This category contains 268 posts

Review: The Lady in the Van (2015)

In 1973, lacrimose Northern playwright Alan Bennett allowed the homeless Miss Sheppard to park her van in his driveway in Camden’s smart Gloucester Crescent. She stayed fifteen years. Bennett (The History Boys) adapts his much-loved memoir and stage play to the screen, with the ineffable Maggie Smith (Best Exotic, Quartet) in the title role as … Continue reading

Review: Crimson Peak (2015)

Mia Wasikowksa’s young spinster Edith Cushing is swept off her feet by impoverished English aristocrat Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hidddleston), touring America with his chilly sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain). Ghost-whisperer Edith should have run a mile from both of them, but instead, marries into the Gothic monstrosity that is Allerdale Hall, crumbling into the red clay … Continue reading

Review: Spectre (2015)

In what looks like Daniel Craig’s swan-song, the Bond team reunite in an all-too familiar, albeit stylishly executed, rummage through the toy box. The lame plotting links the other three Craig outings, while our gritty blonde Bond-shell does what he does in exotic locations, with a variety of transport and weapons, two Bond girls and … Continue reading

Movie Catch-up: Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)

Jim Jarmusch (Ghost Dog, Down by Law) returns as writer-director in this languid, mordant antidote to vampire movies. Tom Hiddlestone (Thor, Avengers, Warhorse) and Tilda Swinton (Narnia) are the undead husband and wife Adam and Eve. Largely ‘vegetarian’ for decades, a changing world threatens their peaceful life in the shadows, an existence unchanged for centuries, … Continue reading

Review: Suffragette (2015)

The script has forgiveable flaws; the performances are universally superb; the story is worth the telling in the twenty-first century. So why did director of photography Ed Grau have to spoil the whole thing by smearing vaseline on the lens and shooting during an Earthquake?

Movie Catch-up: Beautiful Creatures (2013)

Another near-miss in the hunt for a Young Adult fantasy franchise, post-Twilight; this time it’s witches in South Carolina, closely adapted from the YA book by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, in which star-crossed teenage lovers have to battle ancient curses and the in-laws from hell. Beautiful Creatures is fortunate to have two, er, beautiful … Continue reading

Review – Spooks: The Greater Good (2015)

The BBC’s long-running espionage series moves from TV to the big screen, this time trying to save Britain’s home intelligence service from a CIA takeover in the face of a Pakistani revenge-terrorism campaign. All the clich├ęs of latterday pop-TV terror plots mix with old fashioned Le Carre legacy; the question is can it open up … Continue reading

Review: the Martian (2015)

In a welcome return to form by Ridley Scott, a decent script by Drew Goddard from Andy Weir’s book puts Prometheus and The Counsellor behind us. Left for dead on Mars, Matt Damon is Robinson Crusoe in Space; his Everyman charm leavens the tension with humour, and despite a melodramatic third act, continues a line … Continue reading

Review – Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

In a relentless drive to up the ante in Marvel comic-book sequels, it’s only Joss Whedon’s sense of humour that saves this noisy, CGI-laden behemoth from crash, bash and smash tedium. The script is a load of portentous twaddle about artificial intelligence, monsters, mayhem and extinction-level events, or, put another way, any excuse to run … Continue reading

Review: Child 44 (2015)

Chameleon actor Tom Hardy (Batman, Legend) turns in a Brando-like performance as Russian war hero turned investigator Leo Demidov on the trail of a serial killer. In a paranoid Soviet state of suspicion and fear, executing its citizens at will, even his schoolteacher wife Raisa (Noomi Rapace – Prometheus, Dragon Tatoo trilogy) is afraid of … Continue reading

Last Knights (2015)

This technically impressive Euro-Asian co-production resets the 47 Ronin (the proper story, not the Keanu Reeves disaster) in a fantasy-medieval, multi-cultural version of the Byzantine Empire, looking for that Game of Thrones crossover. After Morgan Freeman’s (Transcendence, Lucy) nobleman sacrifices himself on principle, Clive Owen (Bourne, Closer) heads the masterless Samurai – sorry, knights – … Continue reading

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