benedict cumberbatch

‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ is a fitting farewell to Middle-Earth

To fully appreciate Peter Jackson’s last foray into Middle-Earth, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, one must understand it’s actually two separate movies. The first movie is a sour, pseudo-Shakespearean morality play that has nothing to do with Hobbits. The second movie is a heartfelt rumination about friendship and self-sacrifice. For those willing to overlook the sour for the sweet, there are great treasures to be found, as Jackson brings his trilogy to a suitably-epic conclusion.

LFF 2014: ‘The Imitation Game’ is a fitting tribute to shamefully unsung heroes

The mysterious and secretive figure of Alan Turing has undergone something of a political and cultural renaissance in the UK over the past few years. A young mathematic prodigy, Oxford graduate, and cryptographer par excellence, he was ushered into the ultra top secret Bletchley Park programme during the Second World War and tasked with the impossible: to break the German military codes through a captured sequencer which could potentially offer billions of responses to any clandestine communication. Socially incompetent and ruthlessly dedicated, Turing willingly threw himself into the arena of cerebral combat, along the way erecting much of the intellectual and theoretical infrastructure of the modern computing world. But as a closeted homosexual his treatment at the hands of the authorities in the post-war period should cause the great British bulldog to hang its head in shame, with he and his team’s contribution to the continuation of civilisation remaining cloaked for over half acentury due to the Official Secrets Act. Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown would later make an official public apology on behalf of the British government for “the appalling way he was treated,” while the Queen granted him a posthumous pardon on Christmas Eve 2013.

‘The Fifth Estate’ a well-acted, but muddled faux-‘Social Network’ biopic/thriller

“Most good stories start at the beginning,” intones a journalist during The Fifth Estate, a bold statement to make in a film that starts very near the end. The story of how WikiLeaks, and its enigmatic Australian founder Julian Assange, rose to worldwide prominence and notoriety over the last 5 years, is not without merit, but this adaptation fails to reach the same height of earned importance.

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