★★★★☆In 1980, Al Pacino starred in The Exorcist director William Friedkin's controversial Cruising. The film focused on undercover cop Steve Burns (Pacino) who is sent onto the streets as a decoy for a serial killer who has dismembered several homosexual men in New York's gay district. It's famously rumoured that to avoid an X-rating, forty minutes of gay S&M footage was cut from the film and permanently destroyed. Inspired by this mythology, actor James Franco and Travis Matthews (I Want Your Love) joined forces to create Interior. Leather Bar (2013), their own personal interpretation of Friedkin's lost footage.
- Alexander Payne returns to the American heartland for beautifully drawn family drama Nebraska
- Disney return to form with Frozen, a familiar tale lifted by glorious animation and catchy tunes
- Not even the inclusion of Jason Statham can save Sly Stallone-penned actioner Homefront
- Daniel Radcliffe impresses as a 'pre-Ginsberg' Ginsberg in the largely middling Kill Your Darlings
- Owen Wilson plays Woody Allen's latest cipher in the inventive 'Midnight in Paris'
A Separation (2011) and the critical acclamation at this year's Cannes Film Festival for his first European film, The Past (2013), has paved the way for a revaluation of the Iranian director's earlier work. Last year saw the theatrical release of the sublime About Elly (2009), and now Farhadi's third feature, Fireworks Wednesday (2006), is now available to own on DVD. An intimate portrait of the eroding sanctity of marriage set against the backdrop of the Persian New Year, Fireworks Wednesday depicts the strained dichotomy between the middle and lower classes of capital city Tehran.
The Croods (2013) - co-written and directed by Kirk De Micco and Chris Sanders, and featuring the voice talents of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds - is a witty take on the difficulties of letting go of yesterday and embracing the future. Eep (Stone) is frustrated by life with her family, the Croods, a prehistoric clan led by her father Grug (Cage). Desperate to break free from the constraints of a lifestyle she sees as prehistoric, Eep leaves her kin and ventures beyond her cave.
Contraband (2012) director Baltasar Kormákur for 2 Guns (2013), a comedy-actioner based on the graphic novel of the same name. Denzel Washington plays the ying to Wahlberg's yang and James Marsden, Paula Patton and Bill Paxton add star quality to the supporting cast. Washington and Wahlberg play two undercover agents from opposing bureaus, set up by there peers and completely unaware of one another's true identities. After spending a year together, Naval intelligence officer Marcus Stigman (Wahlberg) and DEA agent Bobby Trench (Washington) have become inseparable.
Leviathan (2013) is a thrilling, immersive and inventive documentary that takes you deep inside the dangerous world of commercial fishing. To celebrate the home entertainment release of Leviathan this coming Monday (9 December), we've kindly been provided with TWO DVD copies of the film to give away to our regular readership, courtesy of our friends at documentary specialists Dogwoof. 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.
Recently released in UK cinemas to great acclaim and directed by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel, the extraordinary
Recently released in UK cinemas to great acclaim and directed by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel, the extraordinary
Cruising, starring Al Pacino. Inspired by the mythology of this controversial drama, filmmakers James Franco and Travis Mathews collaborate to imagine their own lost footage in Interior. Leather Bar (2013). To celebrate the DVD release of Mathews' latest this coming Monday (9 December), we've kindly been provided with THREE copies of the film to give away, courtesy of Peccadillo Pictures. 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.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014), a sequel to Marc Webb's not-so-amazing 2012 franchise reboot. The marketing machine has been getting into full swing over the past few weeks, from new posters and stills to not one, not two, but three ten-second teaser trailers granting us a brief look at the web-slinging hero. Now a full two-minute plus trailer has hit the web (no pun intended), and the footage gives us a closer look at what Peter/Spidey will have to overcome. Before watching, do check out the official synopsis below.
Amalgamating the best aspects of previous films The Fighter (2010) and Silver Linings Playbook (2012) whilst dispensing with a lot of the emotional baggage that dragged both down after engaging first halves, David O. Russell now hits top form just in time for award season with American Hustle (2013). Both a beautifully orchestrated con artist thriller and a pulsating homage to seventies Hollywood, O. Russell plays fast and loose with a vaguely believable 'true story' narrative ("Some of this actually happened", we're told), culminating in one of this year's most furiously entertaining and quick-witted imports from across the pond.
This Ain't California (2012). Not only is this not California, it's also not exactly real; blending actual archive material with recreated 'retro' footage to create a lively if fictionalised look at the Berlin skating scene.
The Devil Wears Prada (2006), it seems that everybody does indeed want "to be like us". However, if you can't afford the lifestyle of a fashion mag editor, the next best thing it seems is to live it vicariously through films like Matthew Miele's Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's (2013). Films such as Lagerfeld Confidential (2007) have lain bare the lives of the people who clothe the elite (in that case Chanel's Karl Lagerfeld), whilst The September Issue (2009) and Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel (2011) have shown us where dreams come from.
Rough Cut (2013), a pseudo-documentary about the making of a fictional horror movie (Hiker Meat) which is disappointing mainly because it seems just that - an unfinished mock-up of the movie the filmmakers would have liked to have made. As a result, we're never one hundred percent sure what this debut feature from visual artist Jamie Shovlin, starring Agnes Aspen, Ashley Houston and Bob Young, aspires to be. Rough Cut follows the would-be filmmakers as they head to England's Lake District to recreate the Don Quixote of slasher films, Hiker Meat.
Two Pints of Larger and a Packet of Crisps, making headway with an impressive - not to mention award-winning - career in theatre, most notably in the West End adaptation of Legally Blonde. It seems odd, then, that Smith would return to a role that seems beneath her in MJ Delaney's Powder Room (2013). Based on Rachel Heron's Fringe play When Women Wee, Delaney's debut feature gathers together Oona Chaplin, singer-songwriter Kate Nash and Jaime Winstone alongside Smith.
