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Lincoln: Movie Review

Lincoln: Movie Review

Lincoln is about 150 minutes longer than the actual Civil War and it doesn’t have a single vampire in it. Not one. What it does have is lots of beards and wigs and lots of hazy smoke clinging to the roof of almost every frame and a toupee worn by Tommy Lee Jones that should be nominated for an Academy Award. Yes, yes it is brilliantly researched, superbly scripted and exceptionally cast but who cares when it’s as boring as a...

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Samsara: Movie Review

Samsara: Movie Review

If a picture tells a thousand words then Ron Fricke’s Samsara is a visual Magna Carta. Via an extraordinary kaleidoscope of images captured from around the world, Fricke narrates a poignant tale about life, the universe, and everything without ever uttering a syllable. The result—a collision of humanity, morality, and circumstance—is astounding. Aside from the sheer majesty of the visuals (shot in towering 70mm), much can be...

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Flight: Movie Review

Flight: Movie Review

The first twenty minutes of Flight takes off promisingly but once it reaches the top of its climb it crashes and burns, never to regain altitude. The storyline shifts into autopilot, drowning an intriguing premise into a drippy sermon about the almightiness of God versus the devil of vice. In terms of pace, the film does maintain its cruise but with fact stretched wide enough to fly a jet through, the plane crash that opens the film is...

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The Guilt Trip: Movie Review

The Guilt Trip: Movie Review

As predictable as an overbearing Jewish mother, The Guilt Trip is a highway of shmaltzy schlock that ticks off every cliché in the Hollywood Guide to Yiddish Parenting. The tedious storyline coughs and splutters along a tarred screenplay where the only diversion is the occasional backfiring joke to divert from the boredom. If it wasn’t for Barbra Streisand’s adorable performance as the baleboste matriarch, The Guilt Trip would...

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The Impossible (lo imposible): Movie Review

The Impossible (lo imposible): Movie Review

Impossible is a good way to describe how it feels to try and imagine surviving one of the worst natural disasters to occur in our lifetime. Let alone the horror of being separated from your family, not knowing whether they are dead or alive. And in a crisis where almost a quarter of a million people were declared dead or missing, the remarkable story of the Alvarez Belon family is more than impossible, it’s a miracle. Holidaying in...

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Django Unchained: Movie Review

Django Unchained: Movie Review

For a film about hate there’s plenty to love about Django Unchained but not necessarily a whole lot to like. Burdened by gimmicky revisionism and insincere storytelling, Tarantino exploits yet another black period of modern history then renders it tasteless with heavy-handed white cheese supremacy. It may be disguised as an outstanding tribute to spaghetti westerns but this is Inglourious Basterds all over again only this time...

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Gangster Squad: Movie Review

Gangster Squad: Movie Review

Before there were gangstas in Los Angeles there were gangsters. And they didn’t talk about the trash, they took it out. Loosely based on a series of true events penned by Paul Lieberman, Gangster Squad is set in the days when the bad guys were bad, the cops were badder, and sometimes a badge was the only thing that separated the good guys from vigilantes. And sometimes, even a badge didn’t make no difference ee-ver. Ex-boxer...

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Hitchcock: Movie Review

Hitchcock: Movie Review

You’d have to be Psycho not to know who Sir Alfred Hitchcock is. You could throw a Rope from the Rich and Strange southern corners of the world, up Under Capricorn then past Jamaica Inn to The Pleasure Garden of the orient in the North by Northwest and without a Shadow of A Doubt find fans of the Notorious director. But according to Sacha Gervasi’s film, being Hitchcock was no Easy Virtue, with much of his ascendancy rightfully...

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Life of Pi: Movie Review

Life of Pi: Movie Review

Life is a tutti-frutti gelato dipped in rainbow fairy floss and topped with real-fruit cachous; scrumptious to look at but full of empty calories and likely to cause brain-freeze. This part, at least, the film version of Life of Pi gets right. A visually arresting spectacular of gorgeous imagery in masterful 3D, Life of Pi dips its toe into the majesty of Yann Martel’s life-changing novel but when it comes to imparting the messages...

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Jack Reacher: Movie Review

Jack Reacher: Movie Review

Jack Reacher proves that when you have as much fame and money as Tom Cruise you can pretty much do whatever you please. But equally, just because you have the power to do anything, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should. Halfway between a dumb action flick and a seedy cop drama, Jack Reacher doesn’t quite extend to the expectations of either. The film is based on One Shot, the ninth novel in Lee Childs’ Jack Reacher...

