Film, Reviews

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The Expendables 3

11 Aug 20143 stars

Stallone, Statham and Schwarzenegger reunite for the third part of the actioner franchise

Sylvester Stallone may have assembled his biggest cast yet for this third instalment in his Expendables franchise but, while certainly enjoyable, it’s also (bullet) riddled with the same problems that beset its predecessors. The lack of a decent…

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…

Dinosaur 13

11 Aug 20144 stars

Todd Douglas Miller's dinosaur documentary takes in the shocking fallout from a fascinating find

A crowd-pleaser at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, Todd Douglas Miller's riveting documentary tells the true story of the legal battle surrounding 'Sue', the world's largest, most complete T-Rex skeleton and the thirteenth ever discovered. After the…

The Unbeatables

11 Aug 20144 stars

An enjoyably quirky football-themed animation featuring the voices of Rupert Grint and Rob Brydon

The Unbeatables (original title Metegol) is probably the last film you would expect from Argentinean director Juan José Campanella. His first feature since the moody, labyrinthine and ultimately Oscar-winning thriller The Secret In Their Eyes is a…

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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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…

Guardians of the Galaxy

28 Jul 20144 stars

Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana star in triumphant addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Based on little known comic-book characters, Guardians of the Galaxy represents something of a leap of faith for Marvel Studios, especially since the film's ties to the all-conquering Avengers franchise are largely superficial, consisting only of brief…

FrightFest 2014: Housebound

20 Aug 20144 stars

Gerard Johnstone's riotous debut skilfully mixes horror and hilarity

Hollywood could learn a thing or two from Kiwi first-time writer-director Gerard Johnstone, who casts two exquisitely expressive ladies in his deliriously funny and downright scary haunted house horror. A combination of fantastic performances and a…

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…

FrightFest 2014: Alleluia

20 Aug 20144 stars

Volver's Lola Dueñas stars in a blood-splattered psychodrama outlining the perils of online dating

A directors' fortnight selection at Cannes 2014, this blood-splattered Belgian-French psychological horror is the fourth feature from writer-director Fabrice Du Welz. The subject is the dangers of online dating; Du Welz conjures up a small scale but…

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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…

Into the Storm

19 Aug 20142 stars

Richard Armitage stars in an underwhelming found footage disaster movie from director Steven Quale

Steven Quale’s Into the Storm may blow you away with the quality of some of its special effects but it'll leave you underwhelmed and exasperated in most other respects. Set in or around Silverton, Oklahoma it sees a powerful storm hit the town. By…

Deliver Us from Evil

18 Aug 20142 stars

Preachy horror from the director of Sinister, starring Eric Bana and Joel McHale

The face of law enforcement in writer-director Scott Derrickson’s latest horror is a horribly self-righteous tough guy who finds religion and lays down his own kind of violent justice. Derrickson's fourth feature is loosely based on the memoir of ex…

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…

What If

18 Aug 20144 stars

Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan make a cute couple in an unexpectedly charming rom-com

Crass, ten-a-penny rom-coms have devalued the genre. Where's the charm these days? The warmth? What happened to 'the Lubitsch touch'? Despairing traditionalists should eagerly welcome What If (previously entitled The F Word), a sweetly engaging 21st…

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God Help the Girl

18 Aug 20143 stars

The directorial debut of Belle and Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch is toe-curling but charming

God Help the Girl plays to the prejudices of anyone who expects the worst from a long delayed, first film written and directed by Belle and Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch. It is twee, it is whimsical, it is as delicate as a fresh bloom in a howling storm.

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…

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…

Hector and the Search for Happiness

11 Aug 20142 stars

Simon Pegg fails to turn on the charm in this story of a self-indulgent globe-trotter

As far as his British films go, whenever Simon Pegg is shorn of his Shaun of the Dead team (director and co-writer Edgar Wright, producer Nira Park and co-star Nick Frost) he flounders. Think Burke and Hare, A Fantastic Fear of Everything or Run…

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…

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The Inbetweeners 2

7 Aug 20143 stars

Surprisingly decent sequel to the comedy spin-off starring Simon Bird and Joe Thomas

Putting paid once and for all to the notion that travelling can remotely change you, those four eternal teens known collectively as the Inbetweeners head down under. Given that the first film's phenomenal success was in contrast to its flagging humour…

Craig Coulthard: The Drummer and the Drone

5 Aug 20143 stars

An imaginative military film set in Scotland’s future, screening at the Edinburgh Art Festival

Under the darkened, vaulting ceiling of Trinity Apse, a few yards from the tartan-infested Royal Mile, the strain of bagpipes rings out. The sound echoes that of gift shop muzak and Highland dress buskers all the way up to the Esplanade, but the tone is…

Planes: Fire & Rescue

5 Aug 20142 stars

Animated sequel starring Ed Harris and Teri Hatcher improves on the original but still fails to soar

A sequel to Planes, itself a spin-off from the Cars franchise, Planes: Fire & Rescue is a Disney animation aimed at very small children who might appreciate its world of cheerful, chattering vehicles. Adults, however, would do well to stay away, there’s…

Earth to Echo

30 Jul 20142 stars

Dave Green's directorial debut is an artless retread of the Spielberg-inspired Super 8

Debut director Dave Green’s family film rehashes JJ Abrams’ pleasingly retro Super 8 using herky-jerky footage, supposedly captured by the children involved. It’s a gimmick that results in a spew of ugly, hard-to-watch images; audiences who like to…

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…