Film

March 23, 2015

★★★★ Foxcatcher is a really interesting movie about the interplay of class, family and friendship within the context of professional wrestling (the rolling on the ground Olympic type, not the cabaret type). It is centred by three fantastic performances from Channing Tatum as Olympic gold medallist Mark Schultz, Mark Ruffalo as his brother “the great” [...]

March 23, 2015

★★★ It’s easy to see why Sony Pictures scooped up Alice from the Toronto Film Festival. There are two key reasons: their names are Julianne Moore and Alec Baldwin, and they propel along a simple, snappy, and surprisingly un-soppy film about illness, family, and (of course) love. Moore plays Alice Howland, a linguistics professor diagnosed [...]

March 23, 2015

★★★½ Chappie is the story of the first ever sentient robot created in a weapons factory in South Africa. It follows engineer Dion (Dev Patel) as he creates Chappie, the Artificial Intelligence (AI), and then attempts to raise the robot. However, his progress is impeded by his envious colleague Vincent (Hugh Jackman) and Johannesburg gangsters [...]

March 15, 2015

★★★★ “God is a ruthless bitch.”—Cheryl Strayed Of all the comments Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) leaves in the register books that mark her journey along California’s Pacific Crest Trail, this is the only original one. The rest are apt but ever-so-slightly twee remarks that span pretty much everyone from Shakespeare to Joni Mitchell. Strayed’s own comment [...]

March 8, 2015

★★½ Although I don’t altogether understand the phenomenon of Bennysnickers Scoopypants, I’ll be the first to admit that the fellow can act. Case in point: his portrayal of Alan Turing—mathematician, cryptanalyst, all-round genius and undercover hero—in The Imitation Game. Cumberbatch’s acting is, in fact, the highlight of the film, which otherwise seems to suffer from [...]

March 8, 2015

★★★★ Black screen. The drum beat starts, so slowly that you aren’t even sure you’re hearing a beat. The tempo builds as the beat gets stronger, faster, louder, with earnest. As it reaches a climax, the tempo cuts to a young man, resetting his drum kit to start the beat again. As the camera tracks [...]

March 1, 2015

★★★★★ Selma comes to the awards season a year after Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave won the Academy award for Best Picture. Both are violent and beautiful films concerned with significant parts of American history: slavery in the mid 1800s and the fight for Black Americans to be able to vote unencumbered that led [...]

March 1, 2015

★★½ There is a lot of debate raging recently about the role of military movies in our modern world. Are they propaganda? Or are they a tribute to the men and women who have risked their lives for their country? The film to spark this debate was Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, the true story of [...]

March 1, 2015

The ballots are closed and the results are in: the winner of the Oscars, for the 87th consecutive year, was the advertising industry. Despite a slight downturn from last year’s numbers, The Oscars’ televised live ceremony drew in a crowd of 37 million legal American viewers and no doubt plenty more illegal ones, myself amongst [...]