Wonka (2023) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

Wonka ⭐⭐⭐⭐ ½ With dreams of opening a shop in a city renowned for its chocolate, a young and poor Willy Wonka discovers that the industry is run by a cartel of greedy chocolatiers. Out in cinemas on Friday. For all those who are slightly apprehensive about this latest “prequel”, maybe  because their loving connection to the original story, or because of their fond memories of the classic film with Gene Wilder, or even the one by Tim Burton with Johnny Depp (yes, I am told there are people who love that too), I can safely reassure them and tell them that not only this film is the perfect pre-Christmas present for all those who want to spend some time in a cinema with their family, but I might even take it a s

The Truman Show (1998) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

The Truman Show ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ An insurance salesman discovers his whole life is actually a reality TV show. Chiswick Cinema is screening The Truman Show for Andrea's next film club night on Tuesday 5 December 2023 at 8pm, when the film will be shown with an introduction from Andrea and a discussion afterwards. Re-watching The Truman Show 25 years after its original release, I was pleasantly surprised to see how well it still holds up—sharp, thought-provoking, and current. And to think this was written and made a few years before the very first Big Brother and the idea of Reality TV was even a thing! It is one of those rare products in Hollywood that manages to be gripping and very entertaining as

Maestro (2023) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

Maestro ⭐⭐⭐⭐ A love story - A biopic which chronicles the lifelong relationship of conductor-composer Leonard Bernstein and actress Felicia Montealegre Cohn Bernstein. Out in cinemas now. A film that comes with both Spielberg’s and Scorsese’s names attached as producers in the front credits deserves to be seen, no matter what, at least in my book. As it happens, this also has two of the best performances of the year waiting to score awards left and right. A lot has been said about Bradley Cooper's prosthetic nose in the film, but if you can get past the pointless debate (and to be honest, it’s not that hard to do that), you will not only find this is his best performance to date, but also it's an immersive and compelling portrayal and a l

Wish (2023) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

Wish ⭐⭐ ⭐ A young girl named Asha wishes on a star and gets a more direct answer than she bargained for when a trouble-making star comes down from the sky to join her. In cinemas now. As I am writing this, I hear the news that Wish, the 62nd original feature by Disney Animation, has underperformed at the box office on its first week-end of release (which incidentally is the Thanksgiving week-end in America), falling well short of the already pretty low predictions. And while of course, we shouldn’t really count it out yet (more holidays are coming soon and the film may eventually find its legs), it is clear evidence of the effect that streaming is having on family-oriented films. Once upon a time a Disney release, in the weeks before Chri

Saltburn (2023) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

Saltburn  ⭐⭐⭐ A student at Oxford University finds himself drawn into the world of a charming and aristocratic classmate, who invites him to his eccentric family's sprawling estate for a summer never to be forgotten. On in cinemas now. After leaving this film I found myself a bit baffled, not quite sure how I should really take it. I kept on asking myself “Why?”. I won’t go into spoiler, but the whole thing didn’t quite click or made sense for me. So I waited a couple of days, trying to see if, with time, I’d be able to digest it a bit more and see the good in it and whether anything had stuck. Sadly the answer is ‘very little’. On one hand, the story of Oliver (An ultra-creepy Barry Keoghan), the young

Anatomy of a Fall (2023) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

Anatomy of a Fall ⭐⭐⭐⭐½ A woman is suspected of her husband's murder, and their blind son faces a moral dilemma as the main witness. On in cinemas at the moment. This French courtroom drama/thriller revolves around a complex and intriguing storyline following the consequences of a ‘fall’. The titular ‘fall’ in question is yes an actual fall, which results is somebody’s death, but also a figurative ‘fall’ of a marriage. As the story unfolds, the audience is slowly drawn into an intricate web of emotions, uncertainties, and power dynamics, all of which elevates the film beyond your standard murder mystery or courtroom drama. The strength of the Anatomy of a fall lies not only in its plo

The Long Goodbye (1973) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

The Long Goodbye (50th anniversary)  ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Private investigator Philip Marlowe helps a friend out of a jam, but in doing so becomes implicated in his wife's murder. There will be a screening of The Long Goodbye to mark the film's 50th anniversary at Andrea's Film Club at Chiswick Cinema on Tuesday 14 November 2023 at 8pm, followed by a talk by Andrea and a discussion. Crime stories are often the subject of modern re-imaginings and remakes. The allure of crime, the intricate plots, the twists and reveals, the complex characters and detective narratives, combined with the timeless appeal of iconic characters such as Hercule Poirot or Philip Marlowe, has always given filmmakers a rich source of storytelling material that is hard to resist. R

