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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2012 BIFA Award Nominations

Hear that? That's the sound of my favourite awards ceremony returning. Yes, the 2012 BIFA Awards nominations have been announced - and Broken is leading the pack with 9 nods.

Last year, the BIFAs really hit their stride, streaming their ceremony live online and marking something of a golden 12 months for British films thanks to stuff like Tyrannosaur. But this year has proven to be equally strong, with Berberian Sound Studio and Sightseers in second place with 7 nominations apiece.

Broken has bagged nods for Best Film, Best Director and Best Debut Director for Rufus Norris, alongside Best Actor for Tim Roth and two Best Supporting Actor nominations for Cillian Murphy and Rory Kinnear. But Norris isn't the only first-time man at the helm, with the Douglas Hickox Debut Award fought over by Bart Layton for The Imposter, Ben Drew for Ill Manors, Rowan Athale for Wasteland, and Sally El Hosaini for My Brother the Devil.

It's great to see Andrea Riseborough nominated for Best Actress in Shadow Dancer, duking it out with Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady, The Dench for Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Alice Lowe for Sightseers and - most deserved of all - Elle Fanning for Ginger & Rosa. Last year, Olivia Colman went from BIFA success to BAFTA victory. My money's on the phenomenal 14 year old - FOURTEEN - doing exactly the same.

The Best Actor content is equally close, with the ever-wonderful Riz Ahmed up for Ill manors facing terrifying competition from Terence Stamp for Song for Marion (surely a contender for cinema's Best Glower Award) and the astonishingly, consistently, oh-my-word-how-does-he-manage-to-be-so-fantastic Toby Jones for Berberian Sound Studio. Billy Connolly has a suppporting nod for Quartet, alongside Tom Wilkinson for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel but the most encouraging nomination goes to future acting legend Domhnall Gleeson, who would've stolen the show in Shadow Dancer if Andrea Riseborough wasn't so flipping amazing.

Olivia Colman returns in the supporting categories for Hyde Park on Hudson, but she'll struggle against the equally fantastic Alice Englert for Ginger & Rosa and Vanessa Redgrave - the lady dubbed a "sexy owl" during last year's awards ceremony.

And that's the saddest news for this year's BIFAs. Independent filmmaking is alive and well, but they will not be hosted by a drunk Chris O'Dowd again, after he downed several pints of Guinness and slurred his way through the evening while talking to himself on the video screens. Instead, previous host James Nesbitt is back again, guaranteed to make this year's ceremony 62% less drunk and therefore 92% more boring. Even the news that Tom Hiddleston is on the BIFA jury for 2012 can't make up for such a regrettable decision.

Meanwhile, I can't let the occasion pass without a shout out to the 2012 Raindance Award. My favourite award of the ceremony, the nominees this year go out to some of the Raindance Film Festival's best entires, including Frank, City Slacker, documentary Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet, the moving dance flick Love Tomorrow and Rob Savage's Strings, a film made by the director when he was just 18. And if that's not what a British film awards ceremony is about, I don't know what it is. Well, that and watching a drunk Chris O'Dowd hit on Vanessa Redgrave. Oh well, one out of two ain't bad.

The 15th British Independent Film Awards will take place on Sunday 9th December. Read on for the full list of nominations - or head this way for Chris O'Dowd's Top 5 Drunk BIFA Moments.

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Raindance 2012 UK cinema distribution

You remember last year, when Raindance saw a record number of visitors flock to the festival? Well, it’s happened again. Attendance at Raindance 2012 jumped by one-third this year – proof that there's audience demand out there for indie films. And we were there for the whole thing, interrogating Americans, critiquing Croatians and falling in love with Finland.

So what happens now? Last year, there were six films that got the coveted UK theatrical distribution after the hugely popular 11-day event. Out of the 105 films showing at Raindance 2012, we saw and reviewed 24. Out of those, only two were proper duds – that gives you an idea of the scary level of quality this year.

My favourites include prison movie StringCaesar, bizarre tourist flick Practical Guide to Belgrade, the disturbing Vegetarian Cannibal and the slacker comedy Cinema Six. But while I like them a lot, it’s hard to convince anyone to go and see a film in which Derek Jacobi and a hoard of South African inmates act out the early life of Julius Caesar – no matter how inspiring it is.


So listen up, all you lovely indie distributors out there. These are the six Raindance 2012 films I would love to get UK theatrical distribution.

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Interview: Rob Savage, Strings

As the Raindance Film Festival reaches its final weekend, you begin to realise which films are your favourites - and one of the ones that has certainly stuck with me is Strings, an ultra-low-budget tale of teenagers, romance and alienation directed by freakishly talented young person Rob Savage.


An erstwhile colleague from fellow film blog Cine-Vue, I caught up with him after two successful screenings at London's Apollo West End, one of which sold out completely, and tried to steal his evil secrets to success. Here's what I managed to squeeze from his brain.

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Strings - Rob Savage
Director: Rob Savage
Cast: Philine Lembeck, Oliver Malam, Hannah Wilder, Sid Akbar Ali

"Do you think in German?" Jon (Malam) asks foreign exchange student Grace (Lembeck). With two weeks until school breaks up forever, they've started seeing each other. Not that they've told anyone. And so the couple meets in the bedroom, having awkward sex followed by awkward conversations. It's sweet. But awkward.

And that's what Rob Savage's Strings captures perfectly: the awkwardness of adolescence.

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