Elvis & Nixon, if not quite kingly, certainly won’t leave you feeling crook

3 Stars (3 / 5)

How do you a find a new take on not one but two of the most imitated figures in modern history?

From Forrest Gump to Bubba Ho-Tep, Secret Honour to X-Men: Days of Future Past, not to mention the cavalcade of films that bear their names, Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon are probably better known to us as personas than in person; partly by design, of course. 

Rubble Kings: a Bronx story of hope amid blood and strife

3 Stars (3 / 5)

 

“Warriors, come out to play-yay.”

You’ve know David Patrick Kelly’s sing-song mockery, even if you’ve never seen the film it’s in. With its gritty, lurid depiction of costumed gang warfare in ‘70s New York, The Warriors seems like a film born for cult stardom.…

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.

Whiplash might be my film of the decade

5 Stars (5 / 5)

 

A tense, astonishing drama about precision, obsession, and determination, Whiplash seizes you from its opening moment – a snare drum, like a quickening heartbeat, over black – to the final crash of cymbals.

Miles Teller stars as Andrew Neyman, an awkward drumming prodigy who finds himself thrown in at the deep end when he’s invited to join a band led by conductor Miles Fletcher.…

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.

Jersey Boys hits the jukebox but misses the stage

Jukebox musicals are a dime a dozen, much like the machine from which they get their name.

Usually focusing on a single band or era of music, they used tried-and-tested narratives as a framework for the hits. Whether it’s Jim Broadbent smarming his way through “Like A Virgin” in Moulin Rouge or Meryl Streep’s recriminatory “Winner Takes it All” in Mama Mia!

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.…

Inside Llewyn Davis: an arsehole’s eclectic journey through the Greenwich Village scene

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

The Coen Brothers might have delved into spiritual music before in O Brother, Where Art Thou, their myth-inspired take on the Depression-era American Deep South, but Inside Llewyn Davis is a far more focused piece of cinema, if never quite as colorful as its predecessor.

Stone Roses: Made of Stone is an edifice in need of a purpose

2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

“A clear horizon — nothing to worry about on your plate, only things that are creative and not destructive…

I can’t bear quarreling, I can’t bear feelings between people — I think hatred is wasted energy, and it’s all non-productive.

A Late Quartet shows what happens when four lives fall in and out of harmony

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

 

An experienced cellist’s carefully ordered life disintegrates when he is diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s.

A monomaniacal first violinist struggles with suppressed passions when a beautiful young student lays claim to his affections. A husband, an insecure second violinist, and wife, a brittle viola player, flounder when forced to confront the reality of their failing marriage.…