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)”

Review: Ghostbusters (2016)

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This reboot of the beloved 1984 comedy ticks a lot of the right boxes. It’s fun, spooky (a haunted house tour makes for an effective intro) and the ideal amount of silly. But above all else it proves the premature naysayers wrong. The cast, made up of Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones own every inch of the film as four women, each with their own quirks (the scientist, the inventor, the subway worker with an expert knowledge of the city), who team up after a pale madman (Neil Casey) unleashes malevolent paranormal entities upon New York. Continue reading “Review: Ghostbusters (2016)”

Review: The Secret Life Of Pets (2016)

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This animation from the makers of Despicable Me has pep and visual humour to spare, even if the familiar plot isn’t quite up to scratch. Max (Louis C.K.), a faithful canine, is sidelined when his owner brings home an unkempt mutt (Eric Stonestreet). Their reckless attempts to one-up each other soon leave them lost on the streets of New York, hunted by viscious strays. Continue reading “Review: The Secret Life Of Pets (2016)”

EIFF 2016 Review: Kids In Love (2016)

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In this vacuous British coming-of-age drama, privilege is celebrated through teens who live hedonistic lifestyles in large, city-centre houses without a care in the world, least of all for money, which seems to be on tap. Jack (Will Poulter) has his life mapped out for him – university, followed by an internship at a law firm. But when he falls for free spirit Evelyn (Alma Jodorowsky), he quickly loses all sense of himself and his future in search of love and freedom. Continue reading “EIFF 2016 Review: Kids In Love (2016)”

EIFF 2016 Review: Adult Life Skills (2016)

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The debut of writer and director Rachel Tunnard is a heartfelt crisis comedy starring Jodie Whittaker as Anna, a soon-to-be-thirty half twin who’s mourning the death of her brother while living in her mother’s shed and shirking responsibility. Tunnard’s writing comes from a place of raw honesty, which makes the issues tackled – that of bereavement and identity crossroads – all the more affecting. Continue reading “EIFF 2016 Review: Adult Life Skills (2016)”

EIFF 2016 Review: Macbeth Unhinged (2016)

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This experimental take on Shakespeare’s famous tale of desire and betrayal from writer, director and star Angus Macfadyen is a deconstruction too far – one that alienates, rather than intrigues audiences. Set almost exclusively within the confines of a limousine as it drives around an abandoned city, confusion arrives early as the familiar story becomes unfamiliar, losing much of its impact – and sense – from the undefined setting and disordered approach. Continue reading “EIFF 2016 Review: Macbeth Unhinged (2016)”

EIFF 2016 Review: The Carer (2016)

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As a slightly modified fictional version of himself, Brian Cox does stellar work in what’s an amiable character study about an ageing actor with Parkinson’s disease who’s difficult to deal with. That is, however, until Dorotyya (newcomer Coco Konig), a Hungarian carer with acting ambitions of her own, finds a way into his heart. Continue reading “EIFF 2016 Review: The Carer (2016)”

EIFF 2016 Review: Finding Dory (2016)

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Finding Dory, a similar-but-worthy sequel to one of Pixar’s most beloved films, is as entertaining as it is soul-stirring, complete with a stellar voice cast and mesmeric oceanic visuals. One year on from helping reunite Marlin (Albert Brooks) with his son, Dory (Ellen DeGeneres in a role she has made her own) starts to experience moments of her childhood through fragmented flashbacks that send her on an adventure across the seas to California in the hopes of not only finding her parents, but herself too. Continue reading “EIFF 2016 Review: Finding Dory (2016)”

EIFF 2016 Review: Slash (2016)

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Clay Liford’s charming and deceptively modest coming-of-age comedy is set within the world of fan fiction, used by awkward teen Neil (Michael Johnston) as a vessel for his own self discovery. His love of slash – writing stories about fictional characters’ sexual relations – attracts the attention of Julia (Hannah Marks), who pushes him to publish his work online. Continue reading “EIFF 2016 Review: Slash (2016)”