Film, Drama

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Lucy

18 Aug 20143 stars

Insane but entertaining sci-fi actioner from Luc Besson, starring Scarlett Johansson

With ambition coming out of its ears and ideas coming out of its arse, Lucy is the wayward brainchild of French writer-director Luc Besson. We've recently seen Scarlett Johansson fight alongside superheroes and assume the guise of a curious alien adrift…

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

14 Jul 20144 stars

The simian sci-fi sequel proves you can marry visual spectacle with heart and intelligence

Complexity is something that’s all too rare in modern blockbusters but Matt Reeves’ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – like Rupert Wyatt’s Rise – proves you can marry visual spectacle with something to engage the heart and the head too. Thought-provoking…

The Rover

11 Aug 20144 stars

David Michôd's follow-up to Animal Kingdom teams Guy Pearce with Robert Pattinson

Robert Pattinson shakes off the Twilight glitter and gets grotty in writer-director David Michôd’s stripped-back, post societal collapse drama. Though not quite as gut-wrenching as his impressive debut Animal Kingdom, Michôd's second film stands out due…

FrightFest 2014: Creep

20 Aug 20144 stars

Tense two-hander written by and starring Mark Duplass and Patrick Brice

Mark Duplass and debut writer-director Patrick Brice breathe new life into the found footage horror film with this incredibly tense two-hander which is hilarious and terrifying in equal parts. Duplass's indie beginnings (particularly Baghead, on which…

Lilting

5 Aug 20143 stars

Ben Whishaw shines in this sensitive culture clash drama from debut writer-director Hong Khaou

Cambodian writer-director Hong Khaou helms this grief-infused, London-set culture clash drama, a debut feature which ambitiously takes in alienation, prejudice and the severing and strengthening power of loss. Lilting's impact is increased tenfold by a…

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Blood Ties

11 Aug 20143 stars

Clive Owen and Billy Crudup lead a starry cast in a fitfully successful retro thriller

French director Guillaume Canet's English-language debut has the swagger of a Cain and Abel version of Mean Streets. The film is set in 1970s Brooklyn and Canet is clearly intent on crafting something that Scorsese or Sidney Lumet might have made back…

FrightFest 2014: Wolfcop

20 Aug 20143 stars

Fun, furry retro horror from writer-director Lowell Dean

Some films take on a life of their own before they are even released, with the internet going into overdrive before anyone's seen the first frame of footage (recent examples being Snakes on a Plane and Sharknado). Wolfcop now joins these illustrious…

Step Up 5: All In

30 Jul 20143 stars

The fifth instalment of the dance franchise brings together Ryan Guzman and Briana Evigan

Spectacular dance sequences and some serious dusting-the-dirt-off-your-shoulder moves make up this 'getting the gang back together' style instalment of the Step Up franchise, where favourite characters return and the dance crews head for the bright…

The Guvnors

24 Jun 20143 stars

Rizzle Kicks' Harley Sylvester delivers an outstanding performance in this gangland face-off

What happens when a firm of ageing ex-hooligans takes on a gang of vicious East London street thugs? That's the premise of writer-director Gabe Turner's violent British thriller, which manages to be tense and involving, providing you can get past the…

Interview: Dardenne brothers discuss their new film Two Days, One Night

19 Aug 2014

Jean-Pierre and Luc discuss their inspirations and choosing Marion Cotillard as a leading lady

What was the inspiration for the film? Luc: The original idea came 12 years ago, when we read about a real-life case in a big French factory. There was a worker whose production output wasn’t good enough for the other workers to get their bonuses, so…

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Two Days, One Night

18 Aug 20144 stars

Marion Cotillard stars in a compassionate drama from the Dardenne brothers

Two Days, One Night has jokingly been described as the Dardenne brothers' version of High Noon. You can see why as an individual is set apart from a community and faces a ticking deadline towards a moment that could mean life or death. The threat here…

Obvious Child

12 Aug 20144 stars

Gillian Robespierre's Sundance 'abortion comedy' is courageous and admirable in its feminism

Billed as the Sundance ‘abortion comedy’, writer-director Gillian Robespierre’s debut has already attracted attention for its controversial subject matter and scatological dialogue. It centres on Donna (the effusive and sardonic Jenny Slate, of SNL…

A Promise

29 Jul 20143 stars

Patrice Leconte's latest, inoffensive period piece brings together Alan Rickman and Rebecca Hall

