Film, Drama

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St Vincent

1 Dec 20143 stars

Bill Murray's latest is a likeable mix of crabby and cute, co-starring Naomi Watts

Bill Murray is certainly no stranger to misanthropic sad-sacks and his titular Vincent is one such crabby feller, albeit with a slightly coarser edge. Vincent is given a crack at redemption when a young boy in need of a father figure moves in next door…

Black Sea

1 Dec 20144 stars

Gripping submarine thriller from Kevin Macdonald featuring a commanding Jude Law

Directed by Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland), this enjoyable thriller stars Jude Law as Robinson, a Scottish former submarine captain who's made redundant from his job at a salvage company after 11 years of service. When he hears a story…

Profile: Kevin Macdonald

27 Nov 2014

Acclaimed director discusses his new British submarine thriller Black Sea starring Jude Law

Background: Born in Glasgow, director Kevin Macdonald is the grandson of British filmmaker Emeric Pressburger and the brother of Trainspotting producer Andrew Macdonald. His filmography includes both acclaimed documentaries (One Day In September…

Profile: Christoph Waltz

15 Dec 2014

Two-time Oscar winner on his latest film, working with Tim Burton, choosing roles, and critics

Born in Vienna, Christoph Waltz had been acting for many years before he got his first big Hollywood break in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds as the evil Col. Hans Landa, for which he was awarded the Oscar for best supporting actor. Since then…

Electricity

8 Dec 20144 stars

Striking British drama featuring a revelatory turn from model Agyness Deyn

The family unit has been a cornerstone of storytelling since time immemorial, and of cinema since the first moving pictures flickered into life. It's rare to see a film that doesn't feature these relationships, screenwriters from across genres…

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The Circle

8 Dec 20144 stars

Swiss love story about a real-life romance and the struggle for gay rights

Hogmanay 2014 will bring the first same-sex marriages in Scotland. In terms of the struggle for equality it should be a moment to reflect on battles won, rights achieved and how far the UK has come. Sadly, global events from Uganda and Russia to the…

Hello Carter

1 Dec 20142 stars

Charlie Cox and Jodie Whittaker star in this so-so romantic comedy

Britain’s got talent and, at first glance at least, few low budget films show that better than Hello Carter. Starring as the lovelorn London loser Carter is Charlie Cox, soon to be American TV’s new Daredevil. Nimble romantic support comes from Jodie…

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

17 Nov 20144 stars

Jennifer Lawrence remains a girl on fire in the penultimate part of the dystopian saga

After Harry Potter and Twilight, carving two films from the final book in a series has become an unwelcome Hollywood trend. And so it goes with The Hunger Games, which stretches the last book in Suzanne Collins’ dystopian YA trilogy into a two part…

The Face of Love

8 Dec 20144 stars

Powerful romantic drama starring Annette Bening, Ed Harris and Robin Williams

Originally called 'The Look of Love', Arie Posin's love story assumes the guise of a compelling psychological drama, taking in grief and obsession and overcoming its cheesier moments to deliver something unexpectedly powerful. Set in Los Angeles…

2015 Highlights: Film

5 Dec 2014

From arthouse to multiplex, The List previews the must-see cinema of 2015

Romance gets salacious, Julianne Moore vies for an Oscar, Marvel enters the age of Ultron and, well, Star Wars does its thing – 2015 promises to be a bumper year for movie-goers. Emma Simmonds previews the cream of the cinematic crop...

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The Grandmaster

1 Dec 20143 stars

Stunning but emotionally undernourished martial arts biopic from Wong Kar-wai

Flying fists and the agony of unconsummated romance power Wong Kar-wai's Oscar-nominated kung fu spectacle, which receives a belated UK release after its clandestine premiere when it was unmasked as the 2013 London Film Festival's surprise film

Bonobo

1 Dec 20143 stars

Commune-set dramedy starring Tessa Peake-Jones and Josie Lawrence

While the father/son dynamic is a mainstay of narrative features, it’s less common to see a filmmaker explore the relationship between a mother and daughter. For that reason alone the premise of Bonobo is certainly promising, as it examines the strength…

Get On Up

17 Nov 20144 stars

Exhilarating James Brown biopic featuring a barnstorming Chadwick Boseman

One word perfectly describes Tate Taylor’s James Brown biopic: funky. The ‘Godfather of Soul’ was such a force of nature, anything less than a toe-tapping, booty-shaking, yeow of a movie would’ve done him a disservice. Thankfully, Taylor (who made The…

