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  • The Kate Bush Story: Running Up That Hill 2014

    ★★½ Watched 28 Aug, 2014 19

    To celebrate Kate Bush’s first live performances in 35 years the BBC have produced an affectionate yet disappointingly slight documentary on her life and career. Featuring interviews with friends and famous fans Running Up That Hill is high on love but low on genuine insight. Naturally, given its subject matter this is still well worth a watch for fans but most of the interest comes from the performances rather than the fluff interviews.

    It is still interesting to see who…

  • Guardians of the Galaxy 2014

    ★★★ Watched 22 Aug, 2014 43

    I’m pleased to say that Guardians of the Galaxy was a marked improvement over the deathly dull Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but in a year of surprisingly strong summer blockbusters I still wasn’t quite as sold on the film as others clearly have been. It was undoubtedly fun and packed with colour and character, which is exactly what I want from a film of this kind, but it remains a safe movie with meagre ambitions.

    I admit that such…

  • Sharknado 2: The Second One 2014

    ★★½ Watched 04 Aug, 2014 15

    I was one of the few people to actually enjoy the original Sharknado. It was obviously garbage but it actually delivered the dumb and knowing entertainment that most of the Syfy network’s TV-movies fail to produce. Despite the critical mauling it became a hit so a sequel, no matter how implausible, was always inevitable. Sharknado 2: The Second One is bigger, sillier and even more tongue-in-cheek than its predecessor.

    Ian Ziering and Tara Reid are back and so is the…

  • Desperado's Duel 2014

    Watched 16 Jul, 2014 3

    Letterboxd member George McCann and Lucille Celic’s Desperado’s Duel is a stark yet atmospheric short film about a confrontation between an outlaw and a drifter in a barren snow-covered woodland. It takes a minimalist approach both to its story and characters (only the brief gravel-voiced narration alludes to something in one of their pasts) but it proves reasonably effective.

    Due to its approach it is hard to judge the plot or performances but Lucille Celic’s cinematography is impressive with its…

  • Charity 2014

    Watched 07 Aug, 2014 6

    Directed by Letterboxd member Jimmy Dean, Charity is a short film produced by students from The University of Westminster. Given the inexperience of its crew this is an assured and competent little film that whilst never pushing boundaries delivers some compelling and understated human drama.

    Charity, a sixteen-year old traveling girl, is forced to confront an uncertain future when her older brother, and only male in the family, is released from prison. Charity is a simple film following in the…

  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 21 Jul, 2014 27

    When Rise of the Planet of the Apes made its debut it did so with little expectation. After Tim Burton had destroyed almost all potential in the franchise it looked unlikely audiences would ever be interested in a world overrun by apes again. Yet via the stewardship of the relatively unknown Rupert Wyatt, Rise surprised everybody. This was not simply a mindless effects-driven blockbuster but a surprisingly touching character study about a chimpanzee and a scientist who would unknowingly change…

  • Duet 2014

    ★★★ Watched 03 Jul, 2014

    Directed by animation legend, Glen Keane - best known for his work during Disney’s renaissance of the ‘90s - Duet is a charming animated short capturing the romance between two people from children to adults. It marks the third animated film from Google’s Spotlight Stories series, the first two produced by Jan Pinkava and Mark Oftedal respectively.

    Duet’s story could be accused of being rather cheesy and hackneyed but at three-minutes it is perfectly serviceable. What makes the short standout…

  • How to Train Your Dragon 2 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 02 Jul, 2014 21

    The original How to Train Your Dragon was Dreamworks only truly great animated film meaning any sequel would be approached with equal parts excitement and trepidation. First time around I was utterly captivated by the relationship between a gawky viking boy and his adorable dragon companion but how could a second film possibly replicate the same intimate relationship and sparkling chemistry? Wisely it doesn’t. Although the friendship between Hiccup and Toothless remains a crucial element, the film is bigger, bolder…

  • Boyhood 2014

    ★★★★★ Watched 01 Aug, 2014 93

    I don’t say this lightly but Boyhood is one of the best films I’ve ever seen. Yet it is not a film filled with great revelatory moments or dazzling technical brilliance. It is distinctly ordinary in almost every department, but this is ultimately what makes it such a special experience that will resonate with any audience whether closer in age to the film’s chief protagonist or the adults struggling with parenthood: It is a film about life.

    However, it is…

  • Pupa 2014

    ★★★ Watched 10 Jun, 2014 2

    Pupa is an animated short film from director John Lee about the fear of puberty for a young boy. The film turns the universal transformation of the body into a horror story as the scared child is not yet ready to become a man. With excellent character design, particularly the adults that are transformed into grotesque monsters, and a striking colour palette the film looks brilliant.

    Unfortunately, although some of the body horror flourishes are successful at just four-minutes the…

  • As He Lay Falling 2014

    Watched 04 Jun, 2014

    goNORTH Festival

    Ian Waugh’s accomplished and atmospheric rural drama follows a desperate man far from home. Georgios, forced to migrate for work, moves from Greece to the unforgiving Scottish Highlands. Adrift from his home, family and culture he ekes out a meaningless existence at an isolated croft. Stunningly shot with handheld camerawork that provides the film with an intense intimacy, As He Lay Falling is arguably one of the standout films of the festival. This is an assured and expressive work backed by pitch perfect performances and excellent direction.

  • Whistle My Lad 2014

    Watched 04 Jun, 2014

    goNORTH Festival

    Set in 1911, Whistle My Lad is a haunting coming-of-age romance between Agnes, the young daughter of a successful fishermen, and Fraser, the son of a rival skipper. Reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet with its young star-crossed lovers, Tripswitch Production’s evocative short is a mini-triumph. With a beautifully realised world set in a God-fearing coastal community the short excels thanks to its keenly observed period detailing and strong performances across the board. Whistle My Lad is a thoughtful and tragic story of warring families and doomed romance.