List Film

Reviews & features: Drama

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

17 Nov 20144 stars

Jennifer Lawrence remains a girl on fire in the penultimate part of the dystopian saga

After Harry Potter and Twilight, carving two films from the final book in a series has become an unwelcome Hollywood trend. And so it goes with The Hunger Games, which stretches the last book in Suzanne Collins’ dystopian YA trilogy into a two part…

Get On Up

17 Nov 20144 stars

Exhilarating James Brown biopic featuring a barnstorming Chadwick Boseman

One word perfectly describes Tate Taylor’s James Brown biopic: funky. The ‘Godfather of Soul’ was such a force of nature, anything less than a toe-tapping, booty-shaking, yeow of a movie would’ve done him a disservice. Thankfully, Taylor (who made The…

No Good Deed

17 Nov 20142 stars

Derivative thriller starring, and squandering the talented Idris Elba and Taraji P Henson

A leaden entry in the home invasion stakes, No Good Deed's box office success in the US is presumably due to a lack of comparable cinematic competition, as there's nothing to distinguish TV director Sam Miller's pedestrian effort from scores of…

Profile: Dietrich Brüggemann

12 Nov 2014

German writer and director discusses religion ahead of release of new film Stations of the Cross

Dietrich Brüggemann is a Munich-born writer / director who made his name on the film festival circuit with witty character dramas Run, If You Can (2010) and Move (2012). What’s he up to now? Brüggemann’s latest film Stations of the Cross is a change…

Third Person

10 Nov 20141 star

Painfully poor effort from Paul Haggis that squanders the talents of an all-star cast

Paul Haggis' 2006 Best Picture Oscar winner Crash (still a sore point for Brokeback Mountain fans) was famously inspired by a real-life car-jacking incident that saw the writer-director work through his subsequent feelings of prejudice and guilt in…

Diplomacy

10 Nov 20144 stars

A slice of scintillating history from Volker Schlöndorff, starring Niels Arestrup

Director Volker Schlöndorff created a masterpiece with his 1979 adaptation of Günter Grass's novel The Tin Drum; having made a definitive anti-war film, it's surprising to see him return to the subject some 35 years later. However Diplomacy quickly…

Profile: Noomi Rapace

5 Nov 2014

Swedish actress talks about working with James Gandolfini for her latest film The Drop

Born in Sweden, Rapace shot to international fame with her portrayal of Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011). She made her English language debut in Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes sequel and subsequently played the lead in Ridley…

Leviathan

4 Nov 20145 stars

Exceptional, award-winning drama from Russian writer-director Andrey Zvyagintsev

First feted for his striking 2003 debut The Return, and celebrated since for The Banishment and Elena, Andrey Zvyagintsev is a director of heavyweight gifts, whose films are distinguished by both their visual beauty and their narrative ambition. This…

Interstellar

3 Nov 20143 stars

Christopher Nolan's space odyssey is an admirable and adventurous folly

A film of soaring ambition and spectacular flaws, Interstellar is the ninth feature from movie messiah Christopher Nolan. His latest wields a Spielbergian sense of wonder, plunging us into a dystopian near-future; taking us through space and time on a…

Africa in Motion 2014 film festival round-up

3 Nov 2014

Featuring Robots of Brixton, Afronauts, Beri and Amare, Picture Perfect Heist and Four Corners

Science-fiction is usually the preserve of Hollywood; new African film-makers take the visual cues of Soweto-shot sci-fi hit District 9 back to their roots. Kibwe Tavares' Robots of Brixton (●●●) mixes footage of real-life riots from 1981 with…

Say When

3 Nov 20143 stars

Likeable life crisis dramedy from Lynn Shelton starring Keira Knightley

Writer-director Lynn Shelton has made her name with lo-fi relationship dramas – Humpday, Your Sister’s Sister and Touchy Feely among others. Say When is no different, albeit with a higher-profile cast than Shelton is used to. It’s also the first time…

Sacro GRA

3 Nov 20143 stars

Gianfranco Rosi's idiosyncratic take on modern Rome is meandering yet meaningful

Think of Italy and you'll likely imagine stunning vistas of ancient cities and dramatic coastlines. Think of Italian movies and you're sure to conjure up similarly misty-eyed visions of La Dolce Vita, 8½ and the like. Filmmmaker Gianfranco Rosi…

Ten things we know about Interstellar

31 Oct 2014

'No green screen. They were chucking dust in my face every day.'

