James Mottram

Latest from James Mottram

Review | Portrait of a Lady on Fire film review: desire and passion in Céline Sciamma’s period romance

The film sizzles with sexual tension as a French countess and her female portraitist fall for each other. This French period drama is like a canvas brought to life, and won best screenplay at Cannes this year.

10 Dec 2019 - 5:31AM

The film sizzles with sexual tension as a French countess and her female portraitist fall for each other. This French period drama is like a canvas brought to life, and won best screenplay at Cannes this year.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire film review: desire and passion in Céline Sciamma’s period romance
Review | Bombshell film review: Charlize Theron plays Fox News’ Megyn Kelly in captivating sexual harassment drama

Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie star as three women working in a culture of fear under Fox News’ Roger Ailes, played by John Lithgow, in this timely and absorbing drama based on the real-life case.

10 Dec 2019 - 12:25AM

Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie star as three women working in a culture of fear under Fox News’ Roger Ailes, played by John Lithgow, in this timely and absorbing drama based on the real-life case.

Bombshell film review: Charlize Theron plays Fox News’ Megyn Kelly in captivating sexual harassment drama
Review | 1917 film review: Sam Mendes’ visceral World War I drama is his best movie to date

Starring George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman, Sam Mendes’ World War I epic 1917 is both technically masterful and emotionally devastating, every bit as powerful as classics Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line.

26 Nov 2019 - 7:00AM

Starring George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman, Sam Mendes’ World War I epic 1917 is both technically masterful and emotionally devastating, every bit as powerful as classics Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line.

1917 film review: Sam Mendes’ visceral World War I drama is his best movie to date
Review | 21 Bridges film review: Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman plays police detective in run-of-the-mill thriller

There’s nothing new or engrossing about this uninspiring cops and robbers thriller where Boseman looks like he is half asleep in the lead role. It’s the sort of film you’ve seen a thousand times before, and done with much more style.

19 Nov 2019 - 12:08AM

There’s nothing new or engrossing about this uninspiring cops and robbers thriller where Boseman looks like he is half asleep in the lead role. It’s the sort of film you’ve seen a thousand times before, and done with much more style.

21 Bridges film review: Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman plays police detective in run-of-the-mill thriller
Review | Frozen II film review: Elsa, Anna return in inevitable sequel to Disney’s animated blockbuster

The animation is the best thing about Frozen II – it’s as if autumn and winter have been fused – but there’s no stand-out song like Let It Go, it hasn’t got the epic quality of the first film, and suffers from our familiarity with its characters.

18 Nov 2019 - 12:45PM

The animation is the best thing about Frozen II – it’s as if autumn and winter have been fused – but there’s no stand-out song like Let It Go, it hasn’t got the epic quality of the first film, and suffers from our familiarity with its characters.

Frozen II film review: Elsa, Anna return in inevitable sequel to Disney’s animated blockbuster
How Chinese finance and Woody Harrelson’s heft saved Midway, war movie by blockbuster director Roland Emmerich that Hollywood studios wouldn’t touch

Roland Emmerich, director of Independence Day, 2012 and The Day After Tomorrow, turned to China to part-finance his latest film. With US studios fixated on comic-book and superhero films, other productions will do so too, he says.

13 Nov 2019 - 5:38PM

Roland Emmerich, director of Independence Day, 2012 and The Day After Tomorrow, turned to China to part-finance his latest film. With US studios fixated on comic-book and superhero films, other productions will do so too, he says.

How Chinese finance and Woody Harrelson’s heft saved Midway, war movie by blockbuster director Roland Emmerich that Hollywood studios wouldn’t touch
Review | The Good Liar film review: Ian McKellen, Helen Mirren co-star in disappointing con-artist thriller

This adaptation of Nicholas Searle’s 2015 novel about a ruthless con artist who targets a retired widow is badly let down by gaping holes in the plot. McKellen and Mirren are always watchable, though.

7 Nov 2019 - 8:00PM

This adaptation of Nicholas Searle’s 2015 novel about a ruthless con artist who targets a retired widow is badly let down by gaping holes in the plot. McKellen and Mirren are always watchable, though.

The Good Liar film review: Ian McKellen, Helen Mirren co-star in disappointing con-artist thriller
Review | Midway film review: Roland Emmerich war drama is strangely pedestrian – if only John Ford were still alive to direct it

This story of the World War II Battle of Midway by The Day After Tomorrow director has a cast featuring Ed Skrein, Dennis Quaid, Woody Harrelson and the Jonas Brothers’ Nick Jonas, yet lacks emotional pull.

