Film, Reviews

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A Most Wanted Man

20 Jun 20144 stars

Anton Corbijn directs cleverly tangled, high-tension John Le Carre tale

A Chechen refugee, Issa (Grigoriy Dobrygin) seeks asylum in Hamburg with the help of human rights lawyer Annabal (Rachel McAdams), but his situation is complicated by more than brutalisation at home: he has a claim on a fat bank account left for him by…

The Green Inferno

19 Jun 20143 stars

Eli Roth delves into jungle cannibalism and gives gorehounds plenty of gristle to chew on

A plane full of student protesters head off half-cocked into the Amazon trying to protect the rainforest and the indigenous tribes. After confronting a team of loggers, their ordeal really begins. On their way back to civilisation their plane crashes in…

Honeymoon

26 Jun 20143 stars

Rose Leslie and Harry Treadaway deliver solid performances in this cabin-in-the-woods horror

If you go down to the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise, etc. Director-slash-co-writer Leigh Janiak's nicely atmospheric horror is both creepy and disturbing, though it tips its hand slightly too early and has the usual genre-associated…

Doc of the Dead

26 Jun 20143 stars

Lightweight zombie doc featuring interviews with George A Romero, Simon Pegg and Bruce Campbell

Zombies are definitely in vogue – they are the monster of the moment, chomping their way through movies, books, comics and TV. The Walking Dead is currently the highest rated show on cable in the US while 2013’s World War Z was the biggest budget horror…

The Guvnors

24 Jun 20143 stars

Rizzle Kicks' Harley Sylvester delivers an outstanding performance in this gangland face-off

What happens when a firm of ageing ex-hooligans takes on a gang of vicious East London street thugs? That's the premise of writer-director Gabe Turner's violent British thriller, which manages to be tense and involving, providing you can get past the…

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Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?

23 Jun 20144 stars

Michel Gondry and Noam Chomsky examine the complexities of self-expression and conversation

Two men with unusual skillsets – a filmmaker whose work incorporates both mathematical precision and handknitted whimsy, and a scientific thinker who is also an impassioned social and political activist – discuss childhood, language, meaning and love in…

Set Fire to the Stars

23 Jun 20143 stars

Elijah Wood and Celyn Jones star in this often overwrought portrayal of Dylan Thomas

Writer-director Andy Goddard has enlisted some world class assistance in creating his debut feature film, an account of Dylan Thomas’ 1950 visit to the United States at the behest of literary academic John Malcolm Brinnin. Cinematographer Chris Seager…

13 Sins

23 Jun 20143 stars

Mark Webber and Ron Perlman star in this gory direct-to-DVD thriller

In this gory remake of Thai thriller 13: Game of Death, Elliot (Mark Webber) finds himself trapped in a sinister game show. Having just lost his job and with a pregnant wife (Rutina Wesley, aka Tara in True Blood) at home, Elliot's life is falling to…

The Skeleton Twins

20 Jun 20143 stars

Nicely-balanced comedy drama starring SNL alumni Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig

This nicely-balanced comedy drama probes the fraught but loving bond between twin siblings Milo and Maggie, played by Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig. He’s a lost soul whose dreams of stardom have staled into waiting tables; she’s a smalltown dental…

We Gotta Get Out Of This Place

19 Jun 20144 stars

A beautifully shot, well acted and suspenseful teenage noir starring Mackenzie Davis

This feature debut of brothers Zeke and Simon Hawkins sets out its smalltown Texan noir ambitions early, with college-bound teenager Sue (rising star Mackenzie Davis, from That Awkward Moment) pointedly quoting pulp thriller writer Jim Thompson in a…

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Let Us Prey

27 Jun 20143 stars

Liam Cunningham and Pollyanna McIntosh star in Brian O'Malley's intriguing horror debut

Game of Thrones seems to employ nearly every available actor in the UK so it’s hard to avoid cast members when it comes to British films. This Scottish production features Liam Cunningham as a mysterious stranger who insinuates himself into a local…

Life After Beth

25 Jun 20144 stars

Superlative zombie dramedy starring Dane DeHaan, Aubrey Plaza, Anna Kendrick and John C Reilly

‘Imagine The Graduate, but with zombies.’ That seems to have been Jeff Baena’s brief for Life After Beth, a ‘zomromcom’ that couldn’t be further from the Shaun of the Dead vibe that label suggests. Dane DeHaan is expertly cast as Zach, a gothier version…

