EX MACHINA

EX MACHINA

★★★★ Dir: Alex Garland (2015) Novelist and Danny Boyle‘s right hand man Alex Garland finally crushes his concerns with this beautiful and terrible world into one slick, precise and measured science fiction film which asks some incredibly timely questions about our own technological future. Domhnall Gleeson continues his run of stellar choices...
WHILE WE'RE YOUNG

WHILE WE’RE YOUNG

★★★★ Dir: Noah Baumbach (2015) Ben Stiller continues his middle aged man in a crisis thing in Noah Baumbach‘s latest; A fantastically cynical and brilliantly funny slice of old versus new which has a bone to pick with both generation X and the wave of artisan home-brew loving, vinyl collecting, plaid dipped, cinephile...
THE NIGHTMARE

THE NIGHTMARE

★★★ Dir:Rodney Ascher (2015) Room 237, Rodney Ascher‘s kaleidoscopic conspiracy theory film, delved into cinematic obsession in a totally unique way;  Using super fan voice overs to dish out various theories on Stanley Kubrick‘s seminal horror film The Shining. It wandered from plausible to plain nutty and was frequently funny; A grasping...
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EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!!

EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!!

★★★★ Dir: Richard Linklater, (2015) The master of getting across what it’s like to be young and aimless on the big screen goes back to college in this spiritual follow-up to his stellar modern classic Dazed and Confused. Linklater and Everybody Wants Some!! drops us at the door of a frat house with a rookie baseball player (Blake...
GREEN ROOM

GREEN ROOM

★★★★ Dir: Jeremy Saulnier, (2015) With Blue Ruin Jeremy Saulnier made a quiet yet somehow screaming thriller. Macon Blair and his vengeful drifter slow cooked the film to near perfection and Saulnier showed the indie movie world that noir was alive and well in backwater America. By letting scenes of angry contemplation and harrowing violence sit with the audience the...
THE NICE GUYS

THE NICE GUYS

★★★★ Dir: Shane Black, (2016) This quick-fire 70s set buddy cop film from one of the lynch pins of the genre is a swift slapstick detective story tinged with a teeny bit of sadness; A doubly nostalgic partner in crime flick which hinges on the chemistry of its chalk and cheese leads. Ryan Gosling‘s drunky single...
BEFORE I WAKE

BEFORE I WAKE

★★★ Dir: Mike Flanagan (2016) Indie Horror fave Mike Flanagan delivers his first slightly average effort with this fantastical horror film about grief and loss. Before I Wake drops the potboiler tension of Oculus and Hush to head into the territory of the dream world; A common trope in classic horror but here it feels like more...
MIDNIGHT SPECIAL

MIDNIGHT SPECIAL

★★★★ Dir: Jeff Nichols, (2015) The wonderful Jeff Nichols expounds on his work with Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter and Mud to create a beautifully blended science fiction film which takes much from his beloved 70’s auteurs; Many have already cited the lens flare nostalgia of Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind and not at all unfairly. Midnight Special is...
THE INVITATION

THE INVITATION

★★★ Dir: Karyn Kusama, (2015) Karyn Kusama (director of Aeon Flux, Jennifer’s Body and Girlfight) gets back to basics with The Invitation and this intriguing script from Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi; A screenplay which looks back at some of the more infamous goings on in the hills of Hollywood when an ominous invitation to a dinner party...
WHERE TO INVADE NEXT

WHERE TO INVADE NEXT

★★★ Dir: Michael Moore, (2015) The ever pushy, but increasingly likeable, libertarian shit stirrer turns in his most optimistic and  thoughtful film in a long time; A laser sighted travelogue which takes its road-trip as an opportunity to take down and pilfer the best ideas from nations around the world with a view to shame America. Right...
GOODNIGHT MOMMY

GOODNIGHT MOMMY

★★★★ Dir: Veronika Franz & Severin Fiala, (2015) This cold, calculated and rather nasty but incredibly effective Austrian horror film focuses on the paranoia of twins Elias and Lukas when their mother arrives home, completely bandaged, neck-up, from facial reconstructive surgery. Susanne Wuest, the fine actress behind the swarths of cloth is subjected to many games by the...
THE GREEN INFERNO

THE GREEN INFERNO

★★ Dir: Eli Roth, (2015) Horror whiz-kid Eli Roth might have dropped the ball more than a few times after a pretty dazzling debut. The Green Inferno expands (somewhat) on his anti tourism angle this time attacking the anti corporate, Tinder swiping, hunger striking, slacker environmentalists with very little chutzpah. Inspired by the notorious Cannibal Holocaust the splatter laden...
THE GIFT

