List Film

Reviews & features: Reviews

Get Hard

25 Mar 20153 stars

Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart pair up for a rollercoaster of a race relations comedy

Race relations are placed under a comic spotlight, but Blazing Saddles this ain't. When innocent hedge fund exec James King (Will Ferrell) finds out that he is being sent to prison for fraud, he assumes car-wash owner Darnell Lewis (Kevin Hart) can…

Cinderella

23 Mar 20154 stars

Kenneth Branagh helms a lavish rendition of the fairytale, starring Cate Blanchett

After delivering the likes of Maleficent, Snow White and the Huntsman and Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, commercial cinema has finally woken up to the idea that audiences don’t always want their fairytales spiced-up and rejigged. Kenneth Branagh’s…

Seventh Son

23 Mar 20153 stars

Julianne Moore and Jeff Bridges enliven a thoroughly daft fantasy

'Help yourself to the blood-cakes, little one,' coolly enjoins Julianne Moore as witch Mother Malkin in Sergei Bodrov’s demented fantasy. Such ripe dialogue abounds as Moore and Jeff Bridges struggle valiantly to make sense of an effects-heavy…

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

23 Mar 20153 stars

Fun cinematic return for the animated TV star, featuring Antonio Banderas

Life in Bikini Bottom is chugging along as usual for our animated hero SpongeBob (voiced by Tom Kenny). Plankton (Mr Lawrence) is still determined to steal the secret recipe for the delicious Krabby Patties, launching a major attack on the Krusty Krab.

The Signal

23 Mar 20153 stars

Promising indie sci-fi with Laurence Fishburne and Brenton Thwaites

US indie sci-fi has been booming since Colin Trevorrow went from directing Safety Not Guaranteed to being handed the reins of Jurassic World. William Eubank’s The Signal might seem like just another entry for the ongoing pile of lo-fi, stargazing fare…

Robot Overlords

23 Mar 20152 stars

Derivative British sci-fi adventure featuring Ben Kingsley and Gillian Anderson

The worldwide popularity of young adult franchises The Hunger Games and Divergent certainly hasn't escaped the attention of UK filmmakers. After Kevin Macdonald’s How I Live Now mined the dystopian sci-fi seam, Robot Overlords – from Northern Irish…

Dior and I

23 Mar 20153 stars

Low-key, engaging documentary focusing on the iconic fashion house

There has been a small glut of fashion documentaries over recent years, and director Frédéric Tcheng has been involved with some of the best of them: he co-directed, wrote and edited the wonderful Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel, and co-edited…

The Face of an Angel

23 Mar 20153 stars

Michael Winterbottom uses a real-life murder case as a springboard for drama

After sending funny men Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon munching their way around Italy for TV series / film The Trip to Italy, prolific British director Michael Winterbottom stays in the region for his latest movie. This, however, is anything but comedy…

Wild Card

18 Mar 20151 star

Messy, misjudged actioner from Simon West, starring Jason Statham

Jason Statham has gravitated towards certain types of characters to such a degree that his name has become cinematic shorthand for 'thug with a heart of gold'. His latest, Nick Wild, is cast from exactly the same mould, but operates in an environment so…

Home

16 Mar 20152 stars

Irksome animation featuring the voices of Jim Parsons and Jennifer Lopez

The DreamWorks Animation brand has recently delivered some notable misses (Rise of the Guardians, Mr Peabody & Sherman) alongside its hits and Home is a painful example of a studio going once-too-often to a well that’s running rather dry. Director Tim…

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

16 Mar 20154 stars

Beautiful, feminist animation from Studio Ghibli's Isao Takahata

Not every little girl aspires to be a princess. Something that’s important to keep in mind while watching Isao Takahata’s feminist-slanted adaptation of an old Japanese folktale, 'The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter'. What may be Takahata’s last Studio Ghibli…

The Gunman

16 Mar 20152 stars

Clumsy thriller which reinvents Sean Penn as an action star

Sean Penn is not an actor known for vanity projects. But there’s no other way to describe this risible thriller, produced by the man himself. Directed by Pierre Morel, who gave Liam Neeson a career injection as an ageing action star in Taken, it would…

The Divergent Series: Insurgent

16 Mar 20152 stars

Underwhelming adaptation of the second in Veronica Roth's YA trilogy

Those who found Divergent one young adult dystopia too far will find little in Robert Schwentke's sequel to lessen bewilderment. The walled, post-apocalyptic version of Chicago where society is regimented into five factions is now at war, with the Big…

