Empire Magazine

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
4/5 Synchronic (2019) Dan Jolin A smart indie sci-fi which has much to say and some great ideas, all wrapped up in a designer-drug-based premise that makes it sound less interesting than it actually is. EDIT
Posted Jan 26, 2021
3/5 The Dig (2021) Ian Freer The Dig is well played, especially by the leads, and visually gorgeous, but it lacks fire and ironically doesn't get under the surface of its story. EDIT
Posted Jan 26, 2021
4/5 MLK/FBI (2020) Amon Warmann An eye-opening documentary that poses hard questions and gives no easy answers, MLK/FBI is a worthy addition to the ever-timely media concerning Martin Luther King Jr. EDIT
Posted Jan 22, 2021
4/5 Malcolm & Marie (2021) Amon Warmann Zendaya and John David Washington deliver career-best performances in this mesmerising two-hander that ruminates on love, life and art. EDIT
Posted Jan 22, 2021
2/5 Outside the Wire (2021) Amon Warmann Despite strong lead performances and some intriguing themes, this rarely rises above being a serviceable action thriller. EDIT
Posted Jan 18, 2021
4/5 The White Tiger (2021) Hanna Flint Ramin Bahrani offers a kinetic and textured satirical commentary on caste friction in modern India with Adarsh Gourav serving up an immensely watchable leading performance. EDIT
Posted Jan 18, 2021
2/5 Stardust (2020) John Nugent A by-the-numbers biopic that does a disservice to its star and subject, and sorely missing a killer soundtrack. Watch The Man Who Fell To Earth instead. EDIT
Posted Jan 16, 2021
5/5 One Night in Miami (2020) Ellen E Jones This feels like history-in-the-making, as both a fresh insight into the interior lives of historical figures and a snapshot of a future filmmaking great just getting started. EDIT
Posted Jan 12, 2021
2/5 Blithe Spirit (2020) Pamela Hutchinson This Blithe Spirit dilutes the original's heady cocktail, serving up a sugary punch rather than a dry martini. EDIT
Posted Jan 12, 2021
4/5 Pieces of a Woman (2020) Terri White Vanessa Kirby and Shia LaBeouf put in career-best performances in this crisp, fluent take on unimaginable trauma. EDIT
Posted Jan 4, 2021
2/5 We Can Be Heroes (2020) Ian Freer Rodriguez has fun coming up with some new-ish powers and there are knowing send-ups of superhero lore, but the takeaway is thin and forgettable. EDIT
Posted Dec 25, 2020
4/5 Sylvie's Love (2020) Amon Warmann Combining beautiful aesthetics with winning performances from Thompson and Asomugha, Sylvie's Love is the rare Black period drama that tells a sweet and satisfying love story without revolving around the racial adversity of the era. EDIT
Posted Dec 23, 2020
2/5 Let Him Go (2020) Ian Freer This is what happens when slow burning never really catches fire. EDIT
Posted Dec 17, 2020
3/5 Come Away (2020) Ben Travis It never quite tumbles into Wonderland, but the ambition at play - and a top cast of supporting players - is just enough to let Come Away off the Hook. EDIT
Posted Dec 17, 2020
5/5 David Byrne's American Utopia (2020) Beth Webb Bolstered by Lee's trenchant, intimate direction, Byrne reframes a peerless setlist of songs as a testament to hope and humanity that implores himself and his audience to keep going. EDIT
Posted Dec 17, 2020
2/5 The Racer (2020) Ian Freer There is some nice insight into cycling-team practices, but overall The Racer lacks sufficient nuance, specificity and originality to nab the yellow jersey. EDIT
Posted Dec 17, 2020
4/5 The Joy Luck Club (1993) Angie Errigo [A] marvellous and right-on distillation of feminine hopes and hurts across the generations. EDIT
Posted Dec 16, 2020
4/5 Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) Ben Travis A vibrant and virtuous adventure packed with all the heart and heroism we've come to expect from DC's shining light. Wonder Woman 1984 really is the hero 2020 needed all along. EDIT
Posted Dec 15, 2020
3/5 The Midnight Sky (2020) Nick De Semlyen Swinging between ice and space, Clooney has upped his directorial ambition and delivered a big-scale, big-hearted story, even if it struggles to match the films it riffs on. EDIT
Posted Dec 9, 2020
3/5 The Mole Agent (2020) Nikki Baughan A moving exploration of the realities of growing old, Maite Alberdi's documentary effectively blends documentary with dramatic elements to charming, if not always transparent, effect. EDIT
Posted Dec 9, 2020
3/5 Il mio corpo (2020) David Parkinson Combining widescreen lyricism and neo-realist intimacy, this is a poignant reflection on the stark situation awaiting so many migrants who risk everything to reach a false paradise. EDIT
Posted Dec 9, 2020
4/5 I'm Your Woman (2020) Christina Newland This stylish, quietly suspenseful crime film offers a rejoinder to the typical macho '70s genre, focusing on the female experience in a compelling, nuanced way. EDIT
Posted Dec 9, 2020
4/5 Muscle (2019) Ian Freer Muscle takes the trappings of a macho crime flick and informs them with sensitivity and smarts, perfectly played by Cavan Clerkin and Craig Fairbrass. It packs all the punch and power of a whey protein shake. EDIT
Posted Dec 9, 2020
3/5 L'Incredibile storia dell'Isola Delle Rose (2020) Ian Freer A kind of Italian Fitzcarraldo, Rose Island persuasively argues that dreamers can move mountains. It offers little in the way of surprises, but it's hard not to be won over by its small-scale delights. EDIT
Posted Dec 3, 2020
