Johnny Depp

Black Mass Johnny Depp

TIFF ’15: ‘Black Mass’ is good but never great

Black Mass is the true-life crime story of the infamous gangster, James Whitey Bulger. Bulger, the brother of a state senator, spent thirty years as an FBI informant while forging his way to the top of Boston’s criminal underworld.

BFI 59th London Film Festival – Top Picks for 2015

Next month sees the return of one of the UK’s most prolific film festival, The London Film Festival (LFF). Taking place between 7 and 18 October, the festival will show over 230 films in more than 16 venues over the capital.

‘Mortdecai’ is hauntingly terrible

Seemingly late in the game of David Koepp’s Mortdecai, the eponymous character (played by Johnny Depp) asks his wife, “Are you quite finished with your barrage of insults?” It’s an apt question for the film itself, a cataclysmically unfunny, unbelievably tedious disaster of baffling misjudgments and multiple career lows that feels as long as Shoah, and only a little less harrowing. No such luck, though, as the film goes on for another 25 minutes. It then ends on people about to throw up. Also apt.

‘Into the Woods’ nearly killed me

Normally, I’m a fair and agreeable chap who approaches each movie with an open mind. I must warn you, however, that my review of Into the Woods will be neither fair nor agreeable. I will not be fawning over director Rob Marshall, who seems clueless as to what his own movie is about, nor will I be singing the praises of Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim, who has probably written grocery lists more pleasing to the ear than these tunes. What I will be doing is trying to deconstruct one of my most grueling cinematic experiences of 2014.

TIFF 2014: ‘Tusk”s production more interesting than the final product

Kevin Smith’s early work, guerilla-style films about disenfranchised geeks and losers, helped gain him a strong and dedicated audience. While many of his most dedicated fans seem to find the best in even his weakest films, Smith has never found the same success in critical circles. The negative critiques of his films has only been exasperated by Smith himself, who seems to struggle with dissenting takes on his work, leading him to withdraw into podcasting. Though this was not a strategic choice on Smith’s part, it seemed to pay off as his audience only grew and he is now among the most influential people in the ‘Twittersphere’. This allowed Smith to distribute his 2011 film Red State himself. He described the entire process as “Indie Film 2.0.”; it was no longer about just making the film yourself but distributing it as well.

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