Film: End of Watch

The cast/crew bit: written & directed by David Ayer, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña & Anna Kendrick

The ten-word synopsis: Two cops live their lives whilst uncovering a human trafficing ring.

My critical mentality when it comes the most important aspect of a film is clear enough. Nail your central characters and you’re just one step away from nailing the film. End of Watch also adopts this mentality. In fact, the best bits in End of Watch aren’t the shoot-outs and punch-ups shot with such intensity you’ll lose the function to blink, but the scenes in which our two leads simply drive around in their car, chatting. Continue reading

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Film: Beasts of the Southern Wild

The cast/crew bit: written & directed by Benh Zeitlin, starring Quvenzhané Wallis & Dwight Henry

The ten-word synopsis: Half naturalistic drama, half daylight hallucinations of a young girl.

The hairs on the back of my neck stood up. My arm, for so long hovering in and around my chin, stroking the unkempt mess I call a beard, dropped unequivocally to my lap. My lungs took a deep breath in. My eyes widened and, oh, hello, looks like my tear ducts have opened for production. There’s a moment in Beasts of the Southern Wild that conjures this reaction. The most innate, heartfelt reaction that I’ve felt towards any film this year. And for this scene alone, it must be applauded. Continue reading

Film: Fun Size

The cast/crew bit: directed by Josh Schwartz, written by Max Werner, starring Victoria Justice, Jane Levin & Thomas Mann

The ten-word synopsis: Babysitting sister loses her younger brother on Halloween. You guess.

I strolled in to see Fun Size on a Monday afternoon, and was greeted with an auditorium positively heaving with a grand total of one other person. So, the two of us sat down and looked on as the films’ certificate came up. It’s a 12A. I shall come to this later. Then two blokes, who both appeared to be quite comfortable going to the cinema on their own and therefor sat within a certain category in society, were subjected to the hoppy, middlingly-energetic music video from Call Me Maybe singer Carly Rae Jepsons’ new single. Personally, I’m an advocate of catchy pop nonsense, but as the other man, who was probably about 40, turned to look at me, hoping to catch a glance of bafflement that was almost equal to that of his own outward demeanour, I experienced the least awkward moment of the 90-odd minutes in which I was inside that screening. Continue reading

Film: Punch-Drunk Love

The cast/crew bit: written & directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, starring Adam Sandler & Emily Watson

The ten-word synopsis: Shakey but pleasant man experiences love, threat, disappointment and anger

Jack and Jill is a movie with stupidity so deeply engrained in it’s DNA that even if the Deoxyribonucleic acid could think itself, it wouldn’t work out that it had a double-helix structure. That’s My Boy is a film so painful to watch that the NHS had to begin employing expertsin diagnosing ‘Adam Sandler fever’- A condition that makes you want to bash yourself over the head repeatedly until A). you die or B). the film is over. Most patients claim A is preferable under the circumstances. Basically, if you hate Adam Sandler, you’re more than entitled to do so. However, before you go off on any rants about what a hateful human being he is, (As I for one certainly have done in past) you’re probably best watching Punch-Drunk Love, a movie so good you’ll almost forgive Sandler for his apocalyptically bad career. Continue reading

Game: a boy and his blob (Wii)

The format/developer/publisher: Nintendo Wii, developed by Wayforward, published by Majesco Entertainment

The ten-word synopsis: Boy helps adorable alien blob get home using magic jellybeans.

Games boxes are cold and hard. Hugging a game box, especially the sleek, white Wii ones, is not entirely comfortable. However, seeing as it is unfortunately impossible to embrace a boy and his blob (The name doesn’t use any capital letters, that’s not me being lazy) in any other way, it’ll have to do. Wayforward’s adorable little jellybean-based puzzle-platformer is a game you just want to reach out and hug at warmly as you can. Continue reading

Film: Paranormal Activity 4

The cast/crew bit: diected by Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman, starring Kathyrn Newton, Matt Shiverly & Katie Featherson

The ten-word synopsis: More quiet-quiet-quiet-quiet-quiet-quiet-quiet-BANG nonsense.

If you were woken by an alarm clock this morning, then you’ve pretty much already experienced Paranormal Activity 4 today. A long period of nothing happening, followed by a loud noise that may startle you, but more than likely just makes you grumble as you turn over and hope it goes away.

Continue reading

Film: Liberal Arts

The cast/crew bit: written & directed by Josh Radnor, starring Josh Radnor & Elizabeth Olsen

The ten-word synopsis: 30-something goes back to University; falls for 19-year old.

There’s a central theme running through Liberal Arts of whether or not something is worth reading just because you like it. This stems from an argument between our two leads over whether Zibby (Elizabeth Olsen) was justified in her reading of an unnamed vampire romantic fiction (Read: Twilight) just because she enjoyed it. While Josh Radnors’ character, Jesse, argues otherwise, (Prompting a wonderful line that all but instigates the grandest of debates: Twilight or Chaucer?) Liberal Arts is a fine example of Zibby’s point. If everybody enjoys the film just as much as I did, it’s certainly worth seeing. Continue reading

TV: Doctor Who – Series Seven, Part One

The cast/crew bit: written by Steven Moffat, Chris Chibnal & Toby Whithouse, starring Matt Smith, Karen Gillan & Arthur Darvill

The ten-word synopsis: The Doctors’ final few adventures with the moving-on Ponds.

Amy Pond is the longest-serving Doctor Who companion ever. Her 33 stories trumps the 22 of both Jamie McCrimmon and Rose Tyler, with her husband, Rory Williams, actually being her next-closest competition on 27. As such, it was always going to take a brave man to write them out, and a great man to do them justice. Thankfully, Steven Moffat is that man, and delivers a satisfying 5-episode ‘Goodbye’ to the Ponds with some aplomb. Continue reading