List Film

Reviews & features: Drama

Interview: Black Watch playwright Gregory Burke talks ’71, and moving from theatre to film

1 Oct 2014

‘I'm not into theatre! Even when I was working in theatre, I never went to the theatre!’

‘I've always wanted to shirk responsibility wherever I can in life,’ laughs Gregory Burke. The Fife-born playwright is best known for the Olivier Award-winning drama Black Watch about British soldiers in Iraq – and he jumped at the chance to write his…

Dracula Untold

30 Sep 20142 stars

Luke Evans and Charles Dance impress in an otherwise mishandled origin story

An early title for this latest spin on Bram Stoker’s fanged fiend was ‘Dracula: Year Zero’, which gives some indication of where the writers gleaned inspiration for this origin story: Frank Miller’s seminal graphic novel 'Batman: Year One'. Dracula…

Gone Girl

29 Sep 20144 stars

Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's sharp take on Gillian Flynn's bestseller

David Fincher: an excellent choice to direct Gillian Flynn’s whiplashing tale of deceptions. He steers this adaptation with cool, detached technical proficiency and a sense of brutally malicious fun, making Gone Girl as entertainingly gripping as it is…

You and the Night

29 Sep 20143 stars

Eric Cantona and Béatrice Dalle star in an oddly lovable orgy dramedy

Looking for the orgy? You’ll find it up Fassbinder Street, left at Almodóvar Corner, on the corner of Pierre et Gilles. Be sure to wear your eye-patch or maid’s uniform, and to bring a poignant story detailing what made you so depraved… Set among the…

Draft Day

29 Sep 20142 stars

Disappointing sports movie from Ivan Reitman featuring Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner

The UK release of Ivan Reitman's latest follows on quickly from the NFL getting its first openly gay player, while the spotlight has recently been thrown on the off-field bad behaviour of some of its other members; Draft Day is a behind-the-scenes look…

Violette

29 Sep 20144 stars

Martin Provost's sophisticated biopic stars Emmanuelle Devos as Violette Leduc

This elegant but deeply felt biopic charts the messy rise to counter-culture fame of French post-war novelist Violette Leduc, played by the always compelling Emmanuelle Devos. Whilst emerging from a wartime career as a black marketeer into writing…

Maps to the Stars

22 Sep 20142 stars

David Cronenberg's satirical misfire stars a nevertheless impressive Julianne Moore

David Cronenberg arrives about 20 years too late to the party with Maps to the Stars, a strained satire of Tinseltown neuroses that feels surprisingly old hat. Screenwriter Bruce Wagner's slice of Hollywood gothic takes lazy pot shots at easy targets…

Interview: Jeff Baena discusses new film Life After Beth

19 Sep 2014

Director talks suburbia, working with his girlfriend and the psychology of smooth jazz

Life After Beth stars Dane DeHaan as Zach, an affluent suburbanite moper whose girlfriend, Beth (Aubrey Plaza), has recently died. Luckily for Zach, it turns out she’s not gone for good. We had a sit-down with director Jeff Baena (and, briefly, his star…

Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival 2014: Film highlights

19 Sep 2014

The annual arts fest features screenings of Ana Ana, The Crash Reel and Silver Linings Playbook

How’s your mental health? There is every chance you might have a lengthy answer to that question; and no less chance that you’d like to keep it to yourself. Mental health issues are vastly prevalent, but carry a stigma that can make them a good deal…

TIFF 2014: The Drop

15 Sep 20144 stars

James Gandolfini's swansong is a satisfying thriller co-starring Tom Hardy

Tom Hardy is steadily proving to be one of the most versatile actors of his generation, constantly extending a range that stretches from Batman baddie and Bronson swagger to the gentle tour-de-force of Locke and now, in this tough Brooklyn thriller, he…

Magic in the Moonlight

15 Sep 20143 stars

Sparks fail to fly between Colin Firth and Emma Stone in Woody Allen's latest

Woody Allen waves his wand for the 44th time (a figure worthy of a sharp intake of breath) and the result is rather less bewitching than its twinkly title suggests. The promising premise involves one professional swindler attempting to unmask another…

The Riot Club

15 Sep 20144 stars

Lone Scherfig's appropriately nasty drama features a star turn from Sam Claflin

Adapted by Laura Wade from her own play Posh, The Riot Club violently disabuses us of the notion that those who rule us might do so from a good place. Wade and director Lone Scherfig knock the uber-privileged off their pedestal by turning puffed-up…

TIFF 2014: The Imitation Game

15 Sep 20144 stars

Stirring drama featuring a brilliant Benedict Cumberbatch as tortured code-breaker Alan Turing

The story of how Alan Turing and the Bletchley boffins defeated the Enigma machine is one of the most stirring of the Second World War; the British David conquering the Nazi Goliath by virtue of superior mathematics and intellectual daring. The…

The Giver

15 Sep 20142 stars

Disappointing adaptation of Lois Lowry's YA novel with Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges

The pile of unwanted, underwhelming young-adult adaptations is rising. From The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones to The Host via Ender’s Game, the search for another Twilight or The Hunger Games has ransacked the bookshelves of many literate teens.

