Film, Reviews

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Exhibition

21 Oct 20134 stars

Joanna Hogg’s third feature is a rich and complex portrait of two London artists

With her first two films, Unrelated and Archipelago, Joanna Hogg explored the inner lives of those who initially appeared to have it all. Her latest film Exhibition continues in the same vein, a skillfully assembled portrait of an artistic couple who…

Milius

1 Nov 20134 stars

Insightful documentary about the influential Hollywood screenwriter

If the term ‘maverick’ is an overused one when it comes to describing 1970s Hollywood veterans, it’s more than fitting for John Milius. Just his screenwriting credits alone are enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. An…

Muscle Shoals

22 Oct 20134 stars

A music doc about an Alabama town rich in musical history, from Aretha Franklin to Alicia Keys

Most music documentaries tend to focus on artists rather than environment, which is what makes Muscle Shoals an interesting prospect. You may not have heard of this small Alabama town that nestles on the banks of the Tennessee River, but the sounds it…

Thor: The Dark World

30 Oct 20132 stars

Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston return in this uneven sequel to 2011's epic adventure

Having kicked off the next phase of Marvel’s seemingly insatiable quest to dominate blockbuster movie-making with Iron Man 3, it’s now back to Thor to further fuel excitement ahead of the next Avengers extravaganza in 2015. Yet while Thor: The Dark…

The Taste Of Money

21 Oct 20133 stars

Glossy drama about the corrupting power of wealth from Im Sangsoo

If Jackie Collins ever decided to set one of her torrid tales in South Korea then it might look something like The Taste Of Money. Director Im Sangsoo has a considerable international reputation but his latest film is guilty pleasure viewing, serving up…

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Last Passenger

17 Oct 20133 stars

Gripping low budget action flick set on a runaway train, from debut director Omid Nooshin

Set on board a late night train, Omid Nooshin’s low budget action thriller follows a group of passengers as they find themselves speeding to near-certain death at the hands of a maniacal driver. The reason for their predicament is never revealed but the…

Machete Kills

14 Oct 20132 stars

Robert Rodriguez's sequel isn't funny enough to be a comedy or weighty enough to be a thrilller

Charlie Sheen, cheerfully slumming it under the names of Carlos Estevez, snarls the phrase ‘Machete Kills’ early on in Robert Rodriguez’s action pastiche, handily denoting the one-note character trait of the taciturn Mexican hero; he kills. And kill and…

Dom Hemingway

4 Nov 20132 stars

Confused gangster drama starring Jude Law, Richard E Grant and Emilia Clarke

What is Dom Hemingway? That’s the question you might well ask yourself after watching Richard Shepard’s misfire. Is it a gangster movie? Is it a comedy? Is it a touchy-feely family film? Somehow, it tries to be all three, though doesn’t really succeed…

Gloria

1 Nov 20134 stars

Sebastian Lelio's gentle character study is elevated by Paulina Garcia's glowing central performance

One constant criticism of Hollywood films is that older women become invisible. Forty is a dangerous age in an industry beguiled by a teenage demographic. Ironic then that some of the autumn's best films focus on older women, from Judi Dench's…

A Magnificent Haunting

28 Oct 20132 stars

Elegantly shot but emotionally lacking benign ghost story from filmmaker Ferzan Ozpetek

This benign ghost story from Turkish-Italian writer/director Ferzan Ozpetek revolves around a shy, twenty-something gay man Pietro (Elio Germano), who’s recently arrived in Rome from Sicily. A pastry chef at a bakery by night and a struggling actor by…

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Ender's Game

24 Oct 20133 stars

Considered adaptation of Orson Scott Card's young adult science fiction book

Hot on the heels of Kevin MacDonald’s How I Live Now, Ender’s Game is the latest film tailored to capture that lucrative teen market. But whether it becomes the next Hunger Games or simply another I Am Number Four, the difference here is that, unlike…

Nobody's Daughter Haewon

21 Oct 20134 stars

A subtle and fragile work from South Korean filmmaker Hong Sangsoo

In Hong Sangsoo’s latest film he moves away from the concept of foreign estrangement, as explored in 2012’s In Another Country, and instead focuses on issues closer to home, examining the cultural impact of rapid urbanization in South Korea. Sangsoo is…

