Arrival is a Möbius strip movie that home-schools Interstellar

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Oh for the days of Close Encounters when we dreamed that first contact would be as elegant as five simple notes.

Arrival, the latest film from Sicario director Denis Villeneuve1, looks at the complexities of communicating with an alien race.1 When twelve mysterious craft appear at sites around the globe, linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is drafted in to help start a dialogue with their occupants before China and Russia set off an inter-species war.2 Where do you begin, though, when you know nothing about their language or customs?…

My 2016 LFF gets off to a five-star start with the utterly captivating Moonlight

5 Stars (5 / 5)

A silent boy with accusatory eyes. A shy long-limbed teen picked on at school. A musclebound man looking for a connection. All the same person, all lost; all trying to make sense of the world and their place in it.

The Girl With All The Gifts has excellence in its DNA

4 Stars (4 / 5)

The Young Adult movie has been infected by the zombie genre. The result revitalizes them both.

Based on the novel by M.R. Carey, The Girl With All The Gifts follows Melanie (newcomer Sennia Nanua), a gifted girl who also happens to be possessed with a ravening hunger for flesh.…

The Infiltrator doesn’t go deep enough

3 Stars (3 / 5)

Bryan Cranston goes Donnie Brasco in this 80s-set crime thriller.

Bob Mazur (Cranston) is an unassuming U.S. Customs agent with wife Evelyn (Juliet Aubrey) and two kids. He’s also undercover as Bob Musella, a flash, ingratiating money launderer for the Columbian mob.…

Captain Fantastic: a very good (Buddhist) drama

SPOILERS

 

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

Ben Cash is not your average dad.

A grizzled hippy living off the grid in the forests of Washington State, his daily routine includes stalking deer, rock climbing, and self-defense; all accompanied by his six extraordinary children.…

Free State of Jones: a restrained but impassioned anti-slavery drama overtaken by history

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Almost twenty years on from Spielberg’s Amistad, who would have thought that we’d be talking about any film that doesn’t see Matthew McConaughey as a serious Oscar contender as something of a disappointment?

Opening in the midst of the American Civil War with a battalion of grey-suited Confederate soldiers marching calmly to their deaths – their ranks thinning as the least fortunate among them fall underfoot – Gary Ross’ Free State of Jones initially feels more like reenactment than dramatization.…

Blair Witch gets a bit lost in the woods

3 Stars (3 / 5)

There’s something ironic about having your phone confiscated when going in to see a found footage movie, as I did.

Initially marketed as an original project, The Woods – complete with misleading trailer footage of a very non-Maryland forest – Adam Wingard’s arboreal horror was unexpectedly revealed as a sequel to the genre-launching Blair Witch Project, which famously grossed almost a quarter of a billion off a budget of $60,000 all the way back in 1999.…

Hell or High Water, or: of consequences and Comanches

4 Stars (4 / 5)

The West Texas portrayed in Hell or High Water is less No Country For Old Men than no country for anyone.

Based on a Black Listed screenplay by Taylor Sheridan – who also scripted Denis Villeneuve’s similarly sun-bleached Sicario – the generically titled Hell or High Water manages to escape from the long shadow of the Coen Brother’s 2007 Best Picture winner by introducing a vein of social commentary and lightness of touch without compromising the essential spareness and determinism that characterize the modern-day Western.…

Win a pair of tickets to a screening at Empire Live!

Hey, guys. Well, this is exciting: my first competition on the new site, courtesy of DDA PR, and it’s a good one.

“We are offering a number of lucky readers the chance to win a pair of tickets to a special screening event of their choosing, taking place over the course of this jam-packed weekend.

Sausage Party: a surefire way to get rid of the munchies

[ur 3.5]

Has there ever been a film as patently conceived of while stoned as Sausage Party?

While most of us would have had a bit of a giggle at the thought of sentient food reacting with horror at the prospect of being eaten – and then probably gone and ordered some pizza – Seth Rogen went and made a movie out of it.…