic is essentially Drax with a few more lines, and Bautista doesn’t always seem terribly comfortable when he reaches for greater nuance – which is a shame, because he’s a likeable guy in the right role. Ironically it falls to Nanjiani to do much of the heavy lifting, dramatically speaking, while his larger colleague simply punches people and squints hard. The film never slows enough to allow them a chance at a real bond, but they manage some friendly chemistry despite that, inbetween the painful-looking, wince-inducing injuries and one-liners.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Stuber","subtitle":"","content":["The pairing of a tough cop with a hapless comedian is a Hollywood staple, but director [Michael Dowse](https://www.empireonline.com/people/michael-dowse/){:target=_blank} spins it here by pairing cringey, painful violence against poor [Dave Bautista](https://www.empireonline.com/people/dave-bautista/){:target=_blank} with [Kumail Nanjiani](https://www.empireonline.com/people/kumail-nanjiani/){:target=_blank}’s bone-dry humour as his put-upon Uber driver. ","We open with Bautista’s LAPD detective Vic facing off against [Iko Uwais](https://www.empireonline.com/people/iko-uwais/){:target=_blank}’ barely sketched villain, setting up an obsessive quest for the tough cop. It’s all deeply gloomy until Nanjiani’s Stu turns up. He’s a store clerk moonlighting as an Uber driver while he also sets up a business with his long-term crush Becca (Betty Gilpin). When a temporarily blinded Vic becomes his passenger, the driving go-getter endures shoot-outs and the obligatory stop at a strip club (albeit with an effective twist) before he can hope for the five-star rating he desperately needs.","There’s a dystopian tinge in the fact that Stu feels compelled to risk his life for his rating, but it’s drowned out by the film’s endless shilling for the ride-sharing service. Vic is essentially Drax with a few more lines, and Bautista doesn’t always seem terribly comfortable when he reaches for greater nuance – which is a shame, because he’s a likeable guy in the right role. Ironically it falls to Nanjiani to do much of the heavy lifting, dramatically speaking, while his larger colleague simply punches people and squints hard. The film never slows enough to allow them a chance at a real bond, but they manage some friendly chemistry despite that, inbetween the painful-looking, wince-inducing injuries and one-liners."],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1562929376,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Helen O'Hara","publicationDate":1562581325000,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"2","verdict":"It’s uneven and doesn’t quite hit the right balance between yuks and yuck, but the charisma of the two stars – particularly Nanjiani – carries it along. A shame to waste Uwais on such a limited role, though.","nutshell":"Tough cop Vic Manning (Dave Bautista) has just had eye surgery when he gets a tip-off that his great white whale, heroin dealer Tadjo (Iko Uwais), is going to be in town that night. 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Look Away","type":"title"},{"content":"","type":"subtitle"},{"content":{"id":"5d1f2b6de9820734455e3c5b","altText":"Never Look Away","image":{"name":"never-look-away.jpg","fileName":"never-look-away.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":723966,"path":"one/media/5d1f/2b6d/e982/0734/455e/3c5b"},"caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"It’s been 12 years since Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s _[The Lives Of Others](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/lives-others-review/){:target=_blank}_ won the Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. After a best-forgotten dalliance with Hollywood with Johnny Depp-Angelina Jolie misfire _[The Tourist](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/tourist-review/){:target=_blank}_, he is back with _Never Look Away,_ a sprawling, three-decade, three-hour epic overview of modern German artistic history fictionalised from the life of photorealistic painter Gerhard Richter. It’s well played and intermittently engaging but never finds the vice-like grip of Henckel von Donnersmarck’s calling card.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"With Richter fictionalised here as Kurt Barnert (Tom Schilling, who could play a young Christopher Nolan), _Never Look Away_ charts a young artist’s journey through East and West German art movements, tormented by his experiences growing up during the Nazi era, chiefly the state ordered murder of his schizophrenic guardian. After the war ends, Barnett works as a sign painter before enrolling in the Dresden Art School and gets caught up in the communist ethos of art that is just as strictly dogmatic as the Nazis. Kurt picks up with fashion student Ellie (Paula Beer) who has a sinister connection to the Kurt’s past. The pair marry and Kurt gets accepted into the progressive Dusseldorf Art Academy. It’s in these art school sequences the film hits its stride, having fun at the expense of the avant-garde’s pompous pretension while also strong on capturing the skill, effort, and minutiae of artistic creation.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCEYXnDNcrg"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"Shot by legendary cinematographer Caleb Deschanel, _Never Look Away_ is ravishing to look at (all elegant framing and honeyed tones) and listen to (scored with warmth and sensitivity by Max Richter). Yet the impressive style is at odds with the artistic tumult it is portraying, and the film has little to actually say about the confusion in post-war German art. Elsewhere the drama feels melodramatic in stretches involving Kurt and Ellie’s relationship and doesn’t really find complexity and nuance in Kurt’s psychological state, despite the presence of the charismatic Schilling.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Never Look Away","subtitle":"","content":["It’s been 12 years since Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s _[The Lives Of Others](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/lives-others-review/){:target=_blank}_ won the Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. After a best-forgotten dalliance with Hollywood with Johnny Depp-Angelina Jolie misfire _[The Tourist](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/tourist-review/){:target=_blank}_, he is back with _Never Look Away,_ a sprawling, three-decade, three-hour epic overview of modern German artistic history fictionalised from the life of photorealistic painter Gerhard Richter. It’s well played and intermittently engaging but never finds the vice-like grip of Henckel von Donnersmarck’s calling card.","With Richter fictionalised here as Kurt Barnert (Tom Schilling, who could play a young Christopher Nolan), _Never Look Away_ charts a young artist’s journey through East and West German art movements, tormented by his experiences growing up during the Nazi era, chiefly the state ordered murder of his schizophrenic guardian. After the war ends, Barnett works as a sign painter before enrolling in the Dresden Art School and gets caught up in the communist ethos of art that is just as strictly dogmatic as the Nazis. Kurt picks up with fashion student Ellie (Paula Beer) who has a sinister connection to the Kurt’s past. The pair marry and Kurt gets accepted into the progressive Dusseldorf Art Academy. It’s in these art school sequences the film hits its stride, having fun at the expense of the avant-garde’s pompous pretension while also strong on capturing the skill, effort, and minutiae of artistic creation.","Shot by legendary cinematographer Caleb Deschanel, _Never Look Away_ is ravishing to look at (all elegant framing and honeyed tones) and listen to (scored with warmth and sensitivity by Max Richter). Yet the impressive style is at odds with the artistic tumult it is portraying, and the film has little to actually say about the confusion in post-war German art. Elsewhere the drama feels melodramatic in stretches involving Kurt and Ellie’s relationship and doesn’t really find complexity and nuance in Kurt’s psychological state, despite the presence of the charismatic Schilling."],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1562168321,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Ian Freer","publicationDate":1562323885000,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"3","verdict":"If Never Look Away is no The Lives Of Others, it is also a cut above The Tourist. A strongly crafted, ambitious, occasionally absorbing dissection of a fascinating period in German culture, it is perhaps too middle-brow and broad for its own good. 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Third time round for Stallone’s 4th string franchise (*Rocky*, *Rambo*, *The Expendables* are all higher up the cinematic food chain) the emphasis here is less on the problem solving of previous outings and more a dull cycle through grim punch-ups, bad acting and blatant attempts to woo the Chinese market — *The Grandmaster*’s Jin Zhang and *Crazy Rich Asians*’ Harry Shum Jr have prominent if, like everyone else, underwritten roles in the melee.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Rather than a prison break, this time round it’s a break in. The reheated old guff that passes for a plot sees Breslin and his cohorts (Bautista, Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson, Jaime King) looking to extract Daya (Malese Jow), the daughter of a Hong Kong tech giant (Russell Wong) from a giant Latvian penitentiary ominously known as Devil’s Landing. Daya and Breslin’s partner Abby (Jaime King) are being held hostage by a goon (Devon Sawa) with a grudge against Breslin that stretches back to events in the first film (don’t worry we didn’t remember either). Previous *Escape Plans* had a sci-fi tinge. This one is rooted firmly in bargain bin action licks circa 1992 and has little invention or charm to up the ante. It also plays that DTV trick of promising big name stars on the poster and failing to deliver — Dave Bautista appears fitfully and Stallone only a little more. ","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoipQuCpQ9Y"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"Director John Herzfeld has a background in non fiction and the film bizarrely opens with a tone poem about modern America, almost a documentary on the Trumpian rust belt heartland. After that it’s the expected slog through dull exposition, decent if repetitive martial arts fights (in aircraft hangers, office blocks plus a good bit with a crowbar), women-in-peril tropes, endless creeping through dimly-lit sewers, bad speechifying and in Breslin, the most uncharismatic character in Stallone’s back catalogue. And that includes Joseph “Joe” Bornowski in *Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot*.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Escape Plan 3","subtitle":"","content":["“I’m done with prisons,” drawls Sylvester Stallone’s security expert Ray Breslin and watching _Escape Plan 3_ it’s hard to disagree. Third time round for Stallone’s 4th string franchise (*Rocky*, *Rambo*, *The Expendables* are all higher up the cinematic food chain) the emphasis here is less on the problem solving of previous outings and more a dull cycle through grim punch-ups, bad acting and blatant attempts to woo the Chinese market — *The Grandmaster*’s Jin Zhang and *Crazy Rich Asians*’ Harry Shum Jr have prominent if, like everyone else, underwritten roles in the melee.","Rather than a prison break, this time round it’s a break in. The reheated old guff that passes for a plot sees Breslin and his cohorts (Bautista, Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson, Jaime King) looking to extract Daya (Malese Jow), the daughter of a Hong Kong tech giant (Russell Wong) from a giant Latvian penitentiary ominously known as Devil’s Landing. Daya and Breslin’s partner Abby (Jaime King) are being held hostage by a goon (Devon Sawa) with a grudge against Breslin that stretches back to events in the first film (don’t worry we didn’t remember either). Previous *Escape Plans* had a sci-fi tinge. This one is rooted firmly in bargain bin action licks circa 1992 and has little invention or charm to up the ante. It also plays that DTV trick of promising big name stars on the poster and failing to deliver — Dave Bautista appears fitfully and Stallone only a little more. ","Director John Herzfeld has a background in non fiction and the film bizarrely opens with a tone poem about modern America, almost a documentary on the Trumpian rust belt heartland. After that it’s the expected slog through dull exposition, decent if repetitive martial arts fights (in aircraft hangers, office blocks plus a good bit with a crowbar), women-in-peril tropes, endless creeping through dimly-lit sewers, bad speechifying and in Breslin, the most uncharismatic character in Stallone’s back catalogue. And that includes Joseph “Joe” Bornowski in *Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot*."],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1562168321,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Ian Freer","publicationDate":1562322966000,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"2","verdict":"A visually dull, uninspired trudge through well worn action clichés. Hopefully this lacklustre effort will spell the end of the tired franchise— surely not even Ray Breslin can escape from terminal tedium? ","nutshell":"Security expert Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone) and his team are hired to spring captured tech heiress (Malese Jow) from an impregnable prison in Latvia. The odds ramp up when Breslin’s girlfriend and colleague Abby (King) is also taken hostage. ","excerptOverride":"","urlOverride":"","canonical":"","metaDescription":"Sylvester Stallone returns in another prison break actioner. 