REVIEW DOUBLE BILL: American Made & The Limehouse Golem

American Made

4 Stars (4 / 5)
Scarface, 1932 and ‘83. Goodfellas. The Wolf of Wall Street. War Dogs. American Made is just the latest film to take aim at the dark, opportunistic side of the American dream.

“Based on a true story”, as such films generally are, American Made is the story of Barry Seal, a pilot extraordinaire turned TWA lifer, recruited by the CIA in 1978.…

Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu’s latest, The Revenant, is a bit of an endurance test

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

Okay, so I have a problem with The Revenant.

It’s not the same issue I had with Argo back in 2012 (a decent retro thriller, not a Best Picture) or even with The Theory of Everything or American Sniper last year (good performances, not much else — also by no means indispensable).…

Star Wars: The Force Awakens recaptures much of the old magic, but leaves it to future installments to take the risks.

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

 

 A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”

After the prequels more or less managed to strip the gloss off the franchise1, it seems apt that the opening lines of Star Wars: The Force Awakens refer to a sort of redemption.2

This long-awaited, almost mythical follow-up to the Holy Trilogy3 has the added advantage/burden of returning to the three characters we actually care about; namely Luke4, Han, and Leia.

Unbroken is too polished for its own good

 

 

2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

 

War stories tend to have two major themes: man’s inhumanity to man and/or the triumph of the human spirit.

While plenty of films in recent years have focused on the later, most recently Fury, it’s been a while since we’ve had an account of unvarnished heroism.…

Let’s be Frank: this indie dramedy has an identity crisis

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

 

It’s a bit of a contradiction when you walk into a film with no idea of what to expect and walk out somehow disappointed.

This is certainly true in the case of Frank, a quirky little indie dramedy from director Lenny Abrahamson.…

Calvary is a profane, heartbreaking spiritual journey

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

 

There are plenty of filmmaking sibling duos out there – the Coen Brothers, the Dardenne brothers, the Wachowskis – but it’s rare for them to work completely independently of each other.

In 2008, playwright Martin McDonagh made his break into film with In Bruges, a dark comedy about two hitmen hiding out in the Medieval Flemish city; three years later, his brother John Michael McDonagh made his film debut in the form of The Guard, about a hedonistic but thoughtful Connemara constable.…