Third Person

10 Nov 20141 star

Painfully poor effort from Paul Haggis that squanders the talents of an all-star cast

Paul Haggis' 2006 Best Picture Oscar winner Crash (still a sore point for Brokeback Mountain fans) was famously inspired by a real-life car-jacking incident that saw the writer-director work through his subsequent feelings of prejudice and guilt in…

Leviathan

4 Nov 20145 stars

Exceptional, award-winning drama from Russian writer-director Andrey Zvyagintsev

First feted for his striking 2003 debut The Return, and celebrated since for The Banishment and Elena, Andrey Zvyagintsev is a director of heavyweight gifts, whose films are distinguished by both their visual beauty and their narrative ambition. This…

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Interstellar

3 Nov 20143 stars

Christopher Nolan's space odyssey is an admirable and adventurous folly

A film of soaring ambition and spectacular flaws, Interstellar is the ninth feature from movie messiah Christopher Nolan. His latest wields a Spielbergian sense of wonder, plunging us into a dystopian near-future; taking us through space and time on a…

Africa in Motion 2014 film festival round-up

3 Nov 2014

Featuring Robots of Brixton, Afronauts, Beri and Amare, Picture Perfect Heist and Four Corners

Science-fiction is usually the preserve of Hollywood; new African film-makers take the visual cues of Soweto-shot sci-fi hit District 9 back to their roots. Kibwe Tavares' Robots of Brixton (●●●) mixes footage of real-life riots from 1981 with…

Eastern Boys

1 Dec 20144 stars

Morally complex, skilfully performed French thriller from Robin Campillo

A transgressive sexual connection gives way to a deeper, far more risky bond in this elegantly made and morally complex French thriller. Daniel (Olivier Rabourdin) initially solicits young Latvian immigrant Marek (Kirill Emelyanov) solely for sex...

DVD Roundup: Winter 2014

27 Nov 2014

Including François Truffaut classics, Alain Robbe-Grillet: Six Films, The Lunch Box and Frank

Most of the recent François Truffaut films released on DVD by Artificial Eye don’t need much of a recommendation: films like 400 Blows, Shoot the Pianist and Jules et Jim are masterpieces well-acknowledged. But two that might need a bit of a push are…

Kajaki. The True Story

24 Nov 20144 stars

Paul Katis turns a true-life tragedy into a moving, suspenseful drama

Taking its name from the Kajaki Dam in Afghanistan, this harrowing drama depicts a real-life incident that took place in 2006, when a group of British soldiers stumbled into an abandoned Afghani minefield by mistake, sustaining multiple casualties. It…

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No Good Deed

17 Nov 20142 stars

Derivative thriller starring, and squandering the talented Idris Elba and Taraji P Henson

A leaden entry in the home invasion stakes, No Good Deed's box office success in the US is presumably due to a lack of comparable cinematic competition, as there's nothing to distinguish TV director Sam Miller's pedestrian effort from scores of…

Profile: Dietrich Brüggemann

12 Nov 2014

German writer and director discusses religion ahead of release of new film Stations of the Cross

Dietrich Brüggemann is a Munich-born writer / director who made his name on the film festival circuit with witty character dramas Run, If You Can (2010) and Move (2012). What’s he up to now? Brüggemann’s latest film Stations of the Cross is a change…

Diplomacy

10 Nov 20144 stars

A slice of scintillating history from Volker Schlöndorff, starring Niels Arestrup

Director Volker Schlöndorff created a masterpiece with his 1979 adaptation of Günter Grass's novel The Tin Drum; having made a definitive anti-war film, it's surprising to see him return to the subject some 35 years later. However Diplomacy quickly…

Profile: Noomi Rapace

5 Nov 2014

Swedish actress talks about working with James Gandolfini for her latest film The Drop

Born in Sweden, Rapace shot to international fame with her portrayal of Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011). She made her English language debut in Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes sequel and subsequently played the lead in Ridley…

Say When

3 Nov 20143 stars

Likeable life crisis dramedy from Lynn Shelton starring Keira Knightley

Writer-director Lynn Shelton has made her name with lo-fi relationship dramas – Humpday, Your Sister’s Sister and Touchy Feely among others. Say When is no different, albeit with a higher-profile cast than Shelton is used to. It’s also the first time…