Outspoken, opinionated and never lost for words, Mark Kermode has carved out a career in print, radio, and television based entirely on the belief that The Exorcist is the greatest movie ever made and that the Pirates of the Caribbean films should be buried in a very deep hole where they can never bother anyone ever again.
We all have films that we love to hate and that we love to rant about. There are few that rant more concisely and cuttingly than trusted ...
What’s a hatchet job? Why is it more dangerous to praise than to criticise? And why did Mark Kermode get banned from a press screening?...
Mark Kermode on the internet and being on the receiving end of bad reviews
Are you looking for trenchant opinion, historical analysis, personal prejudice and acerbic humour on films old and new from Observer...
For decades, the backbone of film criticism has been the hatchet job – the entertaining trashing of a film by professional reviewers, seen by many as cynical snobs. But with the arrival of the internet, have the critics finally fallen under the axe? With movie posters now just as likely to be adorned by Twitter quotes as fusty reviewer recommendations, has the rise of enthusiastic amateurism sounded the death knell of a profession? Are the democratic opportunities of the internet...
Barry Jenkins’s Oscar-nominated coming-of-age film is a heartbreaking, uplifting, minor-key masterpiece
“Who is you?” This question echoes throughout Moonlight, the breathtaking second feature from Medicine for Melancholy director Barry Jenkins. A coming-of-age story about a young man from a hardscrabble Miami neighbourhood, this kaleidoscopic gem focuses on three periods of its subject’s life, chaptered by the different names and identities he assumes, or is given – “Little”, “Chiron” and “Black”. Lending heartfelt voice to characters who have previously been silenced or sidelined, Moonlight is an astonishingly accomplished work – rich, sensuous and tactile, by turns heartbreaking and uplifting. The first time I saw it I swooned; the second time I cried like a baby. I can’t wait to see it again.
Inspired by playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney’s postgraduate theatre project “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue”, Jenkins’s film opens with a scrawny kid nicknamed “Little” (Alex Hibbert) being chased into a derelict house from which he is rescued by Juan (Mahershala Ali). Imposing yet gentle, Juan is a drug dealer whose addicted clients include Little’s increasingly bedraggled mother, Paula (Naomie Harris). Aided by his nurturing partner, Teresa (Janelle Monáe, who also co-stars in Hidden Figures; see review overleaf), Juan takes a parental interest in this lost boy, who forlornly asks: “Am I a faggot?”
This environment may be harsh but there is exquisite beauty here, in the sunburst days and neon-tinged nights of Miami
Related: Moonlight’s writer Tarell Alvin McCraney: 'the story needed to be out there'
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Pregnancy is a bloody business as writer-director Alice Lowe stars as an expectant mother urged into a killing spree by her unborn baby
Alice Lowe, the co-creator and star of Ben Wheatley’s savage 2012 black comedy Sightseers, has cooked up an outrageous antenatal shocker that brings together murder, madness and maternity in a fever dream of fear and farce. A tale of bloody revenge enacted by a pregnant woman at the apparent behest of her unborn child, Prevenge is an audacious directorial feature debut for Lowe that leaves strange stretch marks on both comedy and horror, the genres from which it was born.
Just as Rosemary’s Baby playfully explored prepartum paranoia, so Lowe’s cut-throat psychodrama transforms feelings of alienation and estrangement into a delirious odyssey as dark as a pool of coagulating blood. “Messy, isn’t it?” coos the killer after emasculating one of her more boorish victims, leaving him dribbling pathetically on to a shagpile rug that will definitely “need a bit of bleach”.
Lowe wrote Prevenge while pregnant, and shot it in a fortnight shortly before giving birth
Related: Alice Lowe: ‘I don’t mind being the evil weirdo who murders people’
Photograph: Soda Pictures
Maren Ade’s German comedy-drama finds excruciating humour and great pathos in a surreal collision between father and daughter
Be honest, when was the last time you can remember a German comedy feature film making international headlines and garnering global awards? The bittersweet Good Bye Lenin!, perhaps, which picked up nominations at the Baftas and Golden Globes in 2004? Or 1992’s Oscar-nominated Schtonk!, the Hitler diaries farce that became a huge domestic hit while prompting international critical snipes about German comedy being no laughing matter.
A superbly uncomfortable sex scene will put you off petits fours for life, particularly the green ones
Related: Maren Ade: ‘Toni Erdmann’s humour comes out of a big desperation’
Photograph: Danny Moloshok/Invision/AP
The nominations for the 2017 Academy Awards are out. Our team of critics make their own shortlists of the films and artists they’d like to see with a statuette• The 2017 Oscar nominations in full
Best picture – my shortlist (favourite first)
Photograph: Graeme Hunter/Graeme Hunter Pictures
Danny Boyle’s long-awaited sequel to the era-defining Trainspotting is a vibrant and welcome reunion
There are few cinema images more iconic than the sight of Ewan McGregor’s feet hitting the ground running to the frantic drumbeats of Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life in the opening moments of Trainspotting, or the sound of a poppy T-shirt slogan (“Choose life”) being turned into a scabrous countercultural call to arms. Both are cheekily revisited in T2 Trainspotting, the long-awaited (or perhaps feared?) sequel that catches up with novelist Irvine Welsh’s antiheroes two decades later, and finds them ravaged not so much by heroin as by age, emasculation and an air of disappointment.
Bremner is just terrific, his Keaton-esque physicality perfectly capturing Spud’s blend of fragility and resilience
Related: Begbie’s balcony and Spud’s cafe: classic Trainspotting haunts 20 years on