GONE GIRL, from left: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, 2014

0193 | Gone Girl

My inner cynic was wary about the high praise recently bestowed on Gone Girl, David Fincher’s latest suspense thriller, given that it was released after a relatively quiet post-summer period in which one average film after another seemed to tumble half-heartedly into cinemas. I’m not intending […]

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0192 | ’71

Yann Demange has cut his directorial teeth by working on a variety of TV shows in the UK, ranging from ITV’s Secret Diary Of A Call Girl to Charlie Brooker’s post-modern zombie series Dead Set, but his best small screen work to date is the […]

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0191 | Nymphomaniac

It’s interesting to contemplate the changing way that sex has been portrayed on film over the years in western cinema. There were many decades where the act itself could only be hinted at, of course, and a film containing a love story or even an […]

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0190 | El Cuerpo (The Body)

Hey! If you’re only going to watch one film this month about the disappearance of a woman, and the suspicion that’s placed on a man as a result of that disappearance, then the chances are you’ve seen it already. There has been plenty of fuss […]

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0189 | The Wicker Man

(Before I launch into this review here’s a quick plug for a new blog called Hyperfilm, which I’ve recently started so that I’m able to post what will hopefully become a vast archive of drivel all about the magical, mysterious world of film. Please check […]

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0188 | Now You See Me

British magicians working during the 1980s and 1990s really weren’t very glamorous when compared with their American counterparts. The most famous – Paul Daniels, Tommy Cooper – worked for decades in the country’s unforgiving, smoke-filled, late night clubs or cheery seaside venues before getting their […]

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0187 | Donnie Darko

Donnie Darko, Richard Kelly’s cult debut feature, famously came very close to being a straight-to-DVD release. And who knows? In a parallel universe maybe that actually happened, and Donnie Darko became loved by just a handful of people who all caught its one-and-only cable showing at three […]

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Lawrence Tierney as Vincent Lubeck in THE HOODLUM (1951, Max Nosseck).

0186 | The Hoodlum

‘Gadzooks,’ I thought while watching this early 1950s tale of a rotten apple addicted to a life of crime, ‘this is very bleak stuff indeed’. So bleak, in fact, that I’m struggling to think of any film noir I’ve seen that equals or ‘betters’ the depressing, downbeat […]

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0185 | Aruitemo Aruitemo (Still Walking)

The Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda has been somewhat prolific during the course of the past twenty years, directing a total of eleven fictional films and documentaries, many of which he also wrote and edited. His reputation as a writer and director who is concerned primarily […]

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0184 | Predators

I have no idea how an actor as esteemed as Adrien Brody – once the youngest ever male to win a Best Actor Oscar and the only American to have won France’s prestigious Best Actor César Award, lest we forget – would find himself attached […]

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0182 | Stories We Tell

Sarah Polley’s touching, illuminating and genre-twisting documentary Stories We Tell is an examination of her own family’s history, detailing the love affairs and marriages of her mother Diane via interviews with relatives and others that knew her well. It’s also something of a statement of appreciation and […]

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0181 | Tremors

Though he was undoubtedly a big star in the 1980s and 1990s, most of Kevin Bacon’s recent appearances in UK cinemas have come as a result of his employment by mobile network EE as a hawker of phone and broadband products in adverts. He’s still very much a […]

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0180 | The Inbetweeners 2

Near the end of The Inbetweeners 2, the second feature-length tie-in made by the team behind Channel 4’s successful sit-com The Inbetweeners, the four main characters – Will (Simon Bird), Jay (James Buckley), Neil (Blake Harrison) and Simon (Joe Thomas) – become stranded while on holiday in […]

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0179 | Guardians Of The Galaxy

I’ve been moaning and grumbling my way through comic book-related blockbusters for what feels like an eternity now, and yet despite several reservations remaining in place from one year to the next, I don’t actually hate any of the post-2000 Avengers, X-Men, Superman or Spider-Man-related offerings. My irritation stems more generally from […]

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0178 | Back To The Future

It’s hard to believe that Back To The Future, the entertaining and much-loved time travel movie by Robert Zemeckis, will be 30 years old next year. Endlessly quotable, with a number of memorable scenes and characters, it’s a movie that retains its youthful charm today and […]

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0177 | Spring Breakers

This latest work by Harmony Korine – more a ‘cinquantaine excentrique’ these days than the enfant terrible of yore – is a hyper-lysergic and pulpy exploitation / study of American college kid ‘spring break’ hedonism and the way it fits in with the ongoing oversexualisation of women and glamourisation […]