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Or rather: fear. Because instead he’s gone Hälsingland. For his second feature film, the writer-director has conjured up an even madder and more ambitious nightmare, set in the remote wilds of northern Sweden and featuring ingredients not usually found in scary movies. The skies are blue. The sun is out. And everywhere are angelic-looking characters, adorned with flowers and dancing merrily. It’s the polar opposite of that bleak, cramped house in _Hereditary_, yet Aster makes the experience every bit as unsettling, orchestrating the descent from paradise to, well, something else with clinical precision. It’s a virtuoso, bone-shaking, head-spinning experience. The vibe is hard to shake off. And you might not be ordering from Interflora again for a while.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"id":"5d14f1952e4227524eeb9444","altText":"MIdsommar","image":{"name":"midsommar-rev3.jpg","fileName":"midsommar-rev3.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":721611,"path":"one/media/5d14/f195/2e42/2752/4eeb/9444"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"images"},{"content":"The set-up is vaguely _Hostel_-y: after an intense prologue in which an awful tragedy befalls the family of Dani (Pugh), she, her boyfriend Christian (Reynor) and his grad-school buddies decide to head to Sweden for a backpacking break. Dani and Christian appear to be on the rocks: she’s afraid she’s leaning too much on him, while his friends urge him to ditch her and play the field. It’s relationship drama played out with operatic intensity, and with bold Asterian licks, like an unflinchingly long shot of Dani on the phone, making clear her mental state, or a slow zoom through a dark window that feels like a plunge into an abyss.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Makes the famous ending of The Wicker Man look like a documentary on the Fyre Festival.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"Then we get to Sweden. The film is in no rush to introduce us to the ways of the Harga, the peculiar, ever-smiling tribe who have taken over an idyllic meadow surrounded by forest. There’s a pause for a magic-mushrooms trip, and for Christian’s sleazy pal Mark (Will Poulter) to leer at Nordic women. When they do arrive at the village, we are immediately immersed in ancient rituals that aren’t explained, activities that may or may not be ominous playing out in the background of frames. Aster and his set decorator Henrik Svensson have likewise packed the village’s structures with dense detail that is left enigmatic, though there are clues that something is definitely off. What’s in that big, yellow triangle-shaped building? And exactly why are there so many penises etched on walls?","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Vnghdsjmd0"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"The shit that goes down — and there is a lot of shit that goes down — is sure to inspire a million memes. After a slow simmer, with the village’s off-ness being ramped up degree by degree, it finally reaches a boil in a climax that makes the famous ending of _The Wicker Man_ look like a documentary on the Fyre Festival. Despite the film’s focus seemingly having turned away from Dani and Christian to the many exotic distractions on display, it turns out it was still a relationship drama after all, and both Pugh and Reynor are extraordinary in a final reel that pushes their characters in some truly extreme directions. _Midsommar_ tests not only its players but its viewers: it’s a ride, however, that any lover of cinema should take.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Midsommar","subtitle":"","content":["To anyone who might be worried that, following the neck-slicing, demon-summoning terrors of _Hereditary_, Ari Aster has gone Hollywood: fear not. Or rather: fear. Because instead he’s gone Hälsingland. For his second feature film, the writer-director has conjured up an even madder and more ambitious nightmare, set in the remote wilds of northern Sweden and featuring ingredients not usually found in scary movies. The skies are blue. The sun is out. And everywhere are angelic-looking characters, adorned with flowers and dancing merrily. It’s the polar opposite of that bleak, cramped house in _Hereditary_, yet Aster makes the experience every bit as unsettling, orchestrating the descent from paradise to, well, something else with clinical precision. It’s a virtuoso, bone-shaking, head-spinning experience. The vibe is hard to shake off. And you might not be ordering from Interflora again for a while.","The set-up is vaguely _Hostel_-y: after an intense prologue in which an awful tragedy befalls the family of Dani (Pugh), she, her boyfriend Christian (Reynor) and his grad-school buddies decide to head to Sweden for a backpacking break. Dani and Christian appear to be on the rocks: she’s afraid she’s leaning too much on him, while his friends urge him to ditch her and play the field. It’s relationship drama played out with operatic intensity, and with bold Asterian licks, like an unflinchingly long shot of Dani on the phone, making clear her mental state, or a slow zoom through a dark window that feels like a plunge into an abyss.","Then we get to Sweden. The film is in no rush to introduce us to the ways of the Harga, the peculiar, ever-smiling tribe who have taken over an idyllic meadow surrounded by forest. There’s a pause for a magic-mushrooms trip, and for Christian’s sleazy pal Mark (Will Poulter) to leer at Nordic women. When they do arrive at the village, we are immediately immersed in ancient rituals that aren’t explained, activities that may or may not be ominous playing out in the background of frames. Aster and his set decorator Henrik Svensson have likewise packed the village’s structures with dense detail that is left enigmatic, though there are clues that something is definitely off. What’s in that big, yellow triangle-shaped building? And exactly why are there so many penises etched on walls?","The shit that goes down — and there is a lot of shit that goes down — is sure to inspire a million memes. After a slow simmer, with the village’s off-ness being ramped up degree by degree, it finally reaches a boil in a climax that makes the famous ending of _The Wicker Man_ look like a documentary on the Fyre Festival. Despite the film’s focus seemingly having turned away from Dani and Christian to the many exotic distractions on display, it turns out it was still a relationship drama after all, and both Pugh and Reynor are extraordinary in a final reel that pushes their characters in some truly extreme directions. _Midsommar_ tests not only its players but its viewers: it’s a ride, however, that any lover of cinema should take."],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1561644631,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Nick de Semlyen","publicationDate":1561653718000,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"5","verdict":"A visceral, unique, utterly fucked-up experience that demands to be seen on the big screen, Midsommar is the horror movie to beat in 2019. Caution: contains distressing amounts of folk music.","nutshell":"When Dani (Florence Pugh) gets an email from her troubled sister, it heralds the start of a very bad time in her life. 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anyone who might be worried that, following the neck-slicing,...","pullQuotes":["Makes the famous ending of The Wicker Man look like a documentary on the Fyre 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Far From Home","type":"title"},{"content":"","type":"subtitle"},{"content":{"id":"5d14bde12e4227524eeb8e28","altText":"Spider-Man: Far From Home","image":{"name":"spidey-rev-main.jpg","fileName":"spidey-rev-main.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":888392,"path":"one/media/5d14/bde1/2e42/2752/4eeb/8e28"},"caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":[],"type":"tags"},{"content":"*[Avengers: Endgame](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/avengers-endgame-review/){:target=_blank}* irrevocably changed the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The apocalyptic time-travel epic not only wrapped up a decade of narrative threads and character arcs, but set up a whole new world in which half of the population has blinked back into existence, five tumultuous years after being blinked out of it. How will the MCU address such universe-altering consequences?","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"The answer, as *[Spider-Man: Far From Home](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/spider-man-far-home/){:target=_blank}* proves, is with the same considerable wit, boundless energy and tonal levity that made 2017’s *[Spider-Man: Homecoming](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/spider-man-homecoming-review/){:target=_blank}* such a joy. In its opening minutes, _Far From Home_ establishes its post-Endgame world with a hilariously flippant extended gag sequence that doubles as a handy catch-up reel for those who skipped the second- biggest box office hit of all time. (Spoilers follow, if you too are in that camp.)","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"id":"5d14bcc32e4227524eeb8ded","altText":"Spider-Man: Far From Home","image":{"name":"spidey-rev-2.jpg","fileName":"spidey-rev-2.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":770835,"path":"one/media/5d14/bcc3/2e42/2752/4eeb/8ded"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"images"},{"content":"The good news is that Thanos is dead and dusted. The bad news is that Tony Stark is dead too. And while the world is clamouring for Spider-Man to take up Iron Man’s mantle as lead Avenger, poor Peter Parker ([Holland](https://www.empireonline.com/people/tom-holland/){:target=_blank}) really needs a break. Just as *[Iron Man 3](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/iron-man-3-review/){:target=_blank}* saw Stark haunted by his trip through the Chitauri wormhole in *[Avengers Assemble](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/avengers-assemble-review/){:target=_blank}*, _Endgame_’s endgame casts a shadow over Parker, now grieving his mentor’s untimely death and hoping to relinquish his super-suit for a little while — less a *[Spider-Man 2](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/spider-man-2-review/){:target=_blank}* Spider-Man-No-More than a Spider-Man-not-right-now.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"An upcoming school trip across Europe is just the opportunity Parker needs to both put his heroism on hold and declare his feelings for the brilliant, beautiful, and _slightly_ terrifying MJ ([Zendaya](https://www.empireonline.com/people/zendaya/){:target=_blank}) — hatching a romantic plan for the holiday involving the Eiffel Tower and her favourite flower, the black dahlia (“Like the murder”). Ned ([Jacob Batalon](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jacob-batalon/){:target=_blank}), meanwhile, reckons he and his best bud will be “American bachelors in Europe”, bully Flash Thompson ([Tony Revolori](https://www.empireonline.com/people/tony-revolori/){:target=_blank}) has become a swaggering vlogger who broadcasts to his #flashmob, and teacher Mr Harrington (a consistently hilarious [Martin Starr](https://www.empireonline.com/people/martin-starr/){:target=_blank}) is still one lost student away from a total breakdown.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Faces Endgame’s monolithic legacy head-on, before leaving it behind to embark on its own globetrotting adventure.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"Just as _Homecoming_ was a whip-smart John Hughes-inspired teen comedy that also happened to be a Spider-Man movie, _Far From Home_ would fly by without any interrupting superheroics. The impeccable Spidey-sense of humour from the previous film isn’t quite as well-honed here (a recurring gag about [J.B. Smoove](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jb-smoove/){:target=_blank}’s teacher believing in witchcraft never lands, while Ned and Peter’s golden double-act gets less screen time), but returning director [Jon Watts](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jon-watts/){:target=_blank} clearly relishes the coming-of-age touchstones afforded by his teen hero, this time combining the Hughes influence with a *[Eurotrip](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/eurotrip-review/){:target=_blank}*-inspired vision of Europe (a brief jaunt to the Netherlands is improbably populated with windmills, tulips galore, and kindly sports hooligans).","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"But superheroics do, inevitably, interrupt when Nick Fury ([Jackson](https://www.empireonline.com/people/samuel-l-jackson/){:target=_blank}) hijacks the school trip, recruiting Spidey to battle destructive elemental creatures alongside [Jake Gyllenhaal](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jake-gyllenhaal/){:target=_blank}’s newly arrived hero Quentin Beck, aka Mysterio — purporting to hail from the same alternate dimension as the monsters. Watts nailed the localised Queens setting of _Homecoming_, but clearly delights in the possibilities of taking the friendly Spider-Man out of his neighbourhood — Parker now contending with crumbling architecture, crowds of sightseers, and enemies unaffected by his webs. The director gets maximum mileage out of Spider-Man’s status as the most acrobatic Avenger, punctuating the action set-pieces with dizzying flips and thwips, most effectively in a slick showdown on London’s Tower Bridge.