Issue 707

174 articles

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The Bugle - Podcast of biting political humour

25 Feb 20134 stars

Sharp, incisive satirical podcast from Andy Zaltzman and John Oliver

‘Some people were born to create this technology,’ declared John Oliver to his old shock haired sparring partner Andy Zaltzman at the start of The Bugle’s last weekly edition, ‘and others were born to piss it up the wall. You and I were picked by Team B…

Django Unchained

14 Jan 20134 stars

Fine performances and moments of sudden brutality outshine Tarantino's over-indulgent running time

There are two major films about slavery this season. At one end of the spectrum is Steven Spielberg’s po-faced, self-important abolition drama Lincoln. And the other? Quentin Tarantino’s giddily violent, shockingly profane spaghetti western, Django…

May I Kill U?

11 Jan 20132 stars

Blackly comic satire that lacks laughs, despite starring UK comedian Kevin Bishop

‘Assisted dying’ is the phrase used by disgruntled copper Baz (Kevin Bishop) to describe the brand of polite street-justice he invents in the aftermath of the London riots. Writer/director Stuart Urban’s black comedy revolves around the inverted moral…

Midnight Son

11 Jan 20133 stars

A confident but minor addition to the vampire-addict horror subgenre

Since directing breakout hit The Blair Witch Project, Eduardo Sanchez has continued milking the low-budget horror market, executive producing this low-key tale of LA vampires for debutant writer/director Scott Leberecht. As Leberecht’s visual effects…

American Mary

11 Jan 20133 stars

A shocking, memorable body horror, let down by a weak third act

American Mary marks the second feature-length film by Jen and Sylvia Soska, following Dead Hooker In A Trunk (a film that began life as a faux trailer – inspired by the Tarantino/Rodriguez project Grindhouse). Like the twisted sister of an early David…

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Silver Linings Playbook leads the pack in 2013 Oscar nomination

10 Jan 2013

Lincoln, Amour and Les Miserables also nominated

The nominations for the 2013 Academy Awards have been announced, with Silver Linings Playbook, Lincoln and Amour leading the pack of those films who stand a chance of winning at the awards ceremony on Sunday 24 February. Silver Linings Playbook, a…

The Polar Bears Go Wild!

10 Jan 20134 stars

Charming, imaginative show for younger children from Fish and Game

Who says you need a cast of thousands, pyrotechnics, 3D projections and a troupe of dancing local children to create a successful Christmas show? Fish and Game's new piece for under-sixes features just two performers, a few props and a simple set, but…

Gangster Squad

9 Jan 20133 stars

The Ryan Gosling-starring LA noir has great performances but a nasty violent streak

As stylish as Ruben Fleischer's Gangster Squad is, it lacks the substance of similar genre films such as The Untouchables and LA Confidential and contains a nasty, even exploitative streak. Inspired by the true story of a group of cops who sought to…

New David Bowie single 'Where Are We Now?' and album The Next Day

8 Jan 2013

Bowie marks 66th birthday with first single in a decade and album released on Mar 16

David Bowie has released a new single 'Where Are We Now?' this morning - his 66th birthday - with absolutely nothing in the way of the fanfare or marketing that accompanies most releases by both new and established artists these days. A combination…

Les Misérables

7 Jan 20133 stars

A strong cast with good singing voices lift up Tom Hooper's French Revolution musical adap

The musical is a taste that, once acquired, tends to stick. Fall for South Pacific or Evita or The Rocky Horror Picture Show at an impressionable age, and your crush is likely to outlast far more credible affiliations. Conversely, if you never got your…

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Dabangg 2

3 Jan 20133 stars

Enjoyable Bollywood action sequel starring Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor

Dabangg, released in 2010, introduced us to hyper-macho super-cop Chulbul Pandey (Salman Khan), a sharply dressed unorthodox policeman living and working in rural northern India. The sequel, produced and directed by Arbaaz Khan (who also stars in both…

West of Memphis

3 Jan 20134 stars

A diligent, complex and justly indignant documentary about a grisly triple murder case

The triple murder of Christopher Byers, Steven Branch and Michael Moore in Arkansas in 1993 was one of those crimes that’s liable to make you lose the will to be part of the human race if you dwell on it too much – and that’s before you even get to the…

Stereophonics - O2 Academy, Glasgow, 17 Dec 2012

21 Dec 20123 stars

A flurry of hits at either end of the show save the Phonics from a lacklustre slump in the middle

It's the changing face of Welsh rockers Stereophonics that has kept its audience on their toes throughout the band's 20-year career. They began as fresh faced indie kids-next door -- see their debut album Word Gets Around for evidence -- then two years…

