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  • The King of Pigs 2011

    ★★ Watched 18 Dec, 2013

    The King of Pigs may be an uncompromising and satirical look at South Korea’s hierarchical society but it is simply too blunt and heavy handed to be genuinely effective. Directed by Sang-ho Yeon, this bleak animation tells the story of former classmates who meet up 15-years later to reflect on their difficult time at school where the wealthy elite (the dogs) repeatedly bullied the poor (the pigs of the title) until one of them took a stand.

    It’s certainly a…

  • Aningaaq 2013

    ★★½ Watched 18 Dec, 2013 3

    Aningaaq, a surprising companion piece to Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity, is a film that relies entirely on the audience’s knowledge of the aforementioned space disaster movie. It is essentially a short DVD extra that reveals the conversation between the stranded astronaut and an Inuit fisherman also facing significant emotional and physical hardships.

    Directed by Cuaron’s son, Jonas, the film’s great strength is how the endless white landscape manages to both contrast and mirror the vast and harsh location in Gravity. Aningaaq

  • Elf 2003

    ★★★★ Rewatched 17 Dec, 2013 2

    Original Review

    Makes even the most miserable misanthrope feel warm and festive.

  • The Broken Circle Breakdown 2012

    ★★ Watched 17 Dec, 2013 16

    Belgium’s foreign language entrant for the 2014 Academy Awards has received many comparisons with Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine due to their shared subject matter and fractured narrative structure. Unfortunately, the similarities end there as The Broken Circle Breakdown is a heavy handed melodrama that lacks the emotional honesty of Cianfrance’s Sundance favourite.

    Felix Van Groeningen’s disjointed melodrama documents the blossoming and destruction of the relationship between a bluegrass guitarist and his tattoo artist wife who suffer a great tragedy when…

  • The Lone Ranger 2013

    ★★ Watched 16 Dec, 2013 2

    Despite The Lone Ranger’s critical mauling and poor box office figures it really isn’t any worse than the majority of this summer’s blockbusters. That’s not to say its good - it’s still an indulgent and critically uneven film - but in a summer full of disappointment it is surprising that much of the hostility has been directed at this lavish re-imagining of the iconic Texas ranger.

    It’s commercial failings are slightly more understandable given the character’s lack of awareness amongst…

  • East of Kensington 2013

    ★★★ Watched 16 Dec, 2013 2

    East of Kensington is certainly one of the slickest and most accomplished student films I’ve had the pleasure of watching. Crowd-funded and backed by industry heavyweights, this is no ordinary thesis film. Yet whilst it might come from a privileged position that does not diminish its accomplishments as writer-director, Kellen Moore, has crafted an effective and memorable short that will no doubt act as an attention-grabbing calling card for the young filmmaker.

    The story is a dark and psychologically rich…

  • Hyde Park on Hudson 2012

    ★★ Watched 15 Dec, 2013

    Hyde Park on Hudson is two films in one - the first is about an affair between Margaret ‘Daisy’ Stuckley and her fifth cousin, the then-President, Franklin Roosevelt. The second centres on the meeting between George VI and Roosevelt in 1939, the first visit by an English monarch. Although both stories occur at the same time they rarely coalesce to become a successful whole.

    Comparisons with The King’s Speech seem unavoidable, particularly as they share the same rosy nostalgia ideal…

  • Holy Night! 2011

    Watched 15 Dec, 2013

    Holy shit!

  • Jack & Diane 2012

    ★★ Watched 14 Dec, 2013 4

    I’ve wanted to see Jack and Diane ever since I confused the film, Ginger & Rosa for it. Unfortunately the finished product didn’t quite match the months of anticipation for this lycanthropic lesbian love story. Written and directed by Bradley Rust Gray, the film captures the heady and tumultuous relationship between two teenage girls, Jack (a surprisingly boyish Riley Keough) and Diane (Juno Temple).

    Diane, an English student on holiday in New York, meets Jack in a shop. Soon they are…

  • I Against I 2012

    Watched 14 Dec, 2013

    From the synopsis I Against I sounded slightly more promising than the average British gangster film as two men, one a nightclub owner and the other a hitman, are ordered to kill each other. They have 12-hours to do the crime or face the repercussions. All this makes the film sound like a nail-biting thriller but the results are anything but.

    For a film with the threat of a ticking clock, I Against I proves surprisingly sluggish in the pace…

  • The Iceman 2012

    ★★½ Watched 13 Dec, 2013 34

    The Iceman is a conventional and by-the-numbers biopic of notorious New Jersey hitman, Richard Kuklinski. Starring Michael Shannon as the eponymous Iceman, a contract killer who murdered over one hundred men during his two-decade career, this is a standard rise and fall story that is reliant on Shannon’s imposing performance and period trappings.

    It is easy to see why filmmakers would be interested in Kuklinski’s story as he was a man who led two very different lives. To his unsuspecting…

  • Renoir 2012

    ★★ Watched 13 Dec, 2013 10

    The Renoirs, arguably France’s greatest creative family, deserved better than this soporific biopic bore. Set in 1915, a young Jean Renoir returns home after being wounded in the war only to fall in love with his father’s muse; a woman that inspires both men to new creative heights. Unfortunately, fine performances and beautiful impressionistic cinematography fail to mask the painful tedium that sets in early. I’d write more but I fear I may… zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz