Review: Raw (2016)

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Julia Docournau’s striking feature debut caused quite the stir upon its premiere the Toronto International Film Festival – and no wonder. In it, Justine (Garance Marillier), an animal rights advocate and strict vegetarian, heads off to veterinary school, where – as part of a hazing ritual – she’s forced to eat rabbit. This ignites a hunger inside her like nothing she’s ever experienced before. Continue reading “Review: Raw (2016)”

Review: Snowden (2016)

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Oliver Stone directs this subpar biopic about Edward Snowden, the infamous NSA contractor who leaked top secret information about surveillance. Framed with scenes from Hong Kong in the days leading up to the exposé, the script – co-written by Stone and Kieran Fitzgerald – uses flashbacks to track Snowden’s career from model student to criminal. Continue reading “Review: Snowden (2016)”

Review: Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them (2016)

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This spin-off from Harry Potter – scripted by J.K. Rowling – is occasionally charming, sometimes too flimsy. Instead of the Boy Who Lived, our hero is Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), an eccentric wizard on stopover in New York whose collection of magical beasts – of which come in all different sizes, some friendly and others not so much – is unintentionally unleashed. Continue reading “Review: Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them (2016)”

IFF Review: Toni Erdmann (2016)

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Insightful and hilarious in equal measure, Toni Erdmann – a bittersweet German comedy that dazzled at Cannes – is the real deal. Maren Ade, who last directed Everyone Else in 2009, strikes a masterful tonal balance in which to examine the uneasy relationship between workaholic Ines (Sandra Hüller) and her lonely father Winfried (Peter Simonischek), who comes to visit her in Bucharest after the death of his dog. Continue reading “IFF Review: Toni Erdmann (2016)”

Review: Kubo And The Two Strings (2016)

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The studio behind Coraline and ParaNorman return with the magnificent Kubo And The Two Strings, their most ambitious stop-motion feature yet. Set in a fantastical Japan, young Kubo (Art Parkinson), troubled by his father’s mysterious death and mother’s illness, embarks upon a quest to locate a sacred suit of armour and defeat the powerful Moon King (Ralph Fiennes), aided by his magical shamisen and some helpful companions. Continue reading “Review: Kubo And The Two Strings (2016)”

Review: Suicide Squad (2016)

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DC Comics’ cinematic universe is dealt another blow by this messy and sometimes incoherent misstep in which a rag-tag team of supervillains come together to defeat an out of control sorceress (an arm-flailing Cara Delevingne). That’s about as much of the plot that makes any sense. The rest is an exhaustive series of action sequences, each as indistinct than the last, that never so much as raise an eyebrow, let alone excuse from the bland characterisations and strained attempts at humour. Continue reading “Review: Suicide Squad (2016)”

Review: The Shallows (2016)

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Blake Lively shares the screen with a blood-thirty shark in Jaume Collet-Serra’s trashy, yet highly entertaining thriller. It clocks in at a trim 80-odd minutes, most of which is spent out at sea with Lively’s Nancy as she tries to escape the clutches of a shark who’s already had at her leg, leaving her clung to a rock. Continue reading “Review: The Shallows (2016)”

Review: Jason Bourne (2016)

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It’s been nine years since Matt Damon starred as the titular amnesiac assassin of the Bourne series, with the third instalment providing complete closure to his arc. And yet, after a failed spin-off, Damon has found his way back for another outing that incorporates many modern-day issues to fit with the times, such as the exponential development of social media and privacy concerns, but never fully warrants its existence. Continue reading “Review: Jason Bourne (2016)”

Review: Star Trek Beyond (2016)

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The third entry in the most recent Star Trek franchise, this time directed by Fast Five’s Justin Lin, recaptures some of the original series’ magic through its dedication to character and ridiculous fun. As scripted by Doug Jung and Simon Pegg (who carves himself out a more substantial role as Scotty), the narrative is messy, often dull in its midsection as Krall (Idris Elba), a ruthless enemy, destroys the USS Enterprise and captures the crew in an attempt to lay his hands on an artifact that will help wipe out the entire Federation. Continue reading “Review: Star Trek Beyond (2016)”

Review: The BFG (2016)

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Steven Spielberg directs this buoyant adaptation of Roald Dahl’s much-loved children’s novel, utilising a larger-than-life performance from Mark Rylance as the titular character to enchant audiences of all ages. The script, written by the late Melissa Mathison, doesn’t stray too far from the source material, though the darker elements are kept at bay to ensure a more family-friendly tone is upheld throughout. Continue reading “Review: The BFG (2016)”