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Monsters: Dark Continent

24 Oct 20141 star

Derivative sci-fi sequel from debut director Tom Green starring Joe Dempsie and Johnny Harris

Four years ago, British director Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) made his stunning debut with Monsters. Working with a miniscule budget, Edwards' expert balance of a high concept premise – two civilians thrown together in the aftermath of an alien invasion…

The Book of Life

22 Oct 20144 stars

Exuberant animation featuring the voices of Channing Tatum and Zoe Saldana

Inspired by Mexican holiday the Day of the Dead, director Jorge R Gutierrez and producer Guillermo del Toro's charming animated adventure begins with a museum guide (Christina Applegate) introducing a bunch of detention kids to Mexican folklore, telling…

The King's Peace: Realism and War

24 Oct 20144 stars

Eclectic exhibition of photography, essays and films as part of GENERATION

The one hundred year anniversary of the First World War is the starting point of this dense compendium of war in pieces curated by artist Owen Logan and Kirsten Lloyd of Stills. Here, Logan's satirical photo-essay, ‘Masquerade: Michael Jackson Alive in…

Love, Rosie

20 Oct 20142 stars

Manic, barrel-scraping rom-com from Christian Ditter starring Lily Collins and Sam Claflin

Based on the novel Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern, Love, Rosie pitches, nay flings itself at the less discerning end of the romantic comedy crowd. German director Christian Ditter (French for Beginners) proves an unsteady hand at the helm of a…

The Way He Looks

20 Oct 20143 stars

Charming Brazilian coming-of-age drama from director Daniel Ribeiro

The familiar growing pains of adolescence are captured from a fresh perspective in The Way He Looks, an unassuming but sweetly engaging coming-of-age drama that serves as Brazil's contender for the forthcoming Best Foreign Language Film Oscar tussle.

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Night Train to Lisbon

21 Oct 20143 stars

Sporadically successful melodrama from Bille August starring Jeremy Irons

The once lauded director Bille August has been a sporadic presence of late; the director of Oscar-winner Pelle the Conqueror has kept a low profile since the failure of his 90s English-language literary adaptations The House of the Spirits and Smilla's…

LFF 2014: Mommy

20 Oct 20145 stars

Xavier Dolan's fifth film is a domestic drama that's raw, hilarious and crammed with character

Mommy deals with the complex issues of mental illness and domestic difficulties in a way that John Cassavetes would admire: by celebrating difference and not shrinking back or judging when things get ugly. After his taut thriller Tom at the Farm…

LFF 2014: Whiplash

20 Oct 20145 stars

Damien Chazelle's film is a story of musical mentorship that plays like a high octane thriller

Captured with a riveting and rhythmic intensity which mirrors its protagonist's ferocious focus and surging drive, Whiplash is an audaciously edited, voraciously performed story of blood, sweat and beats which makes you feel every pummel and thrash.

The Knife That Killed Me

20 Oct 20143 stars

Ambitious but flawed teen drama from Kit Monkman and Marcus Romer boasting a bold visual style

Given the title, it's no spoiler to say The Knife That Killed Me opens with a lethal stabbing. The victim, Paul Varderman (Jack McMullen), narrates his way through the events that led to his fateful encounter with the blade: moving to Leeds after his…

LFF 2014: Foxcatcher

20 Oct 20144 stars

Channing Tatum and Steve Carell excel in a psychological thriller based on a true story

Not everyone will know the true story on which Foxcatcher is based, although you may quickly guess the direction in which the film is heading. Bennett Miller's third narrative feature – after Capote and Moneyball – is a finely crafted subversion of the…

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Jimi: All Is By My Side

20 Oct 20142 stars

Misjudged biopic of Jimi Hendrix is heavy on the soap opera, light on the tunes

People have been trying but failing to make movies about guitar god Jimi Hendrix for decades, almost since Jimi died, at 27, in 1970. Screenwriter John Ridley, Oscared for 12 Years a Slave, finally pulls one off. Sadly, the result will not satisfy…

Serena

20 Oct 20142 stars

Depression-era melodrama from Susanne Bier featuring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper

Serena Pemberton (Jennifer Lawrence) is a strong, independent woman. We know this not just because of her actions – moving to the wilds of Depression-era America with new husband George (Bradley Cooper) to become an equal partner in his logging company…

This Is Where I Leave You

20 Oct 20142 stars

A star cast, including Jason Bateman and Tina Fey, fails to lift this dispiriting dramedy

Jane Fonda is the oversharing matriarch of a grieving family forced to sit Shiva after their father passes away in this disappointing dramedy from Shawn Levy, with a screenplay from Jonathan Tropper, adapting his own novel. A starry ensemble cast…

