Category Archive: Recent Releases

Surrealist Realism in Ryan Gosling’s “Lost River” – An Essay / Review

Gosling’s directorial debut is a surreal, poetic and radical work that deserves real plaudits for its ambition alone – ★★★★

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Review: The Gambler (2015)

Mark Wahlberg plays his usual arrogant self in a joyless, mundane film that refuses to take risks – ★★

Review: Foxcatcher (2015)

There’s an emotional disconnect and lack of authenticity that prevents this superbly-acted film from achieving the greatness it so desperately strives for – ★★½

Review: American Sniper (2015)

It flirts fleetingly with the moral ambiguities and devastating psychological effects of war, but none of this is enough to salvage this overtly-jingoistic work from frustrating mediocrity – ★★½

Review: Wild (2015)

It struggles to shake off the shackles of its “White Woman Problems” genre, but Wild‘s exploration of guilt, grief and regret is powerful stuff indeed – ★★★½

Review: Tak3n (2015)

Tak3ng th3 prov3rbial. If I see a worse action film than this in 2015, I’ll be both surprised and disgusted… – ★

Review: The Theory of Everything (2015)

Jones steals the show with her honest portrayal of a woman struggling with guilt. Alas, nothing can halt the slow, unspectacular march of Anthony McCarten’s perfunctory screenplay – ★★

Review: Birdman (2015)

Keaton, Norton and Stone dazzle in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s excoriating assault on modern celebrity culture and the consumers who worship at its altar – ★★★★

Review: The Imitation Game (2014)

The Imitation Game struggles to strike the right tone in its latter half, but as a celebration of Alan Turing’s life, it’s a highly effective piece of cinema – ★★★★

Review: The Drop (2014)

You’ve seen The Drop many times before, but to its credit it does what it does very well indeed – ★★★

Review: Life Itself (2014)

Affectionate, honest and informative, Life Itself serves as a fitting tribute to Roger Ebert’s admirable legacy – ★★★½

Review: Paddington (2014)

Paddington wears its heart and its values on its sleeve, thus making it one of the most politically relevant films of the year… no, seriously! – ★★½

Review: The Skeleton Twins (2014)

With its honest, unromanticised portrayal of depression and mental illness, The Skeleton Twins is immensely admirable, despite some avoidable narrative flaws – ★★★

Review: Say When (2014)

Say When is as conventional and pedestrian as you probably expect. If you’re into that kind of film, then you might enjoy it – ★★½

Review: Annabelle (2014)

An apartment block setting and a cheap reference to Sharon Tate’s murder do not a successful Rosemary’s Baby rip-off make, as Annabelle proves – ★½

Review: Dracula Untold (2014)

“Untold” is how Dracula Untold should’ve remained… – ★★

Review: Interstellar (2014)

Interstellar, though admirable, is little more than the cinematic equivalent of watching a director whose reach far exceeds his grasp furiously masturbating at you without ever achieving a satisfactory climax – ★★

Review: Mr. Turner (2014)

Mike Leigh, like Turner, is a true artist – a master of his form – and it is his passion for the project that prevents Mr Turner from becoming yet another soulless, humdrum biopic – ★★★½

Review: Fury (2014)

David Ayer deserves plaudits for his uncomprising approach to Fury, but his direction and screenplay both lack purpose and meaning – ★★★

Review: Ouija (2014)

Eye-rollingly stupid and banal to the point of analgesic, Ouija is offensive, retrograde, sub-gothic garbage – ★

Review: The Babadook (2014)

The Babadook doesn’t always work, but it taps into the most fundamental human fears and explores them in a way that is fresh and intriguing – ★★★

The New American Nightmare in Dan Gilroy’s “Nightcrawler” – An Essay / Review

Some thoughts on the demise and perversion of the American Dream in relation to Dan Gilroy’s exquisite directorial debut Nightcrawler.

Review: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2014)

Not even a cynical sociopath like me can deny that Alexander and the Yadda, Yadda, Yadda is both funny and charming, particularly in a year that has so far been simply dreadful for children’s cinema – ★★★

Review: Love, Rosie (2014)

Love, Rosie is “photo album cinema” at its worst, in which major events take precedence over genuine, intimate, and heartfelt moments – ★★

Review: What We Did on Our Holiday (2014)

What We Did on Our Holiday might well be the most tonally inconsistent film of the year, but you know what? It sort of works… – ★★★

Review: Northern Soul (2014)

Elaine Constantine’s debut is heartfelt and engaging, but at times it’s a bit too drab for its own good – ★★★

Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is nowhere near as awful as it perhaps should be, though that’s the very definition of damning with faint praise – ★★½

Review: Life After Beth (2014)

As a short film, Life After Beth could’ve been great. Alas, as a feature length effort, it’s more embarrassing than amusing – ★★

Review: The Maze Runner (2014)

Crude, faceless, dispassionate dreck; The Maze Runner marks a new nadir for the ever-burgeoning teen dystopian genre – ★

Review: A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014)

It’s fitting that A Walk Among the Tombstones is set in the nineties, because it possesses all the aesthetic and narrative sensibilities of that decade – ★★½