Reviews

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Paddington

24 Nov 20144 stars

The beloved bear is brought to the big screen by Paul King's charming adaptation

Ever since his creation in 1958 by author Michael Bond generations of children have grown up with Paddington Bear, so writer-director Paul King (The Mighty Boosh, Bunny and the Bull) faced no small task in bringing the hirsute hero to the big screen. By…

Kajaki. The True Story

24 Nov 20144 stars

Paul Katis turns a true-life tragedy into a moving, suspenseful drama

Taking its name from the Kajaki Dam in Afghanistan, this harrowing drama depicts a real-life incident that took place in 2006, when a group of British soldiers stumbled into an abandoned Afghani minefield by mistake, sustaining multiple casualties. It…

Hockney

24 Nov 20144 stars

Warm, insightful documentary from Randall Wright examining the celebrated artist

Britain’s most enduringly popular modern artist, David Hockney, has been the subject of many documentaries, including one made for TV by this film's director Randall Wright in 2003 (David Hockney: Secret Knowledge). None could claim to be as intimate…

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

17 Nov 20144 stars

Jennifer Lawrence remains a girl on fire in the penultimate part of the dystopian saga

After Harry Potter and Twilight, carving two films from the final book in a series has become an unwelcome Hollywood trend. And so it goes with The Hunger Games, which stretches the last book in Suzanne Collins’ dystopian YA trilogy into a two part…

Horrible Bosses 2

24 Nov 20142 stars

Limp sequel teaming Bateman and co with newbies Chris Pine and Christoph Waltz

Like its title, this sequel to Seth Gordon’s 2011 comedy lacks imagination. The first 30 minutes or so are particularly uninspiring as we catch up with Nick (Jason Bateman), Dale (Charlie Day) and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis), the trio of white-collar dudes…

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Concerning Violence

24 Nov 20144 stars

A smart, passionate essay film from Göran Olsson, narrated by Lauryn Hill

This sobering, important and expertly curated documentary details Africa's hard-fought liberation from colonial rule in the 60s and 70s. Narrated by the musician Lauryn Hill and directed by Göran Olsson, the viewer is taken through nine definitive…

What We Do in the Shadows

17 Nov 20144 stars

Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi helm a killer comedy about a vampire flat-share

'When you get three vampires in a flat obviously there’s going to be a lot of tension,' dryly observes 862-year-old Vladislav (Jemaine Clement), who shares a house with 18th Century dandy Viago (Taika Waititi) and self-proclaimed bad boy Deacon…

Get On Up

17 Nov 20144 stars

Exhilarating James Brown biopic featuring a barnstorming Chadwick Boseman

One word perfectly describes Tate Taylor’s James Brown biopic: funky. The ‘Godfather of Soul’ was such a force of nature, anything less than a toe-tapping, booty-shaking, yeow of a movie would’ve done him a disservice. Thankfully, Taylor (who made The…

Remember Me

21 Nov 20144 stars

Old-fashioned ghostly fare with a modern twist from the BBC starring Michael Palin

While Christmas is traditionally viewed as the ideal time for retelling ghost stories, the BBC have sprung their spooks on us early with Remember Me. This three-part drama already contains an inherent rising from the crypt with the acting career of…

The Homesman

17 Nov 20144 stars

Striking, desperately sad western directed by and starring Tommy Lee Jones

Since Clint Eastwood hung up his holster those of us who love westerns thank Tommy Lee Jones for keeping the genre alive. That's not to say his second directorial effort, eight years after his fine debut The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, is any…

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The Vatican Museums 3D

17 Nov 20143 stars

Great art becomes an immersive cinematic experience in a novel documentary

Museum movies are so hot right now and The Vatican Museums 3D is one of the big daddies. Suitable for nearly all viewers, the only people who will find it offensive will be dyed-in-the-wool types who are staunchly anti-technology. Certainly, we’d all…

No Good Deed

17 Nov 20142 stars

Derivative thriller starring, and squandering the talented Idris Elba and Taraji P Henson

A leaden entry in the home invasion stakes, No Good Deed's box office success in the US is presumably due to a lack of comparable cinematic competition, as there's nothing to distinguish TV director Sam Miller's pedestrian effort from scores of…

Exclusive: Machines in Heaven – Hindu Milk EP

13 Nov 20144 stars

Listen to the band's new EP via our exclusive preview

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to give praise for those machines which art in heaven – when they’re not assuming the earthly guise of three blokes abiding in Glasgow, that is. Let us join in offering thanks for their retro-futurist digital…

