Review – Divergent

18 Apr

Poster for 2014 action/adventure film Divergent

Genre: Action/Adventure
Certificate: 12
UK Release Date: 4th April 2014
Runtime: 139 minutes
Director: Neil Burger
Writer: Evan Daugherty, Vanessa Taylor
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Miles Teller, Jai Courtney, Ashley Judd, Mekhi Phifer
Synopsis: A girl must struggle to fit into her society’s grouping system when her rogue classification marks her out as a threat to the established order.

 

 

With The Hunger Games making waves all over the world, every vaguely marketable series of young adult novels is being considered for the movie franchise treatment. Divergent is potentially as similar to Katniss’ adventures as it’s possible to get, but thankfully it’s a little more than simply an inferior clone.

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Review – The Quiet Ones

18 Apr

Poster for 2014 horror movie The Quiet Ones

Genre: Horror
Certificate: 15
UK Release Date: 11th April 2014
Runtime: 98 minutes
Director: John Pogue
Writer: John Pogue, Craig Rosenberg, Oren Moverman
Starring: Jared Harris, Sam Claflin, Olivia Cooke, Erin Richards, Rory Fleck-Byrne 
Synopsis: A strange Oxford professor enlists a group of students and a young camera operator to help with and document his experiments with a young girl who seems to exhibit supernatural power.

 

 

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the decline of quality and indeed box office money plaguing the found footage horror sub-genre. Despite this, 2014 has already seen two prominent found footage releases and now, in the shape of Hammer’s The Quiet Ones, a film desperate to use found footage tropes without being labelled an example of the genre. Either way, it’s a failure.

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Analysis: Under The Skin as a critique of a society obsessed with body image

18 Apr

Scarlett Johansson bares all for the arthouse sci-fi Under The Skin

Scarlett Johansson is currently filling multiplexes alongside Chris Evans in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. But she’s also planting her footprints all over the indie scene with Jonathan Glazer’s erotic sci-fi Under The Skin, which is attracting rave reviews from the critical fraternity.

I thought it was mostly pretentious rubbish, but there was something that stuck out to me as interesting. Amidst its navel-gazing and excessively long shots, there’s a message that emerges about body image and the perception of sex that is definitely worth examining.

Note: Do not read past this point until you’ve seen the film.

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Review – Noah

14 Apr

Poster for 2014 biblical epic Noah

Genre: Drama 
Certificate: 12
UK Release Date: 4th April 2014
Runtime: 138 minutes
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Writer: Darren Aronofsky, Ari Handel
Starring: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Anthony Hopkins, Douglas Booth
Synopsis: When the Creator opts to destroy the corrupted human race in a flood, he chooses one virtuous man to survive.

 

It’s been a long time since the biblical epic was a big part of the Hollywood furniture. Ben-Hur and The Last Temptation of Christ are distant memories, but ahead of Ridley Scott’s version of Exodus, the epic is back with Darren Aronofsky taking on the story of Noah. Thankfully, Aronofsky largely eschews preaching in favour of a genuinely interesting fantasy movie.

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Review – Under The Skin

11 Apr

Poster for 2014 arthouse sci-fi Under The Skin

Genre: Sci-Fi 
Certificate: 15
UK Release Date: 14th March 2014
Runtime: 108 minutes
Director: Jonathan Glazer
Writer: Walter Campbell, Jonathan Glazer
Starring: Scarlett Johansson
Synopsis: A sinister alien woman travels to Earth and preys on lustful men. One of her targets, however, teaches her something about what it means to be vulnerable and alone.

 

 

Garnering five-star reviews from many critics, Under The Skin looked set to be a slice of quality arthouse sci-fi from Sexy Beast director Jonathan Glazer. Unfortunately, it’s nothing of the sort and instead is the kind of pretentious guff that comes from a filmmaker desperate to show just how intelligent they are.

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Review – Nymphomaniac Vol. I & II

9 Apr

Poster for 2014 drama two-parter Nymphomaniac

Genre: Drama
Certificate: 18
UK Release Date: 22nd February 2014
Runtime: 117 minutes + 124 minutes
Director: Lars von Trier
Writer: Lars von Trier
Starring: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Stacy Martin, Shia La Beouf, Uma Thurman, Jamie Bell, Christian Slater, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Willem Dafoe
Synopsis: One woman tells a stranger about her turbulent life as a self-diagnosed sex addict.

 

 

Lars von Trier is one of the most controversial figures in the world of cinema, whether he’s showcasing genital mutilation in Antichrist or shocking the world with his comments about Adolf Hitler at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. The next logical step from all of that is obviously a four hour movie about sex addiction, right?

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Top 10: Films not to miss in April 2014

9 Apr

Peter Parker faces off against Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man 2

After an awesome March, the world of cinema is now moving into April with another host of great releases. There are some top blockbusters hitting screens, as well as some really exciting indies.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier stamped its mark on last month and superheroes are set to take centre stage again in April as The Amazing Spider-Man 2 arrives. The Hunger Games is also set to meet its match when Divergent rolls in on the back of impressive business in America.

Here’s my top ten.

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