Reviews

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Gig review: RBMA presents A Night With LuckyMe feat Mykki Blanco, The Glue Factory, Glasgow, Sun 29 Mar

31 Mar 20154 stars

A speaker-humping, towel-swinging, 'taps aff', punk-rap night to remember

Mykki Blanco, the alter-ego of the rapper and performance artist Michael Quattlebaum Jr, returns to Glasgow on the back of the announcement she's quitting music to train as an investigative journalist, with a special focus on homosexuality and gay…

Ela Orleans – Upper Hell

31 Mar 20155 stars

Glasgow-based noir-pop alchemist makes heaven out of hell

If Ela Orleans' last exceptional album, Tumult In Clouds (2012) was concerned with the heavens, then you can imagine where we're all headed on its brilliant successor, Upper Hell. The Poland-raised, Glasgow-based noir-pop diviner referenced Ray…

Review: Scottish Opera’s KidO

30 Mar 20153 stars

Musical feet and fruity sounds for pre-school audiences

There are certain places we expect musical sounds to emanate from – and a pineapple isn’t one of them. Such strange and delightful occurrences are par for the course in Scottish Opera’s new show, Kid O however. Advised to take off their shoes and…

Fast & Furious 7

30 Mar 20153 stars

The franchise's latest insane instalment adds Jason Statham to the mix

In Fast & Furious 6 a character was afflicted with amnesia in a bid to reboot the romance. If that suggested that the filmmakers were running out of ideas then the continued, not inconsiderable, presence of Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and the casting of…

Altman

30 Mar 20154 stars

Brisk yet insightful documentary celebrating the legendary American filmmaker

Robert Altman remains the very definition of a maverick filmmaker. He worked inventively with the resources of big Hollywood studios when such a thing was possible, and made the most of the greater creative freedoms that came with the smaller budgets of…

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The Dark Horse

30 Mar 20154 stars

Cliff Curtis astounds in a nuanced biopic of chess champion Genesis Potini

His presence in films like The Piano, Once Were Warriors and Whale Rider has made Cliff Curtis into a mark of quality for everything that is good in New Zealand cinema. The Dark Horse is no exception to that rule; Curtis gives the performance of his…

I Used to Live Here

30 Mar 20154 stars

Frank Berry's riveting drama explores the effect of suicide on a Dublin community

Previously lauded for his documentary Ballymun Lullaby, Frank Berry initially intended to make I Used to Live Here as a non-fiction film. In choosing to not do so, the writer-director has achieved a rare feat: his first narrative feature is both an…

Kidnapping Freddy Heineken

30 Mar 20152 stars

Anthony Hopkins distinguishes himself in an otherwise curdled caper

The true story of the 1983 kidnapping in the Netherlands of the chairman and heir of the Heineken brewing company, which resulted in the largest ransom ever paid for an individual, is told here in the language of the superficial, blokey caper movie.

Something Must Break

30 Mar 20152 stars

Well-intentioned but overwrought transgender drama from Ester Martin Bergsmark

An unconventional love story set in Stockholm’s LGBT scene, transgender filmmaker Ester Martin Bergsmark’s first narrative feature joins recent movies like Let the Right One In, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Force Majeure and Roy Andersson's 'Living…

The Water Diviner

30 Mar 20153 stars

Earnest drama which finds Russell Crowe behind as well as in front of the camera

While any director who chooses to end a film on his own smiling face clearly needs reining in, Russell Crowe’s directorial debut is a well-mounted and surprisingly assured piece of historical drama. Looking into the aftermath of World War I, Crowe…

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Young Fathers – White Men Are Black Men Too

27 Mar 20154 stars

Mercury Prize-winning trio come back in style

In an era when designed-in, risk-averse formulism is the only style which is allowed into the mainstream, it’s pleasing to hear Edinburgh trio Young Fathers unashamedly describe themselves as pop music. From that out-of-the-blue but utterly deserved…

Tim Clare – The Honours

26 Mar 20154 stars

Performance poet’s debut is one of the most exciting fantasy novels of recent years

In his debut novel, poet Tim Clare has succeeded in creating a world that is at once fantastical and absorbingly real. Initially, the story seems to follow a familiar spy thriller trajectory: 13-year-old heroine Delphine is displaced when her family…

Theatre review: And the Beat Goes On

26 Mar 20153 stars

Complicity and tragedy in Random Accomplice's new show

Set in the late 1980s – long after Sonny and Cher had divorced, and Cher was on the cusp of making her spectacular comeback – Stef Smith's new play unfolds the aftermath of a personal tragedy. The central idea – a married couple caught up in private…

