American Honey Review

Thursday, 20 October 2016 21:39

Inspired by a New York Times article about groups of youngsters travelling the US selling magazine subscriptions, Brit director Andrea Arnold decided that should be the basis of her first American film. With a cast largely populated by non-professionals and barely any plot, American Honey is a beautiful, sprawling mess of poverty, sex and copious amounts of trap music as its teenage heroine Star (Sasha Lane) leaves behind her hardscrabble life to go on the road with a “mag crew”.


The Girl on the Train Review

Saturday, 15 October 2016 17:21

It’s normal for an adaptation of a best-selling book to have some hefty expectations to live up to but The Girl on the Train – based on Paula Hawkins’ 2014 novel of the same name – has another spectre looming over it: David Fincher’s excellent potboiler Gone Girl. Don’t feel too bad for it though, the studio was clearly hoping to capitalise on that film’s popularity. In that regard, the film will likely be a big success but creatively, it falls far short of matching the complexity, insight or gleeful nastiness of Fincher’s pulpy gem.


Swiss Army Man Review

Monday, 10 October 2016 21:17

Swiss Army Man sets out its stall early on, opening on a suicidal man, trapped on a desert island, attempting to hang himself. When his noose breaks, he notices something in the surf: a pale, lifeless body with a serious case of post-obit flatulence. So powerful are his pumps that they can propel him through the ocean and, before the opening credits appear, our stranded protagonist has mounted this farting corpse and is riding it triumphantly to safety.


Imperium Review

Thursday, 06 October 2016 21:07

For certain young actors who made their name in wildly popular franchises, there’s a huge challenge to forge a career away from those series. Since hanging up his wand back in 2011, Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe has opted to take on a diverse selection of films, ranging from romcoms to horrors to whatever Horns was supposed to be. They haven’t all worked out but it’s been interesting to see Radcliffe avoid the typical movie star path to do his own thing, and his latest effort – Daniel Ragussis’ Imperium – is his best performance to date.


Don't Breathe Review

Tuesday, 13 September 2016 21:44

Though he made his name with the dull gorefest that was 2013’s Evil Dead remake, Uruguayan director Fede Alvarez showed enough visual smarts to suggest he was capable of something better. His sophomore effort Don’t Breathe is a huge leap forward, milking its simple-but-effective premise for every possible exploitative thrill it can possibly find. Right up until this approach becomes tedious, Alvarez takes both his characters and the audience on a grimy, visceral thrill ride through a haunted house where the ghoul is all too human.


Cafe Society Review

Tuesday, 06 September 2016 21:15

You know what you’re going to get with latter day Woody Allen. In this latest phase in his career, the controversial auteur has stuck to a familiar template more than ever in his career: upper-class people fall in and out of love in glamorous locations, often in a period setting. His latest, Café Society, is very much in that vein and continues a low-key purple patch for Allen that, barring the awful You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, stretches all the way back to Vicky Cristina Barcelona in 2008.


The Purge: Election Year Review

Thursday, 01 September 2016 22:20

The idea at the centre of The Purge series – that all crime, including murder is legal for 12 hours every year – is one so rich with possibilities that each film just ends up being a let-down. The series has set out its stall as a violent one filled with pop horror imagery that is more concerned with the chaos and bloodshed of Purge Night than any of the sociological debates around it. That’s not to say the films aren’t enjoyable; they are generally fine and the latest entry, the politically themed The Purge: Election Year, is the best of the bunch so far, but they could be so much more.


War Dogs Review

Monday, 29 August 2016 22:19

Based on a true story, War Dogs is one of those stranger than fiction tales that is actually all too believable, even if director Todd Phillips has amped up the details for both dramatic and comedic effect. The core of the story is the same though: two stoner bros from Florida become arms dealers, selling increasingly large amounts of artillery to the US government until, inevitably, it blows up in their face.

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