Review: Ex_Machina

22 January 2015, 10:07am

Neil Alcock posted by Neil Alcock

Nearly twenty years since he published his first novel, The Beach - during which time he's written two more books and four highly acclaimed screenplays - Alex Garland has taken the plunge and directed his first movie, Ex_Machina, from his own original script. It's the latest step in a fascinating career, and one which proves that Garland is entirely adept at pretty much anything he chooses to turn his hand to.

Too much now, Johnny Depp?

21 January 2015, 8:30pm

Matthew Looker posted by Matthew Looker

With a twitch of his ‘tache and over-the-top clipped British reactions, Charles Mortdecai can be added to a very long list of "kooky" characters that Johnny Depp has played throughout his career, and with it comes the realisation that it’s becoming harder and harder to find Depp's performances daring or refreshing any more. It seems that, in his determination to constantly change, surprise and be original with his acting choices, Johnny Depp is finally starting to become safe and predictable.

The joyous appearance of an unexpected dance sequence in a film that is not otherwise dance-related is undoubtedly one of the great unsung movie pleasures. A particularly great example occurs in this week's sci-fi thriller Ex_Machina, when, out of nowhere, computer genius Nathan (Oscar Isaac) launches into a full-tilt boogie with his domestic help (Sonoya Mizuno) in front of boggle-eyed programmer Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson). It's a sublime and ridiculous moment that smartly undercuts the intensity of the cat-and-mouse game played by the rest of the film. Inspired by Ex_Machina's example, here is our pick of the best unexpected dance sequences.

The curious case of Zach Braff

18 January 2015, 8:49pm

Virgin Movies posted by Virgin Movies

The critics were united: Garden State was one of 2004's most delightful cinematic surprises – and it was all thanks to debut director Zach Braff, best known for TV hospital sitcom Scrubs. "Braff's direction – of both cast and camera – is so confident that this debut could well mark the start of a major career," said one admirer. "One of the best directorial debuts in recent memory," said another. It seemed Braff, in his late 20s when the movie was made, was a major new discovery: a triple threat who couldn't just write, act and direct, but was funny too. What could stop him from conquering Hollywood?

‘Cheer up, love it might never happen’ isn’t something you tell an actress who has hopes of winning an Oscar. On the make-up free face of it, seems the more downtrodden and ill-fated an actress is in her roles, the more likely she is to get a shiny golden gong. A look at this year’s Oscar nominees for Best Actress help prove the point.

 

 

Elektra: What went wrong?

15 January 2015, 10:33am

Matthew Looker posted by Matthew Looker

This week sees the 10-year anniversary of the release of Elektra. So let's celebrate the idea of a strong female heroine, a super-hot ninja assassin kicking ass in an awesome comic-book adventure... and then let's commiserate the film we actually got: a bloated, nonsensical yawnfest.

Who would be in your movie fantasy band?

11 January 2015, 2:32pm

Matthew Looker posted by Matthew Looker

Whiplash is tense, compelling and emotionally distressing, but let's forget all of that and focus on one thing: drumming is cool. In fact playing any kind of instrument is cool. with the possible exception of the bagpipes. Which leads us to the question: who would you have in your ultimate movie fantasy band? Here are our picks...

Bafta nominations 2015: Who will win?

9 January 2015, 1:13pm

Corrina Antrobus posted by Corrina Antrobus

The red carpet is fresh from the dry cleaners just in time for award season. Kicking off the razzle dazzle is our very own Baftas. Who's up for what in the top nods? We take a look and, more importantly, reveal our predictions for who should win.

Review: Foxcatcher

6 January 2015, 4:19pm

Emma Simmonds posted by Emma Simmonds

Boasting a perfectly predatory title, Foxcatcher tells the true story of two American wrestler brothers who stray into the sights of an oddball billionaire, becoming an integral part of his latest pet project. It gets its hands dirty exposing the mental anguish of competitive sports - in the form of self-doubt and jealousy. And the latest from Oscar-nominated director Bennett Miller (Moneyball, Capote) also immaculately illustrates the unchecked indulgence and disdain of the ultra-rich, behaviour which here has chilling consequences. Foxcatcher is a film that grips, intrigues and unnerves from start to devastating finish. 

Why 2015 is Anna Kendrick's year

6 January 2015, 12:45pm

Anna Smith posted by Anna Smith

‘Pale, awkward and very small,’ is how Anna Kendrick describes herself on Twitter - to 3.1 million followers and counting. Yes, this self-deprecating songbird is fast becoming the most popular young actress in Hollywood - and 2015 is going to see her star status rocket even higher. 

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