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"id":"5d14bd112e4227524eeb8df5","altText":"Spider-Man: Far From Home","image":{"name":"spidey-rev-3.jpg","fileName":"spidey-rev-3.jpg","mimeType":"image/jpeg","width":1500,"height":844,"fileSize":797849,"path":"one/media/5d14/bd11/2e42/2752/4eeb/8df5"},"url":"","caption":"","credits":""},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"images"},{"content":"After _Homecoming_ saw Parker working under the tutelage of Tony Stark, the Iron Man-shaped void brings three new potential father-figures into his life. Mysterio, in a typically non-traditional MCU twist on the source material, is now his co-worker and confidante, offering companionship and empathy for Parker’s latest loss. And then there’s Fury, Jackson back on mischievously imperious form, both lamenting that Earth’s most available hero is a literal schoolkid and relishing the chance to brandish his considerable authority over him. And after spending much of _Homecoming_ fielding Parker’s needy voicemails, [Jon Favreau](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jon-favreau/){:target=_blank}’s Happy Hogan now bonds with the youngster through their shared grief and fear of Fury — all while striking up a secret relationship with Aunt May ([Tomei](https://www.empireonline.com/people/marisa-tomei/){:target=_blank}). It’s testament to Watts that these character threads dovetail neatly without jostling for screentime, bringing even more emotional depth to the MCU’s Spidey-verse.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"If the buddy relationship between Parker and Beck initially feels bland, Gyllenhaal later shakes up his vanilla heroism, the film switching up a gear just as it appears to be going through the motions. There’s no equivalent rug-pull to the Vulture reveal in _Homecoming_ — anyone who took Spidey Comics 101 will see a major development coming — but Watts stages his upping-of-the-stakes moment with a jolt of energy that spurs a wickedly fun second half, boasting surprising ties to the minutiae of the MCU that reach right back to the franchise beginnings. Not only that, but _Far From Home_ unexpectedly delivers the series’ most thrillingly mind-bending imagery since Doctor Strange had his third eye opened by The Ancient One.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"provider":"youtube","url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYYtuKyMtY8"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"Despite everything else going on, _Far From Home_ charmingly never loses sight of Peter’s quest to ask out MJ. The couple’s would-be-romance is sweet and endearing, but not sickly in the slightest — and Zendaya shines, dropping razor-wire zingers with deadpan delight. Tom Holland remains a note-perfect Spider-Man — still funnier and more believably teenage than [Tobey Maguire](https://www.empireonline.com/people/tobey-maguire/){:target=_blank} and [Andrew Garfield](https://www.empireonline.com/people/andrew-garfield/){:target=_blank}’s incarnations. While _Far From Home_ finds him desperate to take the weight of the world off his shoulders, Holland never loses the ebullient spark that makes him one of the MCU’s most endearing figures.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"_Far From Home_ is a looser film than _Homecoming_, with pacing that occasionally slackens, and a compulsion to give every minor character time to shine. But it’s a light-footed summer blockbuster that faces _Endgame_’s monolithic legacy head-on, before leaving it behind to embark on its own globetrotting adventure. The MCU doesn’t need a new Iron Man yet — _Far From Home_ proves it’s more than safe in the web-slinging hands of Spider-Man.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"title":"Spider-Man: Far From Home","subtitle":"","content":["*[Avengers: Endgame](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/avengers-endgame-review/){:target=_blank}* irrevocably changed the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The apocalyptic time-travel epic not only wrapped up a decade of narrative threads and character arcs, but set up a whole new world in which half of the population has blinked back into existence, five tumultuous years after being blinked out of it. How will the MCU address such universe-altering consequences?","The answer, as *[Spider-Man: Far From Home](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/spider-man-far-home/){:target=_blank}* proves, is with the same considerable wit, boundless energy and tonal levity that made 2017’s *[Spider-Man: Homecoming](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/spider-man-homecoming-review/){:target=_blank}* such a joy. In its opening minutes, _Far From Home_ establishes its post-Endgame world with a hilariously flippant extended gag sequence that doubles as a handy catch-up reel for those who skipped the second- biggest box office hit of all time. (Spoilers follow, if you too are in that camp.)","The good news is that Thanos is dead and dusted. The bad news is that Tony Stark is dead too. And while the world is clamouring for Spider-Man to take up Iron Man’s mantle as lead Avenger, poor Peter Parker ([Holland](https://www.empireonline.com/people/tom-holland/){:target=_blank}) really needs a break. Just as *[Iron Man 3](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/iron-man-3-review/){:target=_blank}* saw Stark haunted by his trip through the Chitauri wormhole in *[Avengers Assemble](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/avengers-assemble-review/){:target=_blank}*, _Endgame_’s endgame casts a shadow over Parker, now grieving his mentor’s untimely death and hoping to relinquish his super-suit for a little while — less a *[Spider-Man 2](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/spider-man-2-review/){:target=_blank}* Spider-Man-No-More than a Spider-Man-not-right-now.","An upcoming school trip across Europe is just the opportunity Parker needs to both put his heroism on hold and declare his feelings for the brilliant, beautiful, and _slightly_ terrifying MJ ([Zendaya](https://www.empireonline.com/people/zendaya/){:target=_blank}) — hatching a romantic plan for the holiday involving the Eiffel Tower and her favourite flower, the black dahlia (“Like the murder”). Ned ([Jacob Batalon](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jacob-batalon/){:target=_blank}), meanwhile, reckons he and his best bud will be “American bachelors in Europe”, bully Flash Thompson ([Tony Revolori](https://www.empireonline.com/people/tony-revolori/){:target=_blank}) has become a swaggering vlogger who broadcasts to his #flashmob, and teacher Mr Harrington (a consistently hilarious [Martin Starr](https://www.empireonline.com/people/martin-starr/){:target=_blank}) is still one lost student away from a total breakdown.","Just as _Homecoming_ was a whip-smart John Hughes-inspired teen comedy that also happened to be a Spider-Man movie, _Far From Home_ would fly by without any interrupting superheroics. The impeccable Spidey-sense of humour from the previous film isn’t quite as well-honed here (a recurring gag about [J.B. Smoove](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jb-smoove/){:target=_blank}’s teacher believing in witchcraft never lands, while Ned and Peter’s golden double-act gets less screen time), but returning director [Jon Watts](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jon-watts/){:target=_blank} clearly relishes the coming-of-age touchstones afforded by his teen hero, this time combining the Hughes influence with a *[Eurotrip](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/eurotrip-review/){:target=_blank}*-inspired vision of Europe (a brief jaunt to the Netherlands is improbably populated with windmills, tulips galore, and kindly sports hooligans).","But superheroics do, inevitably, interrupt when Nick Fury ([Jackson](https://www.empireonline.com/people/samuel-l-jackson/){:target=_blank}) hijacks the school trip, recruiting Spidey to battle destructive elemental creatures alongside [Jake Gyllenhaal](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jake-gyllenhaal/){:target=_blank}’s newly arrived hero Quentin Beck, aka Mysterio — purporting to hail from the same alternate dimension as the monsters. Watts nailed the localised Queens setting of _Homecoming_, but clearly delights in the possibilities of taking the friendly Spider-Man out of his neighbourhood — Parker now contending with crumbling architecture, crowds of sightseers, and enemies unaffected by his webs. The director gets maximum mileage out of Spider-Man’s status as the most acrobatic Avenger, punctuating the action set-pieces with dizzying flips and thwips, most effectively in a slick showdown on London’s Tower Bridge.","After _Homecoming_ saw Parker working under the tutelage of Tony Stark, the Iron Man-shaped void brings three new potential father-figures into his life. Mysterio, in a typically non-traditional MCU twist on the source material, is now his co-worker and confidante, offering companionship and empathy for Parker’s latest loss. And then there’s Fury, Jackson back on mischievously imperious form, both lamenting that Earth’s most available hero is a literal schoolkid and relishing the chance to brandish his considerable authority over him. And after spending much of _Homecoming_ fielding Parker’s needy voicemails, [Jon Favreau](https://www.empireonline.com/people/jon-favreau/){:target=_blank}’s Happy Hogan now bonds with the youngster through their shared grief and fear of Fury — all while striking up a secret relationship with Aunt May ([Tomei](https://www.empireonline.com/people/marisa-tomei/){:target=_blank}). It’s testament to Watts that these character threads dovetail neatly without jostling for screentime, bringing even more emotional depth to the MCU’s Spidey-verse.","If the buddy relationship between Parker and Beck initially feels bland, Gyllenhaal later shakes up his vanilla heroism, the film switching up a gear just as it appears to be going through the motions. There’s no equivalent rug-pull to the Vulture reveal in _Homecoming_ — anyone who took Spidey Comics 101 will see a major development coming — but Watts stages his upping-of-the-stakes moment with a jolt of energy that spurs a wickedly fun second half, boasting surprising ties to the minutiae of the MCU that reach right back to the franchise beginnings. Not only that, but _Far From Home_ unexpectedly delivers the series’ most thrillingly mind-bending imagery since Doctor Strange had his third eye opened by The Ancient One.","Despite everything else going on, _Far From Home_ charmingly never loses sight of Peter’s quest to ask out MJ. The couple’s would-be-romance is sweet and endearing, but not sickly in the slightest — and Zendaya shines, dropping razor-wire zingers with deadpan delight. Tom Holland remains a note-perfect Spider-Man — still funnier and more believably teenage than [Tobey Maguire](https://www.empireonline.com/people/tobey-maguire/){:target=_blank} and [Andrew Garfield](https://www.empireonline.com/people/andrew-garfield/){:target=_blank}’s incarnations. While _Far From Home_ finds him desperate to take the weight of the world off his shoulders, Holland never loses the ebullient spark that makes him one of the MCU’s most endearing figures.","_Far From Home_ is a looser film than _Homecoming_, with pacing that occasionally slackens, and a compulsion to give every minor character time to shine. But it’s a light-footed summer blockbuster that faces _Endgame_’s monolithic legacy head-on, before leaving it behind to embark on its own globetrotting adventure. The MCU doesn’t need a new Iron Man yet — _Far From Home_ proves it’s more than safe in the web-slinging hands of Spider-Man."],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"published":{"state":"published","wasPublished":true,"scheduledStart":1559209965,"scheduledEnd":null},"hidePublicationDate":true,"hiddenArticle":false,"author_custom":"Ben Travis","publicationDate":1561640400000,"sourceUrl":"","sourceText":"","pageTemplate":"review","target":"international","toplistFeature":false,"isAdvertorial":false,"campaign_name":"","rating_extras":"","rating":"4","verdict":"It’s not quite the home-run of Homecoming, but Far From Home isn’t far from matching it, with heaps of humour, energetic action, and the answers Endgame left you craving.","nutshell":"In the wake of Thanos’ defeat, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) leaves Spidey at home for a class trip to Europe, where he can ask out MJ (Zendaya). But he’s soon approached by Nick Fury (Samuel L. 