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  • Home

    Home 2015

    ★★½ Watched 03 May, 2015

    A passable, yet unspectacular way to spend a Sunday afternoon, Home plays towards the younger end of the spectrum. It's a bright and colourful piece about friendly aliens called the Boov who are adept at cowardice, and colonise the Earth to escape their great enemies the Gorg.
    To do this they relocate all of humanity to Australia.

    One girl (Rihanna) evades the aliens and joins forces with the hapless Oh, (Jim Parsons) an inadvertently renegade Boov, and go in search…

  • '71

    '71 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 29 Apr, 2015

    Jack O’Connell continues his inexorable rise in Yann Demange’s debut film. He plays Gary Hook, a new recruit to the British Army who is stranded in the streets of Belfast on his first engagement during the early days of the Troubles. The film focuses on his attempts to survive the night.

    Unlike say, his inflammatory performances in Eden Lake or Starred Up in which he is plays the driving force, O’Connell has a much more reactive role here as he…

  • Paddington

    Paddington 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 25 Apr, 2015

    The terrifying cautionary tale of an illegal immigrant smuggling foodstuffs into the country, and inveigling his way into the home of a decent, hardworking, aspirational middle-class family where he proceeds to cause havoc. He doesn’t even get himself a job. Shocking.

    I imagine that may have been the review of Paddington that appeared in the Daily Mail, alongside another attack on Ed Milliband’s Marxist father, and another offer for a Princess Diana memorial china plate.

    Paul King’s take on the…

  • Magic in the Moonlight

    Magic in the Moonlight 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 18 Apr, 2015

    It's unlikely to be considered as classic Woody Allen, but Magic in the Moonlight is the filmic equivalent of a day in your dressing gown scoffing ice cream. It's just comforting and soothing.

    The plot is delightful flannel - Colin Firth is a stage illusionist in the 1920s who hears about an astonishing young psychic, Emma Stone, who has completely baffled fellow magician Simon McBurney. Fifth resolves to unmask the young medium as a fraud.

    There are similarities in the…

  • Burden of Dreams

    Burden of Dreams 1982

    ★★★★½ Watched 17 Apr, 2015

    Fitzcarraldo is an extraordinary film. Werner Herzog's customary analysis of madness and obsession is a riveting and audacious work. Les Blanks's documentary, Burden of Dreams is no less gripping.

    Blank films Herzog and his cast and crew during the protracted, Sisyphean task of brining his film to the screen. From funding difficulties to losing his main cast, Jason Robards and Mick Jagger (shown in incredible early filmed footage) to recalcitrant crew and extras, Herzog's usual amiable demeanour and that soothing…

  • Lucy

    Lucy 2014

    ★★ Watched 16 Apr, 2015

    If I was being extraordinarily kind, one could read Lucy as an attempt for one woman to achieve full intellectual enlightenment – actual Nirvana and the negating of the self. I feel that Luc Besson perhaps had a germ on an idea there.

    Unfortunately I’m not feeling kind, and instead Besson has produced some cod-scientific, pseudo-smart bumwash that I was almost on board with (or at least wasn’t actively despising), until one of the most outright ludicrous final acts I…

  • Mr. Turner

    Mr. Turner 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 14 Apr, 2015

    Often regarded as the finest of English painters, Joseph Mallord William Turner was a prolific artist, and Mike Leigh’s portrait of his final twenty-five years does a fine job of presenting the relentless energy with which he pursued his art.

    Timothy Spall plays Turner as a curmudgeonly man who communicates through grunts and snorts for the most part, yet can be called upon to charm with gruff eloquence when necessarily. His brusque demeanour masking an obsessive interest with the world…

  • Dark City

    Dark City 1998

    ★★★ Watched 13 Apr, 2015

    Alex Proyas’ Dark City is a stylish amalgam of numerous impeccable influences. Now acknowledged as a bona fide cult classic and championed vociferously by the likes of Roger Ebert it is an audacious dystopia that anticipated the likes of The Matrix, released the following year.

    John Murdoch is a man who wakes up in a bathtub in a nameless city. He has no memory of who he is and how he came to be there. He certainly has no idea…

  • Fury

    Fury 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 09 Apr, 2015

    David Ayer's Fury is a film that almost undoes itself by tacking on an overly heroic last stand to round off a narrative that previously seemed to pride itself on its authenticity and its visceral impact.

    Based around a motley crew of rag-tag Sherman tank operatives during the dying embers of the Second World War, Fury really gets under the shell of the titular M4 as its crew pick their way across the desecrated route into Germany.

    Using real, authentic…

  • Horns

    Horns 2013

    ★★½ Watched 08 Apr, 2015

    French director Alexandre Aja’s take on Miltonian themes succeeds in informing us that the Devil is essentially more trustworthy than a lawyer.

    Based on Joe Hill’s novel of the same name, Horns stars Daniel Radcliffe as Ignatius (‘The Fiery One’ in Latin) Perrish, who is suspected of the rape and murder of his girlfriend Merrin (Juno Temple), although remains free due to lack of evidence. After a night of heavy drinking he wakes to discover horns sprouting from his head.…

  • Hiroshima Mon Amour

    Hiroshima Mon Amour 1959

    ★★★ Watched 31 Mar, 2015

    For the first twenty minutes of Hiroshima Mon Amour I was utterly captivated. A discussion between two lovers played out over the distressing scenes of the maimed and mutilated victims of the Hiroshima bomb. She is a French actress, He a Japanese architect who was elsewhere during the war, but whose family was resident in Hiroshima. She talks about what she remembers from visiting the museum. He disagrees, claiming she doesn’t remember. The gentle disagreement is heard in voiceover as…

  • Big Hero 6

    Big Hero 6 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 29 Mar, 2015

    It wasn’t until some distance into Big Hero 6 that I realised I was watching a superhero origin story. I didn’t know too much about the film beyond it being the latest Disney animation and it had a blow-up robot. I decided to watch it to with my girlfriend to kill a couple of hours before we hopped on a scheduled bus. Perhaps if I had known I would have braced myself to deal with the usual tropes of that…