Film Review: 'The Overnighters'

★★★★★
More American nightmare than American Dream, Jesse Moss' Sundance award-winning documentary The Overnighters (2013) looks at the crisis at the centre of the economic collapse within the post-Empire confines of contemporary America. Coming at this point through the prism of Lutheran Pastor Jay Reinke, Moss is free to portray many positives within a tirade of negatives. Williston, North Dakota is America's 21st century equivalent of gold rush-era San Francisco. The average rent in the town has spiralled to post-New York and Los Angeles levels, but work in the fracking industry is apparently easy to find and six-figure salaries are the norm amongst employees.

Film Review: 'Nightcrawler'

★★★☆☆
The inaugural directorial effort of The Bourne Legacy (2012) screenwriter Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler (2014) is a nocturnal exploration of media sensationalism and the individualistic entrepreneurialism that is so often perceived as an attainable escape route from social inequality. Boasting a noteworthy performance from Jake Gyllenhaal, Gilroy's debut finds itself lost in an inescapable maze of sound and rhythm, colours and lights, as it attempts to navigate the fine line between taste and morals. The American actor stars as Lou Bloom, a driven young man desperate to carve out a professional niche for himself in today's incredibly competitive world.

Film Review: 'Mr. Turner'

★★★★★
We see a long shot of two maids - rapt in their whispers - walking down the length of an embankment. The first flickers of dawn are in the air; the promise of a new day. The camera pans to the left and we see our artist at work, magnificently silhouetted against the horizon in a quietly euphoric panorama. This glorious opening is the perfect summation of Mike Leigh's excellent J.M.W. Turner biopic Mr. Turner (2014), his first period piece since 1999's Topsy-Turvy. This perfectly controlled shot prefaces the unusually rough beauty of the picture. We're naturally stunned by its evocative depictions of the bucolic glory around us, but we're equally touched by the small detail of life's currents beating in its midst.

Film Review: 'Horns'

★★★☆☆ 
Daniel Radcliffe takes another unexpected step in his capricious metamorphosis, transforming from iconic boy-wizard Harry Potter, to a man-turned-devil in Alexandre Aja's uneven adaptation of Joe Hill's fantasy novel Horns (2013). Falsely accused of raping and murdering his childhood sweetheart Merrin (Juno Temple), Ig (Radcliffe) is outlawed by his friends and family, sinking into a hazy slumber. After a night of particularly heavy drinking, Ig awakens to discover two horns protruding from his temples. This monstrous development throws Ig off course at first, as these peculiar appendages unwillingly expose him to the unspoken thoughts of others - from his doctor's drug addiction to his parents' hatred of him.

Film Review: 'Ghostbusters'

★★★★☆
Whether young or old, the 1984 classic Ghostbusters - directed by Ivan Reitman and starring Bill Murray (seemingly confirmed for the upcoming Ghostbusters 3 on IMDb), Sigourney Weaver and Dan Aykroyd - will always be enjoyable viewing. Rereleased in cinemas across the country this Halloween weekend, countless kids of the 80s will be able to relive their childhood and enjoy Peter, Ray, Egon and Winston don their proton packs and do battle with a gaggle of ghouls across New York City. For those unfamiliar with the story (there must be someone, somewhere), three unemployed parapsychology professors decide to set up a company that offers the unique service of removing ghosts for a price.

Blu-ray Review: 'Youth of the Beast'


★★★★☆
There's a great deal to admire about Seijun Suzuki’s idiosyncratic, jazz-infused gangster thriller Youth of the Beast (1963). Released shortly after the return of the director’s hallucinatory Branded to Kill (1967) to UK screens, this sui generis Yakuza caper arrives courtesy of Eureka’s excellent Masters of Cinema Collection. Even in charge of what is ostensibly straightforward genre fare Suzuki wears his disdain for the formulaic firmly on his sleeve. With Youth of the Beast he lands somewhere between Yojimbo (1961) and its alleged source, Red Harvest, yet sets the narrative alight with his distinct brand of frantic energy.