Download: new Singles and EPs out now and incoming – April

26 Mar 2015

Featuring Happy Meals, Rose McDowall, Froth, Vashti Bunyan & Animal Collective and Sacred Paws

Sunday, Monday: Happy Meals. Tuesday, Wednesday: Happy Meals. Thursday, Friday: Happy Meals. There isn't a day in the week that cannot be hugely improved by a blast of astral disco-chanson from Glasgow duo Happy Meals. ‘Altered Images’ is the latest…

The Prodigy – The Day Is My Enemy

26 Mar 20153 stars

Going backwards to stay angry, and partying like it's 1996

Despite Liam Howlett's talk of The Prodigy's 'angry album', and the aggressive titles ('Nasty', 'Get Your Fight On'), The Day Is My Enemy is a conservative album. Aside from sprinkling occasional samples of Arabic music, and a melody line on 'Wild…

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Theatre review: Take The Rubbish Out, Sasha explores the process of loss

25 Mar 20153 stars

The Ukranian theatre piece is more bitter than bitter-sweet

Ukranian playwright Natalia Vorozhbyt's play for the Play, Pie and a Pint season, translated by Sasha Dugdale, is more bitter than bitter-sweet, dealing as it does with the emotional complexities of the grieving process. Stepdaughter Oksana (an…

Get Hard

25 Mar 20153 stars

Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart pair up for a rollercoaster of a race relations comedy

Race relations are placed under a comic spotlight, but Blazing Saddles this ain't. When innocent hedge fund exec James King (Will Ferrell) finds out that he is being sent to prison for fraud, he assumes car-wash owner Darnell Lewis (Kevin Hart) can…

Theatre review: Hedda Gabler

25 Mar 20154 stars

Nicola Daley shines as Hedda in the Lyceum’s new production of the Ibsen classic

The landscape of female experience portrayed by Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler may have changed in the century and a quarter since it was written, but in this tale of a woman bound by the expectations of men there’s still much that resonates on a broader…

Cinderella

23 Mar 20154 stars

Kenneth Branagh helms a lavish rendition of the fairytale, starring Cate Blanchett

After delivering the likes of Maleficent, Snow White and the Huntsman and Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, commercial cinema has finally woken up to the idea that audiences don’t always want their fairytales spiced-up and rejigged. Kenneth Branagh’s…

Seventh Son

23 Mar 20153 stars

Julianne Moore and Jeff Bridges enliven a thoroughly daft fantasy

'Help yourself to the blood-cakes, little one,' coolly enjoins Julianne Moore as witch Mother Malkin in Sergei Bodrov’s demented fantasy. Such ripe dialogue abounds as Moore and Jeff Bridges struggle valiantly to make sense of an effects-heavy…

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The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

23 Mar 20153 stars

Fun cinematic return for the animated TV star, featuring Antonio Banderas

Life in Bikini Bottom is chugging along as usual for our animated hero SpongeBob (voiced by Tom Kenny). Plankton (Mr Lawrence) is still determined to steal the secret recipe for the delicious Krabby Patties, launching a major attack on the Krusty Krab.

The Signal

23 Mar 20153 stars

Promising indie sci-fi with Laurence Fishburne and Brenton Thwaites

US indie sci-fi has been booming since Colin Trevorrow went from directing Safety Not Guaranteed to being handed the reins of Jurassic World. William Eubank’s The Signal might seem like just another entry for the ongoing pile of lo-fi, stargazing fare…

Robot Overlords

23 Mar 20152 stars

Derivative British sci-fi adventure featuring Ben Kingsley and Gillian Anderson

The worldwide popularity of young adult franchises The Hunger Games and Divergent certainly hasn't escaped the attention of UK filmmakers. After Kevin Macdonald’s How I Live Now mined the dystopian sci-fi seam, Robot Overlords – from Northern Irish…

Dior and I

23 Mar 20153 stars

Low-key, engaging documentary focusing on the iconic fashion house

There has been a small glut of fashion documentaries over recent years, and director Frédéric Tcheng has been involved with some of the best of them: he co-directed, wrote and edited the wonderful Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel, and co-edited…

The Face of an Angel

23 Mar 20153 stars

Michael Winterbottom uses a real-life murder case as a springboard for drama

After sending funny men Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon munching their way around Italy for TV series / film The Trip to Italy, prolific British director Michael Winterbottom stays in the region for his latest movie. This, however, is anything but comedy…