Stray Dogs

24 Jun 20144 stars

An angry yet meditative drama from Taiwanese director Tsai-Ming-liang

Stray Dogs explores the theme of stillness in both form and content. Taiwanese director Tsai-Ming-liang casts his regular actor Lee Kang-sheng as a father of two children struggling to make ends meet in Taipei. Standing for hours on end as he holds a…

Cathedrals of Culture

23 Jun 20143 stars

A '3D film project about the soul of buildings' featuring moments of inspiration and poignancy

This documentary portmanteau film comes laden with a pretentious subtitle (‘a 3D film project about the soul of buildings’) and a 165-minute running time, but for audiences willing to dive in regardless, it’s an interesting and unique film experience…

Finding Vivian Maier

23 Jun 20144 stars

An amusing, poignant and disturbing documentary about a talented and secretive street photographer

By turns amusing, poignant and disturbing, this documentary investigation into the work and life of the previously unknown but now posthumously-celebrated street photographer is never less than thoroughly intriguing. Looking for some visual material to…

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Castles in the Sky

23 Jun 20142 stars

Eddie Izzard stars in Gillies MacKinnon's hamstrung WWII drama

It's receiving its world premiere at Edinburgh International Film Festival, but this BBC Science commissioned pre-WWII drama feels very limited in cinematic potential by both its budget and its story. Directed by Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) and…

Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case

23 Jun 20143 stars

A welcome chance to catch up with the quirky artist’s heroic struggle for freedom

Following hard on the heels of Alison Klayman’s Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry comes another feature length documentary about the Chinese artist and political activist, this time by Andreas Johnsen, who made the 2009 documentary Murder about anti-abortion…

Hellion

23 Jun 20143 stars

Newcomer Josh Wiggins delivers a stellar performance in this delinquent drama

Josh Wiggins makes a startling debut in Kat Candler’s Hellion, bringing to mind the scorching presence of River Phoenix in his portrayal of delinquent youngster Jacob Wilson. When he’s not setting fire to cars or tearing around on his dirtbike, Jacob…

Stations of the Cross (Kreuzweg)

20 Jun 20144 stars

Deliberate and provocative drama exploring religious extremism and value of faith

This deliberate, meaty, provocative drama brilliantly uses the structure and form of religious art to deconstruct the damaging effects of religious indoctrination. Through 14 sections, each consisting of just one take, shot from a fixed camera position…

Hide and Seek

20 Jun 20142 stars

British drama exploring sexual behaviour is more akin to an art installation than a narrative film

Hide and Seek is a curiously misleading title for this single-location British drama. It implies investigation, and suggests a hunt for answers; a desire to get beneath the surface of things. But while the film’s simple and intriguing premise is ripe…

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The Anomaly

19 Jun 20142 stars

Noel Clarke's sci-fi puzzler squanders an interesting premise with repetitive action

You have to give Noel Clarke credit. Not only for his role as Mikey in Doctor Who or as an actor in Centurion, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, Star Trek: Into Darkness and many others but he’s also written, directed and produced a series low budget Brit…

In Order of Disappearance

19 Jun 20144 stars

Extremely black revenge comedy starring Stellan Skarsgard as a vigilante Citizen of the Year

Directed by Hans Petter Moland, In Order of Disappearance is set in a remote Norwegian town and stars Stellan Skarsgard as snowplough driver Nils Dickman, who has recenty been voted Citizen of the Year. When his son is killed by a vicious drug gang…

Welcome to New York

18 Jun 20142 stars

Trashy account of Strauss-Khan assault case says little, despite Jacqueline Bisset and Depardieu

The (dis)-honourable traditions of the film a clef, true-life stories fictionalised for legal reasons in the fashion of Citizen Kane, The Greek Tycoon or Velvet Goldmine, are spottily maintained by Abel Ferrara's torn-from-the-headlines drama Welcome to…

Snowpiercer

18 Jun 20142 stars

Leaden and confused all-star movie of interest only to fans of expensively botched sci-fi money-pits

Much anticipated, Joon-ho Bong’s's futuristic train epic, expensively adapted from a French graphic novel called Le Transperceneige, finally arrives at UK platforms way behind schedule and in a somewhat disheveled state. The high-powered concept for…

Joe

18 Jun 20144 stars

Nicolas Cage excels in powerful, grimy drama that elevates ordinary story to near-operatic heights

David Gordon Green's biggest hit, urban-stoner comedy Pineapple Express, is very much untypical of the moody, backwater dramas he directs on an annual basis, from George Washington to Prince Avalanche. Joe is another entry in his canon of accomplished…