The Voices

16 Mar 20154 stars

Ryan Reynolds plays a blinder in this entertaining comedy horror

'The cat made me do it!' exclaims Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) at one point in Marjane Satrapi’s visually striking comedy horror and to his mind he’s not lying. Jerry hears voices. His regular conversations with his cat and dog are comforting to him and, if…

Dark Summer

16 Mar 20153 stars

Paul Solet is at the helm of an intermittently scary but rather po-faced horror

A teen horror with an indie movie aesthetic and a self-consciously solemn vibe, Paul Solet's Dark Summer has promising elements at the outset: a distinctly creepy protagonist with whom it’s uncomfortable to have one’s sympathies aligned; and a pertinent…

Run All Night

10 Mar 20153 stars

Liam Neeson has yet more men to find and kill in this serviceable actioner

The Liam Neeson actioner has become a sub-genre of its own, invariably delivering exactly what it says on the tin, which is 'Liam Kicks Ass'. He still looks the part, too, so we are content to watch him keep doing what he’s doing. Run All Night is third…

Suite Française

9 Mar 20153 stars

Michelle Williams enters into a dangerous liaison in Saul Dibb's wartime drama

Briefly touched on in the end credits, the story behind Suite Française is fascinating. It's based on the novellas by Irène Némirovsky whose work was discovered in a notebook by one of her daughters some 50 years after her death in Auschwitz, becoming a…

Far from the Madding Crowd R/I (1967)

9 Mar 20155 stars

Reissue of John Schlesinger's enchanting interpretation of Thomas Hardy's novel

Rightly or wrongly, the expression 'period drama' has become synonymous with spiritedly performed but staidly directed TV adaptations and unadventurous films. John Schlesinger's 1967 interpretation of Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd could…

My Name is Salt

9 Mar 20154 stars

Indian salt producers are the focus of an uplifting documentary from Farida Pacha

The best documentaries not only shine a light on hidden corners of the world but, through careful observation, elicit a true appreciation for experiences far removed from our own. Filmmaker Farida Pacha does just that with her excellent feature debut…

Chappie

6 Mar 20152 stars

Disappointing third film from Neill Blomkamp that melds Short Circuit and RoboCop

Do androids dream of electric sheep? A question Neill Blomkamp’s third feature (co-written with his wife Terri Tatchell) approaches with a childlike sensibility, often recalling the PG-rated Short Circuit (thankfully minus Fisher Stevens browning-up…

Unfinished Business

4 Mar 20153 stars

Mixed bag comedy from Ken Scott starring Vince Vaughn and Sienna Miller

What happens to those who don’t fit corporate America? They become small business owners like Daniel Trunkman (Vince Vaughn), a doting father and husband, and the sensitive, indefatigable boss to two loyal employees: Tim (Tom Wilkinson) – fired from his…

March DVD/VOD Review Round-up

2 Mar 2015

Including Broadchurch, Wolf Hall, The Imitation Game, '71, Horns, Nightcrawler and more

The second series of Broadchurch (Acorn) ●● has already been much discussed but unfortunately we concur: it's a mess. The courtroom drama veers all over the place while everyone involved in the old Sandbrook case suddenly seems to remember vital clues…

Dreamcatcher

2 Mar 20154 stars

Kim Longinotto's documentary shines a light on a truly wonderful woman

Forget all those lycra-clad crime-fighters who constantly jostle for position at the box office, Dreamcatcher is a documentary about a bona fide superhero. By day, Brenda Myers-Powell works with prostitutes in prison and disadvantaged young girls in…

Difret

2 Mar 20153 stars

Moving Ethiopian drama focusing on the fight for a young girl's freedom

There are a lot of good films being made in Africa and we rarely get to see any of them outside of festivals, so Ethiopian filmmaker Zeresenay Mehari’s eye-opening social justice drama, based on a groundbreaking true story, deserves an…

Appropriate Behaviour

2 Mar 20154 stars

Hilarious, accomplished and idiosyncratic debut from Desiree Akhavan

Appropriate Behaviour is a beautifully observed breakup comedy told from the perspective of a Persian-American bisexual woman, living in Brooklyn, who is afraid to come out to her parents. Desiree Akhavan (recently seen in Lena Dunham’s Girls…