The Martian: by far the best film to maroon Matt Damon in space

4 Stars (4 / 5)

 

Are the 2010s the decade that made space travel cool again?

Gravity swept the Academy Awards back in 2013, Interstellar reminded us of the potential wonders of the universe in a way that no one had arguably done since Kubrick – Marvel even got in on the action with Guardians of the Galaxy.…

Sicario is a moody, sun-bleached thriller set south of the border

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Somewhere between the Wild West and Iraq lies Juarez, Mexico.

A brightly colored urban sprawl with a population of just over 1.3 million, in 2008 its murder rate was the highest in the world: 130 per 100,000. According to Sicario, the latest film from director Denis Villeneuve, it’s a city where mutilated corpses hang from overpasses, a warning from the cartels.…

Pan is a wannabe Hook for the Avatar generation

2 Stars (2 / 5)

 

For kids of the ‘90s, Steven Spielberg’s Hook is something of a childhood classic.

Starring the late great Robin Williams as the jaded grown-up Peter Pan and no less than Dustin Hoffman as the dastardly, mustache-twirling Hook — not to mention Dame Maggie Smith’s elderly Wendy and Bob Hoskins’ workaday Smee — it’s pure cinematic confection.…

The Messenger delivers some originality from a hackneyed premise

2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

 

In a world of heavyweight prestige pieces, like the upcoming Suffragette, and straight-to-Sunday-evening light dramas, like the charming but forgettable Mr. Holmes, the British film industry does seem to be lacking in low-budget genre (excluding the ever-present straight-to-DVD Mockney gangster contingent.) The Messenger is a nice exception to this rule.

The Tribe envelops you in a world of silence

4 Stars (4 / 5)

 

What makes a film “brave”? Is it telling a type of story that hasn’t been told before? Is it doing something innovative technically? By either definition, The Tribe is brave film-making.

The feature debut of Ukrainian writer-director Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy, it takes place in a time and place where sound is, by and large, irrelevant, and features “No translation, no subtitles, no voice-over”, only sign language.…

The Program is the real dope

4 Stars (4 / 5)

 

The sound of the wind. Breathing. A steady heartbeat.

A man on a racing bike waggles his way up a scrubby hillside – his progress is measured, a gradual, steady ascent. Whether or not this is slow motion, it feels like it.…

Irrational Man is the cinematic equivalent of artisanal popcorn

2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

Woody Allen has got it made.

Despite the allegations against him that have come to light in recent years – I bring this up only to say that I don’t have a stance to take – he gets to jet off once a year to wherever takes his fancy and shoot a film there with, it seems, any actor who takes his fancy; though mostly young, attractive ones of late.…

What to say about Roar…

4 Stars (4 / 5)

 

There has never been, and will likely never be, another film like Roar.

It’s a piece of cinema almost as astonishing on the screen as in the behind-the scenes-detail. Shot on location in Africa, it tells the story of Hank (Noel Marshall), a beardy weird-y conservationist with an open-door policy with regards to wildlife, and who just so happens to be away from the lodge when his family turn up; his family who don’t seem to have been apprised of the lion situation.…

How to Change the World takes us behind the Greenpeace legacy

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

 

What do you know about Greenpeace?

Apart from the odd leaflet through the letterbox or a random encounter with a chugger, chances are not a lot. How to Change the World takes us behind the scenes of the environmental organization, which began in 1971 amidst a flurry of idealism aboard a run-down Canadian fishing tug, and, through decades of egotism, infighting, and litigation, went on to become a global entity with thousands of employees and a bankroll of millions.…

American Ultra is the stoner-MK Ultra actioner we’ve all been waiting for (maybe)

3 Stars (3 / 5)

 

Jesse Eisenberg, ladies and gentlemen.

He wowed us as the coolly exploitative Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network and seems likely to do the same as a more intense, somewhat less omnivorous Lex Luthor in Batman V.