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  • Dead Ringers 1988

    ★★★★½ Watched 17 Nov, 2014

    In a lot of ways, Dead Ringers feels akin to David Cronenberg's recent, coldly cerebral efforts like Cosmopolis or A Dangerous Method while retaining similar themes to his more overtly horrific work like The Fly.

    Time has been kind to a film that was perhaps under-appreciated at the time. The at-the-time groundbreaking effects that depicted Jeremy Irons twins onscreen at once still look absolutely seamless. Irons has never been better with a performance of astonishing subtlety that gets across the…

  • War Horse 2011

    ★½ Watched 16 Nov, 2014

    Do you know; if I didn't know any better, I would be convinced that Spielberg actually wants us to fancy this horse. It's the only way I can explain the bizarre devotion that every human character in this sorry mess has to this creature. At the auction scenes they're practically cramming crumpled dollars into the bridle of the coquettish equine tart.

    As horses go, it's alright. It's a horse. A horse that seems to be the kiss of death and…

  • God Help the Girl 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 11 Nov, 2014

    I think my cynicism chip is starting to short-circuit as I get older. It might partly be the influence of my ex who made me a much more tolerant person in the last few years. Perhaps I'm happier generally, more relaxed with myself and my place in the world. Whatever it is, I know that a few years ago, I would have detested God Help the Girl. Now? I was really very charmed by it, despite its manifest flaws.

    Emily…

  • When Animals Dream 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 08 Nov, 2014

    There is something about the Scandinavian scenery that just makes it perfect for horror, and When Animals Dream utilises its setting's natural eerieness to great effect.

    Taking its visual cues from modern Scandi-noir, and filtering its horror through the existential lens of Bergman and the coming of age feel of Let the Right One In, Jonas Alexander Arnby's film is a low-key somber werewolf tale.

    Young Marie is becoming aware of her sexuality, and is also developing a rash accompanied…

  • Asmodexia 2014

    ★★★ Watched 08 Nov, 2014

    Asmodexia is a Catalan demonic possession movie with an interesting twist. Co-writer/Director Marc Carreté is co-curator of Sitges Film Festival with the film's other writer Mike Hostench, and this, his debut, was the opening film at Leeds Film Festival Day of the Dead.

    Eloy and Alba are grandfather and granddaughter who just happen to be mendicant exorcists. They traverse the outskirts of Barcelona on foot, casting out demons as they go, for the purpose of a coming resurrection, counting down…

  • What We Do in the Shadows 2014

    ★★★★★ Watched 08 Nov, 2014 2

    This was almost the dictionary definition of a crowd-pleaser, getting a highly enthusiastic round of applause from the crowd at Day of the Dead.

    Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi's mock-doc about four vampires sharing a run-down house in Wellington, New Zealand impales all the right cliches in the vampire mythos in the same way This is Spinal Tap hits all the right notes with ludicrous, poodle-hair rock.

    Whether some major flaws will be more apparent on a rewatch remains to…

  • Zodiac 2007

    ★★★★½ Watched 06 Nov, 2014

    I thought The Killing's Sara Lund was the epitome of procedural obsession. I hadn't reckoned with the psychic pull of the elusive killer known as Zodiac, operating around the San Francisco area in the late 60's and early 70's.

    There was a self-mythologising and aggrandizing side to him that captured the public imagination and turned the brains of those investigating, not least SF Chronicle cartoonist Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal) into an addicted griddle.

    What David Fincher does here is nothing…

  • Tusk 2014

    ½ Watched 08 Nov, 2014

    I watched this last night as the final film of the Leeds Film Festival Day of the Dead. I felt as trapped and hemmed in as Justin Long's character does when he is seen into his fate.

    At the beginning of the day, while awaiting to get into the venue I witnessed a march by the English Defence League. I can't decide what offended my sense of taste and decency more; those racist, chinless Neanderthals, Or a Kevin Smith's Tusk.…

  • Starred Up 2013

    ★★★★ Watched 05 Nov, 2014

    The hoary old prison drama has had a bit of a resurgence in the last few years. Both A Prophet and Cell 211 have done something different while operating within the usual shivs and showers cliches. Coming out swinging amongst these tasty geezers is keen as mustard newcomer Starred Up

    While A Prophet has the feel of an epic parable and Cell 211 is all high-concept tension, Starred Up is pure stripped-down grit and keenly-observed character study. It sweats authenticity.…

  • Kill Your Darlings 2013

    ★★★ Watched 03 Nov, 2014

    Daniel Radcliffe continues his post-Potter Renaissance as a convincing young Allen Ginsberg as he discovers his muse and his sexuality at Columbia University in 1943.

    He meets the nascent Beat poets Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs and becomes obsessed with fiery young rebel Lucien Carr. This trio are played admirably - Jack Huston and Dane DeHaan portray the vanity of selfishness of Kerouac and Carr, but it is Ben Foster who steals the show as Burroughs. He is one actor…

  • The Book Thief 2013

    ★★★ Watched 30 Oct, 2014

    There are a hell of a lot of mixed emotions when it comes to a film adaptation of one of your favourite novels. Markus Zusak's is an astonishing work about the transcending power of literature and by extension, the human soul. I shamed myself utterly by finishing it on a train and sobbing in public.

    When a film review was announced I was hugely excited but definitely wary. This wariness was enhanced by the sniffy reviews so I held off…

  • Exhibition 2013

    ★★ Watched 29 Oct, 2014 3

    Joanna Hogg' third feature is as art-house as it gets, being about a literal 'art-house'. Married couple H & D (Viv Albertine and Liam Gillick) a performance artist and architect who have lived in their strange, boxy house for eighteen years.

    They have a slightly estranged existence; communicating with each other mainly via intercom as they go about their separate projects. The quietness of their space is constantly interrupted by various muffled thumps and sirens from outside - normal sounds, but…