“About Elly” & “Tabu” Our Films Of The Week


The autumn has arrived and the industry is ready to deploy its heavy artillery in the annual battle for trophies and honours that is the awards season. This year the Olympic Games have had a significant impact in the number and quality of titles exhibited during the summer, therefore a huge pile of works is piled up in the distributors’ shelves waiting to be released and enjoyed by filmgoers around the globe.

Many long awaited films are already occupying our screens, ranging from lavish studio productions (Anna Karenina; Lawless…) to critically acclaimed arthouse fare (The Queen Of Versailles; Berberian Sound Studio…). Venice; Telluride & Toronto have revealed to the world some of the year’s biggest contenders (The Master; Argo & Silver Lining Playbook being the first on taking positions for the Oscar race), meanwhile every country is choosing its national representative (Haneke’s ‘Amour’ (Austria); Mungiu’s ‘Beyond The Hills (Romania); Petzold’s Barbara (Germany) and the crowd-pleasing ‘Untouchable’ (France) are some of the first selected). All together they will be competing to gain public and critical favour.

Trying not to miss a thing on a time that promises non-stop thrills until, hopefully, next spring; every week we’ll be recommending our favourite Top 20 movies as soon as they come to a theatre near you. Reviews of the main ones will follow. OntThis first edition Asghar Farhadi’s predecessor to Oscar winner ‘A Separation’ – also Roberawards 2011 best film winner- “About Elly”, another extraordinary gripping moral tale from the Iranian director, and ‘Tabu’, Miguel Gomes’ poetic tribute to Murnau and one of the most celebrated works of the last Berlinale, sharing the honour of being our first movies of the week.

You can see the whole Top 20 here.


1-ABOUT ELLY ★★★★½
Asghar Farhadi (NEW)

‘A Separation’ was Roberawards favourite film of 2011 Thanks to its international success, now Asghar Farhadi’s former opus gets a much deserved release and it’s nearly as superb as its illustrious successor. Another complex moral tale where in the middle of a friends’ gathering for a weekend in the sea, the disappearance of one of the guests would open a can of worms filled with lies and recriminations.
1-TABU ★★★★½
Miguel Gomes

An homage to Murnau’s classic silent film of the same title, Miguel Gomes offers one of the most inventive works of the year. As brave on his impeccable technical choices as it is poetic on its narrative, ‘Tabu’ was shot in beautiful black and white and structured in two part covering a lady’s present in Portugal and past in Africa and the impossible love story that shaped her life.

3-THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES ★★★★
Lauren Greenfield

It seems the financial crisis has even hit the privileged 1%. The king of share time in the States saw his multi-billion company crumble on the eve of his own tower’s opening in Las Vegas. The star of this insightful documentary, however, it’s her compulsive wife and the chaos surrounding a family life whose extravagant master plan, inspired by a trip to Versailles, was to build the largest home in America.

4-ANNA KARENINA ★★★½
Joe Wright

Joe Wright amazes with this adventurous adaptation of the 19th century literary classic, taking Tolstoy’s Russia close to Baz Luhrmann’s camp territory. Its experimental production design is one of the most accomplished of the year, mostly shot indoors imaginatively using every resource that a theatre play could provide. Boasting a (mostly) brilliant cast, it’s likely to provide Kiera Knightley with another chance to join the Oscar race.

5-LAWLESS ★★★
Joe Wright

John Hillcoat’s excellent third feature goes from the near post-apocalyptic future of ‘The Road’ to the American countryside during the prohibition era through this story of local legend, bootlegging brothers. Beautifully shot, superbly cast and with Nick Cave extending his regular collaboration with the Aussie director from soundtrack to screenplay duties.

6-BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO ★★★★
Peter Stickland

Paying tribute to both the sound in movies and the distinctive ways of 70’s Italo horror, Peter Strickland second feature is quite an achievement on creating disturbing atmosphere and climatic build-up with a deliberate economy of means, in which the arrival of British sound specialist to a sleazy Italian studio to work in the effects of a new horror film leads to a psychological downward spiral with unforeseen consequences.

7-THE IMPOSTER ★★★★
Bart Layton

Reality beats fantasy on this thrilling documentary about the implausible identity theft of a Texan kid, found by the authorities in the sound of Spain three years after his disappearance. A jaw-dropping dramatization of the process to get the boy reunited with his family, overeager to hold on to the new hope even when the evidence against it was rather strong. The investigation suggests a load of half-truths, procedural cracks or plain incompetence every step of the way.

8-VERTIGO ★★★★★ (THE GENIUS OF HITCHCOCK BFI SEASON)
Alfred Hitchcock

Fresh from replacing ‘Citizen Kane’ as the best film of all times according to the most recent Sight & Sound poll. Alfred Hitchcock’s legacy is celebrated on a comprehensive retrospective at the BFI with ‘Vertigo’ being the biggest jewel on a magnificent crown.

9-LA REGLE DU JEU ★★★★★ (SIGHT & SOUND POLL WINNERS BFI SEASON)
Jean Renoir

Another of the Top 10 best films in the history of cinema as voted in the recent Sight & Sound’s poll , also currently being dedicated a season at the BFI. Jean Renoir’s controversial social radiography of France in 1939 remains as funny as it was poignant.

10-THE SNOWS OF KILIMANJARO ★★★
Robert Guedeguian (NEW)

Robert Guedeguian still in Marseille; reassembles his habitual acting troupe and reaffirms his working class left politics with this heart-warming drama about an union leader who gets his values and social ideas put to the test when his life becomes exposed to a new sort of dispossessed; as thought-provoking as the best of the French auteur’s work.
11-HOPE SPRINGS ★★★
David Frankel (NEW)

Warm performances by Streep and Lee Jones elevate this gentle comedy about a married couple reaching golden age. Their intimate life has practically disappeared, but the wife longs to recover it and gets her reluctant husband to embark on a trip to a Couple’s Therapy clinic . Steve Carell’s comedy skills get unexpectedly muted in the rather serious role of the couple’s counsellor, but elsewhere a solid screenplay offers plenty of laughs and touching moments. David Frankel of ‘Devil Wears Prada’ fame’s best workt to date.
12-F IS FOR FAKE ★★★★★
Orson Welles

Orson Welles latest opus as a director was an innovative mix of documentary and dramatization displaying his thoughts on the nature of art and its relationship with forgery.
13-DREDD ★★★
Pete Travis

A more faithful adaptation of the popular dystopian comic that improves on the former, Stallone starred attempt. Mega City Four rotten block cities are the setting for the battle between all-empowered criminal gangs and law enforcing Judges. Dar, Slick and packed with fast-paced action stunts that reminds other recent genre highlights such as ‘The Raid’, even the 3D is well used.
14-SHADOW DANCER ★★★
James Marsh

Oscar winner director of “Men in a wire” swapped documentary for fiction in this IRA thriller, set in the 70’s, boasting an excellent performance by rising star Andrea Riseborough and a starry cast including Clive Owen and detective Scully herself, Gillian Anderson.

15-TO ROME WITH LOVE ★★½
Woody Allen (NEW)

Woody Allen European tour get a stopover in Rome with this hodgepodge of four different stories, mixing US visitors; residents and locals, tributes to cinema and reality TV criticism. Even for his uneven recent standards, this feels close to another career low. Fans of the veteran director will still find plenty of his familiar wit and wisdom, but newcomers may not be too impressed.

16-PREMIUM RUSH ★★★
David Koepp (NEW)

Just when we thought Hollywood had replaced old-fashion action thrillers for superhero adaptations comes along this adrenaline-boosting ode to the urban bike messenger. Races through New York; the perils of delivering an envelope with hot content and the fight between hero Joseph Gordon-Levitt and corrupt policeman Michael Shannon all make great fun and mindless entertainment
17-PARANORMAN ★★★½
Sam Fell & Chris Butler (NEW)

The first of three horror inspired animated flick to come to our screens this season tells the story of a kid who can see ghosts in a town that hides the curse of a witch about to become real. A totally enjoyable story, referencing many classics of the genre, that also contains a strong anti-bullying message in its core.

18-THE MYTH OF THE AMERICAN SLEEPOVER ★★½
David Robert Mitchell

Sweet US indie about teenage relationships that may not open any new grounds, but it’s well observed, unpretentious and attempts to provide a look at the reality of everyday life for American youngsters.

19-SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN ★★★★
Malik Bendjelloul

A contender for the title of greatest unknown artist ever, Sixto Rodriguez’s incredible story is researched and revealed in this moving crowd pleaser. One of the surprise hits of the summer. Catch it before it’s too late.
20-SHUT UP & PLAY THE HITS ★★½
Will Lovelace & Dylan Southern

The most influential man in the music of the noughties thanks to his work as LCD Soundsystem and his DFA record label, James Murphy get a deserved career tribute on this documentary.

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