List Film

Reviews & features: Reviews

Only Lovers Left Alive

14 Feb 20144 stars

Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston star in Jim Jarmusch's anti-vampire, vampire film

Jim Jarmusch has made a career out of subverting the norms of genre filmmaking – indeed, his work is a genre unto itself. After the divisive The Limits of Control, his latest film (which is best described as an anti-vampire vampire film) signals a…

The Lego Movie

11 Feb 20143 stars

A genuinely funny film from the makers of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Fast, funny and created with loving attention to detail, The Lego Movie will delight anyone who has ever played with those universally-recognised little yellow figures. Beginning at a blistering pace that never lets up, the film (from Cloudy With A…

Love is in the Air

11 Feb 20143 stars

A fluffy French twist on a typical high concept Hollywood romantic comedy

True romance is marked by missed opportunities and second chances in Love is in the Air, a slick, fluffy French confection that slides down as easily as an extra helping of tarte tatin accompanied by a dollop of creme chantilly. It is a very French…

The Monuments Men

11 Feb 20142 stars

George Clooney's WWII art heist movie is a monument to bad filmmaking

Ocean’s Eleven does The Dirty Dozen sounds like a fun movie, right? And this George Clooney-directed WWII comedy-drama tries, all too hard, to deliver on that very idea. But even low expectations won’t help you here, with a story that’s neither amusing…

Endless Love

11 Feb 20142 stars

A by-the-numbers love story starring Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde

Franco Zeffirelli's original 1981 film Endless Love (itself based on Scott Spencer's 1979 novel) was notable for featuring a very young Tom Cruise in a minor role as an arsonist. Shana Feste's remake, however, struggles to be notable for anything at…

The Book Thief

10 Feb 20143 stars

Brian Percival's moving and well-acted WWII adaptation let down by hurried plotting

Brian Percival’s adaptation of Markus Zusak’s global best-seller The Book Thief is, like Mark Herman's take on John Boyne’s The Boy In The Striped Pajamas, a film that unfolds from the German perspective during World War II. Unlike that film, however…

RoboCop

7 Feb 20143 stars

A slick but sanitised remake

Following Total Recall and the most recent entries in the Die Hard and Terminator franchises, RoboCop becomes the latest violent action film to get a family friendly, pimped-up makeover. José Padilha's film has contemporary resonance and is different…

The Patrol

4 Feb 20143 stars

A low-key, low-budget antidote to the Hollywood approach to soldiers at war

With Morocco doubling effectively for Afghanistan, The Patrol is a low-budget British film from first time writer/director Tom Petch. Although working in an oversubscribed genre running from John Ford’s 1934 drama The Lost Patrol to Kathryn Bigelow’s…

Mr Peabody & Sherman

4 Feb 20142 stars

A weak, overstretched revival of the super-intelligent pooch and his human son

Dreamworks Animation’s latest attempt to recapture Shrek’s hit combination of pop culture references and unforgettable characters fails due to an overabundance of the former and none of the latter. The titular pair are a dog and a boy, with the twist…

I, Frankenstein

31 Jan 20141 star

Repetitive CGI battles and lumpen dialogue result in a corpse that shouldn't have been reanimated

There are some stories that reverberate through the ages. Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein was first published in 1818 and has since been adapted multiple times in film (most notably with Boris Karloff in 1931) and theatre (including Danny Boyle’s recent…

The Armstrong Lie

29 Jan 20143 stars

Alex Gibney finds an interesting resonance in the story of disgraced athlete Lance Armstrong

Alex Gibney delivers another smart and enthralling documentary with The Armstrong Lie, a look at cyclist Lance Armstrong and his spectacular fall from grace following confirmation, after many years of allegations, that he had been involved in…

That Awkward Moment

27 Jan 20142 stars

Romantic comedy is watchably bad rather than just plain awful

A romantic comedy from the perspective of three male friends has the potential to offer something new to the genre but despite one or two comedy highlights That Awkward Moment largely makes a mess of things. Zac Efron, Michael B Jordan and Miles…

Grudge Match

24 Jan 20143 stars

Stallone and De Niro go head to head in this flawed but worthwhile boxing picture

Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro are undoubtedly two of cinema’s heavyweights yet much of their recent material has been of the lightweight variety. Grudge Match does little to change that perception even if it does manage to land a few telling…