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Read the Empire review.","sourceText":null,"sourceUrl":null,"_layout":[{"content":"Apollo 11","type":"title"},{"content":{"id":"5d11a714a91b155aa79c5f83","altText":"Apollo 11","caption":"","credits":"","image":{"fileName":"apollo-11-film.jpg","name":"apollo-11-film.jpg","path":"one/empire-images/reviews_films/5d10e0a0133d503e3a4b333d","width":640,"height":480,"mimeType":"image/jpeg"}},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":"*Apollo 11* should be compulsory viewing for the wackadoodles who think that Danny Torrance’s rocket ship jumper in *[The Shining](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/shining-2/review/)* is proof positive that [Stanley Kubrick](https://www.empireonline.com/people/stanley-kubrick/) faked the moon landings. Drawn from thousands of hours of never-seen-before 65mm film shot fly-on-the-wall style, telling the Apollo 11 mission story from sunrise on launch day to splashdown, Todd Douglas Miller’s enthralling film is as engaging and gripping as any [Tom Hanks](https://www.empireonline.com/people/tom-hanks/)-produced documentary or [Damien Chazelle](https://www.empireonline.com/people/damien-chazelle/) drama. “Experiential” and “immersive” are worn-out words, but *Apollo 11* puts you right back to five world-changing days in July 1969.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"The footage is so pristine it could pass as a contemporary reconstruction, but this is only one tool in Miller’s space locker. From its sly use of the late ’60s Universal logo, everything about *Apollo 11* is thoughtful. Miller’s M.O. eschews talking heads from the major players or historical experts and doesn’t impose a Voice-Of-God commentary. Instead, he assumes the audience is intelligent enough to have at least a passing knowledge of the events, and lets the images play out for themselves; the apocalyptic lift-off; the cold, grey surface of the moon; the lunar module docking with the command service module (or CSM — the film has more three-word initials than *Line Of Duty*); the heart-stopping, 17-second black-out on re-entry. The sound comes from original news broadcasts — anchor Walter Cronkite is gravitas embodied — and Mission Control tapes augmented by Matt Morton’s hypnotic score and Eric Milano’s complementary sound design. The film doesn’t pretend to provide in-depth analysis of the three astronauts or proffer what they were thinking. The story arc does not surprise (how can it?), but the filmmaking works wonders to throw the ending in doubt.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSTucPDS0-8","provider":"youtube"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"Time and again it reminds you of your favourite NASA movies. There’s an intimate, tactile quality that smacks of *[First Man](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/first-man/review/)*. Shots of chain-smoking, bespectacled technicians with buzzcuts call to mind *Apollo 13*, illuminating that this was a team effort. It has epic scale — the first shot of the rocket, moved along on giant tracks to the launch pad, is *Star Wars*-ian in its impact as opener — combined with smaller human moments. The backstories of Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins are sketched with a montage of photos from life’s landmarks — birthdays, graduations, weddings — that are more moving without context. Equally affecting is footage of people tail-gating in car parks waiting to catch a witness to the previously unthinkable. It’s a crowd of curious Americans, and there is something touching about the no-holds-barred optimism on show. *Apollo 11* is a film that celebrates old-school US values that feel anachronistic in today’s turbulent Trump era: science, ingenuity, expertise, imagination and hope. In that sense, it couldn’t be more welcome.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"heroImage":[{"id":"5d11a714a91b155aa79c5f83","altText":"Apollo 11","caption":"","credits":"","image":{"fileName":"apollo-11-film.jpg","name":"apollo-11-film.jpg","path":"one/empire-images/reviews_films/5d10e0a0133d503e3a4b333d","width":640,"height":480,"mimeType":"image/jpeg"}}],"content":["*Apollo 11* should be compulsory viewing for the wackadoodles who think that Danny Torrance’s rocket ship jumper in *[The Shining](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/shining-2/review/)* is proof positive that [Stanley Kubrick](https://www.empireonline.com/people/stanley-kubrick/) faked the moon landings. Drawn from thousands of hours of never-seen-before 65mm film shot fly-on-the-wall style, telling the Apollo 11 mission story from sunrise on launch day to splashdown, Todd Douglas Miller’s enthralling film is as engaging and gripping as any [Tom Hanks](https://www.empireonline.com/people/tom-hanks/)-produced documentary or [Damien Chazelle](https://www.empireonline.com/people/damien-chazelle/) drama. “Experiential” and “immersive” are worn-out words, but *Apollo 11* puts you right back to five world-changing days in July 1969.","The footage is so pristine it could pass as a contemporary reconstruction, but this is only one tool in Miller’s space locker. From its sly use of the late ’60s Universal logo, everything about *Apollo 11* is thoughtful. Miller’s M.O. eschews talking heads from the major players or historical experts and doesn’t impose a Voice-Of-God commentary. Instead, he assumes the audience is intelligent enough to have at least a passing knowledge of the events, and lets the images play out for themselves; the apocalyptic lift-off; the cold, grey surface of the moon; the lunar module docking with the command service module (or CSM — the film has more three-word initials than *Line Of Duty*); the heart-stopping, 17-second black-out on re-entry. The sound comes from original news broadcasts — anchor Walter Cronkite is gravitas embodied — and Mission Control tapes augmented by Matt Morton’s hypnotic score and Eric Milano’s complementary sound design. The film doesn’t pretend to provide in-depth analysis of the three astronauts or proffer what they were thinking. The story arc does not surprise (how can it?), but the filmmaking works wonders to throw the ending in doubt.","Time and again it reminds you of your favourite NASA movies. There’s an intimate, tactile quality that smacks of *[First Man](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/first-man/review/)*. Shots of chain-smoking, bespectacled technicians with buzzcuts call to mind *Apollo 13*, illuminating that this was a team effort. It has epic scale — the first shot of the rocket, moved along on giant tracks to the launch pad, is *Star Wars*-ian in its impact as opener — combined with smaller human moments. The backstories of Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins are sketched with a montage of photos from life’s landmarks — birthdays, graduations, weddings — that are more moving without context. Equally affecting is footage of people tail-gating in car parks waiting to catch a witness to the previously unthinkable. It’s a crowd of curious Americans, and there is something touching about the no-holds-barred optimism on show. *Apollo 11* is a film that celebrates old-school US values that feel anachronistic in today’s turbulent Trump era: science, ingenuity, expertise, imagination and hope. In that sense, it couldn’t be more welcome."],"embeds":[{"url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSTucPDS0-8","provider":"youtube"}],"images":[],"imageGalleries":[],"pullQuotes":[],"publicationDate":1561386840000,"author":{"id":"5a0ecfd9d7aa8e33ecab37c3","fullname":"Willow Green"},"author_custom":"Ian Freer","apiVersion":"1.0","createdAt":1561387168499,"createdBy":"testClient","v":1,"primaryPublication":{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","googleAnalyticsId":"","fbiaAudienceNetworkPlacement1":"","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}},"urls":["empire/movies/reviews/apollo-11-review/"],"composed":{"imageGalleries":[],"author":"5a0ecfd9d7aa8e33ecab37c3","heroImage":["5d11a714a91b155aa79c5f83"],"publications":["5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74"],"categories":["5d111266a91b155aa798c906"],"primaryPublication":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","images":[],"film":["5d111513a91b155aa79a4790"]}},{"id":"5d11a714a91b155aa79c5f82","title":"Support The Girls","subtitle":null,"furl":"support-girls-review","publications":[{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","amp":null,"preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"urlOverride":"support-girls-review","categories":[{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c906","name":"Reviews","furl":"reviews","parent":{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903","name":"Movies","furl":"movies"},"composed":{"parent":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903"}}],"pageTemplate":"review","nutshell":"In a Hooters-esque sports bar next to an unremarkable Texan highway, general manager Lisa (Regina Hall) faces a shift like no other, during which a wannabe thief, a family of rats and a dodgy Stephen Curry tattoo prove to be the least of her problems.","verdict":"A scrappy but soulful delight. Regina Hall brings everything to this nuanced and loving portrait of working women whose stories seldom make their way into the foreground of film.","rating":"4","film":[{"id":"5d111515a91b155aa79a482c","furl":"support-girls","title":"Support The Girls","website":"","heroImage":[{"id":"5d111515a91b155aa79a482b","altText":"Support The Girls","caption":"Support The Girls","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"wMiJPxdZ4avOtqijP62T6yR1wqo.jpg","name":"wMiJPxdZ4avOtqijP62T6yR1wqo.jpg","width":1920,"height":1080,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/films/456086/images"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d111515a91b155aa79a482b"]}}],"published":{"state":"published","scheduledEnd":null,"wasPublished":true},"target":"international","isLegacy":true,"legacy":{"id":"5d10dbf9133d503e3a4b32d3","collection":"reviews_films","publication":"empire","furl":"support-girls","url":"movies/support-girls/review/","cms":"http://bantam.empireonline.com/edit.php?c=reviews_films.content&_id=5d10dbf9133d503e3a4b32d3","urlHistory":[],"createdAt":1561385977931},"toplistFeature":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"excerpt":"It’s a new day at Double Whammies, the fictional family establishment at the...","metaTitle":"","metaDescription":"Regina Hall stars in Andrew Bujalski's empowering comedy. 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The cause of the tears — which she deftly blots away before they smudge her silver eye shadow — are unknown, but as her day descends into a mess of marital rows, attempted robberies and casual misogyny, it’s clear that her life is far from cheerful.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"The ‘breastaurant’ business model may not have thrived in many places outside of the US, but to gaze upon Double Whammies’ worn wooden surfaces and bleak staffroom is to know any sticky venue or chain restaurant where the staff are young and replaceable and the bigwigs work less and are paid more.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Lisa’s job it to mediate between the two; nurture and protect her fleet of scantily clad girls and keep her peppery boss ([James Le Gros](https://www.empireonline.com/people/james-le-gros/)) from sticking his nose in too much. Regina Hall throws in a seamless, career-topping performance as the mother hen. A comedic actress by trade, last notably seen as the emotional backbone of *[Girls Trip](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/girls-trip/review/)*, she brings a stoicism to Lisa that steals whole scenes, even when the mayhem has ebbed away.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":" A rallying cry for any woman who has been put through the ringer in a man’s world.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"Surrounding her performance are [Haley Lu Richardson](https://www.empireonline.com/people/haley-lu-richardson/) as Maci and rapper-turned-actress Shayna McHayle as Danyelle. The former fizzes with a stream of unbridled, cheerful energy that never feels fake (“Chocolate milk rules!” she yells, and you believe her), while the latter taunts the manager’s unwritten policy that only one black woman can work per shift, but sucks it up for Lisa, whom they both adore.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"The gaping issue of institutionalised sexism is tackled early on, as a batch of new recruits learn the ropes. “Do you get like, grabbed?” one asks. Maci deals with the question in her breezy tone, but still can’t deter from the fact that even with their zero tolerance policy, people cross the line.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Writer-director [Andrew Bujalski](https://www.empireonline.com/people/andrew-bujalski/) (*[Funny Ha Ha](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/funny-haha/review/)*, *[Computer Chess](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/computer-chess/review/)*) is sure not to make light of the matter, but spins it to make the bonds between the women tighter. Camaraderie is a term so often applied to a masculine environment, but here it courses through the veins of the film like sweet, strong liquor. Empathy is also a key player, but there’s no doubting these women can handle themselves. That we don’t see more stories like this on screen feels like an injustice. Sure, these girls’ lives may seem ordinary, thanks largely to Bujalski shading in the film’s realism until you can practically smell the watered-down beer, but their battles are universally relatable.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YBqoiTFSxg","provider":"youtube"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"The film’s title comes from a fake charity that Lisa schemes up, but it’s also a rallying cry for any woman who has been put through the ringer in a man’s world and still been there for the people around her. It’s a film for the everywoman, and it’s been long overdue.