Monthly Archives February 2014

The Book Thief

The Book Thief - posterDirector: Brian Percival

Cast: Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Sophie Nelisse, Nico Liersch, Ben Schnetzer

Running time: 131mins

Cert: 12

Year: 2013

The lowdown: Downton Abbey director Brian Percival brings Australian author Markus Zusak’s dark but cherished World War 2 children’s story to the big screen. Nelisse is the young girl forced to live with an elderly couple in Germany of the 1940s, and the Jewish refugee they’re hiding in the basement. As the war rages they all have more than just the bombers to fear as Nazi officials and informants are n  ever far away. Not without problems, but a good introduction to WW2 in the tradition of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.

The Book Thief - Sophie Nelisse, Ben SchnertzerThe Book Thief - Sophie Nelisse, Nico Liersch

The full verdict: Chilling the prose of Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief is the fact that Death itself narrates the tale of...

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Final Flesh

Final Flesh - posterDirectors: Unknown

Writer: Vernon Chatman

Cast: Melvin, Yvonne, Kesha (partial cast only)

Cert: Unrated

Running time: 69mins

Year: 2009

 

(but it’s not your average four stars)

The lowdown: When is porn not porn? When it’s in the anarchic hands of comedian and sometime South Park contributor Vernon Chatman. After discovering “deep in the greasiest creases of the internet” porn producers who film punters’ scripts for their “greedily lapping eyes only”, Chatman attempted to make a comic prank feature film. Four different smut companies received four scripts they had to film verbatim that when put together form a metaphysical end-of-times grot epic...

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Inside Llewyn Davis

Inside Llewyn Davis posterDirectors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Writers: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Cast: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Justin Timberlake

Cert: 15

Running Time: 104 mins

Year: 2013

The Lowdown: The Coen Brothers hit all the right notes in this heartfelt and occasionally hilarious homage to the 1960’s New York folk scene, which deservedly won the Grand Prix at last years’ Cannes Film Festival. Oscar Isaac shines as the eponymous musician with pitch-perfect back-up from Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Justin Timberlake and an elusive ginger tomcat. Step inside for a rich, rewarding experience. Aran jumpers are optional.

wk-davis1220Inside Llewyn Davis - Oscar Issacs, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake

The Verdict: The accessibility of the Coen Brothers’ oeuvre tends to divide even their most die-hard fans...

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RoboCop (2014)

RoboCop posterDirector: Jose Padilha

Writer: Joshua Zetumer, Edward Nuemeier & Michael Miner (1987 script)

Cast: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael Williams

Cert: 12A

Running time: 118mins

Year: 2014

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The lowdown: Elite Squad director Jose Padilha bravely or foolishly takes on the impossible mission of rebooting Paul Verhoeven’s RoboCop. Saddled with a contractual PG-13 rating, it’s no surprise that the result is an assembly line action vehicle sorely lacking the anarchic human touch that made the original hit home with a bullet. Robo may look slicker than he did in 1987, but someone should have oiled the rusty script.

RoboCop - Kinnaman, OldmanRoboCop, Kinnaman, Abbie Cornish

The full verdict: Ah, RoboCop...

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Dallas Buyers Club

Dallas Buyers Club - Matthew McConaughey, posterDirector: Jean-Marc Vallee

Writers: Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack

Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner, Steve Zahn, Griffin Dunne

Cert: 15

Running time: 117mins

Year: 2013

The lowdown: Matthew McConaughey arguably completes his McConaughaissance with Dallas Buyers Club. As Ron Woodroof, the real life hard living, homophobic blue collar guy diagnosed with HIV in 1985 and subsequently challenged pharmaceutical laws, the actor electrifies. A uniformly excellent cast includes Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner in a film that could be an Erin Brockovich clone, but is elevated by an unsentimental but compassionate approach to the difficult material.

AMF_7277 (341 of 376).NEFDallas Buyers Club - Matthew McConaughey, gaunt

The full verdict: R.I...

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We Are What We Are (2013)

We Are What We Are - posterDirector: Jim Mickle

Writers: Jim Mickle, Nick Damici, Jorge Michel Grau (original version only)

Cast: Bill Sage, Julia Garner, Ambyr Childers, Michael Parks, Rory Gore, Kelly McGillis

Cert: 15

Running time: 105mins

Year: 2013

 

The lowdown: Dinner is reheated in this American remake of the excellent 2010 Mexican original. Stakeland director Jim Mickle keeps the premise of a cannibal family fighting to stay together in the modern world, but the terrifying sprawl of Mexico City is here replaced with a backwater town, losing the original’s satirical bite. The cast are uniformly good, the photography strikingly handsome, but the omnipresent rain seems to have seeped into the script itself, leaving everything a little soggy.

We Are What Are - Sage, Childers, Garner, dinnerWe Are What We Are - Garner, Childers, window

The full verdict: Full marks to writer/director Jim Mickle an...

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