20,000 Days on Earth

15 Sep 20144 stars

This eclectic pseudo-doc paints a fittingly askew portrait of the musician Nick Cave

20,000 Days on Earth spins the seductive, semi-truthful story of Nick Cave. It's an existentialist pseudo-documentary, taking in love, death and memories as well as the art of song-writing, storytelling and performance. With its theme of self…

Wish I Was Here

15 Sep 20142 stars

Zach Braff's disappointing, Kickstarter-funded second film features Kate Hudson

Like the struggling protagonist of Wish I Was Here, unemployed actor and father Aidan Bloom, writer-director Zach Braff’s follow-up to Garden State has considerable baggage. The easy charm and comedic melancholy of Braff’s 2004 debut created a cult…

TIFF 2014: Men, Women & Children

12 Sep 20143 stars

Jason Reitman's conservative comedy drama features a nicely understated Adam Sandler

Jason Reitman's cautionary, state-of-the-nation mosaic starts off with the promise of something Altman-esque like Nashville or Short Cuts, but winds up closer in tone to something written by Richard Curtis. Perhaps it is the fault of the extensive…

TIFF 2014: My Old Lady

10 Sep 20143 stars

Maggie Smith and Kevin Kline excel in a witty, sophisticated drama from Israel Horovitz

Israel Horovitz should be considered a source of encouragement for anyone in the autumn of their lives. A vastly prolific playwright, occasional screenwriter (Author! Author!) and father of Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz, he has now made his directorial…

Pride

8 Sep 20143 stars

Bill Nighy and Dominic West star in a fizzy, feel-good take on an inspiring 80s campaign

Imelda Staunton rolling around a bed with a red dildo laughing is one of the gleeful high points of Matthew Warchus’ unashamedly fizzy, cheering take on the 'Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners' campaign which involved a unique coming together of two…

TIFF 2014: The Judge

8 Sep 20143 stars

Corny but watchable drama featuring great performances from Robert Downey Jr and Robert Duvall

The Judge is a corny, shamelessly manipulative wallow of a film made surprisingly watchable by the sheer charisma of acting heavyweights Robert Downey Jr and Robert Duvall. Both veterans are cast according to type but lend conviction to even the…

The Hundred-Foot Journey

1 Sep 20143 stars

Helen Mirren is on fine form in a sentimental culinary culture clash drama

Swapping cocoa for curry powder, Lasse Hallström’s latest is a culinary tale based on the book by Richard C Morais with a screenplay by Steven Knight (Locke, Eastern Promises). Recalling his Juliette Binoche-starrer Chocolat, Hallström again wants us to…

Profile: Kelly Reichardt, director of the Jesse Eisenberg-starring Night Moves

27 Aug 2014

The eco-activist drama also stars Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard

Name Kelly Reichardt Born 1964, Miami, Florida. Background Reichardt is one of the most celebrated directors working in indie cinema today, having directed Old Joy, Wendy and Lucy and Meek’s Cutoff. Her work has received nominations for both…

Interview: Robert Rodriguez, Eva Green and Jessica Alba talk Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

26 Aug 2014

The director and stars are making a return to Frank Miller's graphic neo-noir universe

If there’s been one question Robert Rodriguez has faced over the past nine years, it’s this: When are you going back to Sin City? ‘To have a movie that people chase you down about to get a sequel for. That just doesn’t happen,’ nods the 46-year-old…

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

26 Aug 20143 stars

Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller's sequel favours style over substance

Nearly a decade after Robert Rodriguez teamed up with graphic novelist Frank Miller to bring Miller’s celebrated Sin City to jaw-dropping life, their follow-up navigates the same schlocky, sweaty path of bloody crime and bloodier retribution. Like…

Million Dollar Arm

26 Aug 20142 stars

Jon Hamm stars in a bland, predictable baseball drama based on a true-life tale

The many admirers of Jon Hamm's work in the iconic television show Mad Men may feel like they could watch him in anything; Disney’s two-hour plus biopic of a sports agent offers a tough test of that. Hamm's charm works well playing a debonair scoundrel…