Reviews

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The Caucasian Chalk Circle

26 Feb 20154 stars

Brecht's revolutionary play gets with the beat

Mark Thomson’s direction of Bertolt Brecht’s celebrated The Caucasian Chalk Circle takes the potent script and ramps it up, thanks to the Lyceum’s ability to gather a large cast and capture the dynamic storytelling that drives the clear political message.

Chrononauts – Mark Millar and Sean Murphy

26 Feb 20154 stars

Time travelling action adventure from writer Mark Millar and artist Sean Murphy

Scottish writer Mark Millar is famed for his edgy action comics. Sharp, satirical and often packed with the old ultra-violence. Through his creator-owned Millarworld imprint, he's launched a plethora of new characters and realities. His work ethic is…

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…

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…

TV review: Arthur & George, ITV1

26 Feb 20153 stars

Julian Barnes’ acclaimed novel makes for a jolly decent telly adaptation

While recent reports suggest that Neil Morrissey yearns for a Men Behaving Badly reunion, this perhaps says more about the current shape of his own career than that of his buddy, Martin Clunes. While the latter appears to have settled into appearing in…

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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…

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…

Death From Above 1979, ABC, Glasgow, Mon 23 Feb 2015

24 Feb 20153 stars

There's little electricity in the air tonight for the reunited Canadian duo

There's a moment right before the gig starts when a crew member comes onstage for a routine check of the bass. In what feels like a fraction of an instant, that familiar, rabid tone that has become just as iconic as the be-trunked emblem…

New gallery Lust and The Apple opens in Temple

24 Feb 20154 stars

Neil Cooper visits the latest arts venture by former Summerhall curator Paul Robertson

It's all too fitting that the outside lights weren't working on the opening night of this new venture from Paul Robertson, the iconoclastic former curator of Summerhall, whose sudden departure from the former Royal Dick Veterinary School in August 2014…

Broadchurch finale ties up loose ends, as series three is announced

24 Feb 20152 stars

Olivia Coleman and David Tennant's chemistry carried along a disappointing second series

Cast your mind back to 2013 when ITV’s Broadchurch and BBC’s The Fall were being heralded as milestones in British television thrillers. Seems like a long time ago, right? The second series of Broadchurch, which concluded last night, didn’t drop the…

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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…

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…

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…

Artist Rooms: Diane Arbus, Kirkcaldy Galleries

23 Feb 20154 stars

Artist Rooms series brings work by seminal 20th century street photographer to Fife

The beauty of the continuing Artist Rooms series, as jointly curated by the Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland, isn’t just in the wealth of era-defining contemporary art it displays, but the out of the way locations it brings it to. This is the…

Florian & Michael Quistrebert – Visions of Void, Dundee Contemporary Arts

23 Feb 20154 stars

The Quistrebert brothers convert DCA into an intense and atmospheric chamber

White light, white heat and pop art fun palaces are what initially spring to mind as one enters this biggest UK display to date by the French-born Quistrebert brothers. A mind-bending projection of op-art geometric patterns beam onto canvas in a…

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TV Review: Banished, BBC Two

23 Feb 20153 stars

Jimmy McGovern's latest drama set in a penal colony in Australia, 1788

When you think of writer Jimmy McGovern's work you think of hard hitting social realism, gritty dramas such as Cracker, Hillsborough or The Street. Banished takes those themes and transposes them to 1788 and a small penal colony in New South Wales.

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…

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…

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…

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…

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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…

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…

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…

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…

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…