DVD Review: 'Mystery Road'

★★★☆☆
The wilds of Australia play home to Ivan Sen's latest in both a physical and metaphorical sense. The oppression of indigenous peoples was a topic explored in his previous film, Toomelah (2009), and it glints as a rich vein of this new genre nugget, Mystery Road (2013). Determined to steer clear of anticipated escalations in narrative thrust, it prefers to grip your attention by allowing a constant simmer beneath the surface of the barren outback. Jay Swan (played by Aaron Pedersen) occupies the role of local lawman. An entire police department is at the disposal of this small town, but the Aboriginal detective seems to stand alone after returning to his hometown from a spell in the "Big Smoke".

Blu-ray Review: 'I Clowns'

★★★☆☆
"Clown acts have to be short and make people laugh in ten minutes - give it some rhythm!" These are the words of wisdom bestowed during the first interview Federico Fellini conducts in his made-for-television pseudo-documentary, I Clowns (1970). This advice is taken to heart throughout much of the film's mischievous structure as (with the exception of the film's opening and closing set pieces), the hijinks is restricted to short bursts of colourful frivolity. It's fitting, if not inevitable, that such a subject should provide an inspiration for a director whose work was perennially imbued with a carnivalesque spirit. Whilst something of a minor work for the Italian Master, I Clowns arrived at the peek of Fellini's influence.

DVD Review: 'Gomorrah'


★★★★★
Narrative is the base from which elemental passages are forced upon our gaze. In recent years the very idea of watching narratives unfold over 8-12 hours had been the preserve of formalist cinema and its adherents, whether that be the likes of Béla Tarr (Sátántangó (1994), 7h12m) or Lav Diaz (Evolution of a Filipino Family (2004), 10h47m). Now the norm within Television is using narrative akin to the great Victorian novels and allowing characters to grow and breath, existing outside the prism of the forced hegemony of a Western narrative that is breathing its last breath and is forced to rehash tropes of action and romantic cinema for the masses.

DVD Review: 'Godzilla'

★★★★☆
It was sixty years ago that a gigantic and terrifying lizard first lumbered out of the Pacific Ocean and proceeded to leave its indelible footprint on cinematic history. Since Ishiro Honda's Gojira (1954), the scaly titan has been repurposed on the silver screen dozens of times - often having to battle critics as ferociously as its need to contend with gargantuan insects, oversized primates or humanity's military prowess. Now it's the turn of British director Gareth Edwards to breathe new life into a decades old conceit with Godzilla (2014). Fortunately, he nails it, crafting a fresh motion picture whilst still managing to embrace the genre's rich heritage.

DVD Review: 'God Help the Girl'

★★★☆☆
The filmmaking debut of Stuart Murdoch, frontman of indie pop band Belle and Sebastian, God Help the Girl (2014) is a wistful modern-day musical structured around tracks from the band’s album of the same name. Starring rising Australian actress Emily Browning, Murdoch’s film is an interesting passion project infused by the musician’s own brand of upbeat and lyrical amiability. Browning plays Eve, an aspiring singer-songwriter trapped in a psychiatric hospital where she's being treated for anorexia nervosa. After escaping the hospital, Eve absconds to Glasgow in the hope of making her dreams of becoming a musician real.

Blu-ray Review: 'Blacula: The Complete Collection'

★★☆☆☆
The Blaxploitation movement was renowned for bringing its own unique cultural spin to many well-trodden genres, and the world of classic horror proved to be no exception. Now Eureka Classics have brought their considerable restorative skills to a couple of arguably lesser-known films from the era, Blacula (1972) and its sequel Scream Blacula, Scream (1973). While the film's pun-leaden titles may immediately suggest an out-and-out horror parody, what we're actually presented with are largely straight-faced reinterpretations of the myth. The first film in particular remains surprisingly thematically faithful to Stoker's original story amongst the more oblivious contemporary appendages.

Blu-ray Review: 'Animal Farm'

★★★★☆
Celebrating its sixtieth anniversary, the classic animated interpretation of Animal Farm (1954) by British studio Halas and Batchelor, captures perfectly the timeless message of George Orwell's bestselling political satire. Voiced by Maurice Denham, with a sparse, minimalistic style of hand drawn animation, the film is as magical today as when it was first released. Having endured a lifetime of mistreatment at the hands of the tyrannical landowner Mr Jones, the animals of Manor Farm stage a revolution, taking the ownership and running of the farm into their own hands. It's not long however before the pigs, led by the authoritative Napoleon, begin to take over, heading a regime even harsher than before.

