Out Now – 9th January 2014

National Gallery

Taken 3
This time the only thing that has been taken is Liam Neeson’s self-respect. Or whatever was left of it anyway. For shame Liam, for shame.

Foxcatcher
This film begging for an Oscar or two stars Channing Tatum in a serious role, Steve Carell in a big fake face, and Mark Ruffalo trying his hardest to bring some authenticity to proceedings. Some critics adore this slow-paced thriller but I just found it dull.

Into the Woods
Fairy tales get mashed together in this big screen Sondheim adaptation. Meryl Streep does that singing we all enjoyed in Mamma Mia, Anna Kendrick does that singing we all enjoyed in Pitch Perfect, and Johnny Depp apparently ruins the film.

The Last of the Unjust
Documentary relating to the holocaust and offering “an unprecedented insight into the genesis of the Final Solution.”

National Gallery
Lasting a bum-numbing three hours this Frederick Wiseman documentary allows you to sit in on staff meetings, watch the restoration of paintings, and dip into tours as the National Gallery in London is subtly unfurled on-screen. I quite liked it but struggled a bit with the length.

Erebus: Into the Unknown
The true story of eleven police officer sent to recover the victims of a jet crashing into a mountain. In broad daylight.

Tevar
“A Kabaddi player rescues a young woman from an unwanted marriage and hides her in his home.”

Out Now – 2nd January 2015

Enemy

Apologies for the extended hiatus throughout December. I promise we will be back with more vigour in 2015. Happy New Year and all that.

Big Eyes
Tim Burton directs a film not featuring Helena Bonham Carter and yet we were all surprised when they announced their split. How much more obvious could they make it?

Exodus: Gods and Kings
In ancient Egypt when everyone was white, Moses freed the slaves with either the help of God or a series of secular coincidences. Ridley Scott continues to disappoint.

Unbroken
Olympian Louis Zamperini’s life story as told by Angelina Jolie and the Coens.

Annie
I am no great fan of the original Annie but I can’t see how adding Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz is going to improve it any.

The Theory of Everything
Bright young things Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones* bring to life the romance and drama of Stephen Hawking’s troubled first marriage to a devout Christian.

The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death
Daniel Radcliffe has departed this budding franchise and the reviews are much less favourable than for the previous film. BOO!

Birdman
I am incredibly excited to finally get my eyeballs set on this surreal meta masterpiece otherwise known as the best film of 2015 so far. To clarify; I haven’t seen it but am raising my expectations to a level the film can never possibly meet.

Enemy
Jake Gyllenhaal plays a man who spots his double in a film and seeks out the man who shares his face in this wonderfully tense and surreal drama. While Ayoade’s The Double was a frenetic Gilliam-esque triumph Enemy is much more grounded and all the more affecting for it.

Dying of the Light
Liam Neeson must have been busy as Nicolas Cage plays a CIA agent suffering from a fatal disease who goes rogue to track down a terrorist.

*Note how grown up I am being by not using a picture of Jones or using any exclamation marks after her name.

Out Now – 5th December 2014

Me Myself and Mum

Penguins of Madagascar
Like the rats in the Muppet films the penguins serve as amusing minor characters in the otherwise unremarkable Madagascar series. While entertaining in small doses it remains to be seen whether these comedy birds can hold their own in a film. I just hope John Lewis have had the forethought to place their Christmas ad in front of every screening. Synergy!

Men, Women & Children
Jason Reitman’s latest has performed terribly in America and quite rightly so. This film about the horrors of the internet is patronising, fear mongering, and boring. I did not enjoy.

Get Santa
It’s hard to get annoyed by a family friendly Christmas film starring Jim Broadbent as an imprisoned Santa who brings a father and son closer together. That said I don’t feel the need to watch this one. Ever.

Black Sea
Jude Law in a submarine.

St. Vincent
A comedy starring Bill Murray! I love Bill Murray! Not in the way the rest of you do though. Our love is special.

Me, Myself and Mum
Easily the best comedy I have seen in a long, long time. The autobiographical story of French comedian Guillaume Gallienne’s relationship with his mother, his childhood, and his search for a sexual identity. Gallienne plays both himself and his mother in a fantastically convincing manner a million miles away from how a British comedy would utilise a man in drag. I loved it and so will you.

Bonobo
British comedy drama in which a mother and daughter spend a day with a commune who live their lives based on the behaviours of the bonobo ape. Expect lots of nudity and a monkey if you’re lucky.

The Pyramid
Western horror set in Egypt. Expect low budget scares and questionable casual racism. Oh, and that guy from The Inbetweeners.

Eastern Boys
Erotic thriller about a French businessman and the Eastern European hustler he takes home with him. Love! Intrigue! Europe!

