James Mottram

Latest from James Mottram

Review | Berlin 2020: Onward film review – Pixar’s magic-infused family tale is both funny and touching

A family tale about finding your roots and coming to appreciate what you already have, Onward is very funny but also touchingly sentimental, with great voice work from Tom Holland, Chris Pratt and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

22 Feb 2020 - 5:01AM

A family tale about finding your roots and coming to appreciate what you already have, Onward is very funny but also touchingly sentimental, with great voice work from Tom Holland, Chris Pratt and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

Berlin 2020: Onward film review – Pixar’s magic-infused family tale is both funny and touching
Review | Berlin 2020: Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue film review: Jia Zhangke documentary is a spiritual depiction of China

Jia Zhangke looks at China’s history since 1949 through the eyes of four writers from different generations. The documentary includes extracts from the writers’ books and interviews and is featuring at the 70th Berlin Film Festival

22 Feb 2020 - 7:38AM

Jia Zhangke looks at China’s history since 1949 through the eyes of four writers from different generations. The documentary includes extracts from the writers’ books and interviews and is featuring at the 70th Berlin Film Festival

Berlin 2020: Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue film review: Jia Zhangke documentary is a spiritual depiction of China
Review | Berlin 2020: My Salinger Year film review – Margaret Qualley stars in festival opener, a love letter to literature

Featuring an impressive central turn from Margaret Qualley, there’s something marvellously old-fashioned about My Salinger Year, a tale set on the cusp of the digital age in the office of a Manhattan literary agency.

21 Feb 2020 - 12:48PM

Featuring an impressive central turn from Margaret Qualley, there’s something marvellously old-fashioned about My Salinger Year, a tale set on the cusp of the digital age in the office of a Manhattan literary agency.

Berlin 2020: My Salinger Year film review – Margaret Qualley stars in festival opener, a love letter to literature
Review | The Call of the Wild film review: Harrison Ford in live action/CGI retelling of Jack London classic

Harrison Ford plays his most moving role for years as the loner and narrator of this classic tale of a stolen pet forced to become a sled dog. The CGI makes for stunning landscapes, even if the animals don’t always look real.

18 Feb 2020 - 4:00AM

Harrison Ford plays his most moving role for years as the loner and narrator of this classic tale of a stolen pet forced to become a sled dog. The CGI makes for stunning landscapes, even if the animals don’t always look real.

The Call of the Wild film review: Harrison Ford in live action/CGI retelling of Jack London classic
Review | Sonic the Hedgehog film review: Jim Carrey vs Sega’s beloved video game character in family comedy

Sonic the Hedgehog, from the 1990s video game, takes on the evil Dr Robotnik, played by Jim Carrey in a welcome return to a major role. Sonic is on Earth and trying to regain his lost rings in this amusing, high-speed kids’ film.

13 Feb 2020 - 2:00PM

Sonic the Hedgehog, from the 1990s video game, takes on the evil Dr Robotnik, played by Jim Carrey in a welcome return to a major role. Sonic is on Earth and trying to regain his lost rings in this amusing, high-speed kids’ film.

Sonic the Hedgehog film review: Jim Carrey vs Sega’s beloved video game character in family comedy
Review | Birds of Prey film review: Margot Robbie reprises Harley Quinn role in violent, grungy spin-off

Margot Robbie reprises her Harley Quinn role in this violent, grungy spin-off, but despite Ewan McGregor’s enjoyable performance and entertaining fight sequences, the script doesn’t produce the same fireworks.

6 Feb 2020 - 4:20AM

Margot Robbie reprises her Harley Quinn role in this violent, grungy spin-off, but despite Ewan McGregor’s enjoyable performance and entertaining fight sequences, the script doesn’t produce the same fireworks.