Film Review: 'Time Is Illmatic'

★★★★☆
Rolling off New York's F line, 21st Street you find yourself in the maltreated bosom of North America's largest public housing development. Paved in the warren of great geometric brickwork, residents of Queensbridge lived in cost efficient Y-shaped complexes. It was said the area's abnormal design was the cheapest solution to permitting its inhabitants enough access to sunlight. And yet, in the bridge's shadows was the place where the Dream Team pushed, where only 'Shorty Doo-wop' stayed out all night, where the D's on the roof dwell and where pulling triggers brought fame to your name. Furthermore, the Projects has also been deemed one the most common geographical location to be eulogised in song.

Film Review: 'This Is Where I Leave You'

★★☆☆☆
Shawn Levy, director of Night at the Museum (2006) and Date Night (2010), takes a break from his usual comedy-heavy fare to direct the sparse family drama This Is Where I Leave You (2014). After catching his wife in bed with his boss, radio producer Judd Atlman (Jason Bateman) sinks into a hazy depression, only for it to be exacerbated by the unexpected news of his father's death. Upon venturing back to his childhood home for the funeral, Judd is forced to reconnect with his mother Hillary (Jane Fonda), and each of his three siblings - Wendy (Tina Fey), Paul (Corey Stoll) and Phillip (Adam Driver) - who are all experiencing some form of disruption in their own lives.

Film Review: 'The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman'

★★☆☆☆
Opening with an blurry-eyed, ethereal exposition that treats the audience to a brief taste of the film's tragic climax, Fredrik Bond's The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman (2013) is a contemporary fairytale that imbues its tripped-out, quasi-romantic thriller with a hefty touch of the supernatural. In the immediate aftermath of the tragic death of his mother, Charlie (Shia LaBeouf) has a vivid hallucination in which she tells him to pack his bags and go to Bucharest. Unfortunately, she actually meant to say Budapest (no, really), and if she had corrected herself her son Charlie would almost certainly have avoided the violent and taxing holiday he's about to embark upon.

Film Review: 'Love, Rosie'

★★☆☆☆
Etching another notch on the bedpost of the already crowded will they/won't they? vein of romantic comedy, Love, Rosie (2014) boasts a fresh-faced cast whose star power will inevitably be bolstered by appearing in this heinious exercise in ignoble triviality. Directed by Christian Ditter and adapted from Cecelia Ahern's 2004 novel Where Rainbows End, Love, Rosie is ostensibly the iPhone generation's When Harry Met Sally (1989) - a saccharin-drenched drama that rarely merits the chemistry its central cast ably displays. The film sees Lily Collins plays the titular Rosie opposite Sam Claflin's Alex, two best friends who've grown up together side by side.

Film Review: 'Jimi: All Is By My Side'

★★☆☆☆
John Ridley's Hendrix biopic Jimi: All Is By My Side (2013) is an intriguing shambles of a film. Denied rights by the Hendrix estate, the film looked doomed from the get go. This legal imposition turns out to be by the by, and the fact Jimi doesn't bang out tune after tune from Hendrix's greatest hits collection is the least of Ridley's worries. Nonetheless, there is some enjoyment to be harvested in the notable performances of a cast that includes former Outcast member André Benjamin in the title role. Ridley decides to focus on Hendrix in his pre-fame years between 1966-7. Hendrix is 23, and making a living playing in New York's numerous back-alley bars and music halls as a backing guitarist.

Film Review: 'Fury'

★★★★☆
The second film of director David Ayer's increasingly prolific career to be released this year following groggy Arnold Schwarzenegger shoot em' up Sabotage (2014), Fury (2014) is an epic Second World War action drama that - like each of his previous works - looks to examine the inner workings of violent men in violent circumstances on an even grander historical scale. Executive produced by leading star Brad Pitt and written by Ayer himself, the film is a bravura depiction of the harsh brutalities of war that, though monotonous, is an entirely rousing entry in the annals of great WWII cinema. Set in the spring of 1945 during the last month of the European Theatre of war, Pitt plays sergeant Don "Wardaddy" Collier.

Film Review: 'The Book of Life'

★★☆☆☆
Experienced animator Jorge R. Gutierrez teams up with fan-favourite producer Guillermo Del Toro for his directorial debut The Book of Life (2014), a visually dazzling but regrettably stale spin on the colourful Mexican holiday, Day of the Dead. Manola (Diego Luna), the sensitive son of a prized bullfighter, and Joaquin (Channing Tatum), an adventurous risk-taker, are childhood best friends with one thing in common: their love for Maria (Zoe Saldana). As the boys grow older, they vie for Maria’s affection in different ways - one with soft songs of undying love, and the other with the point of a sword - hoping to emerge the victor.

