November 1, 2014
J.K Simmons & Miles Teller in 'Whiplash' (2014)

A movie about a young man studying to be a jazz drummer may sound like an entirely resistible proposition, but Whiplash is no lame musical comedy. Rookie writer-director, Damien Chazelle, has said he wanted to make a film about music that was more like a horror or gangster movie. Without including a single ghoul or … More

Kill the Messenger

November 1, 2014
Jeremy Renner in 'Kill The Messenger' (2014)

One might assume the public is willing to believe anything bad about the CIA, which has become a byword for clandestine criminality in the modern world, but Kill the Messenger suggests otherwise. It tells the true story of Gary Webb, an investigative reporter on the San Jose Mercury News, who breaks a once-in-a-lifetime scoop about … More

Living is Easy with Eyes Closed

October 25, 2014
Javier Cámara in 'Living is Easy With Eyes Closed' (2013)

Since the end of the Franco era Spanish filmmakers have made many attempts to engage with that time of backwardness and isolation. The Movida that began in the late 1970s, best exemplified by the anarchic sex comedies of Pedro Almodóvar, was an explosive reaction to the greyness of the preceding decades. When the shock waves … More

A Walk Among the Tombstones

October 25, 2014
Liam Neeson in 'A Walk Among the Tombstones' (2014)

Lawrence Block is a crime writer whose style seems made for the movies. Flat descriptive passages are punctuated by bursts of terse, witty dialogue. After a few pages the film is already rolling in your head. Add Liam Neeson as Block’s ex-alco, ex-NYPD, private dick, Matthew Scudder, and the package seems close to perfect. All … More

Force Majeure

October 18, 2014
Lisa Loven Kongsli in 'Force Majeure' (2014)

Force Majeure is a clever, ironic title for a Swedish film that was originally called Turist. The legal definition of force majeure is: “an event that is the result of the elements of nature, as opposed to one caused by human behaviour”. It’s a term used in contractual law referring to a situation when one … More

The Judge

October 11, 2014
Robert Downey Jr. in 'The Judge' (2014)

If Siddharth is a movie about a father searching for a son, The Judge is the story of a son looking for a father. That’s where comparisons end, because the latter is an old-fashined, pumped-up Hollywood soap opera that provides a star vehicle for two wellknown actors: reformed bad boy, Robert Downey Jr., recently transmogrified … More


October 11, 2014
Rajesh Tailang in 'Siddharth' (2013)

Indian movies conjure up visions of extravagant song and dance routines, broad comedy and incandescent melodrama. Yet as the subcontinent grows wealthier and more cosmopolitan it is crafting a national cinema that transcends the Bollywood stereotypes. Increasingly it is the realist films of Satyajit Ray (1921-92) that seem to point the way forward, even though … More

Gone Girl

October 4, 2014
Rosamund Pike & Ben Affleck in 'Gone Girl' (2014)

Having written a smash No. 1 bestseller, there are not many authors with the discipline – or know-how – to sit down and thrash out the screenplay. This makes Gillian Flynn a rare talent, as she has managed to take a brilliant novel and put it through all those necessary cuts and compressions required of … More

In Bloom

September 27, 2014
Mariam Bokeria & Lika Babluani 'In Bloom' (2014)

Family life takes on a different tone in Georgia in the early 1990s, a country freshly separated from the Soviet Union but immersed in a new civil war. In Bloom, co-directed by Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross, is set in the capital, Tbilisi, but everyone is affected by the proximity of violence, by the air … More

The Skeleton Twins

September 27, 2014
Kristen Wiig & Bill Hader in 'The Skeleton Twins' (2014)

Craig Johnson’s comedy-drama, The Skeleton Twins would have us believe that non-identical twins, Milo and Maggie, have not seen each other for ten years. As most twins of my acquaintance are virtually joined at the hip, this seems a trifle implausible. Such a rift would require a trauma of major proportions, and – although there … More

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