Confession of a Child of the Century

21 Dec 20121 star

Pete Doherty's acting derails this 19th century period drama

The former pop star and tabloid fixation Pete Doherty has always seemed like such an unstable, needy construction – a walking set of influences lacking the supporting structure of a personality – that it’s not impossible to see how he might have seemed…

Crooked Fingers - The Art School, Glasgow, Mon 10 Dec 2012

21 Dec 20124 stars

Lush, beautiful finger-picking from erstwhile Arches of Loaf man Eric Bachmann

The recent Archers of Loaf reunion has been frustratingly absent from Scotland, but getting Eric Bachmann’s ‘solo’ project, Crooked Fingers, to Glasgow Art School is more than a fair compromise. Accompanied by long-time collaborator Liz Durrett…

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21 Dec 20122 stars

A contrived, one-note sci-fi horror comedy in which a community stays drunk to repel an alien attack

In Grabbers, an interplanetary invasion of earth can potentially be foiled, not by the fighting spirit of the human race, but due to the aversion of the aliens to drinking blood contaminated by alcohol. It’s a situation which forces the inhabitants of a…

Hors Satan

21 Dec 20123 stars

Contemplative religious drama from Bruno Dumont, director of Hadewijch

For an avowedly atheistic director, the uncompromising French auteur Bruno Dumont seems strangely fascinated by questions of religious faith and the mysterious workings of grace. Following on from Hadewijch, a provocative examination of contemporary…

Jack Reacher

21 Dec 20123 stars

A slow, solid crowd-pleaser that achieves its middlebrow ambitions, starring Tom Cruise

Thirty years on from Risky Business, Tom Cruise is still a potent force in Hollywood, and launches a potential new franchise as Jack Reacher, the ‘top shelf army cop’ from the bestselling books by Lee Child. Adapted from Child’s book One Shot by…

Zombie Flesh Eaters

20 Dec 20124 stars

Reissue of the 1979 video nasty classic on Blu-ray and DVD

How can you not love a film called Zombie Flesh Eaters? And unlike so many exploitation movies it actually lives up to its inflammatory title. We get the infamous splinter meets eyeball scene, zombies fighting sharks underwater, multiple torn throats…

New Year 2013 TV highlights

20 Dec 2012

TV drama in January featuring Borgen, Ripper Street and Mr Selfridge

While all Scandicphiles will be mourning the death of The Killing, relief is at hand with the return of Borgen (BBC Four, Sat 5 Jan, 9pm). In the spate of publicity about the recent rash of dramas from Scandinavia, much has been made of the seemingly…

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Tinderbox Fest - Summerhall, Edinburgh, Sat 15 Dec

20 Dec 20124 stars

An eclectic evening of music featuring The Dark Jokes, North Atlantic Oscillation and Fox Gang

As Tinderbox Fest made it's yuletide debut, hopes for its innovative programme - a melange of film, art, stalls, workshops and an eclectic evening of music - were high. The event marked the two-year anniversary of the Tinderbox Project, a youth music…


20 Dec 20122 stars

A dramatically and emotionally unconvincing Middle-Eastern road movie, starring Stephen Dorff

Israeli director Eran Riklis teams up with first-time Palestinian writer Nader Rizq in this handsomely photographed Middle-Eastern road movie, which charts an improbable friendship between an Israeli pilot Yoni (Stephen Dorff) and an orphaned…

Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst tours with band Desaparecidos

19 Dec 2012

Fan campaign via Songkick Detour to bring Oberst's old band to UK

Good news for Conor Oberst fans. The Nebraskan singer-songwriter just announced a small handful of UK dates for February next year, including a stop-off at the Arches in Glasgow. Desaparecidos is a rock band featuring the man known better to many as…

The Primevals - Heavy War

19 Dec 20123 stars

Trashy Americana that does little to lift itself out of the pub circuit leagues

Discovering The Primevals are still above ground was a pleasant surprise. In the days when being in a Glasgow band meant regulation tank tops, shorts and sandals, The Primevals loitered like bad boys outside the chippie. Their thing was trashy…

Snide Rhythms - Snide Rhythms

19 Dec 20124 stars

A grab-bag of leftfield post-punk influences that channel the sound of the ECA's Wee Red Bar

With art school credentials to spare, Colvin Cruikshank’s trio of Edinburgh scene-setters mash up a grab-bag of leftfield post-punk conceptualists to make something that seems to channel the ghosts of every act who ever made the Wee Red Bar such a…