Film Review: 'The Babadook'

★★★★☆
Since Australian director Jennifer Kent’s debut feature, The Babadook (2014) premièred at this year's Sundance Film Festival there has been a tremendous hubbub of excitement from both critical and horror circles . Much like Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980) before it The Babadook, appropriates the trappings of the horror genre and employs them in a terrifying exploration of the psychological scarring a fractured parental bond can cause. Widow Amelia (Essie Davis) is struggling to cope with the demands of her young unhinged son Samuel (Noah Wiseman) who, like many young boys his age, possesses an unhealthy obsession with monsters, magic and making weapons out of household utensils.

London 2014: 'It Follows' review

★★★★★
With It Follows (2014), David Robert Mitchell has delivered one of the best horror films of the decade. A beautifully rendered vision of the teenage psyche in the 21st century, it's a stylish, intelligent and densely textured masterpiece. While there are traditional scares and a familiar antagonistic force, the fear at the heart of the picture is terrifyingly human. We not only see the fragility of our younger selves reflected in its myriad horrors, we are confronted with the realisation that the nightmare of our teenage years is not ephemeral - it will haunt us throughout our lives. It Follows is the very essence of horror; sex, death and the bruising shackles of youth.

London 2014: 'A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night' review

★★★★☆
For much of the past decade, creatures of the night have had to stand by and watch as their charisma was leeched by toothless tween angst franchises. Fortunately, attempts are now being made to give succubi their credibility back. First came the droll literary ennui of Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive (2013) and now, in what has been billed as Iran's first vampire film, we has A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) the striking and achingly cool feature debut of America-based Iranian director Ana Lily Amirpour. Sprinkled with notes from genres both gothic and western, Amipour's expansion of her eponymous 2011 short film is a fantastic undead rebuke to Middle-Eastern patriarchy.

London 2014: 'Dear White People' review

★★★★☆
Writing about Justin Simien's barnstorming debut feature Dear White People (2014), critic Armond White drew a line between the film and the Hollywood gatekeepers' usually self-congratulatory cinematic response to race in America: "Simien's humorous sensibility must deal with the fact that the racial...attitudes of American film culture are controlled by a social class that demands its own recognition first." It's a searingly prescient jab that gets to the heart of race in American film in the 21st century. Dear White People cuts straight through prejudice, identity hang-ups and guilt complexes, laying out its thesis with such raw intelligence that nobody, regardless of background, will come away unruffled.

Blu-ray Review: 'Withnail and I'

★★★★☆
Since its bow in 1987, Bruce Robinson's semi-autobiographical black comedy, Withnail and I, has become a bona fide cult-classic. For years audiences have revelled in its depictions of drunkenness, drug addiction and camp debauchery. Subsequently, Robinson's most well-remembered film has garnered a great deal of mythologising and alcohol-fuelled hyperbole. However, scythe through its now legendary status, and the alcohol-fuelled tale still endures as a timeless comic masterpiece, capturing Britain in the fading frenzy of the tale-end of the Sixties, with Richard E. Grant and Paul McGann starring as our thespian anti-heroes.

DVD Review: 'Welcome to New York'

★★★★☆
Gérard Depardieu is barnstorming as the outrageous subject of Abel Ferrara's lurid Welcome to New York (2014), inspired by the scandal that ended Dominique Strauss-Kahn's career. The former IMF chief - and presumptive French presidential candidate - denied all charges and has now taken steps to sue the film's producers for defamation. Regardless of Ferrara's adherence to true life, it's a startling and compelling account not just of a sex addict, but a character whose wealth and standing in his field has allowed himself to be far removed from contemporary morality. Within five minutes, we've seen Depardieu's Georges Devereux shack up with four escorts at an orgy in New York's Carlton Hotel.

