REVIEW: Mad To Be Normal

Mad To Be Normal is a biopic that is nowhere near as radical as its subject: ’60s anti-psychiatry shrink R. D. Laing, “the acid Marxist” who advocated treating patients holistically, without medication or surgery.

David Tennant is mesmerizing as the soft-spoken guru, wandering the corridors as the schizophrenic whisperer, intermittently capable of the miraculous: like bringing a non-communicative patient out of her shell through a hippy laying on of hands and the prospect of pizza.…

REVIEW: The Mercy

3 Stars (3 / 5)
Director James Marsh makes domestic drama out of an expeditionary tragedy in this slight but sympathetic biopic.

All Is Lost by way of Theory Of EverythingThe Mercy delves into the ill-fated attempt of amateur sailor Donald Crowhust’s (Colin Firth) to compete in the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe race; an unprecedented non-stop, one-man boat race around the world.…

REVIEW DOUBLE BILL: Daphne & Final Portrait

Daphne

4 Stars (4 / 5)
The feature debut of filmmaker Peter Mackie Burns, Daphne isn’t so much about finding yourself as just figuring out you’re lost.

Daphne (Emily Beecham) is a stylishly insouciant redhead in her early thirties, living and working in contemporary London.…

Bridge of Spies is a classic Cold War drama from the master of popular cinema

2015 was the year of onscreen espionage: Spy, Kingsman, Mission: Impossible, and, of course, Specter. Bridge of Spies seems like the first one likely to trouble Uncle Oscar.

The film opens in 1957 at the “height of the Cold War” as a title card helpfully informs us.…

Steve Jobs is a near perfect fusion of functionality and artistry

5 Stars (5 / 5)

 

What is the current fascination with technology entrepreneurs?

From The Social Network to AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, key figures in the PC movement, real or imagined, have grown to legendary status in the public consciousness.…

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.…

Love & Mercy is a not inconsiderable blessing from the music biopic genre

4 Stars (4 / 5)

 

Has there been any sub-genre of drama more reliable in recent years than the music biopic?

They give the chance for charismatic character actors like Joaquin Phoenix and Marion Cotillard to take on larger-than-life personalities undergoing the trials and tribulations of fame and fortune.

The Theory of Everything forgets about the numbers so ends up playing by them

3 Stars (3 / 5)

 

James Marsh’s new film, a biopic of legendary astrophysicist Stephen Hawking and his first wife Jane Wilde, is firstly a very traditionally British film; which is to say, a very reserved one.

In the face of tragedy – the gradual debilitation of a vibrant person – there’s nary a tear shed.…

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.…

Get On Up proves there’s still some soul in the music biopic

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

 

For a brief time in the mid 2000s, the ’50s-60s musician biopic was the genre du jour.

The life stories of Johnny Cash and Ray Charles both hit the big screen in little over twelve months; the abstracted travails of Bob Dylan reached us two years later in the form of I’m Not There.