Film Review: Grandma

★★★☆☆ Lily Tomlin’s hot streak continues in her golden years as she tackles the titular role in Grandma (2015). As Elle Reid, Tomlin is a feisty lesbian matriarch helping her granddaughter collect funds for her impending abortion. Part road movie, part ethics play, all heartwarming comedy, writer-director Paul Weitz (About a Boy, Admission) brings to…

DVD Review: Trainwreck

★★★★☆ Viewers fall very willingly and happily into the world of hugely popular American comedian Amy Schumer’s bad girl rom-com Trainwreck (2015). This summer has been dominated by conversations of just how Schumer’s take on contemporary female dating habits are shaking up the genre, providing a biting commentary on how women fall in love on-screen. Trainwreck…

Film Review: Magic Mike XXL

★★★☆☆ Perhaps the most tantalising cinematic fare on offer in recent memory, Magic Mike XXL (2015) hit cinemas like a well-oiled, lust-filled missile. Voraciously gobbled up by keen viewers, this sequel is decidedly a step up from the first installment. Free from the sombre Soderbergh lens, director Gregory Jacobs and writer Reid Carolin give us…

Blu-ray Review: ‘Love + Anarchism’

★★★★☆ With Arrow Video’s recent Blu-ray release of the Love + Anarchism trilogy – a trio of films comprised of Eros + Massacre (1969), Heroic Purgatory (1970) and Coup d’Etat (1973) – younger generations are reintroduced to the stunning works by Japanese New Wave director Kijû Yoshida. A body of work that is simultaneously provocative and…

CPH:DOX: ‘The Visit’ review

★★★★☆ “Our scenario begins with the arrival. Your arrival. Welcome to our planet.” These words form the basis of Michael Madsen’s The Visit (2015); a tantalising reminder that humanity continues to send signals out into space and await a reply. For a film built completely on the discussion of hypothetical situations, this documentary is impressive…

Film Review ‘Brief Encounter’

★★★★☆ Back on the big screen across the UK in conjunction with the BFI’s ‘Love’ season is one of the most well-known cinematic contemplations on the consequences of a simple question; “What if?” Celebrating the seventieth anniversary of its initial release, Brief Encounter (1945) still holds a special allure, some kind of now-nostalgic emotional restraint…

Film Review: ‘Under Milk Wood’

★☆☆☆☆ In his childhood town, in his beloved Wales, Dylan Thomas is spinning in his grave. In what may be one of the most perverse and unusual approaches to unfurling a poetic work across the big screen, Under Milk Wood (2015) makes a great effort to little reward. It’s a disorienting adaptation and not in…

DVD Review: ‘Girlhood’

★★★★☆ Céline Sciamma proves with new film Girlhood (2014) that she’s adept at crafting universally accessible coming-of-age stories. In this newest go-round, Sciamma trains her lens on the housing projects of an outlying Parisian neighbourhood. Here, the story revolves with notions of young women crafting their identities both publicly and privately. Despite the world of…

DVD Review: ‘Fast & Furious 7’

★★★☆☆ The (reputedly) final instalment of the flashy franchise that’s risen to prominence in pop culture over the past fifteen years is every bit as campy, unbelievable, full-throttled and sentimental as one could hope for. The biggest issue with Fast & Furious 7 (2015) is also its biggest asset: it has reached a level of…

Film Review: ‘Miss Julie’

★★☆☆☆ All the pieces seemed to be in place for Liv Ullmann’s take on Miss Julie (2014), Swedish playwright August Strindberg’s examination of class and sexual politics set in the waning years of the 19th century. A pedigree director in the form of Ullmann, a powerful pair of leads take the shape of Jessica Chastain and…

DVD Review: ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’

★★★★☆ Thomas Hardy gets a hearty update in the newest adaptation of Far from the Madding Crowd (2015). A faithful adaptation of Hardy’s most notable work, this is a film built on realism, bringing the farmlands and estates of Dorset to life in the richest of Victorian palettes. Director Thomas Vinterberg, fresh from the success…

Film Review: 45 Years

★★★★☆ Tender, heartbreaking and endlessly engaging, the third feature by the hand of one of England’s most intriguing directors is one of the must-see films of the year. Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years (2015) is a quiet study of a seemingly comfortable marriage torn apart by the slow unravelling of a shelved moment. With a spotlight…