DVD Review: 'Two Days, One Night'

★★★★☆
After the critically adored The Kid with a Bike (2011) saw celebrated Belgian filmmakers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne take a softer approach to telling yet another tale of urban struggle, the brothers return with Two Days, One Night (2014), an agonisingly realistic story about the lengths to which one woman goes to preserve her mental stability. Having avoided casting big-name stars in their previous eight films, the pair go against expectation and install Academy Award-winning French star Marion Cotillard, who gives perhaps her most perfectly realised performance to date. She stars as Sandra, a young mother recouping after the debilitating effects depression has had on her mental and physical wellbeing.

Blu-ray Review: 'Shivers'

★★★★☆
Almost forty years after its first release, Shivers (1975) is still difficult to watch. Even for a director as renowned for his bizarre visions as David Cronenberg, his first big budget production - known under several alternative titles including They Came from Within and Orgy of the Blood Parasites - this film is weird. Starring 'Queen of Horror' Barbara Steele and actor/singer Paul Hampton it is not for the squeamish, or easily offended dealing as it does with several taboo subjects. Welcome to Starliner Towers, an ultra-modern apartment block where residents can live in peace and harmony, with their every need catered for.

DVD Review: 'Maleficent'

★★★☆☆
In the House of Mouse's third attempt at reinventing a classic fairytale as a live action adventure, director Robert Stromberg brings us a new twist on Sleeping Beauty with Maleficent (2014), starring Angelina Jolie as the titular villain turned misunderstood hero. Opening to a CGI-heavy landscape, we meet a diminutive Maleficent (Isobelle Molloy) dwelling in a tree, fixing broken branches and generally being a child of nature as she flies through the air upon her wings. A voiceover tells us that the world this horned heroine inhabits is divided into two. One is a peaceful land of magic, the Moor, where button-nosed trolls waddle through the marshes and all manner of flying creatures pepper the skies.

DVD Review: 'Cold in July'

★★★☆☆
After dabbling satisfyingly with horror in his three features so far, director Jim Mickle adopts a decidedly different pace with Cold in July (2014), a violent crime thriller adapted from Joe R. Lansdale's novel of the same name. In his first major role since TV's Dexter plunged his knife for the final time, Michael C. Hall makes a welcome return to the big screen, demonstrating how his collected and effortlessly engaging manner can lift even the most average material. Set in East Texas in 1989, Hall plays Richard Done, a mulleted, mild-mannered everyman and devoted husband and father, whose moderate life takes a dramatic turn when, after being awoken one night, he fatally shoots a burglar in his home.

Competition: Win 'Two Days, One Nights'

In what is already being heralded as one of her greatest ever performances, in the Dardennes' Two Days, One Night (2014) French actress Marion Cotillard plays Sandra, a factory worker who has her employment threatened by the very people she works with. Behind her back, upper management offer the workforce a significant bonus if they vote for Sandra to lose her job, leaving her one weekend to change their minds. To celebrate the release of Two Days, One Night this coming Monday, we have THREE DVD copies to give away to our readers thanks to Artificial Eye. This is an exclusive competition for our Facebook and Twitter fans, so if you haven't already, 'Like' us at facebook.com/CineVueUK or follow us @CineVue before answering the question below.

Competition: Win 'Godzilla' on DVD

The arrogance of man is thinking nature is in our control. To celebrate the release of Godzilla (2014) on Blu-ray 3D™, Blu-ray™ and DVD on 27 October, we're giving you the chance to win a copy on DVD. In this gritty, realistic sci-fi action epic, Godzilla returns to its roots as one of the world's most recognized monsters. Directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters) and featuring an all-star international cast, this spectacular adventure pits Godzilla against malevolent creatures that, bolstered by humanity's scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.This is an exclusive competition for our Facebook and Twitter fans, so if you haven't already, 'Like' us at facebook.com/CineVueUK or follow us @CineVue before answering the question below.

Film Review: 'Palo Alto'

★★☆☆☆
Adapted from James Franco's novel of the same name - a reflection of the hometown ennui he managed to transcend, Palo Alto (2013) is another creative misfire from the talented multi-hyphenate. Franco's novel is a series of loosely connected vignettes that focuses on a group of teenage high schoolers and their inter personal relationships. The film is directed by 25-year-old Gia Coppola and suffers from the internal problems of a wannabe creative unsure of what outlet to use. Coppola has admitted that she was drifting through life: "I wasn't sure what my passion was. I never paid attention to movies until fairly recently." How lucky she is to be the granddaughter of Francis Ford Coppola and niece of Sofia Coppola.
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