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Cinema

Agnes Kittelsen as Thor Heyerdahl’s wife, Liv — one of the film’s many blondes

If you like bland films full of blondes, you’ll love Kon-Tiki

Cinema

Kon-Tiki is a dramatisation of Thor Heyerdahl’s 4,300-mile, 101-day journey across the Pacific by balsa-wood raft, which took place in 1947, and was a remarkable achievement, unlike this film, which so isn’t. True, it does what it says on the… Read more

Too lovable: Bill Murray and Jaeden Lieberher in ‘St. Vincent’

St. Vincent: too much lovability and not enough roguishness from Bill Murray

Cinema

Is Bill Murray fit for sainthood? Certainly his fans have him figure as some sort of lesser divinity, maybe one of the more saturnalian Greeks or pagans, with a taste for crashing karaoke parties with a pretty Dutch girl on… Read more

paddington

Paddington review: put your mind at rest - no one gets marmalade up the bum

Cinema

‘Please look after this bear,’ reads the famous label hanging round Paddington’s neck, and this film does that, admirably, handsomely, endearingly, lovingly and not at all sexily. Such a furore, when the film was awarded a PG instead of a… Read more

Hilary Swank and Tommy Lee Jones star in The Homesman

Just because The Homesman has a few women in it doesn’t make it a ‘feminist western’

Cinema

The Homesman, which stars Hilary Swank and Tommy Lee Jones and is set in the Nebraska territory in the 1850s, is being sold as ‘a feminist Western’, which is a bit rich. This is not a bad film. It’s modestly… Read more

Railly, railly posh: Keira Knightley as Joan Clarke

The Imitation Game: a film that's as much in the closet as Alan Turing was

Cinema

The Imitation Game is a biopic starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, the brilliant mathematician who broke the German’s Enigma code during the war, created the blueprint for the modern computer and was then hounded to death by the authorities… Read more

Like Star Trek turned up to 11

Interstellar: like Star Trek – but dumber and more tiring

Cinema

Christopher Nolan’s futuristic epic Interstellar isn’t a clever film, or even a dumb film with a clever film trying to get out. Instead, and no matter what the hype may say, this is a dumb film with an even dumber… Read more

Timothy-Spall-as-Mr-Turner

Mr Turner: the gruntiest, snortiest, huffiest film of the year - and the most beautiful too

Cinema

Mr Turner may be the gruntiest film of the year, possibly the gruntiest film ever. ‘Grunt, grunt, grunt,’ goes Mr Turner (Timothy Spall) as he sketches, paints, gropes his housekeeper, woos a Margate landlady, winds up John Constable something rotten.… Read more

Brad Pitt with the crew of the Sherman tank, Fury

Fury: the men blow stuff up, then Brad Pitt takes his top off

Cinema

Fury is a second world war drama that plays with us viscerally and unsparingly — I think I saw a head being blown off; I think I saw a sliced-off face, flopping about — but is still just another second… Read more

Tissues at the ready: James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan in The Best of Me

The Best of Me is more of a sleepie than a weepie - especially when our old friend No Sexual Chemistry makes an appearance

Cinema

Take tissues to The Best of Me, I’d read, as it’s such a weepie, so I took tissues, being a weeper at weepies — I still dab my eyes whenever I even think about War Horse — but it was… Read more

Poor, poor Effie: Dakota Fanning

Effie Gray can effie off

Cinema

Effie Gray, which has been written by Emma Thompson and recounts the doomed marriage of Victorian art critic John Ruskin to his teenage bride (he refused to consummate it), has a blissful cast. It stars Dakota Fanning, Ms Thompson herself,… Read more

The accused: Ben Affleck stars in Gone Girl

David Fincher plays Gone Girl for laughs - at least I hope he is

Cinema

Gone Girl is David Fincher’s adaptation of the bestselling thriller by Gillian Flynn, a relentless page-turner which I’ve heard people say they read ‘even though it’s not that good’ — you were hooked; get over it; don’t be snotty —… Read more

Rosamund Pike and family (L-R) Harriet Turnbull, Emilia Jones and Bobby Smalldridge

Outnumbered: The Movie (But Crap)

Cinema

What We Did On Our Holiday is written and directed by Guy Jenkin and Andy Hamilton, the pair who created the hit BBC sitcom Outnumbered, and this is like an extended episode of Outnumbered minus anything that made it good… Read more

Cinema

20,000 Days On Earth: is Nick Cave the missing link? Or the next stage in evolution?

