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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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…

 

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

 

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)

 

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. Superman: Dawn of Justice. …