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0176 | Snowpiercer

Sometimes the distribution decisions made by studios are utterly baffling. Take Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s English language debut Snowpiercer for example, which has been available online for nefarious downloaders to watch for quite some time having been released in South Korea and selected other countries about a […]

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0174 | The Way, Way Back

I’ve watched and reviewed a number of bittersweet coming-of-age comedy-dramas during the past year, to the point where my interest in this much-loved sub-genre has started to wane a little, mostly as a result of the predictability of the stories. Admittedly every now and again a film like Boyhood or Mud comes […]

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0173 | X-Men: Days Of Future Past

I’ve been deliberately avoiding Marvel-related films during 2014 (this was the last one I saw) due to a general fatigue of spandex, special powers and smart-arse wisecrackery (I get enough of that in my night job as Coward-Man, Gotham’s most statistically-unsuccessful superhero). As such, this year I’ve ignored Captain America: […]

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0172 | Shadow Of A Doubt

I’m back after a two week holiday and thought I’d share this review, which was written for the Alfred Hitchcock blogathon currently being hosted by Zoë and Rob. As part of this blogathon all of Hitchcock’s films are being reviewed in chronological order and both hosts are […]

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0171 | Horrible Bosses

In Seth Gordon’s crude and financially successful 2011 black comedy, the three horrible bosses in question are played by A-listers Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston and Colin Farrell, and they seem to be having a whale of a time playing characters riddled with obnoxious characteristics. It’s a […]

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0170 | The Terror

One of the more popular B-movies made by Roger Corman is the 1963 comedy-horror The Raven, based on the poem by Edgar Allan Poe, but unfortunately I’m reviewing The Terror, a ghost story he made around the same time. Both films feature Boris Karloff and Jack Nicholson (who collaborated […]

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0169 | Cops

A couple of days ago – bear with me here, this is neither the time or the place, but I make the rules in this musty little corner of the internet and can therefore talk about whatever I want whenever I want – I learned […]

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0168 | Boyhood

Set in director Richard Linklater’s home state of Texas, Boyhood is a fascinating, immersive and intimate study of a young boy named Mason Jr (Ellar Coltrane) and his family which, unusually, took more than twelve years to make. Filming began in 2002, when Coltrane was just six […]

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0167 | Jeremiah Johnson

The actor and environmentalist Robert Redford moved to Utah, the birthplace of his first wife Lola Van Wagenen, at the turn of the 1960s. He built a home for his young family and gradually got to know the beautiful and unforgiving terrain of the state, […]

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0166 | Army Of Darkness

Sam Raimi’s original Evil Dead trilogy (consisting of the schlocky 1981 horror The Evil Dead and two sequels, 1987’s Evil Dead II and 1992’s Army Of Darkness) is one of the most cherished cult horror franchises of all time. Fans wax lyrical about Raimi’s winning mix of horror and comedy, and for many years […]

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The Grand Budapest Hotel

0165 | The Grand Budapest Hotel

When Wes Anderson’s latest film The Grand Budapest Hotel was released earlier this year to near-universal acclaim, the inner skeptic in me rolled its eyes at the sight of one glowing review after another. “Can it really be this good?” I grumbled internally, fresh from the disappointment of discovering that Moonrise […]

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0164 | Biutiful

To say that Alejandro González Iñárritu’s forthcoming Birdman is a change in direction is something of an understatement. Featuring a diverse range of actors including Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Norton and Naomi Watts, it is being billed as a comedy-drama superhero movie, which is surprising given […]

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Vicky Cristina Barcelona

0163 | Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Last year I suggested – in a review of Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine – that the director’s recent career was, generally speaking, better than many critical fans and fan critics alike cared to admit. That film in particular is a recent highlight, and while there have been […]

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0162 | His Kind Of Woman

Robert Mitchum’s face is one of the most instantly recognisable of Hollywood’s golden age. It’s a handsome mush, for sure, but chiselled good looks were ten-a-penny in La-la-land back then, and Mitchum’s also had a certain oddness about it that distinguished it from others. He […]

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0161 | Good Vibrations

‘New York has the haircuts, London has the trousers … but Belfast has the reason!’ shouts a triumphant Terri Hooley (Richard Dormer) to a crowd of punks near the end of Glenn Leyburn and Lisa Barros D’Sa second film Good Vibrations. Hooley – a record shop […]