DVD review: Wings

23 Jan 20144 stars

The flight sequences in William Wellman’s World War I-set silent classic still impress

From Bobby De Niro’s weight gain in Raging Bull to Oscar Isaac learning a few folk tunes for Inside Llewyn Davis, much can sometimes be made of an actor’s obsessive commitment to a particular role. Yet, surely nothing can quite match the feat of Buddy…

Locke

22 Jan 20143 stars

A high-concept, real-time, car-bound thriller starring Tom Hardy

Who'd have thought that concrete would make such compelling subject matter? In Locke we spend 85 minutes behind the wheel of a BMW driven by Welsh construction manager Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy), who's haring it down the motorway putting out fires both…

Crystal Fairy and the Magical Cactus

22 Jan 20142 stars

Michael Cera and Gaby Hoffman star in Sebastian Silva's half-baked drug movie

The central event of this film involves the main character Jamie (Michael Cera) chopping up the ‘magical’ San Pedro cactus of the title, mixing it into a mushy swill, then cooking it in a pot for nine hours, in hopes of a legendary high from the…

Dark Days

21 Jan 20144 stars

Marc Singer's 2000 documentary on the subterranean homeless of New York remains warm and genuine

Marc Singer was a young Briton adrift in New York City when he discovered a community of people who had made their homes in disused underground tunnels, moved in with them to offer help, and then, with no filmmaking experience, begged and borrowed…

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

21 Jan 20143 stars

The spy franchise reboot is at its best when examining the ethical complexities of the spy game

Kenneth Branagh is rapidly becoming the go-to director for setting up franchises. Having done a great job with Thor, his latest mission is to reboot the Jack Ryan character most successfully played by Harrison Ford but also inhabited by Alec Baldwin and…

The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman

20 Jan 20142 stars

Fredrik Bond's Romanian-set thriller is a pretentious mess, starring Shia LaBeouf

Shia LaBeouf is rarely out of the headlines at the moment, whether it’s being caught for plagiarising a Daniel Clowes short story and skywriting his apology, sending pictures of his penis to Lars Von Trier for the forthcoming Nymphomaniac, or refusing…

Teenage

20 Jan 20143 stars

A fascinating and frustrating documentary examining the history of the teenager

Teenage sets itself an impossible task. Inspired by Jon Savage's hefty bestseller, Teenage: The Creation Of Youth 1875–1945, it attempts a sweeping, global overview of how the concept of the teenager came into existence. From the introduction of…

The Invisible Woman

17 Jan 20143 stars

Ralph Fiennes, Felicity Jones and Joanna Scanlon shine in this Dickens drama

Ralph Fiennes’ second directorial effort is impressive in its evocation of restrained emotion. Based on Claire Tomalin’s book about Charles Dickens’ relationship with an 18-year-old aspiring actress named Nelly Ternan (Felicity Jones), the film is…

Cuban Fury

16 Jan 20143 stars

Nick Frost, Chris O'Dowd and Rashida Jones star in lightweight salsa dancing romcom

If it didn’t sound like a totally awful poster quote, Cuban Fury might be billed as ‘From half the team that brought you Shaun of the Dead’. Conceived by and starring Nick Frost, it’s produced by Nira Park, the woman behind all of Frost’s collaborations…

Inside Llewyn Davis

16 Jan 20145 stars

Oscaar Isaac, Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake star in the Coens' wonderful 60s folk movie

The Coen brothers return with the 16th film of their remarkable careers, once again vaulting the exceedingly high bar they’ve set for themselves. Set in the smoky dive bars of 1961 Greenwich Village, Inside Llewyn Davis is (very) loosely based on the…

Dallas Buyers Club

16 Jan 20144 stars

Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto star in this impressive biopic of AIDS patient Ron Woodroof

You don't have to cast your mind back far to remember Matthew McConaughey as the star of a slew of mediocre romcoms, a man who seemed to have put his early promise behind him. But over the past year or so he's had an extraordinary run of performances in…

Her

16 Jan 20144 stars

Spike Jonze's 'sci-fi romance' is thoughtful, tender and bristles with invention

After his disappointing adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are, Spike Jonze returns in blazing form with the beguiling Her. Already being dubbed as a sci-fi/ romance, such simplification barely does justice to a story that feels both forward-looking…