7 Nov 2019 - 4:50AM

This story of the World War II Battle of Midway by The Day After Tomorrow director has a cast featuring Ed Skrein, Dennis Quaid, Woody Harrelson and the Jonas Brothers’ Nick Jonas, yet lacks emotional pull.

Midway film review: Roland Emmerich war drama is strangely pedestrian – if only John Ford were still alive to direct it
Apple TV+’s The Elephant Queen directors on climate change, conservation and working with the tech giant

Nature documentary narrated by actor Chiwetel Ejiofor follows a resourceful mother elephant in Kenya as she looks to protect her herd’s young. We hear from the husband-and-wife directors who spent eight years making the film.

7 Nov 2019 - 9:02PM

Nature documentary narrated by actor Chiwetel Ejiofor follows a resourceful mother elephant in Kenya as she looks to protect her herd’s young. We hear from the husband-and-wife directors who spent eight years making the film.

Apple TV+’s The Elephant Queen directors on climate change, conservation and working with the tech giant
Dardenne brothers on Young Ahmed, their portrait of radical Islam and teenage angst that won Cannes prize

Story of a 13-year-old boy drawn to Islamic extremism won the Belgian brothers the best director prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. It will be part of the Festival de Cannes Film Week in Hong Kong this month.

6 Nov 2019 - 9:11PM

Story of a 13-year-old boy drawn to Islamic extremism won the Belgian brothers the best director prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. It will be part of the Festival de Cannes Film Week in Hong Kong this month.

Dardenne brothers on Young Ahmed, their portrait of radical Islam and teenage angst that won Cannes prize
Review | Doctor Sleep film review: The Shining sequel, starring Ewan McGregor as Jack’s son, deepens the mythology

In adapting Stephen King’s 2013 novel Doctor Sleep – the sequel to his landmark book The Shining – director Mike Flanagan is not only tackling horror literature’s grand wizard but one of cinema’s masters, Stanley Kubrick.

31 Oct 2019 - 1:52AM

In adapting Stephen King’s 2013 novel Doctor Sleep – the sequel to his landmark book The Shining – director Mike Flanagan is not only tackling horror literature’s grand wizard but one of cinema’s masters, Stanley Kubrick.

Doctor Sleep film review: The Shining sequel, starring Ewan McGregor as Jack’s son, deepens the mythology
Was Terminator: Dark Fate made with China in mind? ‘Not for a second,’ says director Tim Miller

The 6th Terminator film is a return to the feel of the original two installations, says Miller. Original stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton return, as does producer James Cameron.

30 Oct 2019 - 7:57PM

The 6th Terminator film is a return to the feel of the original two installations, says Miller. Original stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton return, as does producer James Cameron.

Was Terminator: Dark Fate made with China in mind? ‘Not for a second,’ says director Tim Miller
Review | Terminator: Dark Fate film review – Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton return in nostalgia trip for fans

Fans of the franchise will be happy to see the return of some familiar faces, and an even more indestructible Terminator called the Rev-9. The action scenes are visceral and exciting, but the film falls back on the same old themes.

23 Oct 2019 - 7:12AM

Fans of the franchise will be happy to see the return of some familiar faces, and an even more indestructible Terminator called the Rev-9. The action scenes are visceral and exciting, but the film falls back on the same old themes.

Terminator: Dark Fate film review – Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton return in nostalgia trip for fans
Review | Zombieland: Double Tap film review – zom-com sequel reunites original cast for another enjoyable trip

Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Abigail Breslin and Jesse Eisenberg are joined by Zoey Deutch and Rosario Dawson in this enjoyable sequel to the first zombie-tastic film.

16 Oct 2019 - 9:00PM

Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Abigail Breslin and Jesse Eisenberg are joined by Zoey Deutch and Rosario Dawson in this enjoyable sequel to the first zombie-tastic film.

Zombieland: Double Tap film review – zom-com sequel reunites original cast for another enjoyable trip
The rise of concert films and music documentaries, from Pavarotti to Shakira, and the A-list directors, such as Ron Howard, drawn to the format

Playing to the nostalgia of older fans, and to younger music lovers who missed seeing stars in their prime, music documentaries have hit a purple patch. So too, have concert films featuring bands such as Metallica and stars such as Shakira.

16 Oct 2019 - 7:05PM

Playing to the nostalgia of older fans, and to younger music lovers who missed seeing stars in their prime, music documentaries have hit a purple patch. So too, have concert films featuring bands such as Metallica and stars such as Shakira.