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"heroImage":[{"id":"5d11a714a91b155aa79c5f81","altText":"Support The Girls","caption":"","credits":"","image":{"fileName":"support-the-girls.jpg","name":"support-the-girls.jpg","path":"one/empire-images/reviews_films/5d10dbf9133d503e3a4b32d3","width":640,"height":480,"mimeType":"image/jpeg"}}],"content":["It’s a new day at Double Whammies, the fictional family establishment at the heart of *Support The Girls*, and Lisa ([Hall](https://www.empireonline.com/people/regina-hall/)) is already crying in her car. The cause of the tears — which she deftly blots away before they smudge her silver eye shadow — are unknown, but as her day descends into a mess of marital rows, attempted robberies and casual misogyny, it’s clear that her life is far from cheerful.","The ‘breastaurant’ business model may not have thrived in many places outside of the US, but to gaze upon Double Whammies’ worn wooden surfaces and bleak staffroom is to know any sticky venue or chain restaurant where the staff are young and replaceable and the bigwigs work less and are paid more.","Lisa’s job it to mediate between the two; nurture and protect her fleet of scantily clad girls and keep her peppery boss ([James Le Gros](https://www.empireonline.com/people/james-le-gros/)) from sticking his nose in too much. Regina Hall throws in a seamless, career-topping performance as the mother hen. A comedic actress by trade, last notably seen as the emotional backbone of *[Girls Trip](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/girls-trip/review/)*, she brings a stoicism to Lisa that steals whole scenes, even when the mayhem has ebbed away.","Surrounding her performance are [Haley Lu Richardson](https://www.empireonline.com/people/haley-lu-richardson/) as Maci and rapper-turned-actress Shayna McHayle as Danyelle. The former fizzes with a stream of unbridled, cheerful energy that never feels fake (“Chocolate milk rules!” she yells, and you believe her), while the latter taunts the manager’s unwritten policy that only one black woman can work per shift, but sucks it up for Lisa, whom they both adore.","The gaping issue of institutionalised sexism is tackled early on, as a batch of new recruits learn the ropes. “Do you get like, grabbed?” one asks. Maci deals with the question in her breezy tone, but still can’t deter from the fact that even with their zero tolerance policy, people cross the line.","Writer-director [Andrew Bujalski](https://www.empireonline.com/people/andrew-bujalski/) (*[Funny Ha Ha](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/funny-haha/review/)*, *[Computer Chess](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/computer-chess/review/)*) is sure not to make light of the matter, but spins it to make the bonds between the women tighter. Camaraderie is a term so often applied to a masculine environment, but here it courses through the veins of the film like sweet, strong liquor. Empathy is also a key player, but there’s no doubting these women can handle themselves. That we don’t see more stories like this on screen feels like an injustice. Sure, these girls’ lives may seem ordinary, thanks largely to Bujalski shading in the film’s realism until you can practically smell the watered-down beer, but their battles are universally relatable.","The film’s title comes from a fake charity that Lisa schemes up, but it’s also a rallying cry for any woman who has been put through the ringer in a man’s world and still been there for the people around her. It’s a film for the everywoman, and it’s been long overdue."],"embeds":[{"url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YBqoiTFSxg","provider":"youtube"}],"images":[],"imageGalleries":[],"pullQuotes":[" A rallying cry for any woman who has been put through the ringer in a man’s world."],"publicationDate":1561385640000,"author":{"id":"5a0ecfd9d7aa8e33ecab37c3","fullname":"Willow Green"},"author_custom":"Beth Webb","apiVersion":"1.0","createdAt":1561385977931,"createdBy":"testClient","v":1,"primaryPublication":{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","googleAnalyticsId":"","fbiaAudienceNetworkPlacement1":"","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}},"urls":["empire/movies/reviews/support-girls-review/"],"composed":{"imageGalleries":[],"author":"5a0ecfd9d7aa8e33ecab37c3","heroImage":["5d11a714a91b155aa79c5f81"],"publications":["5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74"],"categories":["5d111266a91b155aa798c906"],"primaryPublication":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","images":[],"film":["5d111515a91b155aa79a482c"]}},{"id":"5d11a704a91b155aa79c5f3c","title":"Yesterday","subtitle":null,"furl":"yesterday-2-review","publications":[{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","amp":null,"preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"urlOverride":"yesterday-2-review","categories":[{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c906","name":"Reviews","furl":"reviews","parent":{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903","name":"Movies","furl":"movies"},"composed":{"parent":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903"}}],"pageTemplate":"review","nutshell":"After he is knocked unconscious during a worldwide power cut, pub singer Jack (Himesh Patel) wakes up in a world without The Beatles. He reconstructs their songs from memory and soon worldwide fame beckons. But can he live with the lie? And will his relationship with best friend Ellie (Lily James) survive?","verdict":"A glowing tribute to The Beatles and their music, this is both a toe-tapping pleasure to watch and a smart, occasionally scathing look at how we get things wrong.","rating":"4","film":[{"id":"5d111512a91b155aa79a475d","furl":"yesterday-2","title":"Yesterday","website":"","heroImage":[{"id":"5d111512a91b155aa79a475c","altText":"Yesterday","caption":"Yesterday","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"3Hzq4qqrJe4Gwj3c2mM5hIe943l.jpg","name":"3Hzq4qqrJe4Gwj3c2mM5hIe943l.jpg","width":1920,"height":1080,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/films/515195/images"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d111512a91b155aa79a475c"]}}],"published":{"state":"published","scheduledEnd":null,"wasPublished":true},"target":"international","isLegacy":true,"legacy":{"id":"5cd1ac0d133d503e3a4985f6","collection":"reviews_films","publication":"empire","furl":"yesterday-2","url":"movies/yesterday-2/review/","cms":"http://bantam.empireonline.com/edit.php?c=reviews_films.content&_id=5cd1ac0d133d503e3a4985f6","urlHistory":[],"createdAt":1557244941373},"toplistFeature":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"excerpt":"Few stories tiptoe a line between horror and wish fulfilment as nimbly as this...","metaTitle":"","metaDescription":"Himesh Patel stars in Richard Curtis and Danny Boyle's Beatles film. Read the Empire review.","sourceText":null,"sourceUrl":null,"_layout":[{"content":"Yesterday","type":"title"},{"content":{"id":"5d11a703a91b155aa79c5f3b","altText":"Yesterday","caption":"","credits":"","image":{"fileName":"yesterday-trailer-2.jpg","name":"yesterday-trailer-2.jpg","path":"one/empire-images/reviews_films/5cd1ac0d133d503e3a4985f6","width":640,"height":480,"mimeType":"image/jpeg"}},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":"Few stories tiptoe a line between horror and wish fulfilment as nimbly as this high-concept tragi-comedy. There’s something profoundly disturbing about the idea of a world without The Beatles, whether you’re a die-hard fan or someone known to drunkenly chant the “la la” bit of ‘Hey Jude’, and that’s true even if the world’s loss is our hero’s gain. So while [Danny Boyle](https://www.empireonline.com/people/danny-boyle/)’s new film is still a largely warm and frequently surprising affair, its unusual premise gives it an edge that other jukebox hits – *[Bohemian Rhapsody](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/bohemian-rhapsody/review/)*, for example – have lacked.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Jobbing musician Jack ([Patel](https://www.empireonline.com/people/himesh-patel/)) is a twentysomething teacher who’s gigging with the help of his biggest fan, best friend and manager Ellie ([James](https://www.empireonline.com/people/lily-james/)). After he’s knocked out during a worldwide blackout, he awakens to learn that he is apparently the only person in the world who remembers The Beatles. Passing off their songs as his own, he wins fame and fortune – but at the price of his honesty and his friendship with Ellie.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"The stripped-down Beatles numbers are unfailingly great.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"A similarly high concept powered screenwriter [Richard Curtis](https://www.empireonline.com/people/richard-curtis/)’ *[About Time](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/time-4/review/)*, but this has its eyes on wider issues than love and family, examining the vagaries of the music business and our modern idea of success. Boyle injects a surprising amount of unease during Jack’s meteoric rise through the ranks of the music business: it's definitely the crowd-pleasing *[Slumdog](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/slumdog-millionaire/review/)* Boyle, though, rather than the *[Trainspotting](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/trainspotting/review/)* guy. Perhaps it’s unfair to guess that he gives it a more working-class feel than much of Curtis’ work, but there’s definitely a more irreverent edge than, say, *[Notting Hill](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/notting-hill/review/)* or *[Love Actually](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/love-actually/review/)*. The story even gives us a couple of moments that are likely to prove genuinely controversial, no mean feat in a film that could have been a mere nostalgia trip.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Boyle always excels with music, and these stripped-down, largely guitar-led Beatles numbers are unfailingly great: they remind you how much you love them (yeah, yeah, yeah), and how much you’d miss their music. Patel, previously best known for his work on *EastEnders*, proves a real musical talent and a sure-footed leading man, from Jack’s most frustrated outbursts to his growing realisation that he might need to recalibrate his ambitions. Jack’s biggest flaw is really his utter failure to realise that his best friend not only looks like Lily James but is also madly in love with him, a slightly preposterous notion that no film could sell. Poor James does a lot with her rather undercooked character, but the love story is easily the film’s weakest element.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3VeHyedL1U","provider":"youtube"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"Really this is the story of what would happen if there were a cultural hole ripped through the world, and the film will make you ache to see The Beatles again at once. Sure, you could poke logic holes in the whole endeavour. A throwaway gag reveals that there is no Oasis without The Beatles, which tracks, but the rest of modern music exists unchanged? Including the career of Fab Four fan Ed Sheeran (who gamely sends himself up here)? Then again, such quibbles are testament to the film's central theme, that art is intertwined through everything in our history, that it shapes our very lives. Underneath the nostalgia value of this film, if you choose to look, is a rejection of celebrity culture and a reminder that it is the music that matters. That’s always worth singing about.