Cinema

Inspired by Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never (2011), Katy Perry’s Part of Me (2012) and One Direction’s This Is Us (2013), Nick Cave has released a documentary about himself. No doubt he wanted to prove that this old dog has… Read more

Whoop! The 1985 Gay Pride march through central London

Ignore the simplistic politics, Pride will make you laugh and cry

Cinema

1984 and all that. Which side were you on? The side of Margaret Thatcher, her hairdo and person standing rigid against a rising tide of industrial activism and British declinism? Or the side of the miners, socking it to the… Read more

Identity crisis: Nicole Kidman in Before I Go to Sleep

Before I Go to Sleep prefers creepy car parks to feelings

Cinema

Before I Go To Sleep is Rowan Joffe’s adaptation of S.J. Watson’s bestselling thriller of 2011, but whereas the book was smart, gripping, ingeniously plotted and had psychological depth — who are we, when we can’t remember who we are?… Read more

Angry young man: Jesse Eisenberg as Josh in ‘Night Moves’

Night Moves – the opposite of a Dan Brown film

Cinema

Night Moves is a film by Kelly Reichardt, who also made the heart-wrenching Wendy and Lucy (2008), which may be one of my favourite films of all time. (If you don’t know it, go look it up; I’m old now,… Read more

Inhuman being: Scarlett Johansson as Lucy

Lucy: the shoot-outs, car chases and mysteries of the universe

Cinema

Here’s an idea for an article: The Tree of Life (2011) is the most influential film of the past decade. There’s quite a strong case to be made. Everything from car adverts to Hollywood blockbusters seems to have a touch… Read more

Daft, and sensationally innocent: the Inbetweeners down under

The Inbetweeners 2 is as filthy as a teenage boy – and it's hilarious

Cinema

The first Inbetweeners film made £45 million at the box office, and was such an unexpected smash there was always going to be a second one, which is fair enough. It is based on the TV sitcom (Channel 4, 2008–2010),… Read more

Doctor in the house: Alex Brendemühl as Josef Mengele

Allergic to blockbusters? See Wakolda

Cinema

Wakolda is not a sunny film for a sunny day, just so you’re aware, but as there is so little else around — August is a hopeless month for films; August is a dumping ground for the sub-par — you… Read more

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Moon Indigo: an all-you-can-eat buffet for the eyes - but your brain will feel famished

Cinema

Your enjoyment of Michel Gondry’s Mood Indigo may entirely depend on how much visual whimsy you can take, what your threshold might be, whether you can go with it or whether it wears you out and brings you to your… Read more

Still from 'The Lunchbox'

The Lunchbox: a love story based on food and free postage

Cinema

Was Kate due a grounding after the awards extravaganza of Revolutionary Road and The Reader? Because Labor Day (12A) slipped into cinemas in March and slipped out again almost unnoticed. With the DVD release this is a good time to… Read more

Obstacle on the footballing front: Natascha McElhone as Georgie’s mother

The problem with Believe is you simply won’t believe any of it - unless you’re a child

Cinema

The trouble with Believe is that, unless you are ten years old or under, which I’m assuming you are not, you won’t believe. Not for a second. Not for a minute. Not a word of it. This doesn’t see itself… Read more

People-living-at-the-margins

How did a New York nanny become one of the great photographers of the 20th century?

Cinema

Finding Vivian Maier is a documentary about the American nanny who led a wholly secretive life as a photographer and who, posthumously, has been described as ‘one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century’. It’s a good story, which… Read more

Naturalistic: Ellar Coltrane and Ethan Hawke as Mason, junior and senior

A miracle: a three-hour film that flies by

Cinema

Richard Linklater’s observational chronicle, Boyhood, was 12 years in the making and is 166 minutes long — that’s nearly three hours, in real money — and I wasn’t bored for a single moment. Isn’t that miraculous? Have you ever heard… Read more

Robert Gustafsson as Allan Karlsson

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of a Window and Bloody Well Should Have Disappeared

Cinema

If it were up to me this would be called ‘The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window, Fell, and Was Never Heard From Again’ as this way we’d be out of the cinema in two minutes flat, no hard… Read more

A hunk of the highest order: Giulio Berruti as Raf

Walking on Sunshine: the feel-ennui musical of the year

Cinema

As far as ‘jukebox films’ go, Mamma Mia! was a riot, Sunshine on Leith was tolerable, just about, while Walking on Sunshine is a step too far and brings the genre to its knees.It’s being billed as ‘the feel-good musical… Read more

Love story: Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley

A funny weepie that paints itself into a contrived corner

Cinema

The Fault in Our Stars, which is based on the bestselling young-adult novel by John Green, is about two teenagers with cancer who fall in love and it’s a sort of Love Story for younger people, God help them, although… Read more

Fretting about marriage: Sarah Gadon (Elizabeth) and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Dido)

Belle has everything going for it – except for a decent soundtrack or script or plot or acting

Cinema

Belle is based on the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate, mixed-race daughter of a sea captain and his African slave mistress, who was brought up as a free gentlewoman by her great uncle, Lord Mansfield, at Kenwood… Read more