The Patience Stone (2012) was adapted from. Perhaps then, the kudos should go to lead actress Golshifteh Farahani, who spends ninety per cent of the proceedings alone and yet still manages to maintain the viewer's attention with her tender, understated performance. Farahani, as 'The woman', plays an Afghani wife and mother whose soldier husband lies in a vegetative state after being shot.
Back from his Hawaiian Island odyssey with George Clooney and The Descendants (2011), US filmmaker Alexander Payne (Election) returns to the American heartland for Nebraska (2013), a stripped-down family drama set within the sparsely populated state. Shot in colour digital to facilitate international television sales before reverting back to an intended monochrome aesthetic for general release, Nebraska serves as a touching obituary to a long-departed era; one that the film's grizzled protagonist, Woody (an Oscar-tipped Bruce Dern), seems unable to leave behind despite his son's (Will Forte) fervent protestations.
Klown (Klovn, 2010), is nothing if not crude, vulgar and inappropriate; and it's also the funniest film of this year. Having been released in the US late last year, it now gets a cinematic release in the UK via Arrow Films. Combining extremely naturalistic performances with some superb examples of gross-out comedy, Klown plays like a cross between BBC's The Office (2001) and Todd Phillips' The Hangover cycle - yet is considerably more outrageous than both aforementioned parties.
Howl (2010), whilst Walter Salles took on the unenviable task of bringing Jack Kerouac's "unfilmable" On the Road (2012). Now, first-time director John Krokidas tackles the formative years of the movement in his fairly standard period piece, Kill Your Darlings (2013), which boasts an impressive cast including Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHaan, Ben Foster and Michael C. Hall.
Homefront (2013). Unfortunately, this formulaic retro action throwback doesn't deliver on any front. All the B-movie tropes are plentifully applied, but none have the gleeful absurdity and guilty satisfaction of Stallone's beat 'em ups or Statham's own Crank cycle. The Stath's stoicism has always been best served when it's offset against hyperkinetic camera moves and equally ludicrous stunts, but Homefront comes up bone dry.
Bambi (1942), The Jungle Book (1967) or The Lion King (1994), almost everyone has a favourite Disney animation from their childhood that still holds up on repeat watches. A terrific combination of a heartwarming story, effervescent animation and memorable musical numbers, Frozen (2013) has the potential to be that film for this generation, and is easily one of Disney's strongest features in recent memory. Loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale The Snow Queen, Frozen tells the story of Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristin Bell), sisters and heirs to the northern kingdom of Arendelle.
Floating Skyscrapers (2013) pulsates with vitality and sexual repression. A belligerent statement about contemporary attitudes towards LGBT culture, this confident sophomore feature appropriates arthouse aesthetics in a daringly barbed fashion. Kuba (Mateusz Banasiuk) is a young professional swimmer with an unquenchable appetite for carnal pleasure. His nightly dances between the sheets with girlfriend Sylwia (Marta Nieradkiewicz) are punctuated by fellatio sessions with other men in the local pool's toilets.
Black Nativity (2013) is the latest example of this frequent occurrence. Whilst writer and director Kasi Lemmons should be commended for being able to retain the essence of the classic narrative, the 21st century update suffers from extremely heavy-handed execution, ultimately resulting in that fact that his film doesn't resonate quite as well as it might have done given its seasonal release.
Rabies (2010). Ostensibly a teen slasher, it subverted conventions to craft a dexterous, satirical portrait of the social and civic landscape in their native Israel. They now return to UK cinemas with their follow-up, Big Bad Wolves (2013), which once again proves to be an allegorical beast in horror clothing. On this occasion it's the torture porn sub-genre which provides the gruesome backdrop for a bracingly political picture about a national and generational hunger for retribution.
Opening to a glorious, sun-dappled French townscape before setting the tone of things to come with a clumsy, crossword led allusion to Joanna Hogg's vaguely comparable upper middle-class drama Archipelago (2011), debut director Virginia Gilbert's existential exploration of expat life, A Long Way from Home (2013), actually has far more in common with Roger Michell's Le Week-End (2013). Here, James Fox and Brenda Fricker are the sniping British couple growing old uncomfortably, whose lives are complicated by the introduction of a young, holidaying couple, played by Natalie Dormer and Paul Nicholls.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), the first in the series from Hollywood's own golden idols George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, is still the strongest by far and remains a thoroughly rousing and nostalgic delight to return to. What's more, Spielberg has thankfully spared us from seeing that huge boulder hurtling towards Indiana during the film's breathtaking opening segment cleaned up with digital effects, Lucas-style.
The last of nine home cinema titles released by the BFI as part of their ongoing Gothic: The Dark Heart of Film season, Rupert Julian's 1925 production of French novelist Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera has stood the test of time better than most, thanks in no small part to an iconic turn from Lon Chaney, the "man of a thousand faces". Revitalised by a 1996 Photoplay Productions restoration, complete with the original tints intended, Julian's Phantom drips with latent desire, Chaney's monster - like the vampire of Stoker, Murnau and Herzog - a potent if grotesque symbol of unrequited love.
Only God Forgives (2013) is certainly one of the most divisive films of the year. While it may not have that automatic cult allure and accessibility of Nicolas Winding Refn's previous feature, Drive (2011), there's certainly much to recommend in this bloody and impressionistic tale of spiralling retribution. The director has taken those moments of brooding stillness peppered throughout his last film and created a whole movie around them here. Ryan Gosling plays Julian, an American expat managing a Thai boxing club in Bangkok whilst dabbling in criminal activity.
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