Birds of Prey film review: Margot Robbie reprises Harley Quinn role in violent, grungy spin-off
Review | Bad Boys for Life film review: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence reunite for buddy cop sequel

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence reunite for buddy cop sequel Bad Boys for Life, with the chemistry between the pair just as potent as it once was and no shortage of spectacular action sequences to enjoy.

16 Jan 2020 - 4:38PM

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence reunite for buddy cop sequel Bad Boys for Life, with the chemistry between the pair just as potent as it once was and no shortage of spectacular action sequences to enjoy.

Bad Boys for Life film review: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence reunite for buddy cop sequel
Starring Hu Ge and with a plot worthy of Raymond Chandler, film noir by Diao Yinan is a Chinese box office hit, and he says it’s a genre he’ll stick to

He won the Berlin Film Festival’s top prize for Black Coal, Thin Ice. Now Diao Yinan’s stylish film The Wild Goose Lake, starring Hu Ge, is a Chinese box office hit, and the director knows he’s onto something exploring China’s criminal underbelly.

8 Jan 2020 - 8:26PM

He won the Berlin Film Festival’s top prize for Black Coal, Thin Ice. Now Diao Yinan’s stylish film The Wild Goose Lake, starring Hu Ge, is a Chinese box office hit, and the director knows he’s onto something exploring China’s criminal underbelly.

Starring Hu Ge and with a plot worthy of Raymond Chandler, film noir by Diao Yinan is a Chinese box office hit, and he says it’s a genre he’ll stick to
Review | The Gentlemen film review: with laddish crime caper, Guy Ritchie returns to his early roots

The storytelling is lively, if you don’t mind the swearing and the casual racial slurs, and the cast – led by Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam and Hugh Grant – are clearly having a ball. You might too.

19 Dec 2019 - 5:18PM

The storytelling is lively, if you don’t mind the swearing and the casual racial slurs, and the cast – led by Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam and Hugh Grant – are clearly having a ball. You might too.

The Gentlemen film review: with laddish crime caper, Guy Ritchie returns to his early roots
Review | Cats film review: messy big-screen treatment of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage musical

Despite starring Taylor Swift, film veterans Dame Judi Dench and Sir Ian McKellen, and James Cordon and Rebel Wilson, this version of Cats proves a letdown. Lovers of Andrew Lloyd Webber will enjoy it, but that’s about all.

19 Dec 2019 - 2:46PM

Despite starring Taylor Swift, film veterans Dame Judi Dench and Sir Ian McKellen, and James Cordon and Rebel Wilson, this version of Cats proves a letdown. Lovers of Andrew Lloyd Webber will enjoy it, but that’s about all.

Cats film review: messy big-screen treatment of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage musical
Review | Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker film review – Episode IX’s electric romp through galaxy and series’ history will bring tears to your eyes

Fast-paced, action-packed finale to sci-fi saga sees return of Luke Skywalker, The Emperor Palpatine and – yes – Princess Leia. Rey, still searching for her origins, Finn and Poe Dameron tear around the galaxy. The tender moments will move you to tears.

18 Dec 2019 - 4:08PM

Fast-paced, action-packed finale to sci-fi saga sees return of Luke Skywalker, The Emperor Palpatine and – yes – Princess Leia. Rey, still searching for her origins, Finn and Poe Dameron tear around the galaxy. The tender moments will move you to tears.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker film review – Episode IX’s electric romp through galaxy and series’ history will bring tears to your eyes
Back in the game – team behind Jumanji: The Next Level on making a sequel to a hit sequel

Trying to follow the previous Jumanji film, which grossed nearly a billion US dollars, was a challenge, says director Jake Kasdan. New players and switching avatars refresh a much loved story.

11 Dec 2019 - 6:38PM

Trying to follow the previous Jumanji film, which grossed nearly a billion US dollars, was a challenge, says director Jake Kasdan. New players and switching avatars refresh a much loved story.

Back in the game – team behind Jumanji: The Next Level on making a sequel to a hit sequel
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.

18 Dec 2019 - 5:17PM

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