THE GIFT

★★★ Dir: Joel Edgerton, (2015) The Australian actor/writer/director Joel Edgerton goes for the triple threat in this smarter and tighter than you might think psycho thriller which harks back to many schlocky 1990s star vehicles with a joyfully cold and keen eye. Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall are new in town; They move straight into their roomy,...
THE WITCH

THE WITCH

★★★★★ Dir: Robert Eggers (2015) … or The VVitch, if you like, is 33-year-old director, Robert Eggers‘ staggering debut. This is a horror film with hardly a jump scare in sight. A horror film which manages to loudly scratch against the grain and live quietly behind your eyelids as you lay down to sleep. A horror film where tone is the...
HIGH-RISE

HIGH-RISE

★★★ Dir: Ben Wheatley (2015) J.G Ballard‘s “unfilmable” futuristic societal rap on the knuckles finally gets its comeuppance in Ben Wheatley and Amy Jump‘s brilliantly designed High-Rise. Wheatley’s 70s influenced pathos  in film making really comes into its own here; We are shown right from the get go that things aren’t going to end well for one...
THE SURVIVALIST

THE SURVIVALIST

★★★★ Dir: Stephen Fingleton (2015) The Survivalist in Stephen Fingleton‘s rather green post apocalyptic debut kills to survive. After the films bleak, graphical introduction (a blue line representing diminishing oil supplies and a red line representing our earth’s population) we are thrust into a lush livid landscape spattered with blood somewhere in Ireland. Martin McCaan is our...
JUNUN

JUNUN

★★★ Dir: Paul Thomas Anderson (2015) The American master Paul Thomas Anderson documents the making of Junun; An album which Jonny Greenwood and Nigel Godrich helped play and record in an old fort/castle in Rajasthan with Israeli composer-singer Shye Ben Tzur. Anderson picks up his first digital film and first straight documentary with an austere but enjoyable look at a very quiet...
HUSH

HUSH

★★★★ Dir: Mike Flanagan (2016) Stellar low budget horror favourite, Mike Flanagan, turns to a tired sub-genre and makes a cracking tension filled home invasion movie with Hush. Its set up might start some eyes rolling with a bare bones home invasion plot but the director and co-writer/star Kate Siegel have crafted a real tough film, which quickly...
QUEEN OF EARTH

QUEEN OF EARTH

★★★★ Dir: Alex Ross Perry (2015) Last year’s Listen Up Philip was a film which certainly divided; A talky, complicated study in the life of an abrasive author and his destructive narcism which was as funny as it was bitter. With Queen of Earth writer/director Alex Ross Perry refocuses his influences through Ingmar Bergman’s sensibility, Roman Polanski‘s claustrophobia and...
HAIL, CAESAR!

HAIL, CAESAR!

★★★★ Dir: Joel & Ethan Coen (2015) American legends Joel and Ethan Coen have hardly put a foot wrong since their first family and friends funded noir Blood Simple. Their fiercely independent spirit and single-minded vision has really only wavered slightly with even their most die-hard fans with the slightly average one two of Intolerable Cruelty and...
BONE TOMAHAWK

BONE TOMAHAWK

★★★ Dir: S. Craig Zahler (2015) Author S. Craig Zahler has created a very strange beast with this rather mental and gruesome genre bender. A classic searching western which looks at how the the wild west was lost and a vicious horror film which gleefully spills the red stuff between long rambling conversation. A fine cast including Kurt Russell, Mathew Fox,...
THE LOBSTER

THE LOBSTER

★★★★★ Dir: Yorgos Lanthimos (2015) The opening scene of The Lobster, shot through the windscreen of a car sees a calm woman walk into a field with a gun and murder a donkey. Right after we see a beer-bellied, moustachioed Colin Farrell dumped by an unseen girlfriend; “Is he short sighted too?” he asks. A shocking and blunt juxtapose to one...
THE REVENANT

THE REVENANT

 ★★★★ Dir: Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu (2015) Torture porn? No. Torturous? Definitely. From its lengthy, ambitious production, to rumours of grizzly bear rape, pissed off actors and crew and the “not for women” comment by Jeffery Wells addressed beautifully by Catherine Shoad; Many claims, myths and down right lies have been levelled at Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu‘s latest gruelling film....
LOVE

