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Review: Kill Your Friends

Posted by Ed Williamson at 14:30 on 06 Nov 2015
Kill Your Friends
I read the NME quite a lot as a younger man, when they had proper bands with normal trousers and songs with choruses, but I never knew what an 'A&R man' was. On the basis of Kill Your Friends it must stand for Amoral & R... retributive? Ha! No, come to think of it you wouldn't have that as your job title; it wouldn't make any sense, particularly on a full industrial scale. What would your job description even be? I haven't thought this through at all. Ooh look, a film.

Review: Steve Jobs

Posted by Ali Gray at 13:00 on 05 Nov 2015
Steve Jobs
Was Steve Jobs a genius? Was he a revolutionary? Did he change the world? Or was he just an egotistical asshole? Danny Boyle's Jobs iOpic, powered by word processor Aaron Sorkin, doesn't so much pick a side as it does tick all the boxes. Michael Fassbender's Apple guru is at once exhilaratingly wise and exhaustingly obstinate; a complex man with fearsome drive but fundamental flaws; a man who doesn't deserve a glowing biopic or a Hollywood hatchet job. Boyle's portrait of the Cupertino legend is a fizzing, lively affair that certainly has you convinced of one man's genius, although we're guessing that man wasn't supposed to be Aaron Sorkin.

Review: Spectre

Posted by Matt Looker at 23:00 on 21 Oct 2015
If Daniel Craig's incarnation of 007 had any agenda over the course of his previous three films, it was to get Bond back to basics, away from the spoofable superspy tropes of volcano lairs and invisible cars. Acting as a prequel series to the franchise sold this idea rather well, presenting us with a simple, bold and brutal spy at the start of his game. The problem is, each Craig film so far has ended with Bond primed and positioned to become the man we see at the start of Dr No, and they have created hidden steps along that journey. As such it has felt like a cheat, like counting down "three, two, one, er... a half, a quarter, an eighth" and so on. But now Spectre really feels like we have finally reached the end of that countdown, and it does so in part by tying all the previous films together into one conclusion. But it also does it by embracing all the embarrassingly awful 007 traditions that this modern Bond had previously shied away from.

Review: LFF 2015: The Lobster

Posted by Matt Looker at 14:00 on 16 Oct 2015
LFF 2015: The Lobster
It should probably come as no surprise that it takes a film so hilariously absurd and so utterly surreal to provide what is actually very insightful commentary about the nature of everyday relationships. Sure, this is a film where people are threatened with animal transformation, where people hunt each other in the woods and where, at one point, Colin Farrell tries to take off his trousers while having one hand shackled to his belt, but this film exposes more home truths than a shelf full of self-help books. And it may all seem like ludicrous nonsense on the surface, but what it has to say about love, fidelity and dependency is more revealing than anything Farrell wears under his kecks.

Review: LFF 2015: Suffragette

Posted by Matt Looker at 21:00 on 14 Oct 2015
LFF 2015: Suffragette
The gender-discriminated world of Suffragette is so far removed from my everyday life as to be completely unrecognisable, much less relatable. Which means that I should either a) credit how far we have come as a society since then, or b) immediately own up to the fact that I am a 30-something white male who has never had to contend with any prejudices or glass ceilings in his life. Either way, join me as I nervously criticise a film about the kind of tragic societal injustice of which I am entirely unqualified to discuss thanks to my having a penis.

Review: Pan

Posted by Becky Mather at 09:00 on 12 Oct 2015
There are some things you would expect from a Peter Pan movie: flying kids, oppressive parental figures, some fairies and shit. Pirates singing Nirvana songs, galleons trying to out-race spitfires and Hugh Jackman huffing pixie dust probably not so much. Creating a gritty backstory for a 12-year-old can't have been easy, but director Joe Wright pulls it off with great aplomb, making it one of the most entertaining visits to Neverland so far. Add in thrilling action sequence after action sequence, and you've basically got Mad Max: Fury Road for kids.

Review: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

Posted by Becky Mather at 21:00 on 13 Sep 2015
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
At two hours and 11 minutes, The Scorch Trials should have been a pretty meaty filler in the YA sandwich that is Maze Runner. But like its stablemates The Hunger Games and Divergent, once all the scene-setting and introduction to the new dystopian world has been done, we're just trying to munch straight through to the good stuff. Scorch Trials is basically a big block of cheese you can't quite sink your teeth into, but there's a promise of an interesting chutney coming up, or some particularly nice bread. It's a bit bland and won't leave you particularly hungry for more.

Review: Legend

Posted by Matt Looker at 07:00 on 10 Sep 2015
It’s no great revelation to say that biopics, by their nature, are fundamentally flawed. Unless somebody’s life follows a perfect three-act structure, unless the subjects really are two-dimensional models of greatness, and unless any number of indiscretions or inaccuracies can be overlooked without raising too many eyebrows, then biopics tend to fall into the viewing equivalent of the uncanny valley. While all of these still apply to Legend, the film makes up for it with one brilliantly simple decision: to treat the Krays like completely ridiculous, larger-than-life, cartoonish characters of fiction. And it’s probably safe to say that they are so much more fun that way.

Review: The Transporter Refuelled

Posted by Matt Looker at 13:30 on 04 Sep 2015
The Transporter Refuelled
So where the Transporter series once ran on the balding bad-assery of Jason Statham, now it has been 'refuelled' with... what, exactly? New action hero Ed Skrein - a former Game Of Thrones star extra - is hardly a nitrous gas boost worthy of such a title boast, is he? He isn't even fit to be called the Super Unleaded Stath. Surely, the 'refuelled' Transporter is only something to get excited about if the titular role was played by someone like franchise viagara Dwayne Johnson, who can provide extra lead in Frank Martin's pencil/engine. Or, wait, I've got it! Vin Diesel! Aw, c'mon. That would be perfect. What do I win?

Review: Vacation

Posted by Ed Williamson at 09:00 on 19 Aug 2015
Online discourse being what it is, the announcement of a reboot or remake is usually greeted with dread and resentment. It's sacrilege. Why can't they just leave it alone? How can a woman possibly carry a proton pack? But this ignores the recent evidence that Hollywood has now got the cheat codes for 'repurposing'. Jurassic World, Godzilla, The Equalizer: respect the original property but make something of its own hue. You have nothing to fear from reboots except a Kevin James Uncle Buck, so make your way with confidence to see Vacation.
Out this week
+Steve Jobs (15)
Our review
+Tangerine (15)
+The Lady In The Van (12A)
+Fathers And Daughters (15)
+The Hallow (15)