Considering his feature film career stretches back almost 40 years, it’s a surprise that Patrice Leconte has finally made his first English-language film. A Promise, however, qualifies as something of a Euro pudding. This French director and his…

Hide Your Smiling Faces

28 Jul 20144 stars

Daniel Patrick Carbone's distinctive coming-of-ager boasts a powerful atmosphere

At first glance, writer-director Daniel Patrick Carbone's first feature appears to be treading similar ground to recent independent coming-of-age movies, such as Jeff Nichols' Mud or Jordan Vogt-Roberts' The Kings Of Summer, both of which featured young…

Boyhood

8 Jul 20144 stars

Triumphant experimental film offering a unique cinematic one-off, despite lengthy running time

Patience is the name of the game for writer and director Richard Linklater. Fresh from charting the romantic ups and down of Celine and Jessie over two decades in his Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight trilogy, he unveils another long…

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Begin Again

8 Jul 20144 stars

Equally sweet and endearing quasi-sequel to Once starring Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo

How do you follow an Oscar-winning charmer like Once? It hasn't been easy for director John Carney. Did anyone see the comedy Zonad? He is back on form with Begin Again (originally entitled Can A Song Save Your Life?), a quasi-sequel to Once. Twice…

God Help the Girl looks set to be a gift to Belle and Sebastian fans

8 Jul 2014

Stuart Murdoch's much-anticipated film project stars Emily Browning, Olly Alexander & Hannah Murray

It’s a good summer for Belle and Sebastian fans. Not only is the Glaswegian indie pop group kicking off the Commonwealth Games festivities with a gig in the recently restored Kelvingrove Bandstand (Wed 23 Jul) but the much-anticipated film God Help the…

God's Pocket

3 Jul 20144 stars

Mad Men star John Slattery directs this bleak black comedy starring Philip Seymour Hoffman

Mad Men star John Slattery makes his directorial feature debut with this bleak black comedy based on the novel by Pete Dexter, author of The Paperboy. Set in the fictional, blue-collar South Philadelphia neighbourhood of God's Pocket, the film stars…

Adult World

15 Jul 20143 stars

John Cusack, Emma Roberts and Evan Peters star in this appealing porn industry dramedy

Ignore the tacky cover art that suggests John Cusack is Emma Roberts' favourite customer at a pole dancing club, the film contained within is a far more appealing comedy drama set on the fringes of the porn industry. In a bid for independence aspiring…

The Invisible Life

8 Jul 20142 stars

A sluggish effort from Portuguese director Goncalves, returning to filmmaking after almost 30 years

Portuguese director Vitor Gonçalves was much-celebrated for his 1986 debut A Girl in Summer, but has taken until now to follow it up – with a piece that’s sadly unlikely to put him back on the map. With awkwardly theatrical acting, zero expositional…

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Journey to the West

3 Jul 20145 stars

An impressive, meditative work by Taiwanese filmmaker Tsai Ming-liang

Tsai Ming-liang’s Journey to the West focuses on a monk (Lee Kang-sheng) who in a vivid red robe moves across, towards, or away from the frame with the smallest of movements. The film is stunningly shot in a series of long, static takes often…

Stray Dogs

24 Jun 20144 stars

An angry yet meditative drama from Taiwanese director Tsai-Ming-liang

Stray Dogs explores the theme of stillness in both form and content. Taiwanese director Tsai-Ming-liang casts his regular actor Lee Kang-sheng as a father of two children struggling to make ends meet in Taipei. Standing for hours on end as he holds a…

Castles in the Sky

23 Jun 20142 stars

Eddie Izzard stars in Gillies MacKinnon's hamstrung WWII drama

It's receiving its world premiere at Edinburgh International Film Festival, but this BBC Science commissioned pre-WWII drama feels very limited in cinematic potential by both its budget and its story. Directed by Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) and…

Set Fire to the Stars

23 Jun 20143 stars

Elijah Wood and Celyn Jones star in this often overwrought portrayal of Dylan Thomas

Writer-director Andy Goddard has enlisted some world class assistance in creating his debut feature film, an account of Dylan Thomas’ 1950 visit to the United States at the behest of literary academic John Malcolm Brinnin. Cinematographer Chris Seager…

Hellion

23 Jun 20143 stars

Newcomer Josh Wiggins delivers a stellar performance in this delinquent drama

Josh Wiggins makes a startling debut in Kat Candler’s Hellion, bringing to mind the scorching presence of River Phoenix in his portrayal of delinquent youngster Jacob Wilson. When he’s not setting fire to cars or tearing around on his dirtbike, Jacob…