The Killer (2023) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

The Killer ⭐⭐⭐⭐ After a fateful near-miss, an assassin battles his employers, and himself, on an international manhunt he insists isn't personal. I should probably start by stating the obvious: David Fincher is one of the greatest directors working in the industry today. His films may sometimes venture into uncomfortably dark and gritty territory, but the level of sleekness and precise craftsmanship that he brings to the table sets him apart from pretty much 99% of his Hollywood peers. I remember studying every frame of Se7en back in film school: its blackest blacks, its clinical and meticulous attention to detail and the devastatingly dark (and yet, drenched in sunlight) twist-ending. I was left speechless after Fight Club and

Killers of the Flower Moon (2023) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

Killers of the Flower Moon  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ When oil is discovered in 1920s Oklahoma under Osage Nation land, the Osage people are murdered one by one - until the FBI steps in to unravel the mystery. Out in cinemas now. Based on a true story and adapted from a book of the same name by David Grann, Killers of the Flower Moon, delves into a chilling chapter of American history, in early 20th-century Oklahoma, exploring a series of murders that occurred among the Osage community of Native Americans, who found themselves wealthy almost from one day to the next, for being the land owner of lands rich with oil. I’ll come out straight: my relationship with Scorsese’s films is a tricky one. As a film geek, I should love the guy, and to a de

Dumb Money (2023) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

Dumb Money ⭐⭐⭐⭐ The story of a group of ordinary people who get rich by turning a video game store into the world's hottest company. Out in cinemas now. Dumb Money is the ultimate David vs. Goliath story, based on the astonishing true incident from the very recent 2021, during which a group of everyday people turned a little-known company named GameStop into a global sensation, defying the rules of Wall Street. GameStop is a video game retailer that had seen better days with the rise of online gaming. The pandemic seemed to seal its fate, and the short-sellers were circling like vultures. Enter Keith Gill, played by the always-talented Paul Dano, a small-time analyst and broker who by night turns into a redditor (here’s a new world I

Past Lives (2023) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

Past Lives ⭐⭐⭐⭐½ Nora and Hae Sung are childhood sweethearts separated by fate and thousands of miles, wrested apart after Nora's family emigrates from South Korea. Twenty years later, they are reunited for one fateful week as they confront notions of love and destiny. On in cinemas now, including Chiswick Cinema. I guess Award season starts early this year. This is one of the most gentle, subtle and touching films I’ve seen this year and while I’m certain it might not be to everyone’s taste (it’s certainly not one for the action/adventure blockbusters crowds, nor for the Barbie-lovers out there) it is definitely one of those who will stay with you. The story starts with two childhood friends Na Y

A Haunting in Venice (2023) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

A Haunting in Venice ⭐⭐ In post-World War II Venice, Agatha Christie's detective Hercule Poirot, now retired and living in his own exile, reluctantly attends a seance. But when one of the guests is murdered, it is up to the former detective to once again uncover the killer. Out in cinemas on Friday. This is Kenneth Branagh’s third Agatha Christie adaptation, following on from Murder on the Orient Express and Murder on the Nile. Both times I went to watch those film full of anticipation at star-studded premieres, excited by the prospect of a good whodunit and both times I was left rather underwhelmed and I thought the films were just about passable. This time I came prepared, and kept my expectations low to avoid any disappointment

Jurassic Park (1993) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

Jurassic Park ⭐⭐⭐⭐ ½ A group of scientists cloned dinosaurs, and are about to open an amusement park where people can see them. What could possibly go wrong? Chiswick Cinema will be screening Jurassic Park thirty years on from when it smashed all the records for highest grossing film around the world and won a whole cupboard full of awards, as part of their Richard Attenborough centenary season. Andrea's Film Club, Tuesday 5 September at 7.30pm. If one had to rate Jurassic Park in terms of its cultural relevance, place in film history and groundbreaking (and game-changing) visual effects, it would certainly get top marks, no question asked. It is also one of those rar

The Great Escape (1963) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

The Great Escape ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Allied prisoners of war plan for several hundred of their number to escape from a German camp during World War II. The Great Escape is being screened at Chiswick Cinema on Sunday 30 July as part of the retrospective season celebrating the films of Richard Attenborough. I'll keep it short, mainly because it seems pretty pointless to stand here telling you what a timeless classic this film is, but once in a while it’s good to state the obvious. And what a perfect excuse to revisit this masterpiece than a new special screening for its 60th anniversary, this Sunday (30 July) at The Chiswick Cinema at 4pm, introduced by Michael Attenborough? It will serve as a reminder that this film is so much mo