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Parental Guidance: Movie Review

Parental Guidance: Movie Review

Once upon a time there lived a collection of PG-rated films that actually used to be suitable for the whole family. They featured a stay-at-home mum, a dad with briefcase, three well-rounded kids (daughter, son, infant son), a loyal ragamuffin dog, and John Candy. They never contained swearing, spoilt brats, vampires or Adam Sandler. These films presented a virtuous existence that was neither realistic or likely, but nobody cared. The...

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Wreck-It Ralph: Movie Review

Wreck-It Ralph: Movie Review

Disney unlocks a new level of free play with Wreck-It Ralph, a smashing film powered up by slick retro graphics, an adorable storyline and a treasure chest of hidden bonuses. The visuals are stunning, the characters are inventive and the customary moralising is constructed gently brick-by-brick rather than blasted home with a battering ram. Wreck-It Ralph is an arcade of fun. Game on. Being the bad guy isn’t always fun and games,...

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: Movie Review

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: Movie Review

Whilst unearthly visuals certainly chart new cinematic territory in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, at a running time of 169 minutes the film fails to travel very far. Fans will be enthralled by the return to the picturesque fantasy world created so majestically in The Lord of the Rings trilogy but Tolkien enthusiasts may feel like they’ve been dragged to Middle-Earth and back. Ironically, Jackson’s overlong effort to...

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Les Misérables: Movie Review

Les Misérables: Movie Review

Tom Hooper’s adaptation of theatrical Les Misérables is a sublime, ferocious example of a cinematic masterpiece that shoulders the burden of relatively few disappointments. The film is exquisite, with phenomenal performances, omniscient direction, vivid staging and remarkably intuitive timing but it is not without its sorrows. Theatre-goers are the target audience here so newcomers to Les Misérables and fans of the original Victor...

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Love Is All You Need (Den skaldede frisør): Movie Review

Love Is All You Need (Den skaldede frisør): Movie Review

Even though Love Is All You Need bears no formal relation to Mamma Mia!, here we go again with  a film that could be its more sophisticated big sister. Humming more to the tune of  Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson than John Lennon, Love Is All You Need brings Pierce Brosnan back to the screen as a cranky in-law-to-be in a picturesque Mediterranean setting where love is found in all the right places. Patrick (Sebastian Jessen) plans to...

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ParaNorman: Movie Review

ParaNorman: Movie Review

ParaNorman is a scream. The animation is glorious, the writing is kooky and fun, and the detailing is exceptional. But beware! Danger! Keep out! Proceed with caution! The overall effect is so mortifyingly good that it won’t be everybody’s cup of boiled newt. Horrifically creepy, ParaNorman may be dead clever but genuinely scary sequences, occult themes, and an ever-looming state of tension make the film considerably...

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Paris-Manhattan: Movie Review

Paris-Manhattan: Movie Review

Caloric, cheesy and fatuously romantic, Paris-Manhattan couldn’t be anything else but French. It’s light, airy, and sickeningly saccharine but despite the froth and bubble it is impossible not to like. Sophie Lellouche’s fairytale for big-girls has enough charm to give it the chick-flick, just don’t expect much substance beneath all that spun sugar. While other girls grew up, nightclubbed, met boys then married...

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Quartet: Movie Review

Quartet: Movie Review

Dustin Hoffman’s birth as a director orchestrates the twilight years of a few retiring virtuosos hooked on classics and refusing to grow old disgracefully. These prima donnas (and primo uomos) may have left the stage behind but not the operatic drama. Quartet is based on Ronald Harwood’s esteemed play and is a reasonable entry into directing for Hoffman but like old age itself, Quartet is handled a little too gently. Wrinkles...

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Save Your Legs! Movie Review

Save Your Legs! Movie Review

Save Your Legs! is as surprising as a batsman declared out on an underarm googly that never touched willow. It was never going to knock you for six but turned out to be worth a shout anyway. Inspired by true events, the film does suffer from the occasional over-pitched cliché but, on average, the run rate of laughs is fairly consistent and vivid cinematography means the delivery is good. Based on D-grade cricket team The Abbotsford...

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Pitch Perfect: Movie Review

Pitch Perfect: Movie Review

If music is the soundtrack to your life, then Pitch Perfect does a pitchin’ job of orchestrating the days of the old college yard into a sharp and funny rhapsody. Thrumming with comedy and reverberating with high notes of unsung harmony, Pitch Perfect is an a capel-larious, a capel-laughoutloud film about a likeable bunch of a capel-losers. (Very) loosely based on Mickey Rapkin’s non-fiction novel Pitch Perfect: The Quest for...

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