The Grandmaster
“The story of martial-arts master Ip Man, the man who trained Bruce Lee.”

Action Jackson
Let’s not get bogged down in the plot. Let’s just appreciate how fun it is to say the title out loud.

Montana
A Serbian assassin takes on a teenage apprentice as he fights a crime lord in London’s East End in the BBC’s most ludicrous episode of EastEnders ever.

Mea culpa
An acknowledgement of one’s fault or error.

Hello Carter
This is embarrassing. I saw Hello Carter a year ago at the London Film Festival and was so unaffected by it that I forgot to write a review. Not terrible but not one that I actually remember watching either.

Out Now – 28th November 2014

2001 A Space Odyssey

Frozen
It hasn’t even been a full year since Frozen was first released but it is back in cinemas, and on DVD of course, for you to enjoy once more. This means that for the second Christmas in a row everyone will be singing Let it Go endlessly without realising the irony of their persistent karaoke.

Horrible Bosses 2
Sexist, racist, homophobic, and unfunny. What more could you ask for? Maybe a better standard of comedy for a start. I did not like this one.

Paddington
The polite marmalade obsessed Peruvian immigrant gets a live action feature film of his very own. Will it be childish nonsense or a charming masterpiece? Reviews are wildly positive so it looks to be the latter.

2001: A Space Odyssey
Forget Frozen, this is the re-release worth given a second look this week. As part of the BFI’s sci-fi season Kubrick’s epic entry into the genre is back in cinemas. Try for a double bill with Interstellar and let me know how your brain reacts.

I Am Ali
This is Ali.

Kajaki: The True Story
British war drama set in Afghanistan centering on three soldiers crossing a river bed riddled with mines. Expect as many jokes as in Horrible Bosses 2.

Ungli
Bollywood comedy drama in which “a gang of friends decide to take justice into their own hands.”

Stations of the Cross
A 14-year-old girl is so devoted to Jesus she tries to become a saint by going through her own 14 stations. Interestingly the film is made up of only 14 shots. Intriguing…

Concerning Violence
Documentary concerning violence and “the most daring moments in the struggle for liberation from colonial rule.”

Hockney
I’ll let you guess… Go on… Correct!

Dr. Cabbie
An Indian doctor moves to Canada and fails to get a job as a doctor so becomes a taxi driver instead. Naturally he starts seeing patients in his taxi.

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno
Japanese drama about people fighting with swords. Fighting each other with swords. Not them fighting against swords. I’m glad we’ve cleared that up.

Out Now – 21st November 2014

The Hunger Games Mockingjay - Part 1

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
Oh my days. Katniss is back. The first half of the final third of the Hunger Games trilogy (plus one) is here and everyone is thoroughly excited. As for plot? Katniss becomes a symbol for the rebellion against the Capitol and tries to save Peeta from the grip of President Snow. If this doesn’t immediately make sense you might need to do some homework.

Get on Up
A music biopic about the life and rhymes of James Brown. Expect a real rock and roll lifestyle; sex, drugs, alcohol, violence, and swearing. But all in a nice 12A fashion.

The Homesman
Tommy Lee Jones directs and stars in a feminist western about a woman travelling across America. Her journey will take five weeks as transports three insane women to Iowa. I don’t necessarily understand the plot but reviews are good and a female lead in a western is a rare thing.

My Old Lady
An English/French comedy/drama so mediocre and harmless that my review bores me a little. Maggie Smith is mean and then sweet to some people if you need that gap filling now Downton is on a break.

What We Do in the Shadows
Finally a comedy to get properly excited about. Co-written and co-directed by one half of Flight of the Conchords (YAY) and the guy who directed the American remake of The Inbetweeners (BOO) we have a mockumentary about three vampires who share a flat. It might not sound like much but the reviews are almost embarrassingly positive and stars are being thrown around in a generous fashion. Let’s go!

No Good Deed
Idris Elba plays an unstable escaped convict who terrorises a woman and her children. Not a lot of laughs to be had here and a step down for the man who recently played Mandela and won none of the awards for his trouble.

Happy Ending
Bollywood romantic comedy about a writer trying to write a Bollywood script in a Hollywood style in Hollywood. Can’t wait for the sequel set in Dollywood.

Winter Sleep
On the plus side this Turkish drama about a former actor running a hotel during a snowstorm won the Palme d’Or this year so is guaranteed to have all manner of artistic merit. On the minus side the film is over three hours long and not everyone has the spare time or patience for that.

Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy
Thai drama based on a Twitter feed. Sounds terrible but is apparently a timeless coming of age story. For your consideration as an alternative to the mainstream and the fêted.