Mind-bogglingly ambitious, Interstellar looks set to be Christopher Nolan’s craziest film yet. Karen Krizanovich discovers what inspires The Dark Knight and Inception director to go bigger every time, and what key Interstellar cast members – Matthew…

Mr Turner

27 Oct 20145 stars

Striking biopic of the British master from Mike Leigh starring Timothy Spall

Mr Turner opens on a sun-blushed windmill and on milkmaids giggling and gossiping as they carry their pails. They make way for Turner himself, silhouetted against the sky and iconic from the outset, with his top hat, sketchpad and portly frame. It's a…

Nightcrawler

27 Oct 20144 stars

Penetrating satire with a blackly comic streak starring a sensational Jake Gyllenhaal

What do you get if you cross Tom Ripley, Rain Man's Raymond Babbitt and American Psycho? Well, apparently you get Lou Bloom, an ambitious, manically assiduous character who finds employment as a professional rubber-necker. Played by Jake Gyllenhaal…

Highlights of the BFI's Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder film and TV festival

24 Oct 2014

Inculding events at Bletchely Park, the Eden Project, Caerphilly Castle and Dungannon Film Club

The BFI’s new film and television festival Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder is taking place across the length and breadth of the UK at 124 locations, from the Isle of Skye to Falmouth. Until December, 576 screenings and events are set to take place…

The best film releases and events – Oct / Nov 2014

22 Oct 2014

Including Fury, Mr Turner, Love is Strange, Ghostbusters and Frankenstein

Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder This autumn’s BFI screenings celebrate sci-fi on screen all over the UK. From October to December, its Scottish programme includes classics like Alien and The Thing, with screenings spanning the length and breadth of the…

Night Train to Lisbon

21 Oct 20143 stars

Sporadically successful melodrama from Bille August starring Jeremy Irons

The once lauded director Bille August has been a sporadic presence of late; the director of Oscar-winner Pelle the Conqueror has kept a low profile since the failure of his 90s English-language literary adaptations The House of the Spirits and Smilla's…

Love is Strange to show at Glasgow Film Theatre

21 Oct 2014

Special October screenings of film months before its general release in Feb 2015

It’s not on general release until February 2015, but Glasgay! and Luminate Festival are holding special October screenings of this tender drama from Keep the Lights On writers Ira Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias. After nearly 40 years together, Ben (John…

Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary Screenings

21 Oct 2014

Celebrate Hallowe'en with this classic 80s comedy starring Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver

In 1984, the story of four disgraced parapsychologists who set themselves up as freelance ghostbusters burst its way onto the big screen and found itself embedded in popular culture forever. In celebration of its 30th birthday, the movie is returning to…

Preview: NT Live – Frankenstein

21 Oct 2014

Film directed by Danny Boyle starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller released 30 Oct

National Theatre Live’s Frankenstein is returning to cinemas across the UK this Hallowe’en. Directed by Danny Boyle and starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller, the live theatre simulcast was a critically-acclaimed smash when it originally…

Opinion: Event Cinema vs live theatre

20 Oct 2014

The List's Theatre editor Garth K Vile looks at the merits of screening dramatic art at cinemas

Event Cinema – the simultaneous broadcast of a live theatre performance into cinemas around the world – has several advantages over traditional performances. The chairs are more comfortable, big shows and stars from London and Moscow can be seen in…

The Knife That Killed Me

20 Oct 20143 stars

Ambitious but flawed teen drama from Kit Monkman and Marcus Romer boasting a bold visual style

Given the title, it's no spoiler to say The Knife That Killed Me opens with a lethal stabbing. Paul Varderman (Jack McMullen) then narrates his way through the events that led to this fateful encounter with the blade: moving to Leeds after his mum dies…

Mommy

20 Oct 20145 stars

London Film Festival: Xavier Dolan's fifth film is a domestic drama that's raw and hilarious

Mommy deals with the complex issues of mental illness and domestic difficulties in a way that John Cassavetes would admire: by celebrating difference and not shrinking back or judging when things get ugly. After his taut thriller Tom at the Farm…

Whiplash

20 Oct 20145 stars

London Film Festival: Damien Chazelle's second film plays like a high octane thriller

Captured with a riveting and rhythmic intensity which mirrors its protagonist's ferocious focus and surging drive, Whiplash is an audaciously edited, voraciously performed story of blood, sweat and beats which makes you feel every pummel and thrash.