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"heroImage":[{"id":"5d11a703a91b155aa79c5f3b","altText":"Yesterday","caption":"","credits":"","image":{"fileName":"yesterday-trailer-2.jpg","name":"yesterday-trailer-2.jpg","path":"one/empire-images/reviews_films/5cd1ac0d133d503e3a4985f6","width":640,"height":480,"mimeType":"image/jpeg"}}],"content":["Few stories tiptoe a line between horror and wish fulfilment as nimbly as this high-concept tragi-comedy. There’s something profoundly disturbing about the idea of a world without The Beatles, whether you’re a die-hard fan or someone known to drunkenly chant the “la la” bit of ‘Hey Jude’, and that’s true even if the world’s loss is our hero’s gain. So while [Danny Boyle](https://www.empireonline.com/people/danny-boyle/)’s new film is still a largely warm and frequently surprising affair, its unusual premise gives it an edge that other jukebox hits – *[Bohemian Rhapsody](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/bohemian-rhapsody/review/)*, for example – have lacked.","Jobbing musician Jack ([Patel](https://www.empireonline.com/people/himesh-patel/)) is a twentysomething teacher who’s gigging with the help of his biggest fan, best friend and manager Ellie ([James](https://www.empireonline.com/people/lily-james/)). After he’s knocked out during a worldwide blackout, he awakens to learn that he is apparently the only person in the world who remembers The Beatles. Passing off their songs as his own, he wins fame and fortune – but at the price of his honesty and his friendship with Ellie.","A similarly high concept powered screenwriter [Richard Curtis](https://www.empireonline.com/people/richard-curtis/)’ *[About Time](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/time-4/review/)*, but this has its eyes on wider issues than love and family, examining the vagaries of the music business and our modern idea of success. Boyle injects a surprising amount of unease during Jack’s meteoric rise through the ranks of the music business: it's definitely the crowd-pleasing *[Slumdog](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/slumdog-millionaire/review/)* Boyle, though, rather than the *[Trainspotting](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/trainspotting/review/)* guy. Perhaps it’s unfair to guess that he gives it a more working-class feel than much of Curtis’ work, but there’s definitely a more irreverent edge than, say, *[Notting Hill](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/notting-hill/review/)* or *[Love Actually](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/love-actually/review/)*. The story even gives us a couple of moments that are likely to prove genuinely controversial, no mean feat in a film that could have been a mere nostalgia trip.","Boyle always excels with music, and these stripped-down, largely guitar-led Beatles numbers are unfailingly great: they remind you how much you love them (yeah, yeah, yeah), and how much you’d miss their music. Patel, previously best known for his work on *EastEnders*, proves a real musical talent and a sure-footed leading man, from Jack’s most frustrated outbursts to his growing realisation that he might need to recalibrate his ambitions. Jack’s biggest flaw is really his utter failure to realise that his best friend not only looks like Lily James but is also madly in love with him, a slightly preposterous notion that no film could sell. Poor James does a lot with her rather undercooked character, but the love story is easily the film’s weakest element.","Really this is the story of what would happen if there were a cultural hole ripped through the world, and the film will make you ache to see The Beatles again at once. Sure, you could poke logic holes in the whole endeavour. A throwaway gag reveals that there is no Oasis without The Beatles, which tracks, but the rest of modern music exists unchanged? Including the career of Fab Four fan Ed Sheeran (who gamely sends himself up here)? Then again, such quibbles are testament to the film's central theme, that art is intertwined through everything in our history, that it shapes our very lives. Underneath the nostalgia value of this film, if you choose to look, is a rejection of celebrity culture and a reminder that it is the music that matters. That’s always worth singing about."],"embeds":[{"url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3VeHyedL1U","provider":"youtube"}],"images":[],"imageGalleries":[],"pullQuotes":["The stripped-down Beatles numbers are unfailingly great."],"publicationDate":1561377600000,"author":{"id":"5a0ecfd9d7aa8e33ecab37c3","fullname":"Willow Green"},"author_custom":"Helen O'Hara","apiVersion":"1.0","createdAt":1557244941373,"createdBy":"testClient","v":1,"primaryPublication":{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","googleAnalyticsId":"","fbiaAudienceNetworkPlacement1":"","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}},"urls":["empire/movies/reviews/yesterday-2-review/"],"composed":{"imageGalleries":[],"author":"5a0ecfd9d7aa8e33ecab37c3","heroImage":["5d11a703a91b155aa79c5f3b"],"publications":["5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74"],"categories":["5d111266a91b155aa798c906"],"primaryPublication":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","images":[],"film":["5d111512a91b155aa79a475d"]}},{"id":"5d11a714a91b155aa79c5f80","title":"In Fabric","subtitle":null,"furl":"fabric-review","publications":[{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","amp":null,"preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"urlOverride":"fabric-review","categories":[{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c906","name":"Reviews","furl":"reviews","parent":{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903","name":"Movies","furl":"movies"},"composed":{"parent":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903"}}],"pageTemplate":"review","nutshell":"In an ordinary commuter town, single mother Sheila (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) buys a red dress from a department store in the January sales to wear on a date. The only wrinkle? The department is run by a coven of witches — and the dress is haunted. ","verdict":"Sensual, surreal and seriously funny, In Fabric won’t be the right fit for all — but slip it on and you might be surprised.","rating":"4","film":[{"id":"5d111514a91b155aa79a4807","furl":"fabric","title":"In Fabric ","website":"","heroImage":[{"id":"5d111514a91b155aa79a4806","altText":"In Fabric ","caption":"In Fabric ","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"97NFoAp9JdgXqBQG6aoUprF6zbS.jpg","name":"97NFoAp9JdgXqBQG6aoUprF6zbS.jpg","width":1983,"height":1117,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/films/475220/images"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d111514a91b155aa79a4806"]}}],"published":{"state":"published","scheduledEnd":null,"wasPublished":true},"target":"international","isLegacy":true,"legacy":{"id":"5d10a371133d503e3a4b31db","collection":"reviews_films","publication":"empire","furl":"fabric","url":"movies/fabric/review/","cms":"http://bantam.empireonline.com/edit.php?c=reviews_films.content&_id=5d10a371133d503e3a4b31db","urlHistory":[],"createdAt":1561371505780},"toplistFeature":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"excerpt":"Peter Strickland’s breakthrough film, Berberian Sound Studio, was a chilly...","metaTitle":"","metaDescription":"Peter Strickland returns with a haunted dress horror. Read the Empire review.","sourceText":null,"sourceUrl":null,"_layout":[{"content":"In Fabric","type":"title"},{"content":{"id":"5d11a713a91b155aa79c5f7f","altText":"In Fabric","caption":"","credits":"","image":{"fileName":"in-fabric.jpg","name":"in-fabric.jpg","path":"one/empire-images/reviews_films/5d10a371133d503e3a4b31db","width":640,"height":480,"mimeType":"image/jpeg"}},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":"[Peter Strickland](https://www.empireonline.com/people/peter-strickland/)’s breakthrough film, *[Berberian Sound Studio](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/berberian-sound-studio/review/)*, was a chilly horror masterpiece, playing with form and fear to make us question what we thought we knew about filmmaking. His follow-up, *[The Duke Of Burgundy](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/duke-burgundy/review/)*, was an equally stunning, if near-impenetrable, non-narrative lesbian romance — with butterflies. *In Fabric* takes elements from both to make something just as odd and intriguing — this time, adding a filthier sense of humour. It’s a muscle Strickland’s only occasionally flexed before, but here it’s in full force, a dry, daft wit that reveals itself in surprising ways, from the bonkers premise onwards.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Like his previous work, the film works at one level as a pastiche of ’70s/’80s genre exploitation films, with period-appropriate title sequences and retro-inflected soundtracks. So physical you could almost touch it, the highly stylised lens of cinematographer Ari Wegner makes everything feel like a hyperreal fantasy. This is a film where the dresses, nail varnish, lipstick and blood all share the same feverish, lurid hue of red.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Peter Strickland’s script is full of striking, unsettling diversions.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"Much of this in keeping with the giallo horrors that emerged from Italy in the 1970s, Strickland’s favourite sandpit. (*In Fabric* has more in common with [Dario Argento’s *Suspiria*](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/suspiria/review/) than the [recent remake](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/suspiria-2/review/) did.) But while it owes a debt to the Italian genre specialists, it feels like a distinctly British concoction. Strickland — who grew up in Reading, and set his film in ‘Thames-Valley-on-Thames’ — finds comedy in the grim mundanities of Thatcher’s Britain, the deep ordinariness of a country in an identity crisis. Some of the jokes are so subtle and rich that it feels hard to know if non-Brits would fully appreciate them — from the archaic tradition of a mum answering the phone by announcing the full phone number, to the toxic awfulness of a lads’ night out.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Yet, as well observed as the comedy is, it’s even more effective when it surprises, and Strickland’s script is full of striking, unsettling diversions. Some dialogue is delivered in a drab, deliberately stilted manner (there’s extraordinary work in this vein from Jean-Baptiste, in arguably her best role since *Secrets & Lies*); sometimes it’s so boring, it sends other characters into an erotic reverie; elsewhere, it’s gloriously grandiloquent, as with the witching shop assistants (“The hesitation in your voice, soon to be an echo in the recesses of the spheres of retail”). It’s in the harmony of horror, comedy and eroticism that *In Fabric* really sings — never more so than in a startling scene involving a menstruating mannequin and a masturbating elderly man.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SpAUPdKKe8","provider":"youtube"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"Scenes like that are why it emphatically won’t be for everyone. But there is more to dissect here than just wanking old men. Beneath its sensual folds, there’s a sly satire on the obsession of consumer culture and the emptiness of living a lonely life in the suburbs. Watch it at midnight, in a seedy fleapit, for full effect.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"heroImage":[{"id":"5d11a713a91b155aa79c5f7f","altText":"In Fabric","caption":"","credits":"","image":{"fileName":"in-fabric.jpg","name":"in-fabric.jpg","path":"one/empire-images/reviews_films/5d10a371133d503e3a4b31db","width":640,"height":480,"mimeType":"image/jpeg"}}],"content":["[Peter Strickland](https://www.empireonline.com/people/peter-strickland/)’s breakthrough film, *[Berberian Sound Studio](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/berberian-sound-studio/review/)*, was a chilly horror masterpiece, playing with form and fear to make us question what we thought we knew about filmmaking. His follow-up, *[The Duke Of Burgundy](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/duke-burgundy/review/)*, was an equally stunning, if near-impenetrable, non-narrative lesbian romance — with butterflies. *In Fabric* takes elements from both to make something just as odd and intriguing — this time, adding a filthier sense of humour. It’s a muscle Strickland’s only occasionally flexed before, but here it’s in full force, a dry, daft wit that reveals itself in surprising ways, from the bonkers premise onwards.","Like his previous work, the film works at one level as a pastiche of ’70s/’80s genre exploitation films, with period-appropriate title sequences and retro-inflected soundtracks. So physical you could almost touch it, the highly stylised lens of cinematographer Ari Wegner makes everything feel like a hyperreal fantasy. This is a film where the dresses, nail varnish, lipstick and blood all share the same feverish, lurid hue of red.","Much of this in keeping with the giallo horrors that emerged from Italy in the 1970s, Strickland’s favourite sandpit. (*In Fabric* has more in common with [Dario Argento’s *Suspiria*](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/suspiria/review/) than the [recent remake](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/suspiria-2/review/) did.) But while it owes a debt to the Italian genre specialists, it feels like a distinctly British concoction. Strickland — who grew up in Reading, and set his film in ‘Thames-Valley-on-Thames’ — finds comedy in the grim mundanities of Thatcher’s Britain, the deep ordinariness of a country in an identity crisis. Some of the jokes are so subtle and rich that it feels hard to know if non-Brits would fully appreciate them — from the archaic tradition of a mum answering the phone by announcing the full phone number, to the toxic awfulness of a lads’ night out.","Yet, as well observed as the comedy is, it’s even more effective when it surprises, and Strickland’s script is full of striking, unsettling diversions. Some dialogue is delivered in a drab, deliberately stilted manner (there’s extraordinary work in this vein from Jean-Baptiste, in arguably her best role since *Secrets & Lies*); sometimes it’s so boring, it sends other characters into an erotic reverie; elsewhere, it’s gloriously grandiloquent, as with the witching shop assistants (“The hesitation in your voice, soon to be an echo in the recesses of the spheres of retail”). It’s in the harmony of horror, comedy and eroticism that *In Fabric* really sings — never more so than in a startling scene involving a menstruating mannequin and a masturbating elderly man.","Scenes like that are why it emphatically won’t be for everyone. But there is more to dissect here than just wanking old men. Beneath its sensual folds, there’s a sly satire on the obsession of consumer culture and the emptiness of living a lonely life in the suburbs. Watch it at midnight, in a seedy fleapit, for full