The rise of concert films and music documentaries, from Pavarotti to Shakira, and the A-list directors, such as Ron Howard, drawn to the format
Review | Maleficent: Mistress of Evil film review – Angelina Jolie returns in visually stunning sequel

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil features a gorgeous climactic battle scene and an abundance of computer-generated characters that look fantastic, but the storyline falls flat.

15 Oct 2019 - 9:00PM

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil features a gorgeous climactic battle scene and an abundance of computer-generated characters that look fantastic, but the storyline falls flat.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil film review – Angelina Jolie returns in visually stunning sequel
Ad Astra: Brad Pitt, James Gray talk about making Apocalypse Now in space – ‘there were so many walls we just kept hitting’

Director calls Ad Astra by far the most challenging film he has made. Pitt says ‘there were so many walls we just kept hitting’, but doesn’t regret putting his trust in Gray – he’d wanted to make a film with him for more than 20 years.

25 Sep 2019 - 7:33PM

Director calls Ad Astra by far the most challenging film he has made. Pitt says ‘there were so many walls we just kept hitting’, but doesn’t regret putting his trust in Gray – he’d wanted to make a film with him for more than 20 years.

Ad Astra: Brad Pitt, James Gray talk about making Apocalypse Now in space – ‘there were so many walls we just kept hitting’
Rock music still a platform for protest, says Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, as he talks about Us + Them, his new concert movie

Waters says he has ‘run up against a huge brick wall’ championing the Palestinian cause, something referenced in his two-hour concert movie featuring footage from recently ended 156-date tour. The film debuted at the Venice Film Festival.

16 Sep 2019 - 7:16PM

Waters says he has ‘run up against a huge brick wall’ championing the Palestinian cause, something referenced in his two-hour concert movie featuring footage from recently ended 156-date tour. The film debuted at the Venice Film Festival.

Rock music still a platform for protest, says Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, as he talks about Us + Them, his new concert movie
Joker director Todd Phillips’ 10 films ranked, from worst to best, following his Venice Golden Lion win

Best known for The Hangover trilogy, Phillips was a peer of Will Ferrell, Luke Wilson and Vince Vaughn – all of whom he’s worked with. You’d never have predicted his Golden Lion triumph based on this collection of films.

11 Sep 2019 - 6:36PM

Best known for The Hangover trilogy, Phillips was a peer of Will Ferrell, Luke Wilson and Vince Vaughn – all of whom he’s worked with. You’d never have predicted his Golden Lion triumph based on this collection of films.

Joker director Todd Phillips’ 10 films ranked, from worst to best, following his Venice Golden Lion win
Venice 2019: biggest losers of the film festival, from women directors to MeToo to true stories

Prizes for films by Roman Polanski and Nate Parker represented a loss for the MeToo movement, while early favourite The Painted Bird and some mediocre true-to-life stories went home empty-handed.

8 Sep 2019 - 5:15PM

Prizes for films by Roman Polanski and Nate Parker represented a loss for the MeToo movement, while early favourite The Painted Bird and some mediocre true-to-life stories went home empty-handed.

Venice 2019: biggest losers of the film festival, from women directors to MeToo to true stories
Venice 2019: six takeaways from the film festival, from Oscar contenders to hit Asian cinema

With the 2019 Venice Film Festival ending yesterday, here are the key things we learned from the star-studded 11-day event.

8 Sep 2019 - 11:45AM

With the 2019 Venice Film Festival ending yesterday, here are the key things we learned from the star-studded 11-day event.

Venice 2019: six takeaways from the film festival, from Oscar contenders to hit Asian cinema
Review | Venice 2019: Saturday Fiction film review – Gong Li in a Chinese Casablanca, Lou Ye’s evocative spy thriller

Black-and-white tale of spies, lovers, desperation and betrayal set in Japanese-occupied wartime Shanghai feels like a Chinese version of Casablanca; Gong Li excels as an actress in a story where no one is who they seem to be.

5 Sep 2019 - 12:00PM

Black-and-white tale of spies, lovers, desperation and betrayal set in Japanese-occupied wartime Shanghai feels like a Chinese version of Casablanca; Gong Li excels as an actress in a story where no one is who they seem to be.

Venice 2019: Saturday Fiction film review – Gong Li in a Chinese Casablanca, Lou Ye’s evocative spy thriller
‘All the evil came out’: filmmaker Yonfan talks Hong Kong protests and his 1967-set film No.7 Cherry Lane

Yonfan recalls 1967, when Hong Kong was rocked by riots, but says it is a coincidence new film No.7 Cherry Lane, with that violence as a backdrop, has appeared now. He says he is troubled by how ‘all the evil’ has come out in the city now.