LOVE

★★ Dir: Gaspar Noé (2015) “I want to make films out of blood, sperm and tears” says Love‘s wannabe on-screen director, Murphy (Karl Glusman); The unflattering, jealous, pompous and all round unlikable alter-ego for Gaspar Noé. The Argentinian provocateur has left behind the unsettling technical violence of Irreversible and I Stand Alone to expand on the wandering style of his last,...
99 HOMES

99 HOMES

 ★★★★ Dir:Ramin Bahrani (2015) Ramin Bahrani‘s excellent morality thriller sees a hard-working handy-man employed and seduced by the very man who evicted him, his son and his mother from their family home. We’re in Florida where the stone faced real estate broker, Rick Carver (played with a chill and a wink by Michael Shannon), is a...
KNIGHT OF CUPS

KNIGHT OF CUPS

★★ Dir: Terrence Malick (2015) Infamous time taker Terrence Malick has, since the miraculous Tree of Life, had something of a spring in his step. In 2012 he went To The Wonder, with Ben Affleck and Olga Kurylenko and dipped his toes in to the water of self parody, probably asking himself in a thick southern...
SPOTLIGHT

SPOTLIGHT

 ★★★★ Dir: Tom McCarthy (2015) This paced and shockingly true newsroom story puts us behind the desk with a small team of investigative journalists at the Boston Globe who broke the story of rampant child molestation with the city’s Catholic church. The 5th film from the excellent Tom McCarthy sees his journalists driven by their job and later by a...
STEVE JOBS

STEVE JOBS

★★★ Dir: Danny Boyle (2015) There was a part of everyone which cried a little “why?” when it was announced that Danny Boyle would get his electric hands on Steve Jobs. Joshua Michael Stern‘s Ashton Kutcher film Jobs seemed to be focused on what makes a true entrepreneur; It stayed the course for a decent enough origins story....
THE DANISH GIRL

THE DANISH GIRL

★★★ Dir: Tom Hooper (2015) Academy Award winner Tom Hooper‘s latest handsome, formalistic drama examines the true life struggle of Lili Elbe, formerly Einar Wegener, a pioneering transgender painter from Denmark who became one of the first gender reassignment patients in the 1930s. Eddie Redmayne and Elicia Vikander play Einar and Gerda; Jobbing artists and husband and wife. Gerda, perhaps slightly jealous of her husbands greater...
JOY

JOY

★★★ Dir: David O. Russell (2015) With Joy, David O. Russell gives us one of the strangest Oscar contenders of recent memory; The story of Joy Mangano who made her fortune by inventing a self wringing mop to sell on a late night shopping network is a bizarre, but undeniably sweet platform for the oddball director to...
THE BIG SHORT

THE BIG SHORT

★★★ Dir: Adam McKay (2015) The 2008 financial crisis is played for laughs and anger (so much anger) in Adam McKay‘s ensemble comedy based on Michael Lewis’ bestselling novel of the same name. The Big Short focuses on a select few real life insiders who decided to bet big against the economy to profit from the housing markets...
THE GOOD DINOSAUR

THE GOOD DINOSAUR

★★★ Dir: Peter Sohn (2015) Pixar‘s latest drops the emphasis on the adult themed undercurrent which has made them a talking point with us grown ups to tell a staple animated story for our children. The Lion King, Bambi and other Disney heartbreak and growing up tales are pilfered deeply here as we’re introduced to an alternate reality...
ROOM

ROOM

★★★★ Dir: Lenny Abrahamson (2015) Oscar comes knocking for Lenny Abrahamson and the cast of his latest effort; Room is a pitch black but ultimately uplifting tale on motherhood and, some may say, depression told through the eyes of woman and her son held captive in a tiny garden shed. Adam & Paul and Garage both made a...
MISSISSIPPI GRIND

MISSISSIPPI GRIND

★★★★ Dir: Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck (2015) Ben Mendolsohn and Ryan Reynolds have a fantastic chemistry in the old school 70s influenced touring, dice happy Mississippi Grind. Half Nelson writers and directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck wrangle Robert Altman’s California Split and George Roy Hill‘s The Sting into a seriously enjoyable cross country jaunt with a down and...
ANOMALISA

ANOMALISA

★★★★★ Dir: Duke Johnson & Charlie Kaufman (2015) The universes of Charlie Kaufman‘s masterful screenplays come loaded with dizzying layers of fiction and reality. The zany dream like quality of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind only adds to a deeply sad story of love and loss and healing. The exceptional Adaptation miraculously takes the author into it’s pages...