effect."],"embeds":[{"url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SpAUPdKKe8","provider":"youtube"}],"images":[],"imageGalleries":[],"pullQuotes":["Peter Strickland’s script is full of striking, unsettling diversions."],"publicationDate":1561371180000,"author":{"id":"5d111267a91b155aa798ca28","fullname":"John Nugent","furl":"john-nugent"},"apiVersion":"1.0","createdAt":1561371505780,"createdBy":"testClient","v":1,"primaryPublication":{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","googleAnalyticsId":"","fbiaAudienceNetworkPlacement1":"","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}},"urls":["empire/movies/reviews/fabric-review/"],"composed":{"imageGalleries":[],"author":"5d111267a91b155aa798ca28","heroImage":["5d11a713a91b155aa79c5f7f"],"publications":["5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74"],"categories":["5d111266a91b155aa798c906"],"primaryPublication":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","images":[],"film":["5d111514a91b155aa79a4807"]}},{"id":"5d11a713a91b155aa79c5f7e","title":"Mari","subtitle":null,"furl":"mari-review","publications":[{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","amp":null,"preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"urlOverride":"mari-review","categories":[{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c906","name":"Reviews","furl":"reviews","parent":{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903","name":"Movies","furl":"movies"},"composed":{"parent":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903"}}],"pageTemplate":"review","nutshell":"While rehearsing for a new London dance show, Charlotte (Bobbi Jene Smith) is called to Dorset to see her dying grandmother. Mother Margot (Phoebe Nicholls) is glad to see her, but older sister Lauren (Madeleine Worrall) resents the news Charlotte is pregnant, as she has just suffered a miscarriage.","verdict":"While its storyline might not be particularly original, this slow-burning drama has a poignant intensity that is deftly punctuated by innovative dance routines offering insights into the protagonist’s mindset.","rating":"3","film":[{"id":"5d111515a91b155aa79a4826","furl":"mari","title":"Mari","website":"","composed":{}}],"published":{"state":"published","scheduledEnd":null,"wasPublished":true},"target":"international","isLegacy":true,"legacy":{"id":"5d0cc2c7133d503e3a4b21a3","collection":"reviews_films","publication":"empire","furl":"mari","url":"movies/mari/review/","cms":"http://bantam.empireonline.com/edit.php?c=reviews_films.content&_id=5d0cc2c7133d503e3a4b21a3","urlHistory":[],"createdAt":1561117383502},"toplistFeature":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"excerpt":"Dance was so central to Georgia Parris’ shorts Brighter Borough and Every...","metaTitle":"","metaDescription":"Read Empire's review of Mari.","sourceText":null,"sourceUrl":null,"_layout":[{"content":"Mari","type":"title"},{"content":{"id":"5d11a713a91b155aa79c5f7d","altText":"Mari","caption":"","credits":"","image":{"fileName":"mari.jpg","name":"mari.jpg","path":"one/empire-images/reviews_films/5d0cc2c7133d503e3a4b21a3","width":640,"height":480,"mimeType":"image/jpeg"}},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":"Dance was so central to Georgia Parris’ shorts *Brighter Borough* and *Every Savage Can Dance* that it comes as no surprise to find it playing a pivotal part in her feature debut, expanded from her 2016 short *Abandon*. Although trained as an actor, Parris switched to directing to create content rather than merely interpret it and she credits Wim Wenders’ *Pina* with revealing dance’s cinematic potential. Indeed, Pina Bausch’s influence is readily evident on a subtly feminist chamber drama that also contains echoes of Joanna Hogg and some cries and whispers from Ingmar Bergman.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Nothing is rushed, as Charlotte reluctantly takes time out from the show she hopes will make her name to visit her ailing artist grandmother in Sherborne. As she’s been raised in New York by her father, Charlotte still feels like an outsider in the family circle and her sister is nowhere near as welcoming as her mother and brother-in-law Rohan (Peter Singh). But the tension is heightened by the fact that Lauren is recovering from a miscarriage at the precise moment that Charlotte is debating whether to terminate the pregnancy that could scupper her career.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtpLHAdciLU","provider":"youtube"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"Despite the bookending rehearsal room and dream ballet sequences choreographed by Maxine Doyle, there’s a good deal of stillness and silence for a dance film, as suppression and discretion keep the home truths under wraps. But while the action can be a bit perplexing if you’re not fluent in the language of dance, it’s also meticulously paced and played, with Smith (a dancer who was profiled in Elvira Lind’s 2017 documentary in only her second acting role) holding her own against the estimable Nicholls and Worrall, in questioning the truth of the assertion that modern women really can have it all.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"heroImage":[{"id":"5d11a713a91b155aa79c5f7d","altText":"Mari","caption":"","credits":"","image":{"fileName":"mari.jpg","name":"mari.jpg","path":"one/empire-images/reviews_films/5d0cc2c7133d503e3a4b21a3","width":640,"height":480,"mimeType":"image/jpeg"}}],"content":["Dance was so central to Georgia Parris’ shorts *Brighter Borough* and *Every Savage Can Dance* that it comes as no surprise to find it playing a pivotal part in her feature debut, expanded from her 2016 short *Abandon*. Although trained as an actor, Parris switched to directing to create content rather than merely interpret it and she credits Wim Wenders’ *Pina* with revealing dance’s cinematic potential. Indeed, Pina Bausch’s influence is readily evident on a subtly feminist chamber drama that also contains echoes of Joanna Hogg and some cries and whispers from Ingmar Bergman.","Nothing is rushed, as Charlotte reluctantly takes time out from the show she hopes will make her name to visit her ailing artist grandmother in Sherborne. As she’s been raised in New York by her father, Charlotte still feels like an outsider in the family circle and her sister is nowhere near as welcoming as her mother and brother-in-law Rohan (Peter Singh). But the tension is heightened by the fact that Lauren is recovering from a miscarriage at the precise moment that Charlotte is debating whether to terminate the pregnancy that could scupper her career.","Despite the bookending rehearsal room and dream ballet sequences choreographed by Maxine Doyle, there’s a good deal of stillness and silence for a dance film, as suppression and discretion keep the home truths under wraps. But while the action can be a bit perplexing if you’re not fluent in the language of dance, it’s also meticulously paced and played, with Smith (a dancer who was profiled in Elvira Lind’s 2017 documentary in only her second acting role) holding her own against the estimable Nicholls and Worrall, in questioning the truth of the assertion that modern women really can have it all."],"embeds":[{"url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtpLHAdciLU","provider":"youtube"}],"images":[],"imageGalleries":[],"pullQuotes":[],"publicationDate":1561117080000,"author":{"id":"5a0ecfd9d7aa8e33ecab37c3","fullname":"Willow Green"},"author_custom":"David Parkinson","apiVersion":"1.0","createdAt":1561117383502,"createdBy":"testClient","v":1,"primaryPublication":{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","googleAnalyticsId":"","fbiaAudienceNetworkPlacement1":"","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}},"urls":["empire/movies/reviews/mari-review/"],"composed":{"imageGalleries":[],"author":"5a0ecfd9d7aa8e33ecab37c3","heroImage":["5d11a713a91b155aa79c5f7d"],"publications":["5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74"],"categories":["5d111266a91b155aa798c906"],"primaryPublication":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","images":[],"film":["5d111515a91b155aa79a4826"]}},{"id":"5d11a712a91b155aa79c5f7b","title":"The Captor","subtitle":null,"furl":"captor-review","publications":[{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","amp":null,"preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"urlOverride":"captor-review","categories":[{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c906","name":"Reviews","furl":"reviews","parent":{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903","name":"Movies","furl":"movies"},"composed":{"parent":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903"}}],"pageTemplate":"review","nutshell":"Sweden, 1973. Ex-con Lars Nystrom (Ethan Hawke) walks into the palatial Kreditbanken and waves a machine gun around, taking two workers hostage. During the subsequent hold-up, one of them, Bianca Lind (Noomi Rapace), begins to fall for the charismatic captor.","verdict":"The ever watchable Ethan Hawke is the best thing in this crime caper. It’s uneven and lacks the power of its premise but always manages to keep your attention hostage.","rating":"3","film":[{"id":"5d111514a91b155aa79a47d4","furl":"captor","title":"The Captor","website":"","heroImage":[{"id":"5d111513a91b155aa79a47d3","altText":"The Captor","caption":"The Captor","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"hTFGxpVQoDTC8kN5aJ7qgY2eWG4.jpg","name":"hTFGxpVQoDTC8kN5aJ7qgY2eWG4.jpg","width":2000,"height":1124,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/films/437626/images"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d111513a91b155aa79a47d3"]}}],"published":{"state":"published","scheduledEnd":null,"wasPublished":true},"target":"international","isLegacy":true,"legacy":{"id":"5d0b5bfd133d503e3a4b17e1","collection":"reviews_films","publication":"empire","furl":"captor","url":"movies/captor/review/","cms":"http://bantam.empireonline.com/edit.php?c=reviews_films.content&_id=5d0b5bfd133d503e3a4b17e1","urlHistory":[],"createdAt":1561025533898},"toplistFeature":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"excerpt":"The Captor begins with a Coens-esque title card: “Based on the absurd but true...","metaTitle":"","metaDescription":"Ethan Hawke and Noomi Rapace star in the original Stockholm Syndrome story. Read the Empire review.","sourceText":null,"sourceUrl":null,"_layout":[{"content":"The Captor","type":"title"},{"content":{"id":"5d11a712a91b155aa79c5f7a","altText":"The Captor","caption":"","credits":"","image":{"fileName":"captor.jpg","name":"captor.jpg","path":"one/empire-images/reviews_films/5d0b5bfd133d503e3a4b17e1","width":640,"height":480,"mimeType":"image/jpeg"}},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":"*The Captor* begins with a Coens-esque title card: “Based on the absurd but true story.” The uncertainty in the statement courses through Robert Budreau’s film, which never lands on a tone that successfully unites the absurd with the true. Which is not to say that *The Captor* doesn’t have its pleasures — a charming Ethan Hawke for one — but the film lacks the surety of hand to bring it to the level of, say, *[Dog Day Afternoon](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/dog-day-afternoon/review/)*, one of its clear influences.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"The film is very loosely inspired by the true-life incident that gave rise to the phrase “Stockholm syndrome” in which captors fall in love with their abductors. The action centres on bank robber Lars Nystrom ([Hawke](https://www.empireonline.com/people/ethan-hawke/)) who, as a means to secure the release of partner-in-crime Gunnar Sorenssen ([Strong](https://www.empireonline.com/people/mark-strong/)), holds up Sweden’s biggest bank, taking workers including Bianca Lind ([Rapace](https://www.empireonline.com/people/noomi-rapace/)) hostage.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"Fun and engaging, but doesn't keep its whimsy in check.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"*The Captor* is at its most fun playing psychological cat-and-mouse between Lars and local police chief Mattsson (Christopher Heyerdahl, excellent), who seems far more interested in psyching out Lars than with the hostages’ welfare. During the first half, an energetic Hawke has a ball as a rock ’n’ roll perp, all cowboy hats and easy swagger, demanding a million U.S. dollars, a clean exit from the bank and an escape vehicle — “a Mustang 302, like Steve McQueen had in *Bullitt*”. Lars’ plan — hinging on a fake killing — is ridiculous, but Hawke makes his smart/stupid dynamic winning.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXEsPhJP5vE","provider":"youtube"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"It’s less surefooted with the burgeoning relationship between Lars and Bianca, the shifting dynamics between the pair uncomfortably mapped out. Budreau, who previously collaborated with Hawke two years ago on Chet Baker biopic *[Born To Be Blue](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/born-blue/review/)*, doesn’t deliver on the crime genre beats or the psychological, emotional complexities. It’s always fun and engaging, but doesn’t keep its whimsy in check to be anything more.