4 Sep 2019 - 7:20PM

Yonfan recalls 1967, when Hong Kong was rocked by riots, but says it is a coincidence new film No.7 Cherry Lane, with that violence as a backdrop, has appeared now. He says he is troubled by how ‘all the evil’ has come out in the city now.

‘All the evil came out’: filmmaker Yonfan talks Hong Kong protests and his 1967-set film No.7 Cherry Lane
Review | Venice 2019: Joker film review – Joaquin Phoenix excels as DC Comics super villain in wrenching origin story

Director Todd Phillips takes inspiration from Martin Scorsese for this sublime portrayal of disturbed loner Arthur Fleck and his transformation. Phoenix gives one of the performances of the year.

2 Sep 2019 - 11:00AM

Director Todd Phillips takes inspiration from Martin Scorsese for this sublime portrayal of disturbed loner Arthur Fleck and his transformation. Phoenix gives one of the performances of the year.

Venice 2019: Joker film review – Joaquin Phoenix excels as DC Comics super villain in wrenching origin story
Review | Venice 2019: Ad Astra film review – Brad Pitt shines in James Gray’s philosophical sci-fi masterpiece

Brad Pitt gives a career defining performance in this beautifully shot and scripted film. James Gray makes good use of his big budget, which is reflected in the set pieces and camera work.

30 Aug 2019 - 6:03AM

Brad Pitt gives a career defining performance in this beautifully shot and scripted film. James Gray makes good use of his big budget, which is reflected in the set pieces and camera work.

Venice 2019: Ad Astra film review – Brad Pitt shines in James Gray’s philosophical sci-fi masterpiece
Review | Venice 2019: The Truth film review – Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche in Hirokazu Koreeda’s Paris-set drama

The Japanese director’s first film since winning last year’s Palme d’Or in Cannes is an intimate family drama, much like his previous work. His observations of human behaviour remain razor-sharp as Deneuve and Binoche trade barbs.

29 Aug 2019 - 10:59AM

The Japanese director’s first film since winning last year’s Palme d’Or in Cannes is an intimate family drama, much like his previous work. His observations of human behaviour remain razor-sharp as Deneuve and Binoche trade barbs.

Venice 2019: The Truth film review – Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche in Hirokazu Koreeda’s Paris-set drama
Charles Manson in Mindhunter season two: Netflix serial killer series turns eye on infamous cult leader

Season two of the Netflix crime thriller series features a host of new serial killers from the 1970s and 80s, but it is Charles Manson, played by Australian actor Damon Herriman, who will surely draw the most interest.

18 Aug 2019 - 8:33PM

Season two of the Netflix crime thriller series features a host of new serial killers from the 1970s and 80s, but it is Charles Manson, played by Australian actor Damon Herriman, who will surely draw the most interest.

Charles Manson in Mindhunter season two: Netflix serial killer series turns eye on infamous cult leader
Review | Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark film review: horror for teenagers blends adolescent angst and campfire yarns

Three unpopular nerds visit a haunted house, discover a book left by a tortured soul, and all hell breaks loose. This is a horror film for children that really works.

9 Aug 2019 - 1:57PM

Three unpopular nerds visit a haunted house, discover a book left by a tortured soul, and all hell breaks loose. This is a horror film for children that really works.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark film review: horror for teenagers blends adolescent angst and campfire yarns
Review | The Angry Birds Movie 2 review: Awkwafina, Leslie Jones join fun and breezy animated sequel

The Birds and Pigs are back, but this time they are united against a common enemy, Xeta, an evil bird of prey. This sequel is littered with 1980s songs, plenty of visual gags, bright animation and very little subtlety.

1 Aug 2019 - 8:00PM

The Birds and Pigs are back, but this time they are united against a common enemy, Xeta, an evil bird of prey. This sequel is littered with 1980s songs, plenty of visual gags, bright animation and very little subtlety.

The Angry Birds Movie 2 review: Awkwafina, Leslie Jones join fun and breezy animated sequel
Review | Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw film review – Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham go into Bond territory in spin-off

With expensive cars, over-the-top action, a ludicrous plot and plenty of on-screen chemistry, this Fast & Furious spin-off does not disappoint. It’s the closest that the Fast & Furious films have got to James Bond.

1 Aug 2019 - 2:12AM

With expensive cars, over-the-top action, a ludicrous plot and plenty of on-screen chemistry, this Fast & Furious spin-off does not disappoint. It’s the closest that the Fast & Furious films have got to James Bond.

Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw film review – Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham go into Bond territory in spin-off