Film, Reviews

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The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

23 Feb 20153 stars

Spry sequel to the cross-cultural smash featuring Judi Dench and Maggie Smith

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel's happy resolution didn't leave much room for a sequel; the film's extraordinary commercial success, however, made this an inevitability. Although the motivations behind its existence are certainly cynical, The Second Best…

Peppa Pig: The Golden Boots

18 Feb 20152 stars

The animated kids' favourite hits the big screen in a cobbled-together collection

With over ten years as a beloved children’s entertainer, Peppa Pig makes the jump from television to cinema screens with a disappointingly small splash in this animated adventure for tots. A brand new 15-minute Peppa Pig adventure, The Golden Boots, is…

Focus

25 Feb 20152 stars

Vacuous, less-than-thrilling con artist flick starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie

It's been 22 years since Will Smith starred in Six Degrees of Separation, a wonderfully subtle adaptation of John Guare's play about a young con artist who takes in a well-to-do Manhattan couple. Watching Smith's new film Focus, his first lead since the…

The Boy Next Door

23 Feb 20152 stars

Rob Cohen directs Jennifer Lopez in an unintentionally amusing erotic thriller

Jennifer Lopez plays a classics teacher in The Boy Next Door. If she taught something else, we wouldn't be treated to the best joke in a film so far this year. Hot neighbour Noah (the Step Up series' Ryan Guzman) seduces almost-divorced older woman…

Still Alice

20 Feb 20154 stars

Glasgow Film Festival: Julianne Moore excels as an Alzheimer's sufferer

'I wish I had cancer,' rages Alice (Julianne Moore). The focus may be soft, the music melancholy but, make no mistake, Still Alice is furious. This film from directors Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland sees a celebrated intellectual ravaged by…

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X+Y

24 Feb 20154 stars

Glasgow Film Festival: Moving drama with Asa Butterfield and Rafe Spall

The story of a young maths prodigy with autism, Morgan Matthews’ film could be viewed as a juvenile Rain Man. At least that would be the case if a Hollywood studio had made it. But actually, this British tale of the difficulties of adolescence and…

Force Majeure

26 Feb 20155 stars

Glasgow Film Festival: Ruben Östlund's masterful dramedy foregrounds weakness

A family skiing holiday turns rivetingly sour in Swedish writer-director Ruben Östlund's impeccably executed, discomforting dramedy, which holds humanity under an unflattering, unflinching microscope. It benefits from a simple but terrifically fruitful…

Kung Fu Killer

16 Feb 20154 stars

Stylish and fast-paced martial arts thriller from Teddy Chan, starring Donnie Yen

However hard they try, action stars like Jason Statham, Steven Seagal, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dwayne Johnson can't hope to match the speed and grace of their Asian counterparts. Over the years Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais and…

Catch Me Daddy

23 Feb 20154 stars

Daniel and Matthew Wolfe's hugely promising debut is both poetic and brutal

Positioned somewhere between a contemporary Romeo and Juliet and a fatalistic film noir, Catch Me Daddy marks a grimly impressive debut from music promo director Daniel Wolfe and his brother Matthew, who co-writes. Cinematographer Robbie Ryan (Fish…

Boychoir

25 Feb 20153 stars

Glasgow Film Festival: Likeable music school drama featuring Dustin Hoffman

Boychoir, from French-Canadian director François Girard, is a charming, thoughtful music school drama that dials down the expected sentimentality and plays like a PG version of Whiplash. Newcomer Garrett Wareing plays Stet, a rebellious 11-year-old…

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White God

23 Feb 20154 stars

Gripping canine drama from Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó

Kornél Mundruczó’s arresting, prize-winning drama imagines a revolutionary movement of cruelly abused dogs rebelling against their oppressors, and forcefully makes the point that the people running things are not as superior as they think. This…

Eden

26 Feb 20154 stars

Glasgow Film Festival: Mia Hansen-Løve's heady take on the French house scene

Mia Hansen-Løve has created an insightful and involving cinematic experience with her fourth feature, which centres on the rise and fall of a French house DJ from the 1990s to the 2000s. It’s a heady trip into the electronic dance music scene that…

The New Girlfriend

20 Feb 20152 stars

Glasgow Film Festival: Jumbled, Ruth Rendell-inspired drama from François Ozon

François Ozon’s latest feature takes Ruth Rendell’s short story, 'The New Girlfriend', as its jumping-off point. But fans of Rendell’s gripping thrillers won’t find much stylistic likeness in this plodding drama, which is buoyed by its…

