Film, Drama

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A Most Violent Year

19 Jan 20154 stars

Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac shine in JC Chandor's elegant crime flick

'I spent my whole life trying to not become a gangster,' Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) tells his wife Anna (Jessica Chastain) in a striking subversion of the famous line from Goodfellas. JC Chandor's third film as writer-director (after Margin Call and All…

Enemy

29 Dec 20144 stars

Jake Gyllenhaal is his own co-star in an unnerving psychological thriller

'Chaos is order yet undeciphered,' states the film’s opening epigraph, an idea taken from José Saramago's The Double on which Enemy is loosely based. It's a sentiment which Québécois director Denis Villeneuve boldly transfers onto his puzzling and…

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...

The Theory of Everything

29 Dec 20143 stars

Eddie Redmayne shines as Stephen Hawking in a sentimentalised biopic

If love is the ultimate conundrum then The Theory of Everything suggests that Stephen Hawking cracked that one too, with the celebrated physicist and cosmologist inspiring heroic levels of devotion as motor neurone disease took hold. Based on Jane…

The Gambler

19 Jan 20154 stars

Modern twist on the 70s crime drama starring an impressive Mark Wahlberg

Mark Wahlberg has transcended his boy-rapper roots to become a dependable leading man but, although he's proved adept with lighter roles, he's sometimes struggled to be taken seriously. Reviving Karel Reisz’s 1974 heavyweight drama – which starred James…

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American Sniper

12 Jan 20153 stars

Sympathetic but simplistic true-life drama featuring a formidable Bradley Cooper

As a Republican Party stalwart, Clint Eastwood has never been shy of addressing the role of the military. From the gung-ho Heartbreak Ridge to his more thoughtful Flags of Our Fathers / Letters from Iwo Jima double-header, Eastwood’s frontline sojourns…

Birdman

29 Dec 20144 stars

Michael Keaton soars in an imaginative, enjoyably bitchy, highly meta comedy

What happens to actors who play superheroes? Birdman, the arthouse comedy from Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu (Biutiful, Amores Perros), answers that so fully it may never be asked again. Michael Keaton’s performance as ex-leading man…

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…

Unbroken

22 Dec 20143 stars

Angelina Jolie takes the helm of an exciting but overambitious WWII survival story

Angelina Jolie’s second film as director, following her bleak 2011 Bosnian war drama In the Land of Blood and Honey, is another conflict saga. This time, it’s the true tale of Louis Zamperini, a US Army Air Force bombardier in World War II who died last…

Ex Machina

19 Jan 20154 stars

Smart, skilfully constructed sci-fi from Alex Garland featuring Alicia Vikander

Novelist and screenwriter Alex Garland’s directorial debut is an unsettling, teasing and thought-provoking sci-fi, centred around artificial intelligence. When Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) wins a work competition to fly to his CEO’s home to take part in a…

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Oscar nominations 2015 announced

15 Jan 2015

You've gotta be in it to win it: find out who got nominated for the 87th Academy Awards

Besides Birdman and Boyhood, this year's Oscar race is as wide-open as any in recent memory. With the Golden Globes already dished out and BAFTA nominations announced, announced, the runners and riders were already in the gates, now they're off to the…

Roll with the punches: Whiplash interview

13 Jan 2015

Flying cymbals, myths and jazz legends: Damien Chazelle explains the inspiration behind Whiplash

Since when did jazz become fashionable again? This season, you can see Alejandro González Iñárritu’s showbiz satire Birdman in cinemas, driven by a ceaseless percussive score by acclaimed jazz drummer Antonio Sánchez. John Hawkes is starring in the much…

Paper Souls

12 Jan 20152 stars

Disappointing supernatural dramedy from Vincent Lannoo about love and loss

It’s not unreasonable to say that, in recent times, the French have set the standard for eccentric existential comedies; from Jeunet to Gondry, there is clearly something about the Gallic sense of humour that compliments wildly absurd situations. It’s…

Ticket giveaway: Son of a Gun

7 Jan 2015

We're hosting an exclusive preview of Ewan McGregor's new film, here's why you should check it out

When the country's most notorious criminal offers you protection in jail and your next best offer is a shiv in the back, there’s only one realistic answer. So when career crook Brendan Lynch takes 19-year old JR under his wing, greater danger inevitably…

Foxcatcher Q&A

30 Dec 2014

Director Bennett Miller and actors Steve Carrell and Channing Tatum discuss the Oscar contender

Directed by Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher is a tragic true story about the increasingly twisted and violent relationship between eccentric millionaire John E. du Pont (Steve Carell) and Mark (Channing Tatum) and Dave Schultz (Mark Ruffalo), the two Olympic…

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The Best Films of 2014

22 Dec 2014

As the year comes to a close here are our cinematic highlights

After much scratching of heads, pulling of hair and changing of minds, The List's film team have assembled our Christmas present to you. It’s our five favourite films of 2014. Drum roll please...

Exodus: Gods and Kings

22 Dec 20144 stars

Revisionist, highly entertaining biblical epic from Ridley Scott, starring Christian Bale

Trust Ridley Scott to give us a bold, revisionist take on the foundation story of three major world religions. Like his gritty Robin Hood his version of the epic Old Testament adventure sheds some time-honoured elements for an earnest stab at realism…

Big Eyes

22 Dec 20143 stars

Fascinating if slightly flimsy biopic of painter Margaret Keane from Tim Burton

Amy Adams turns in a superb performance as artist Margaret Keane in this biopic from Tim Burton that tells the stranger-than-fiction tale of the time when her husband Walter took credit for her paintings, fooling the art world for many years. When…

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…

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…

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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…

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: 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…

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