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    ‘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. More

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    ‘Annie’: It’s the hard knock life for a remake

    There were two distinct reactions coming from the news releases about the Annie remake. There was a collective groan from the cynics who like to complain about how Hollywood has no fresh ideas, and there was also a lot of excitement from social justice communities about a black Annie. Which side won out with the final product? That really depends on how charming you find Quvenzhané Wallis as the title character – as for me, I was sold and think it’s one of the best musicals of the past ten years. More

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    ‘Into the Woods’ is more shrill than charming

    Into the Woods Written by James Lepine, based on a musical by Stephen Sondheim Directed by Rob Marshall USA, 2014 What is there to say about a film that is destined to succeed in spite of its weak ambitions and generic form? Rob Marshall’s newest project, Into the Woods, has been granted a Christmas Day […] More

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    ‘Pulp: a Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets’ will please fans, won’t make many new ones

    Perhaps the new documentary Pulp: a Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets is best summed up by Pulp’s frontman, Jarvis Cocker: “Life is a random process, but you can add narrative to it.” Director Florian Habicht tries to impose a narrative upon his mishmash of concert footage, band interviews, and fan testimonials, but it never coalesces. Ultimately, some top-notch concert cinematography, a few intriguing visuals, and Cocker’s delightful cheekiness make this a must-see for Pulp fans, and a must-skip for general audiences. More

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    LFF 2014: Sion Sono’s mad musical ‘Tokyo Tribe’ is essential viewing for fans of oriental excess

    Foul-mouthed octogenarian rappin’ n’ scratching grandmothers. Abrasive, gold-laminated 3D holographic shamans. A scene -tealing human-beatbox waitress, buxom yakuza mistresses, sex-crazed adolescents, breakdancing ninja dervishes, and tank-wielding Shibuya henchmen. All these ingredients and more are present in the latest dish of neon-lit lunacy from Japanese provocateur Sion Sono, a filmmaker with a long and distinguished relationship with the London Film Festival following exposure for his earlier cult cuts Cold Fish, Exte: Hair Extensions, and Why Don’t You Play in Hell?. His latest film, Tokyo Tribe, is another one for the midnight movie crowd: a delirious contemporary musical based on the popular manga by Santa Inoue, it’s a phantasmagorical pop art pastiche of the American rhythms of Streets of Fire, West Side Story, and The Warriors. More

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    ‘20,000 Days on Earth’ is music to the ears

    20,000 Days on Earth Written by Nick Cave, Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard Directed by Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard UK, 2014   You don’t have to be a Nick Cave aficionado to appreciate the brilliant new documentary 20,000 Days on Earth.  In fact, you don’t need to know a single song from his musical […] More

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    ‘God Help the Girl’ is a spotty but largely winning pop musical

    There are hints of Jacques Demy aspirations, fashion chic in vein with the Nouvelle Vague, and one can’t help but think of the films of Scotland’s Bill Forsyth (Gregory’s Girl, Comfort and Joy) with the mostly warm tone of God Help the Girl’s use of inner and greater Glasgow. What Murdoch’s film most recalls, however, is the British New Wave of the 1960s, particularly the works of Richard Lester (A Hard Day’s Night, The Knack …and How to Get It) and John Schlesinger’s Billy Liar; Browning’s Eve even sports a hairstyle for a while that strongly recalls British New Wave regular Rita Tushingham. More

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    Teaser trailer for ‘God Help the Girl’, a musical by Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian

    God Help the Girl is a long-gestating musical film project from Stuart Murdoch, leader of Scottish indie pop group Belle and Sebastian. Having first released an album of the same name in 2009 with the help of various female vocalist collaborators, the first-time screenwriter and director finally got the intended film off the ground thanks to the efforts of US producer Barry Mendel (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, Bridesmaids) and some Kickstarter donations. More

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    The Forgotten Auteur: Bob Fosse

      Most people today would likely be shocked to think that in 1972, The Godfather went into the Oscars anything but a sure bet for Best Picture. Aside from Casablanca and Citizen Kane it is recognized as the greatest American film of all time and in hind sight most people forget that not only was […] More

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    ‘Begin Again’ is pure pop perfection

    Begin Again Written and directed by John Carney 2013, USA Movies that make you feel good on their own terms are a rare breed.  John Carney’s latest film, Begin Again, doesn’t need to pander or lobotomize itself to entertain you.  It doesn’t need villains twirling their mustache or hysterical spouses throwing plates against the wall […] More

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    ‘Jersey Boys’… Fuhgettaboutit

    Jersey Boys Directed by Clint Eastwood Written by Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice USA, 2014 You know something has gone horribly wrong when the best scene in your movie is a production number featured in the closing credits.  Sadly, no one noticed that the rest of Jersey Boys was bereft of any dramatic conflict, interesting […] More

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