Selma passionately documents the coming of a change

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

 

Why was Selma largely overlooked by The Academy?

Given its pedigree, it should, by most standards, have been a lock. What then? Could it be backlash from last year’s choice of Best Picture – have voters grown tired of slavery and segregation?…

Inherent Vice is stoner noir par excellence

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

 

From aspiring porn stars in the sun-drenched ‘70s to megalomaniacal, turn-of-the-century oil barons, Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the most uniquely identifiable directors currently working in cinema.

His projects range enormously in topic and scope; all that connects his work is a handful of recurring themes and a certain visual acuity that marks him as a director.…

Get lost in the grounded transcendentalism of Wild

4 Stars (4 / 5)

 

A life-affirming tale of finding yourself amidst nature, based on a best-selling memoir, Wild follows Cheryl Strayed, an aspiring writer whose life falls apart upon the death of her mother.

Having sought refuge in sex and drugs, Cheryl decides to repair her life by walking the 1,200 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, from the US-Mexican border, through California, Oregon, and Washington, all the way up to Canada.…

Whiplash might be my film of the decade

5 Stars (5 / 5)

 

A tense, astonishing drama about precision, obsession, and determination, Whiplash seizes you from its opening moment – a snare drum, like a quickening heartbeat, over black – to the final crash of cymbals.

Miles Teller stars as Andrew Neyman, an awkward drumming prodigy who finds himself thrown in at the deep end when he’s invited to join a band led by conductor Miles Fletcher.…

Foxcatcher is a frigid masterpiece about the pursuit of championship

5 Stars (5 / 5)

 

Of all the things to confront in life, failure is perhaps the hardest.

How it reflects on us, and we on it, and our desperation to avoid it are universal facts of human existence. Foxcatcher is the second title to feature at this year’s London Film Festival that can be aptly summarized as a “psychotic coach drama” – the first being Whiplash; though the two films are in many ways polar opposites.…

Yakuza Apocalypse is a reheated V-Cinema shambles

1.5 Stars (1.5 / 5)

 

What’s worse than a simply bad film? A film that utterly squanders its potential.

Director Takashi Miike’s filmography is far ranging — from the sadistic Ichi the Killer to vivid family comedy Ninja Kids!!!. With close to 100 credits to his name, a supernatural gangster film seems right up Miike’s street.…

Big Eyes: kitsch & sink art drama from Tim Burton

2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

 

As a brand name director, there are certain things with associate with Tim Burton; a certain quaint creepiness and kooky charm.

More so than these things, however, Burton is known for his coterie: Big Eyes is his first live-action film since 1996 not to feature Johnny Depp or Helena Bonham Carter, though composer Danny Elfman is still hanging on in there.…

The Woman In Black: Angel of Death is a ghost of its predecessor

2 Stars (2 / 5)

 

Though Halloween has long since passed, it’s the perfect time of year for a ghost story. As such, we bid a welcome – if somewhat wary – return to cinema’s most recognizable poltergeist: the Woman in Black.

Joy is a well-acted festive drag

2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

 

It’s that time of the year again. Time for clamorous hangovers, spurious resolutions, and David O. Russell’s semi-annual dysfunctional family drama.

2014 gave us family and criminality (American Hustle), 2012 gave us family and mental illness (Silver Linings Playbook), and in 2010 he paired up family and boxing (The Fighter).…