4/5 Falling (2020) John Nugent A bold, brave first effort behind the camera for Viggo Mortensen, elegantly distilling some painful truths for anyone who has ever had a complicated relationship with a parent. EDIT
Posted Dec 2, 2020
3/5 The Prom (2020) Ben Travis Not quite a standing ovation, but a big bravo. EDIT
Posted Dec 1, 2020
3/5 Uncle Frank (2020) Ben Travis Uncle Frank is a funny and entertaining road movie with likeable performances - just brace for a closing dollop of sentimentality. EDIT
Posted Nov 25, 2020
4/5 Patrick (2019) Ian Freer Part mystery, part black comedy, part metaphor for loss, Patrick is a nakedly true original. It also has the best caravan fight since Kill Bill Vol. 2. EDIT
Posted Nov 21, 2020
4/5 Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020) Amon Warmann Boseman and Davis deliver superb performances in this timeless meditation on Black art, and those who would exploit it. EDIT
Posted Nov 20, 2020
4/5 Happiest Season (2020) Ella Kemp An ode to impossible expectations, pride, bravery and loyalty, Happiest Season wraps up everything you could want for Christmas in a neat, thoughtful little bow. EDIT
Posted Nov 19, 2020
Maedchen in Uniform (1931) Len G. Shaw It is a revealing, true to life picture of healthy and exuberant youth expressing itself amid unwholesome surroundings with carefree gayety and a native wisdom wholly foreign to the headmistress and her cringing subalterns. EDIT
Posted Nov 17, 2020
4/5 LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special (2020) Ben Travis The new and improved Holiday Special remixes the Star Wars timeline with plenty of neat gags. The Force is fun with this one. EDIT
Posted Nov 17, 2020
3/5 The Life Ahead (2020) Ian Freer A potentially trite tale of an unlikely relationship is lifted immeasurably by Sophia Loren and is best viewed as a testament to the true power of the movie star. EDIT
Posted Nov 16, 2020
3/5 Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020) Helen O'Hara It's silly and a little too slow, but the characters are enormously charming and the design is overwhelmingly sumptuous. It should give viewers, especially children, a welcome hit of Christmas magic. EDIT
Posted Nov 11, 2020
2/5 Hillbilly Elegy (2020) Terri White In spite of A-list acting and directing talent, this is a tick-the-boxes recovery and redemption true story that never rings true. EDIT
Posted Nov 10, 2020
5/5 Mank (2020) Ian Freer Built on a towering performance by Gary Oldman, it's smart, sophisticated, by turns thrilling and difficult, and amongst Fincher's best. EDIT
Posted Nov 6, 2020
4/5 Foreign Correspondent (1940) Kim Newman Heavy-handed but still poignant patriotism in this Hitchcock thriller. EDIT
Posted Nov 3, 2020
3/5 Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula (2020) John Nugent While it doesn't quite boast the bullet-train speed or slickness of the original, it's not a cheap replacement bus imitator, either. EDIT
Posted Oct 30, 2020
3/5 The Craft: Legacy (2020) James White Looking to cast a spell of its own, The Craft: Legacy tries some new tricks. It's just a shame that for all the worthwhile additions, it's sometimes more toil than bubble. EDIT
Posted Oct 28, 2020
4/5 Relic (2020) Ian Freer What it lacks in incident it makes up for in a troika of top turns and tangible tension in service to an interesting parable about the gnawing effects of dementia. EDIT
Posted Oct 27, 2020
4/5 Shirley (2020) Terri White Part psychological horror, part erotic thriller, with none of the conventions of a biopic, Shirley will keep you enthralled (and guessing) until the very last second. EDIT
Posted Oct 27, 2020
4/5 Mogul Mowgli (2020) Hanna Flint Culturally rich and emotionally raw, Mogul Mowgli is a brilliant showcase for Riz Ahmed's bevy of talents, and speaks visceral truth to the British-South Asian experience so rarely explored on screen. EDIT
Posted Oct 27, 2020
4/5 Wolfwalkers (2020) John Nugent A treat. With astonishing craft and visual storytelling that howls from the screen, Cartoon Saloon have surely secured their place in the animation hall of fame. EDIT
Posted Oct 27, 2020
Def by Temptation (1990) Jack Yeovil The last reel gets pretty wild... but actually it's the earlier stretches, as creepy little incidents disrupt the endless barroom chatter, that stay with you. EDIT
Posted Oct 26, 2020
4/5 Summer of 85 (2020) Ian Freer A holiday romance perfect for the dark nights with the added bonus of a flashback structure that builds genuine intrigue into the outcome. It also includes a use of Rod Stewart's 'Sailing' that guarantees its place on your 2020 movie playlist. EDIT
Posted Oct 23, 2020
4/5 Totally Under Control (2020) Ian Freer A vital, powerful examination of how one political administration could get something so wrong by ignoring the experts. EDIT
Posted Oct 23, 2020
3/5 Honest Thief (2020) Ian Freer The second half falls into familiar action tropes, but Honest Thief has some twists and turns, sly humour and a refreshing feel for its characters that raises them beyond genre types. EDIT
Posted Oct 23, 2020
3/5 Pixie (2020) John Nugent Uneven, immature and a little derivative - but entertaining performances from Olivia Cooke and Alec Baldwin keeps Pixie watchable. EDIT
Posted Oct 23, 2020
2/5 Razorback (1984) Empire Staff The oddball nightmare style is effective but the prop pig and under par acting let the film down. EDIT
Posted Oct 22, 2020
4/5 Bad Boy Bubby (1993) Kim Newman It's a one‑off weirdie, offputting for whole stretches but unforgettable, not for everyone but highly recommended to the discerning. EDIT
Posted Oct 22, 2020