Ubre Blanca Terminal Island EP

19 Nov 20144 stars

An brilliantly unsettling adventure both escapist and inescapable from electronic synth duo

Oh Don Johnson, so much to answer for. Somewhere in the past two decades, the mulleted heart-throb’s 80s cop frolic Miami Vice has become shorthand for fast cars, Martini Girls, neon cocktails, rolled-up jacket sleeves, Reagan’s America, bronzed…

David Bowie Is

17 Nov 20143 stars

Docu-tour leading us through the V&A's acclaimed tribute to an incomparable performer

If you were one of the unlucky thousands who couldn’t get tickets for last year’s sublime David Bowie exhibition at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, this curio gives you a little taste of what you missed. In truth, it’s a bizarre idea – a docu-tour…

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The best comedy programmes on Radio 4

12 Nov 2014

Including Hal, The Elephant Man, James Acaster's Findings and Start / Stop

The ‘Radio 4 comedy voice’ has been mercilessly mimicked and mocked by both Simon Munnery and Stewart Lee, and it’s cranked up to 11 in a variety of shows currently on the station. They would routinely hate Hal (Radio 4, Sun 16 Nov, 7.15pm ●●●), the…

Mary is Happy, Mary is Happy

17 Nov 20144 stars

A Twitter inspired Thai love story from director Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit

'Love stories are hard to write,' muses the central character in Thai director Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit’s second film Mary is Happy, Mary is Happy. This is itself a love story of sorts, however, like Thamrongrattanarit’s highly impressive debut 36…

Mary Halvorson – Reverse Blue

12 Nov 20144 stars

'What sets her apart from other virtuosos is her distinctive compositional voice'

New York guitarist and composer Mary Halvorson combines the history of jazz guitar with an avant-rock sensibility: think Mark Ribot or Bill Frisell drawing oblique pop angles with Deerhoof. What sets her apart from other virtuosos is her distinctive…

Rashied Al Akbar, Muhammad Ali, Earl Cros, Idris Ackamoor – Ascent of the Nether Creatures

12 Nov 20144 stars

Taped in the Netherlands in 1980, Ascent of the Nether Creatures is a thrilling live set from four undersung Loft-era musicians. Trumpeter Earl Cross played on Noah Howard's classic Black Art, but his work as leader has been under-documented. He's on…

Anna Oppermann: Cotoneaster Horizontalis

13 Nov 20144 stars

Stunning installation in Dundee is first ever UK retrospective of the late German artist

An ‘ensemble’ is the name given by the late German artist Anna Oppermann to, in her words, ‘the documentation of a particular method during perception and / or awareness exercises’. What this means in practice is a large…

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Babylon

12 Nov 20143 stars

A bad cop/worse cop comedy-drama lacking true grit

After a pilot episode in February which seemed hell-bent on kettling far too many ideas and personalities into a stuffed and confused comedy-drama riot, police show Babylon is back for a full series. Given the pedigree of its writers (Jesse Armstrong…

White Reindeer

12 Nov 20143 stars

An interesting alternative to generic Christmas movies starring Anna Margaret Hollyman

A quirky low budget indie drama, Suzanne Barrington's (Anna Margaret Hollyman) December gets off to a particularly traumatic start. This tragedy sets off a series of unusual encounters as this seemingly prim and proper real estate agent veers out of…

Moreno Veloso – Coisa Boa

12 Nov 20144 stars

First album for 12 years from Brazilian artist is refined mix of traditional and modern acoustics

Coisa Boa is Brazilian singer, songwriter and producer Moreno Veloso's first album in 13 years and it's a beauty. Relaxed and airy, it's less obviously experimental than some of his earlier work, with Veloso's soft, inviting vocals wrapped in…

We Are The Giant

11 Nov 20144 stars

Frontline tales from the Arab Spring brought together by director Greg Barker

A small girl sings a song of hope and freedom in the street, just as an explosion wreaks havoc around her. A peace activist interrupts a downbeat interview about whether nonviolent protest has been unsuccessful when a shell rocks the street outside. And…

Amanda Palmer – The Art of Asking

11 Nov 20144 stars

A brilliantly frank portrayal of the life and art of the self-proclaimed rockstar

There are many things that Amanda Palmer is not afraid to ask for. Wedding gowns, advice on angry red thigh spots and pianos are all just a tweet away for the self-identified rock star; but when she asked for money to help fund her new record, she…