Film, Reviews

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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…

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…

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…

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…

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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…

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…

Romeo and Juliet

14 Oct 20132 stars

Carlo Carlei's take on Shakespeare's much-told tale is far too reverent to the source material

Shakespeare’s classic story of star-crosssed lovers arrives in our cinemas thanks to co-production company Swarovski, and the results have the same ring of bling to them. This film puts the Bard behind glass; there’s lots of dazzle in the earrings…

The Selfish Giant

8 Oct 20134 stars

Clio Barnard captures a palpable feeling of human vitality amidst grim post-industrial landscapes

Although loosely inspired by an Oscar Wilde children’s fairy tale, writer-director Clio Barnard’s follow-up to her acclaimed experimental debut feature The Arbor fits very much in a hard-hitting social realist tradition, exemplified by the work of Ken…

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…

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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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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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…

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…

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…

Escape Plan

14 Oct 20132 stars

Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger's team-up is disposable, even expendable, hokum

Having once been fierce box office rivals, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger are fast becoming the inseparables. Following hot on the heels of The Expendables, Escape Plan places the two ageing action icons front and centre. And their…

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Prince Avalanche

10 Oct 20133 stars

Paul Rudd and Emile Hersch star in this imperfect comedy oddity that deserves an audience

Despite its A-list leads, the eighth feature from director David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express) marks a return to his indie roots and was even produced on the QT. Prince Avalanche is based on the 2011 Icelandic film Either Way, a road movie featuring…

Turbo

10 Oct 20134 stars

This upbeat story of a snail with a need for speed is one of the summer’s better family films

The enduring popularity of the lovable minion characters in the Despicable Me franchise proved to be too much of an obstacle for Turbo to overcome at the US box office, but a delayed UK release pushes this DreamWorks animation over the finishing line as…

Gravity

8 Oct 20134 stars

An expertly performed human drama contained within a technically flawless space age blockbuster

Few directors have mastered the art of using 3D in a way that enhances and deepens the human story. Martin Scorsese in Hugo perhaps. James Cameron in Avatar without doubt. Alfonso Cuarón makes it look effortless in Gravity, sculpting exemplary sound…

Captain Phillips

8 Oct 20134 stars

A riveting high seas drama from Paul Greengrass, starring a career-best Tom Hanks

British director Paul Greengrass is something of a specialist when it comes to recreating fraught real-life events – whether it be the Irish massacre in Bloody Sunday or the 9/11 plane hijacking in United 93. His latest film, Captain Phillips, is also…

Philomena

8 Oct 20134 stars

Steve Coogan and Judi Dench star in touching drama about a woman searching for her long lost son

What with Paul Raymond bio The Look of Love, US indie What Maisie Knew and the big screen outing for Alan Partridge, it’s been a fruitful year for Steve Coogan. Yet top of the pile might just be Philomena, which has already seen him and co-writer Jeff…