Film reviews and more

Month: September 2013

DVD Review: ‘The Rise’

★★☆☆☆  The rollicking heist movie is one of those genres that can easily feel redundant nowadays. With elaborate plot machinations its central tenet, this specialist variety of thriller relies on having an original way to dupe its audience who will naturally be looking for clues towards some final act twist. Trying to find a unique spin on the material […]

DVD Review: ‘Ikarie XB-1’

★★★★☆ It’s the year 2163, and the spaceship Ikarie XB-1 is off to explore life on the ‘white planet’ orbiting the Alpha Centauri. Like the Greek mythological figure Icarus, whose name christens the spaceship, we follow the mixed crew as they fly too close to the sun, drawing ever closer to something that – without giving the game away […]

DVD Review: ‘Citadel’

★★☆☆☆ Council estates are gradually replacing graveyards as the setting of choice for contemporary horrors, whilst hooded teenagers are now the zombies of the 21st century. In Ciaran Foy’s Citadel (2012), the soaring concrete highrise is presented not as the impenetrable stronghold of the proletariat, but rather a noxious shrine to the purgative qualities of gentrification and the displacement […]

DVD Review: ‘The Iceman’

★★★☆☆ Richard Kuklinski was an infamous contract killer doing the dirty work of various New York crime organisations throughout the sixties and seventies. Estimates of how many lives he ended during his career vary from 100 to 250 according to different accounts. Based on a screenplay by Morgan Land and director Ariel Vromen, The Iceman (2012) follows Kuklinski from […]

DVD Review: ‘The Walking Dead: Season 3’

★★★★☆ Having seemingly taken on board the various criticisms levelled at season two for its lack of action and, at times, pedestrian pacing, AMC’s The Walking Dead returns with its most gripping, expansive and ambitious outing to date, as Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and company find themselves facing a new, altogether more human threat. The Walking Dead: Season 3 […]

DVD Review: ‘The Kings of Summer’

★★★☆☆ Coming-of-age yarns are a dime a dozen and it takes an awful lot to make one stand out from the crowd. Jordan Vogt-Roberts accepts the challenge with gusto in his sun-kissed feature debut, The Kings of Summer (2013), which was warmly received at Sundance. With its trio of teenage leads trekking out into the leafy, lush midwestern wilds, […]

DVD Review: ‘A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III’

★★☆☆☆ Roman Coppola, the oldest heir to the family filmmaking dynasty, ventures back into the directing chair, following his debut from over a decade back (2001’s little-seen kitsch sci-fi homage, CQ). Unfortunately, on the strength of this follow-up, little sister Sofia has little to fear in being surpassed in the directing stakes. If her films are sometimes criticised for […]

Film Review: ‘Bring Me the Head of Machine Gun Woman’

★★☆☆☆ Jean-Luc Godard once remarked that “all you need for a movie is a gun and a girl”, and the director of this tired grindhouse pastiche seems to have taken that advice on board verbatim, offering a sketchy, lifeless shoot ’em up. Like Deathproof and Planet Terror before it, Bring Me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman (2012) […]

Film Review: ‘Greedy Lying Bastards’

★★☆☆☆ An obnoxious, Michael Moore-aping battle cry against big industry and its ties to climate change denial, Craig Scott Rosebraugh’s subtly titled Greedy Lying Bastards (2012) may have the very best of intentions, but fails to hold interest due to its fragmented structure and lack of cold, hard figures. It quickly becomes difficult to separate fact from opinion, culminating […]

Film Review: ‘Runner Runner’

★★★☆☆ A swift glance at the UK poster for Brad Furman thriller Runner Runner (2013) – with its triumvirate of ridiculously good-looking stars, air-brushed to glimmering perfection – offers the perfect summary of the film itself. It’s a glossy, well-shot potboiler which is occasionally preposterous (the initial narrative drive hinges on some pretty stupid choices by Justin Timberlake’s lead […]

Film Review: ‘Mister John’

★★★★☆ Elusive, nuanced and poignant, Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy’s second feature together, Mister John (2013), fathoms the depths of masculine identity in crisis, with an emotionally resonant tale given additional flavour by its exotic locale. We first meet Gerry Divine (played by the under-used and underrated Aiden Gillen) in a haggard, unshaven and jet-lagged state. Upon hearing news […]

Film Review: ‘Girl Most Likely’

★★☆☆☆ Kristen Wiig’s performance in Girl Most Likely (2012) is oddly reminiscent of Tina Fey’s turn in 2010’s Date Night. Here is a natural comedienne with a successful background in comedy writing and acting lumbered with a terrible screenplay, crushing any hope of enjoyment or laughs. Wiig stars as Imogene, a supposedly talented writer whose career has flat-lined, but […]