Review; Trouble with the Curve

A pile of cliches assembled with all the creative flair of an IKEA catalogue.

Review: The Hunt

Thomas Vinterberg's drama demonstrates how a single word can destroy a life. Devastating brilliant. Brilliantly devastating.

Review: Great Expectations

Do we need another adaptation of Dickens' novel? Mike Newell's cracking young cast convince us we do.

Review: End of Watch

It's not a good cop movie, or a bad cop movie - it's a really, really good cop movie.

Review: Sighteers

Ben Wheatley's new film is Natural Born Caravanners - and suffers from all the problems that title suggests.

Rust and Bone

It’s like watching a French Free Willy. The whale never escapes. The trainer loses her legs. Everyone stays miserable. But this is strangely uplifting stuff.

James Bond Cupcakes

We celebrate Bond's 50th the only one way we know how: with some 007 cupcakes.

Skyfall review

Skyfall isn't a Bond movie. It's a movie about Bond. And that's something very special indeed.


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Raindance Film Review: How Do You Write a Joe Schermann Song? Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Thursday, 27 September 2012 09:50
How Do You Write a Joe Schermann Song - film review
Director: Gary King
Cast: Christina Rose, Joe Schermann, Mark DiConzo, Debbie Williams

How do you write a Joe Schermann song? That's the question Joe Schermann's asking himself as he struggles to finish a musical. A veteran of the off-Broadway scene, he's been touring audition rooms for years, accompanying women hoping to be the next big lead. Among them is girlfriend Evey (Rose). She's got talent - and ambition to match - so why hasn't Joe ever penned a song for her?

Joe would answer - but he's too busy falling in love with Summer (Williams), a singer whose voice leaves his eardrums head over heels. That’s when the theatrics really start.

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London Film Festival Review: Great Expectations Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Sunday, 21 October 2012 14:14

Raiph Fiennes, Great Expectations

Director: Mike Newell
Cast: Jeremy Irvine, Holliday Grainger, Helena Bonham Carter, Raiph Fiennes, Jason Flemyng, Robbie Coltrane

As each new version of Great Expectations arrives, the title Lowered Expectatinos seems more appropriate. Ever since David Lean’s definitive film, the playing field has felt crowded. Even the BBC produced a third (very admirable) adaptation last year. Do we really need another? To its credit, Mike Newell’s Great Expectations almost convinces us we do.

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Interview: Marius Holst (The King of Devil’s Island) Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Monday, 12 November 2012 15:59
Interview: Marius Holst, King of Devil's Island

(Photo via King of Devil's Island Facebook page)

The King of Devil’s Island blew its way into cinemas in June, a cold, haunting story about a boys home on the island of Bastøy. But while its mix of hidden abuse, harsh conditions and violent revelations may appear familiar, Marius Holst’s drama has something that sets it apart: it all actually happened.

Coupled with a commanding performance from Stellan Skarsgård as the prison’s cruel-but-kind warden and a cast of unprofessional teens, it gives King of Devil’s Island a nasty chill that you can’t shake for a good couple of days.

With the film released on DVD last week, I spoke to director Marius Holst about shooting on a snowy island, working with untrained kids and uncovering a dark chapter in Norway’s past.

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LFF interview: 6 things I learned from the Great Expectations press conference Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Sunday, 21 October 2012 18:35

Holliday Grainger, Great Expectations

Mike Newell’s Great Expectations. The phrase itself doesn’t conjure up images of bold departures from tradition or magical surprises. As Newell puts it, Great Expectations is “a very ploughed field”. But while version of Charles Dickens’ seminal text is perfectly sound (if nothing more), there were more surprises to be found at the press conference for the film.

With Jeremy Irvine, Holliday Grainger, Robbie Coltrane, Mike Newell and David Nicholls in attendance, interesting factoids and anecdotes spilled out every few minutes.

Here are the six things I learned from the Great Expectations press conference...

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6 things I learned from My Neighbour Totoro Blu-ray Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Tuesday, 13 November 2012 16:34
My Neighbour Totoro Blu-ray

“It hit me that my life wouldn’t go anywhere if I kept doing this so I did something different.”

That’s Hayao Miyazaki talking about what led him to make My Neighbour Totoro, which came out on Blu-ray yesterday.

I had the joy of re-watching Studio Ghibli’s adorable tale of childlike wonder over the weekend, where I tried to get my seven-year-old nephew to watch it for the first time. He was captivated by the first 30 minutes, but soon got distracted – ironically enough by the hustling, bustling adults around him. (So I put him back in his box until next year, when we’ll try again.)

The only plus side of him failing to make it through all 88 glorious minutes? I got to gorge on the Blu-ray extras, which contained some unexpected stuff, including explanations of where the Catbus came from and the fact that Totoro was originally only about one girl. There are some stunning storyboards as well.

It’s always a shame when DVD/Blu-ray reviews ignore special features – it’s almost like the reviewer just wants a free copy of the film and doesn’t bother to review it properly. Funny that. (That’s another rant for another day.)

But as always, there’s the whole length issue. No one wants to read me gushing over giant furry creatures paragraph after paragraph. So, to accompany my Totoro Blu-ray review over at Cine-Vue, here are some of the things I was most surprised by...

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