Oppenheimer (2023) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

Oppenheimer ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The story of American scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer and his role in the development of the atomic bomb. Out in cinemas now. As I sat down to watch my second film on this “Barbenheimer” weekend I had a little bit of trepidation. I have generally liked Christopher Nolan’s films in the past, but his most recent Dunkirk had left me a little bit cold and to be completely honest I had actually hated Tenet. Also, the idea of a massive three-hour long biopic, mostly dialogue-driven, on paper at least sounded a little bit daunting. However, I am happy to report not only that Oppenheimer lives up to the hype, but that it actually gains something by being so long. And yes, it is mostly dialog

Barbie (2023) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

Barbie ⭐️⭐️½ Barbie suffers a crisis that leads her to question her world and her existence. Out in cinemas now. I had been waiting to see this film since the first glimpse of the very first teaser trailer from what now feels like light years away. The film seemed to have the right amount of self-awareness, kitsch style and overall madness to make it one of the most intriguing blockbusters coming out in the summer. On top of that, the sight of goddess-like Margot Robbie as the perfect (and yes, stereotypical) Barbie and the hunk-like figure of bleached-haired Ryan Gosling cemented in my mind the idea that this was going to be a lot of fun and one not to miss. A lot has been made in the press about Barbenheimer

Elemental (2023) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

Elemental ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Ember and Wade live in a city where fire, water, land and air residents all live together. Elemental is out in cinemas now. The fact that I waited more than a week to watch Elemental at my local Chiswick Cinema might not seem particularly interesting for the average person reading this, but if you know me well and you know not just what a film geek I am, not just about my deep love for animation, but also for everything that’s Pixar-related, then the fact that I wasn’t there on day one suddenly becomes much more relevant. I’ve been a massive fan of Pixar Animation ever since I can remember. There was a time when, after a string of masterpieces one after the other, the likes of Toy Story, Monsters

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning, Part One (2023) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning, Part One ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ Ethan Hunt and his IMF team must track down a dangerous weapon before it falls into the wrong hands. Out in cinemas now. It’s been 27 years since Brian De Palma’s first Mission Impossible hit the screen. Now on its seventh instalment, it feels as if the franchise is getting bigger and better, which is ironic since it all started as a little espionage TV series in the 1960s and ‘70s. As it happens, it’s also getting longer and longer. This clocks at 163 minutes and, as the title suggests, there is more to come too. The success of the latest Avengers films (with Endgame earning close to $2 billion) proved to Hollywood t

Boy Erased (2018) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

Boy Erased ⭐️⭐️⭐️ The son of a Baptist preacher unwillingly participates in a church-supported gay conversion programme after being forcibly outed to his parents. Available to buy or rent on the most popular streaming platforms. Having recently seen the splendid Brokeback Mountain play at the Soho Theatre I was inspired to revisit this film from 2018, for which Lucas Hedges was nominated for multiple awards that year (including a Golden Globe). This is a well-intentioned, though rather conventional film, inspired by a true story of a boy, (Hedges) son of a small-town church pastor (Russell Crowe) who has been sent to a conversion therapy program to “cleanse him of his homosexuality”. However absurd this story sounds, a chillin

WHAM! (2023) – Documentary review by Andrea Carnevali

WHAM! ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ½ Using archive material - interviews and recordings of their performances - George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley relive their Wham career from teenage best friends to '80s pop icons. Documentary now streaming on Netflix. While not particularly deep, enlightening or revelatory, Wham! does a great job in reconstructing the history of the band, from the early days and the first scratch recordings, to the very final concert and the amicable split (the film, true to its title, stops before Michael went off on his own). The film covers all the basics you would expect, from the hit songs Careless Whisper and Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Last Christmas, and George M

Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant (2023) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ During the war in Afghanistan, a local interpreter risks his own life to carry an injured sergeant across miles of gruelling terrain. Streaming on Amazon Prime. It’s a great shame that Guy Ritchie’s latest film has been relegated to streaming in the UK and was hardly seen in the US cinema (titled Guy Ritchie's The Covenant to distinguish it from the 2006 horror film with the same name), because this is an immersive cinematic experience and actually it might be Richie’s best film to date. I know that’s probably not much of a praise to many people, but Guy Ritchie’s direction is surprisingly restrained, grounded and un-showy. In fact other than a few slow-motion shots, it’s hard to b