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"heroImage":[{"id":"5d11a712a91b155aa79c5f7a","altText":"The Captor","caption":"","credits":"","image":{"fileName":"captor.jpg","name":"captor.jpg","path":"one/empire-images/reviews_films/5d0b5bfd133d503e3a4b17e1","width":640,"height":480,"mimeType":"image/jpeg"}}],"content":["*The Captor* begins with a Coens-esque title card: “Based on the absurd but true story.” The uncertainty in the statement courses through Robert Budreau’s film, which never lands on a tone that successfully unites the absurd with the true. Which is not to say that *The Captor* doesn’t have its pleasures — a charming Ethan Hawke for one — but the film lacks the surety of hand to bring it to the level of, say, *[Dog Day Afternoon](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/dog-day-afternoon/review/)*, one of its clear influences.","The film is very loosely inspired by the true-life incident that gave rise to the phrase “Stockholm syndrome” in which captors fall in love with their abductors. The action centres on bank robber Lars Nystrom ([Hawke](https://www.empireonline.com/people/ethan-hawke/)) who, as a means to secure the release of partner-in-crime Gunnar Sorenssen ([Strong](https://www.empireonline.com/people/mark-strong/)), holds up Sweden’s biggest bank, taking workers including Bianca Lind ([Rapace](https://www.empireonline.com/people/noomi-rapace/)) hostage.","*The Captor* is at its most fun playing psychological cat-and-mouse between Lars and local police chief Mattsson (Christopher Heyerdahl, excellent), who seems far more interested in psyching out Lars than with the hostages’ welfare. During the first half, an energetic Hawke has a ball as a rock ’n’ roll perp, all cowboy hats and easy swagger, demanding a million U.S. dollars, a clean exit from the bank and an escape vehicle — “a Mustang 302, like Steve McQueen had in *Bullitt*”. Lars’ plan — hinging on a fake killing — is ridiculous, but Hawke makes his smart/stupid dynamic winning.","It’s less surefooted with the burgeoning relationship between Lars and Bianca, the shifting dynamics between the pair uncomfortably mapped out. Budreau, who previously collaborated with Hawke two years ago on Chet Baker biopic *[Born To Be Blue](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/born-blue/review/)*, doesn’t deliver on the crime genre beats or the psychological, emotional complexities. It’s always fun and engaging, but doesn’t keep its whimsy in check to be anything more."],"embeds":[{"url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXEsPhJP5vE","provider":"youtube"}],"images":[],"imageGalleries":[],"pullQuotes":["Fun and engaging, but doesn't keep its whimsy in check."],"publicationDate":1561025220000,"author":{"id":"5a0ecfd9d7aa8e33ecab37c3","fullname":"Willow Green"},"author_custom":"Ian Freer","apiVersion":"1.0","createdAt":1561025533898,"createdBy":"testClient","v":1,"primaryPublication":{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","googleAnalyticsId":"","fbiaAudienceNetworkPlacement1":"","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}},"urls":["empire/movies/reviews/captor-review/"],"composed":{"imageGalleries":[],"author":"5a0ecfd9d7aa8e33ecab37c3","heroImage":["5d11a712a91b155aa79c5f7a"],"publications":["5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74"],"categories":["5d111266a91b155aa798c906"],"primaryPublication":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","images":[],"film":["5d111514a91b155aa79a47d4"]}},{"id":"5d11a712a91b155aa79c5f79","title":"Brightburn","subtitle":null,"furl":"brightburn-review","publications":[{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","amp":null,"preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}}],"primarySyndicatePosition":0,"urlOverride":"brightburn-review","categories":[{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c906","name":"Reviews","furl":"reviews","parent":{"id":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903","name":"Movies","furl":"movies"},"composed":{"parent":"5d111266a91b155aa798c903"}}],"pageTemplate":"review","nutshell":"Childless couple Tori (Elizabeth Banks) and Kyle Breyer (David Denman) are thrilled when an alien boy crashlands on their Kansas property. But when he hits 12, their already unusually resilient adoptive son (Jackson A. Dunn) starts to show violent tendencies. ","verdict":"Crossbreeding superhero tropes with horror staples was an idea laden with promise. Brightburn is enlivened by trademark James Gunn black comedy, but hamstrung by sketchy writing and a botched sense of dread.","rating":"2","film":[{"id":"5d111511a91b155aa79a470f","furl":"brightburn","title":"Brightburn","website":"","heroImage":[{"id":"5d111511a91b155aa79a470e","altText":"Brightburn","caption":"Brightburn","credits":"TMDB","image":{"fileName":"uHEI6v8ApQusjbaRZ8o7WcLYeWb.jpg","name":"uHEI6v8ApQusjbaRZ8o7WcLYeWb.jpg","width":1296,"height":730,"mimeType":"image/jpeg","path":"one/empire-tmdb/films/531309/images"}}],"composed":{"heroImage":["5d111511a91b155aa79a470e"]}}],"published":{"state":"published","scheduledEnd":null,"wasPublished":true},"target":"international","isLegacy":true,"legacy":{"id":"5d076755133d503e3a4afa40","collection":"reviews_films","publication":"empire","furl":"brightburn","url":"movies/brightburn/review/","cms":"http://bantam.empireonline.com/edit.php?c=reviews_films.content&_id=5d076755133d503e3a4afa40","urlHistory":[],"createdAt":1560766293759},"toplistFeature":false,"hiddenArticle":false,"excerpt":"With superheroes saturating the box office in the last couple of decades, a...","metaTitle":"","metaDescription":"A familiar origin story turns dark in a superhero horror. Read the Empire review.","sourceText":null,"sourceUrl":null,"_layout":[{"content":"Brightburn","type":"title"},{"content":{"id":"5d11a711a91b155aa79c5f78","altText":"Brightburn","caption":"","credits":"","image":{"fileName":"brightburn.jpg","name":"brightburn.jpg","path":"one/empire-images/reviews_films/5d076755133d503e3a4afa40","width":640,"height":480,"mimeType":"image/jpeg"}},"displayName":"Article Hero","free":true,"name":"hero","type":"heroImage"},{"content":"With superheroes saturating the box office in the last couple of decades, a driving quest is to find something fresh. The concept of “what if” — exploring alternate takes on characters — is one that comics have turned to for years, and Superman’s origin story has fuelled that type of tinkering (DC had a Russian-raised Supes in *Superman: Red Son*, Marvel offered *Supreme Power*, which followed an alien orphan on Earth who took a much darker path). *Brightburn* splices the Man Of Steel’s childhood with an even more horrific outcome, positing what would happen when an unusual boy with adoptive parents confronts the triple threat of puberty, school bullying and a mysterious whispering coming from the crashed spaceship in which he arrived. Answer: there will be blood.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"[James Gunn](https://www.empireonline.com/people/james-gunn/), who, before bringing a warmth and chatty, creative style to Marvel’s cosmic corners was known for schlocky horror and oddball super-folk, here acts as producer (and selling point: you can imagine the sighs of relief when he was rehired to the *[Guardians Of The Galaxy](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/guardians-galaxy/review/)* movies before this touched down on screens). He has a script from Brian Gunn (his brother) and Mark Gunn (his cousin), with long-time collaborator David Yarovesky (horror flick *The Hive*) directing. But despite his influence, the result only fitfully grasps how to truly exploit the genres the way he once did.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"There’s only so much you can do with the same basic jump scare.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"pullQuotes"},{"content":"The burgeoning-abilities aspect of Brandon Breyer’s (Dunn) upbringing is briefly explored at first (his hand is unscathed after a clash with a mower), but rarely goes further than some of its paper predecessors. Yet his behaviour is also weirdly forced, morphing from loving son to psycho-killer with supervillain tendencies so swiftly, you wonder whether the screenplay was written by The Flash.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":"And then there’s the horror. Yarovesky has a solid way with a gory killing scene (those with a phobia of eyes should, well, look away during one where a waitress is stalked by the lad), but when it comes to tension, this doesn’t so much go back to the well as build an entire agricultural irrigation system. Lights flicker and Brandon’s there! Curtains twitch and he appears! Someone closes a door and… well, you get the idea. His superpowers give it all an extra edge, but there’s only so much you can do with the same basic jump scare.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"},{"content":{"url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIyj7buNf08","provider":"youtube"},"displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"embeds"},{"content":"[Elizabeth Banks](https://www.empireonline.com/people/elizabeth-banks/) and [David Denman](https://www.empireonline.com/people/david-denman/), who share most of the character beats as concerned parents starting to suspect their blessing might in fact be a curse, offer the most nuance. Yet while the film occasionally finds the dark wit Gunn has brought to his own work, it’s not enough to make the rest of it work.","displayName":"Body","free":true,"name":"body","type":"content"}],"heroImage":[{"id":"5d11a711a91b155aa79c5f78","altText":"Brightburn","caption":"","credits":"","image":{"fileName":"brightburn.jpg","name":"brightburn.jpg","path":"one/empire-images/reviews_films/5d076755133d503e3a4afa40","width":640,"height":480,"mimeType":"image/jpeg"}}],"content":["With superheroes saturating the box office in the last couple of decades, a driving quest is to find something fresh. The concept of “what if” — exploring alternate takes on characters — is one that comics have turned to for years, and Superman’s origin story has fuelled that type of tinkering (DC had a Russian-raised Supes in *Superman: Red Son*, Marvel offered *Supreme Power*, which followed an alien orphan on Earth who took a much darker path). *Brightburn* splices the Man Of Steel’s childhood with an even more horrific outcome, positing what would happen when an unusual boy with adoptive parents confronts the triple threat of puberty, school bullying and a mysterious whispering coming from the crashed spaceship in which he arrived. Answer: there will be blood.","[James Gunn](https://www.empireonline.com/people/james-gunn/), who, before bringing a warmth and chatty, creative style to Marvel’s cosmic corners was known for schlocky horror and oddball super-folk, here acts as producer (and selling point: you can imagine the sighs of relief when he was rehired to the *[Guardians Of The Galaxy](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/guardians-galaxy/review/)* movies before this touched down on screens). He has a script from Brian Gunn (his brother) and Mark Gunn (his cousin), with long-time collaborator David Yarovesky (horror flick *The Hive*) directing. But despite his influence, the result only fitfully grasps how to truly exploit the genres the way he once did.","The burgeoning-abilities aspect of Brandon Breyer’s (Dunn) upbringing is briefly explored at first (his hand is unscathed after a clash with a mower), but rarely goes further than some of its paper predecessors. Yet his behaviour is also weirdly forced, morphing from loving son to psycho-killer with supervillain tendencies so swiftly, you wonder whether the screenplay was written by The Flash.","And then there’s the horror. Yarovesky has a solid way with a gory killing scene (those with a phobia of eyes should, well, look away during one where a waitress is stalked by the lad), but when it comes to tension, this doesn’t so much go back to the well as build an entire agricultural irrigation system. Lights flicker and Brandon’s there! Curtains twitch and he appears! Someone closes a door and… well, you get the idea. His superpowers give it all an extra edge, but there’s only so much you can do with the same basic jump scare.","[Elizabeth Banks](https://www.empireonline.com/people/elizabeth-banks/) and [David Denman](https://www.empireonline.com/people/david-denman/), who share most of the character beats as concerned parents starting to suspect their blessing might in fact be a curse, offer the most nuance. Yet while the film occasionally finds the dark wit Gunn has brought to his own work, it’s not enough to make the rest of it work."],"embeds":[{"url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIyj7buNf08","provider":"youtube"}],"images":[],"imageGalleries":[],"pullQuotes":["There’s only so much you can do with the same basic jump scare."],"publicationDate":1560765960000,"author":{"id":"5d11126da91b155aa798d046","fullname":"James White","furl":"james-white"},"apiVersion":"1.0","createdAt":1560766293759,"createdBy":"testClient","v":1,"primaryPublication":{"id":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","preview":null,"name":"Empire","urlSlugHide":true,"furl":"empire","stationCode":"","language":"en","googleAnalyticsId":"","fbiaAudienceNetworkPlacement1":"","hostname":{"id":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5","primary":"https://www.empireonline.com"},"composed":{"hostname":"59e4c911f9648a12d2ed73f5"}},"urls":["empire/movies/reviews/brightburn-review/"],"composed":{"imageGalleries":[],"author":"5d11126da91b155aa798d046","heroImage":["5d11a711a91b155aa79c5f78"],"publications":["5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74"],"categories":["5d111266a91b155aa798c906"],"primaryPublication":"5b5ef0e371fda32230981b74","images":[],"film":["5d111511a91b155aa79a470f"]}}]