Starred Up

16 Oct 20134 stars

An eye-opening prison drama from David Mackenzie

A gut-wrenching and insightful look at life behind bars, told through the experiences of an alternately frightened and ferocious teenager, Starred Up is the ninth film from director David Mackenzie (Young Adam, Hallam Foe). Jack O'Connell (James…

Enough Said

14 Oct 20134 stars

A heart-warming and frequently hilarious romcom starring James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus

The late James Gandolfini had rare charm as an actor – to such an extent that in The Sopranos he turned a violent sociopath into one of the most compelling and likeable characters on television. Gandolfini was seldom used well on film so it’s wonderful…

Short Term 12

1 Nov 20133 stars

Tender US drama set in a foster home, with a stand-out performance by Brie Larson

The first scene of Short Term 12 both sets the tone and sums up this indie drama from second-time director Destin Cretton. Light banter, outside a foster care facility, is suddenly overshadowed by the darkest of clouds, as one of their number bursts…

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Drinking Buddies

1 Nov 20133 stars

Olivia Wilde steals the show in this low key romantic comedy

This fresh and rebellious quasi rom-com liberates the glamorous Olivia Wilde from the shackles of two-dimensional studio fare, reinventing her as a laidback tomboy involved in a romantic quadrangle. Joe Swanberg (Hannah Takes the Stairs) is one of the…

Closed Circuit

29 Oct 20132 stars

Eric Bana, Jim Broadbent and Rebecca Hall underserved by John Crowley's melodramatic legal thriller

John Crowley’s Closed Circuit sets itself up as an intelligent examination of the British judicial system in the wake of the war on terror but eventually falls some way short of having anything worthwhile to say. It begins in emphatic fashion, with a…

One Chance

28 Oct 20132 stars

Unsatisfying biopic about the Britain's Got Talent star Paul Potts

The rise of Paul Potts from shop manager to one of the UK’s biggest opera singers following his success on Britain’s Got Talent is a great story. Sadly, in the hands of director David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada, Marley & Me) it doesn’t make for a…

Carrie

4 Nov 20132 stars

Kimberly Peirce's re-imagining of Carrie feels as redundant as countless other genre remakes

Kimberly Peirce’s update on Stephen King’s Carrie slavishly follows the path taken by Brian De Palma’s 1976 film and fails to make any real impact. Carrie White (Chloë Grace Moretz) leads a sheltered existence under the care of her deeply religious…

The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia

1 Nov 20132 stars

The latest Hollywood ghost story is an unsubtle, underwhelming and anonymous effort

Horror films seem to go through cycles. In the 1930s monster movies were all the rage, slashers ruled the 80s and right now we're neck deep in ghosts. The illogically titled The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia (Georgia is over 800 miles…

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Krrish 3

1 Nov 20133 stars

Entertaining Bollywood sci-fi superhero sequel from Rakesh Roshnan

The latest in a confusingly-titled sci-fi franchise (there is no Krrish 2, but this is a third instalment), Krrish 3 picks up with Mumbai superhero Krishna (Hrithik Roshan), who lives in domestic harmony with his TV reporter wife Priya (Priyanka Chopra…

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa

23 Oct 20132 stars

The latest crass, outrageous project from the Jackass team disappoints more than it impresses

It may mark something of a departure from their usual set-up, but Bad Grandpa, the new movie from the Jackass crew is still heavily reliant on crass humour, outrageous stunts and pushing the boundaries of good taste. It’s also more miss than hit…

Don Jon

17 Oct 20133 stars

Joseph Gordon-Levitt's promising directorial debut is about a man obsessed with porn

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has already directed several short films but Don Jon sees this likeable and versatile actor take the helm of his first full feature – and he proves himself a multi-tasker by penning the screenplay and performing in the lead role. It…

The Broken Circle Breakdown

16 Oct 20134 stars

Felix Van Groeningen's visual feast of a film shows all the colours of love

Like a kaleidoscope of human experience shifting from images of joy to those of sorrow, The Broken Circle Breakdown dazzles as it draws you in. It's a poetic, sometimes devastating tale of love and loss set to a soundtrack of Belgian bluegrass. On paper…

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2

16 Oct 20132 stars

A cluttered and jumbled follow-up to the surprise 2009 animated hit

The fast food franchise for children continues with a sequel to 2009’s surprise animated hit. Judi and Ron Barrett’s 1978 book was focused primarily on the small town of Swallow Falls, but the expanded universe of nefarious inventors and corporate…