Sharper (2023) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

Sharper ⭐️⭐️⭐️ A con artist takes on Manhattan billionaires. Available to watch on Apple + Right, let me come out straight away, before you tell me off, this film is absolutely ludicrous and there is no denying it! It’s not as clever, or ground-breaking or shocking as it thinks it is or as it wants to be. But, and here’s my point, does that make it any less fun to watch? The truth is, probably, just marginally. Sharper starts off as a romantic tale, which soon turns into a sort of twisty heist thriller, in which part of the fun is to work out who’s conning whom, through a series of convoluted little twists and flashbacks. The film is broken into small chapters, each of them following one of the main characters of a bigger sto

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐- Review by Andrea Carnevali Archaeologist Indiana Jones races against time to retrieve a legendary artefact that can change the course of history. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is out in cinemas now. Where do I even begin to try to collect all the thoughts I have for this film and write them down in a way that can be objective, honest, truthful and detached? To put it all into context, I was nine when I was first saw Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981. (You do the

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ⭐⭐⭐ - Review by Andrea Carnevali In 1957, Indiana Jones becomes entangled in a Soviet plot to uncover the secret behind mysterious artifacts known as the Crystal Skulls. Available to watch on Disney + In preparing for the release of the fifth (and we are told, “last”) film, we re-watched the the first three episodes from the 1980s and enjoyed them all immensely. With all the backlash this fourth film had (and a lot of it for good reasons… more about this later), I was sort of dreading going back to it and actually thought o

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- Review by Andrea Carnevali In 1938, after his father goes missing while pursuing the Holy Grail, Indiana Jones finds himself up against the Nazis again to stop them from obtaining its powers. Available to watch on Disney + Let’s face it, they don’t make them like this anymore. This is probably one of those last "adventure movies" filmed all around the world on actual location, with an actual script and some great set-pieces, before CGI came in and made them all look more like video

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Review by Andrea Carnevali I can hear some of you moaning already. What!? Five stars to this sequel?! (Yes I know It’s a prequel). Is this it really as good as the first one? Well, of course not. But then again, hardly anything is in my book. But, is this one of the most entertaining, fun, dazzling, un-relentlessly inventive and non-stop action film in cinema history? My answer to all this is also a resounding YES. I never get tired of watching “Tem

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

Raiders of the Lost Ark ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐– Review by Andrea Carnevali In 1936, archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis can obtain its awesome powers. Available to watch on Disney + With less than three weeks away from the release of the new Indiana Jones film, The Dial of Destiny, (anyone who’s been more than one hour in my company knows how pivotal those films are in my life!), there is no better time to re-visit all the previous films, with the excuse to watch them all again with my son. Everybody has a favourite Indy film, but as far as I am concerned this is not just the best of the lot, but one of the best films ever made. What is a perfect film after al

Stand By Me (1986) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

Stand By Me ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Review by Andrea Carnevali After the death of one of his friends, a writer recounts a childhood journey with his friends to find the body of a missing boy. Screening Tuesday 27 June 2023 at Chiswick Cinema with Q&A with Andrea afterwards. I find incredibly difficult to talk about Stand By Me without being completely biased or detached. My response to any movie is usually an emotional one: if it makes me laugh or cry or even just think then it means somehow it worked; but if it makes me laugh, cry and think… as is the case with Stand by Me, then there must be something more to it! On Tuesday the 27 of June

Triangle of Sadness (2022) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

Triangle of Sadness ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ – Review by Andrea Carnevali A fashion model celebrity couple join an eventful cruise for the super-rich. Triangle of Sadness is now streaming on Amazon Prime. For some reason this film had escaped me when it was first released, despite being nominated for an Oscar for best feature. Some of my friends had told not to judge it by its title and that it was actually a hilarious dark comedy, others even counted it as their best film of the year, but some really hated the hell out of it. Anything with such extreme views surely deserved to be explored. Indeed Triangle of Sadness is a both interesting and flawed. At times brilliantly surprisi

Spider-Man: Across the Spiderverse (2023) – Film review by Andrea Carnevali

Spiderman: Across the Spiderverse ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ – Review by Andrea Carnevali Miles Morales catapults across the Multiverse, where he encounters a team of Spider-People charged with protecting its very existence. When the heroes clash on how to handle a new threat, Miles must redefine what it means to be a hero. Spider-Man: Across the Spiderverse is out in cinemas now. I remember watching the first Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse back in 2018 on a preview screening, knowing nothing about it. The film seemed to have come out of nowhere, but it instantly blew me away and eventually became my favourite film of that year. It was fresh, clever, original and ground-breaking, with its