Adult Life Skills neatly sidesteps the trap of the twee

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

Adult Life Skills is one of those low-key, quirky dramedies that, if executed poorly, has the potential to be be near enough unwatchable.

Fortunately, as executed by first-time writer-director Rachel Tunnard and her more than able cast, the film is instead a mopey, mirthful study of making magic out of mundanity.

Orthodox is too by-the-book to make much of an impact

2 Stars (2 / 5)

 

Is there any sport so cinematic as boxing?

Its grace and brutality lend themselves to celluloid, and especially the breed of tormented protagonist that tends to accompany them. Far from the glossy Hollywood melodramas that have defined the genre in recent years, the astutely named Orthodox counterpoints the sweet science with a new subject: faith.…

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.

Lost River winnows away into nothingness

1.5 Stars (1.5 / 5)

 

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a lost river as “a surface stream that flows into an underground passageway.”

Appropriately, Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut of the same name is all about the lurid surfaces and obscure depths, and cuts a wide and muddy channel across the cinematic landscape.…

Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter is on a quest for oblivion

2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

 

As cinematic provenances go, Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter has a fairly tortured one.

A “true story” based on an urban legend based on events that took place in Minnesota in 2001, the film follows the misguided adventurers of the eponymous Kumiko (Babel’s Rinko Kikuchi), an office drone in Tokyo who becomes obsessed with finding the treasure buried at the end of Fargo.…

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.…

Blue Ruin’s cautionary tale is Death Wish meets the Hatfield-McCoys

4 Stars (4 / 5)

 

Real life isn’t like the movies.

True love is not the inevitable outcome of a tempestuous first meeting and cars don’t blow up just because you put a few bullets in them. It’s this reality that is at the heart of Blue Ruin.…

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa is a deliberately underwhelming affair

2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

 

The thing about diminishing expectations is that after a certain point they cease to be worth meeting.

After almost two decades on and off the TV, Alan Partridge, Steve Coogan’s most popular creation, has made his way to the big screen.…