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0160 | Movie 43

When Movie 43 was released a year or so ago critics (yes, all of them) swiftly damned the film with a string of aggressive insults. Some called it the worst film ever made. Some called it the worst thing ever made. Some called it the […]

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0159 | Edge Of Tomorrow

[Please note: the following review contains a couple of spoilers, which I’ve had to divulge in order to discuss the movie, but rest assured I’m not giving away major plot twists like the fact that Darth Vader is revealed to be a woman in The […]

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0158 | The Master

Though Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master shares much thematic and stylistic common ground with all of his earlier films, which I consider to be uniformly excellent, its closest companion is 2007’s brooding and restless There Will Be Blood. Both movies contain protagonists associated with religion who are drawn as […]

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0157 | Before Midnight

Before Midnight is the third instalment of Richard Linklater’s on-going series charting the life and romantic entwining of a French woman named Céline (Julie Delpy) and an American man named Jesse (Ethan Hawke). To recap briefly – spoilers ahead – the couple met in their early 20s […]

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0156 | Blue Ruin

Having now watched the accomplished revenge thriller Blue Ruin, it’s fascinating to visit the Kickstarter crowdfunding page that was set up by director Jeremy Saulnier and production company Filmscience to help finance the movie. Saulnier’s original target was to raise $35,000, a figure that was surpassed […]

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0155 | Blackfish

In Jacques Audiard’s recent film De Rouille Et D’os (Rust And Bone), a killer whale trainer played by Marion Cotillard is attacked by an orca in the middle of a show at a tourist marine park. It is one of the more striking cinematic sequences of recent […]

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0154 | Cornered

Dick Powell – that’s him in the picture above – died young, at the age of 58. In 1956, seven years earlier, he directed The Conqueror, which implausibly starred John Wayne as the Mongolian warrior Ghenghis Khan. Filming took place downwind of atomic tests that […]

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0153 | Midnight Cowboy

John Schlesinger began the 1960s making excellent British social dramas, such as A Kind Of Loving, Billy Liar and Darling. By the end of the decade he was working in America, and had picked up the Best Director Oscar for Midnight Cowboy, his hallucinogenic take on […]

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0152 | Frances Ha

Writer and director Noah Baumbach has delivered several witty comedy-dramas in his near 20-year career, which began in 1995 with the well-received debut Kicking And Screaming. In that film Baumbach’s main characters were a group of college friends who were all stubbornly refusing to move […]

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0151 | Godzilla

One of the main talking points surrounding Gareth Edwards’s 2010 creature feature Monsters was the fact that the young director had delivered the kind of humans-in-peril blockbuster story – along with some sporadic blockbuster-level special effects – for an impressively small budget of $500,000. That […]

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0150 | Youth In Revolt

I wrote about the similarities that exist between most of Michael Cera’s previous roles, and his more recent desire to try something different, in my review for the comedy Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist a few weeks ago. As such I won’t repeat the same points […]

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0149 | Under The Skin

Under The Skin is perhaps one of the more unusual cinema releases of the year so far. Part sci-fi, part horror, it features Scarlett Johansson as an un-named alien who ‘borrows’ the human body of a recently-deceased woman and travels around a bleak, rainy Glasgow in […]

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0148 | Glastonbury

I’ve attended the Glastonbury music festival seven or eight times since popping my Somerset cherry way back in 1995. My last one was in 2007, and while it’s obviously not the same watching on TV each June, a mixture of reasons have stopped me from from going back: primarily my wife, […]

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0147 | Patton

There are epics, and then there are epics. Franklin J. Schaffner’s colossal story of General George S. Patton’s command of the US II Corps, US Seventh Army and US Third Army during World War II clocks in at a bum-numbing 170 minutes and is breathtaking in scale, […]

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0146 | La Haine (Hate)

When Mathieu Kassovitz’s brutal inner-city drama La Haine was released in 1995, the film’s reach extended beyond the usual confines of the cinema and its patrons. Alain Juppé, the French Prime Minister at the time, commissioned a special screening of the movie which all cabinet ministers […]

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0145 | Robocop

I recently contributed the following review of Robocop to Natalie’s excellent blog Writer Loves Movies. At the moment Natalie is posting a series of reviews where other bloggers write about personal connections to their favourite films, which is well worth checking out. I’ve switched off comments […]

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0144 | Red

A few days ago I reviewed Martin McDonagh’s recent action-comedy Seven Psychopaths, and pointed out that although I thought it was enjoyable at times it often seemed to me to be way too smug and self-satisfied for its own good. The same can be said for […]

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