A Second Chance

20 Feb 20154 stars

Glasgow Film Festival: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau impresses in this potent drama

Danish policeman Andreas (Game of Thrones' Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is adjusting to life as a new parent with wife Anna (Maria Bonnevie) when he visits the home of drug addicts Tristan (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) and girlfriend Sanne (May Andersen) to discover…

Jauja

24 Feb 20154 stars

Glasgow Film Festival: Lisandro Alonso's singular western stars Viggo Mortensen

Argentinean director Lisandro Alonso fuses Scandinavian and South American sensibilities in a spectacularly shot existential western which evokes both Ingmar Bergman and Alejandro Jodorowsky. The craggily handsome Viggo Mortensen makes for a compelling…

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Stonehearst Asylum

24 Feb 20152 stars

Glasgow Film Festival: Brad Anderson's thriller is a star-studded misfire

The lunatics have quite literally taken over the asylum in Brad Anderson's latest, an inept effort that maintains some interest due to its overqualified cast. Anderson has form with mental hospital-set thrillers – having impressed with Session 9 back in…

Hinterland

23 Feb 20153 stars

Childhood friends are reunited in this sincere but uneventful debut

This British two-hander is prettily shot, credibly performed and sure of what it wants to achieve – though its particular aspirations won’t do much for viewers who prefer films in which stuff happens, or who have an aversion to post-adolescent…

GFF live: A Night at the Regal

20 Feb 20154 stars

Joe McAlinden, eagleowl and BSP provide live soundtracks to short films and archive footage

It’s a nice idea for a site-specific Glasgow Film Festival event – drawing on the past life of the O2 ABC as one of the city’s grand old picture houses to host a quadruple-bill of short movies and video pieces set to live soundtracks. Beyond that…

Blackhat

16 Feb 20152 stars

Chris Hemsworth heads up Michael Mann's disappointing cyber-crime thriller

With a plot that couldn't be more timely, Michael Mann's latest thriller tackles the subject of computer hacking. However, while there's some fun to be had in the urgent, explosive action sequences, Mann's characteristic style can't conceal the…

Clouds of Sils Maria

20 Feb 20154 stars

Glasgow Film Festival: Juliette Binoche shines as an insecure actress

The inquisitive and enchanting Clouds of Sils Maria came about when Juliette Binoche challenged her Summer Hours director Olivier Assayas to deliver a daring examination of the feminine, based on her original idea. The result is a story which revolves…

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Blind

19 Feb 20154 stars

Glasgow Film Festival: Eskil Vogt's impressive debut explores the titular condition

Norwegian writer-director Eskil Vogt's intriguing directorial debut skilfully investigates the experience of blindness and of social alienation more generally, probing the anxieties of a woman suffering from sight-loss who's become physically and…

While We're Young

19 Feb 20154 stars

Glasgow Film Festival: Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts star in Noah Baumbach's latest

The threat of the young is at the centre of writer-director Noah Baumbach's perceptive, funny and cringingly honest eighth film, whose satirical swipe reaches across the age spectrum. It follows a cross-generational friendship which inspires adulation…

Rosewater

20 Feb 20154 stars

Glasgow Film Festival: Gael García Bernal heads up Jon Stewart's directorial debut

Whatever satirist Jon Stewart decides to do after ending his stint as host of The Daily Show, he’s got a promising sideline as a writer-director to fall back on. His debut film Rosewater is a small-scale but heartfelt drama that delivers a simple and…

Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter

16 Feb 20154 stars

David Zellner's heartbreaking and humorous film focusses on an unusual quest

Fuzzy images from an over-watched VHS tape open David Zellner’s fifth feature, which he co-wrote with his brother Nathan. The movie that our protagonist Kumiko is watching, and currently fixated on, is the Coen brothers' Fargo. The focus on that film's…

Predestination

16 Feb 20153 stars

Confident, puzzling sci-fi from the Spierig Brothers, starring Ethan Hawke

Strangely alluring and memorably absurd, Predestination – written and directed by the German-born, Australia-raised identical twins Peter and Michael Spierig – is a guilty pleasure sci-fi that’ll almost have you leaving the cinema believing you’ve just…