Molly’s Game Review

Molly's Game

The line ‘we’re about to do three years of therapy in three minutes’ would be met with an exhausted eye roll in any film, but coming in the last 15 minutes of an 140 minute, overindulgent Aaron Sorkin movie it positively feels like it’s daring the audience to yell at the screen. Sorkin’s directorial debut, Molly’s Game, is an overwritten, overlong, and annoyingly self-regarding mess that offers very little of the thrilling optimism or rollicking fun of his career highlights like The West Wing or The Social NetworkContinue reading

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Miss Sloane Review

MISS SLOANE

 

Given the current American political climate involves a lot of vague longing for the ‘good old days’ of polite politicians, it seems only fitting that a film illustrating how the American system has always been broken should come from a British writing-directing team. Focusing on lobbyists and the relationship between the money of big firms and the power of DC senators, John Madden’s Miss Sloane presents a world of cynical corruption, where rules and regulations are only adhered when financially expedient. Yet, despite this, there’s also a very optimistic side to this Jessica Chastain vehicle, refreshing in a time of frightening anti-intellectualism and pessimism in politics, but also providing Miss Sloane with a tonal problem that it can never fully overcome.  Continue reading

Crimson Peak Review

Crimson Peak

After the blockbuster bombast of the Hellboy series and Pacific Rim, the question was raised of whether or not Guillermo del Toro could translate his mastery of dark fantasy into English. Pan’s Labyrinth is one of the finest modern examples of the genre, and whilst Crimson Peak is not quite as good, it answers the above question in the affirmative with style. At the same time, it also shows that 19th Century literature can make for thrilling cinema, as long as there’s a visually ingenious director at the helm. Influenced by everything from Jane Eyre to Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, with a little bit of Sherlock Holmes, Crimson Peak is not only a fantastic film in its own right, but also an exciting revitalisation of an old-fashioned sort of storytelling.  Continue reading

A Most Violent Year Early Review

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Throughout the entirety of JC Chandor’s A Most Violent Year, lead character Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) insists that, even in a business surrounded by shady underworld types, he is not a gangster. Similarly, the film itself seems to constantly insist that it is not an actual mobster film, merely one filled with the tropes of the genre. Loan sharks dole out sinister life advice in palatial New York fortresses, the American Dreams of first-generation immigrants turn sour, and the district attorney (David Oyelowo) cosies up to the powerful criminal players in the city. However, this is by no means a proper criticism of the film, which is an incredibly solid period thriller and, if it accepted the label, possibly the finest crime film of 2014. Continue reading

Lawless – Review

Lawless’ opening gambit is that it is ‘based on a true story’, five words that should always trigger a slight suspicion in the minds of cinema-goers, especially when the true story has been adapted into a book by the descendant of a family of violent, bootlegging gangsters. And throughout the runtime of John  Hillcoat’s period, prohibition-era set crime drama (which serves as a nice Western counterpoint, to his previous criminal brothers movie, the Australia based Proposition), the events certainly take more than a few turns for the unbelievable, stretching credulity to breaking point, from the near invincible Bondurant brothers to the pantomime villains and morality. Continue reading