Sam Riley

News, Reviews & Features
  • Review: Happy New Year, Colin Burstead is all drama, no fireworks

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 18th October 2018

    No one has ever had a good New Year's Eve party. It has never happened. Not once in the entire history of years ending has anyone ever satisfyingly celebrated this annual acknowledgement of time's passage. You might think you had a great NYE party once, but really it was just you having a good night with friends that just happened to occur on 31st December and coincidentally ended with some backwards counting. New Year's Eve did nothing to contribute to your fun. New Year’s Eve parties are always, to some degree, crushing disappointments, because the occasion itself is too much pressure for our species to handle; we are fundamentally ill-equipped to properly mark it with the right sense of importance. We are all too bogged down in stupid, normal human shit to ever go wild to the degree that NYE deserves. We still end up spending half the night in the kitchen, munching on hula hoops and taking it in turns to ask each other "So how's work?". We're all too pedestrian for New Year's Eve. And now Ben Wheatley has captured this exact feeling of rote celebration, but through the eyes of a dysfunctional family. A dysfunctional family that also happen to be a bunch of complete and utter Bursteads.

  • LFF 2016: Free Fire

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 16th October 2016

    Remember that sequence in Spaced, where Tim gets out of a bind by initiating a pretend shootout with finger guns, safe in the knowledge that no one in the near vicinity can resist joining in? Ben Wheatley's new trigger-happy triumph plays out exactly like that, complete with stylised slow-mo, only with real guns, real bullet wounds and with it all carrying on for a real long time.

  • Maleficent

    Movie Review | Becky Suter | 28th May 2014

    Getting over your first love can be tricky. When your heart has been torn from your chest and ripped to pieces in front of you by the cruel hand of fate (or by your childhood sweetheart), it's easy to believe that true love only exists in fairytales, particularly when you're standing outside their house at 2am, barefoot and screaming "WHHHHYYYY?!" Agony aunts will often offer up cheery advice such as "Take up a new hobby!" or "Try a daring new haircut!" My advice after watching Maleficent would be to get a set of leather horns, some red lipstick and go all 'bad witch' on his ass. Revenge has never looked so good.

  • On The Road

    Movie Review | Ed Williamson | 11th October 2012

    I don't know me too much 'bout no fancy book-learnin', but I do know you can get away with a lot more fannying about in a book than you can in a film. After watching On The Road I was left with the impression that Jack Kerouac's book, from which it was adapted and which I've never read, was probably a disjointed, stream-of-consciousness kind of affair, in which traditional notions of narrative structure matter less than the overall mood. Well, good for you, Jack (*tousles Kerouac's hair*). But this is a book that's long been thought unfilmable, and it's easy to see why.

  • Brighton Rock

    Movie Review | Anna | 2nd February 2011

    There has to be a very good reason for taking on an adaptation of a beloved book or remaking a classic film - the Coen Brothers doing True Grit makes perfect sense - but I can't fathom the reason for Rowan Joffe reviving Brighton Rock. By any measure it's going to come off badly when compared to Graham Greene's novel or John Boulting's 1947 film. But let's shelve the comparisons for a couple of paragraphs.