Slipknot – .5: The Gray Chapter

16 Oct 20144 stars

Glossiest album to date from one of the world's most successful metal bands does not disappoint

Masked nine-piece Slipknot are one of the biggest metal bands in the world but.5: The Gray Chapter finds them in a state of flux. A few years ago even the idea of a fifth Slipknot album seemed unlikely. After bassist and founder member Paul Gray's death…

Chuck Palahniuk – Beautiful You

20 Oct 20142 stars

Satire following the commodification of female pleasure lacks humour and heart of earlier novels

The transgressive fiction author of Fight Club brings us the story of Penny Harrigan, a frumpy law intern seduced by C Linus Maxwell. He’s straight out of the Fifty Shades mould, and Penny is wined, dined and pleasured as the guinea pig to test-run…

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LFF 2014: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

17 Oct 20144 stars

Ana Lily Amirpour's beautifully crafted, self-described 'Iranian vampire western' is bewitching

Etched in kohl and doused in dark humour, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is the bewitching first feature from writer-director Ana Lily Amirpour. She's a Los Angeles-based, English-born filmmaker of Iranian descent whose debut also resists easy…

LFF 2014: It Follows

16 Oct 20145 stars

David Robert Mitchell offers us his twist on the slasher film and it's a ripper

David Robert Mitchell continues his visually arresting exploration of teen life with a horror film that recalls John Carpenter’s Halloween but puts its own unique spin on the slasher film. The same leafy streets of suburban Michigan in which Mitchell…

Black Butler

16 Oct 20143 stars

Martial arts mayhem from Kentarô Ohtani and Kei’ichi Sato as the manga springs to life

Two directors, Kentarô Ohtani and Kei’ichi Sato, take on the task of bringing Yana Toboso's massively successful manga Kuroshitsuji to the big screen, a comic which has already inspired an anime TV series, a musical and a video game. Tsutomu Kuroiwa…

Nana Shiomi – Reverse Universe

21 Oct 20143 stars

Nature of duality explored in Japanese artist's woodcut prints

The nature of duality, says Japanese artist Nana Shiomi in her self-penned programme notes for this exhibition, is at the heart of her work. Merging the traditional style of her home country with everything she has learned since moving to the UK, these…

Jesse Fink – The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC

21 Oct 20144 stars

'One of the few genuinely good books about a hard rock band'

From 1974 to 1980, AC/DC were sly, funny and feral. But when frontman and self-described author of 'toilet poetry' Bon Scott died, and was replaced by the diligent but charisma-impaired Brian Johnson, the band began the slow process of rigidification…

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Sensaround – Isotropes

21 Oct 20143 stars

Intriguing experiment of electro-acoustic improvisation from electic trio

Isotropes sees Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra saxophonist Raymond McDonald splashing around in a digital bubblebath with Australian musicians Alister Spence and Shoeb Ahmad. Come on in, the water's lovely. Sensaround's electro-acoustic improvisation…

Wadada Leo Smith – Red Hill

21 Oct 20144 stars

Great trumpeter leads younger improvisers to create tunning modern jazz sound

Red Hill finds the great trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith leading an expedition of younger improvisers across volcanic landscapes and lunar surfaces. This is a highly charged group, animated by Balasz Pandi's restless flurries across the kit. Busy, without…

Lady Gaga – The Hydro, Glasgow, Sun 19 Oct

20 Oct 20143 stars

Decadent and dynamic show fails to transcend generic format of stadium pop

Despite her impassioned pleas for tolerance and sexual freedom – and her fascination with performance art – Lady Gaga struggles to rise above the generic format of the stadium pop gig. Surrounded by dancers, and racing about an elaborate set on this…

LFF 2014: A Little Chaos

20 Oct 20144 stars

Alan Rickman directs and stars in a costume drama featuring fine work from Kate Winslet

Alan Rickman's second film as director, following 1997's The Winter Guest, is an unashamedly crowd-pleasing period drama with a terrific central performance from his Sense and Sensibility co-star Kate Winslet. Winslet plays Sabine De Barra, a widowed…

Pleasance Sessions: The List Magazine Presents ...

17 Oct 20144 stars

Two Wings, Ubre Blanca and Prehistoric Friends showed refreshing variety of musical talent

Over the past week the inaugural Pleasance Sessions mini-festival has been doing a great job of representing Scotland’s alternative music scene with a bunch of cannily-curated gigs whose reasoning has seemed to be more ‘who’s best?’ than ‘who’s…