Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah). His best films are unforgiving explorations of artistic ambition (Black Swan), addiction (Requiem for a Dream) or mortality (The Wrestler), admittedly big themes. But this bonkers family horror movie perhaps has more in common with his ambitious existential sci-fi epic The Fountain: this is a resolutely symbolic movie that's impossible to take literally. And yet it still freaks us out.
It's set in a huge isolated house, which a young woman (Jennifer Lawrence) has been restoring for her older poet husband (Javier Bardem) after it burned down. Just as it's beginning to look good, and she starts thinking about starting a family, the husband invites a stranger (Ed Harris) to stay, and he encroaches on their hospitality by inviting his pushy wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) and their bickering sons (real-life brothers Domhnall and Brian Gleeson). After causing some chaos, they finally leave, the wife falls pregnant and the husband's writers' block finally breaks. But his new book inspires so much adulation from his fans that their happiness is in jeopardy.
Continue reading: Mother Review
Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back with this lively, relentlessly enjoyable caper that feels like a mash-up between his Ocean's Eleven and Magic Mike movies. Using America's economic situation as a launching point (without any political message), he spins a loose-limbed adventure with a gang of endearingly scruffy characters. If this is your cup of tea, it's a proper guilty pleasure.
In West Virginia, the Logan family has had a string of very bad luck, leaving Jimmy (Channing Tatum) with a dodgy knee and his younger brother Clyde (Adam Driver) with a missing arm. Their sister Mellie (Riley Keough) has so far escaped injury, so Jimmy hatches a plan to change their fortunes by robbing the Charlotte Nascar race course, which he knows inside and out because he's just been sacked from his job there. They need the help of explosives expert Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), who's in jail. So in addition to an elaborate heist, they must also plan a prison break. They also bring in Joe's nerdy gamer brothers (Jack Quaid and Brian Gleeson).
Frankly, all of these people are such misfits that no one would ever suspect them of being capable of carrying out such a complicated plan. And that's the point: it's easy to underestimate people who seem uneducated. This gives the cast plenty to play with. Tatum and particularly Driver are terrific at the centre, with their hang-dog expressions and understated skill sets. Keough gets to play the one person in the story with brains, and has a great time rampaging through each scene. But the movie is stolen by Craig, who goes wildly against type as the hilariously nutty Joe. In one classic scene, he barely contains his exasperation while explaining how to make a bomb out of gummy bears.
Continue reading: Logan Lucky Review
Jimmy and Clyde Logan are two down-and-out brothers from West Virginia. Jimmy has been fired from his job on a construction site for reasons relating to insurance and Clyde's job as a one-armed bartender hasn't worked out too well either. To get themselves out of the financial mess that they're in (and, indeed, that their family have been in for almost 100 years), Jimmy suggests robbing $14 million from the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina during the hugely anticipated Coca-Cola 600 race over Memorial Day weekend. He has discovered how the money is being moved to a bank vault, but they need to spring the vault-blowing expert Joe Bang from prison in order to execute the heist. With the help of their sister Mellie and their new pals the Redneck Robbers, they plot the perfect robbery - but all is naturally not going to go as swimmingly as they could have hoped.
Continue: Logan Lucky Trailer
A young woman (Jennifer Lawrence) and her older husband (Javier Bardem) have the most perfect solitary life, spending all their time together in their beautiful and peaceful country home. But their paradise is about to be threatened with the arrival of an older couple (Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer), who appear to mistake their home for a bed and breakfast. The young woman's husband is accommodating to them despite their mistake and her serious reservations about letting strangers sleep in their house. Pretty soon this union of two couples turns into a bloody tale of fear, insanity and a whole load of weirdness - more people arrive at the sanctuary and the young woman's husband seems to be somebody else completely. Now it's a game of survival - God help you.
Continue: Mother! Trailer
One Irish family decide to make a nice gesture for Nan by tidying up her house which was full to bursting with old newspapers and junk. After a planned day out with another family member, she returns to find her home barely recognisable as her relatives excitedly show her around. However, the one thing that does stick out is that they have replaced her old mattress - which happened to have her life savings stashed away inside. The contents of the mattress was nearly 1 million euros, so now Nan's son Colm must set out to retrieve the cash - while trying to keep his reasons private from the prying public. Unfortunately, their story soon becomes headline news and now the whole country's out looking for a million euro mattress. The question is, will their stressful search tear the whole family apart?
Continue: Life's a Breeze Trailer
Brian Gleeson & companion - The day after The IFTA awards, actors are seen coming and going from the DoubleTree by Hilton Dublin Hotel. Double-winner Jamie Dornan can be seen leaving with his two awards with wife Amelia Warner and their baby daughter in tow - Dublin, Ireland - Sunday 6th April 2014
From Ireland, this looks like yet another Hangover-style stag-night comedy, but the script has surprising depth to it, and even the sillier characters find some resonance as the events spiral into the requisite chaos. So while the movie's gross-out humour feels utterly contrived, there's meaning behind it. And the relationships between the central characters are remarkably complex.
The groom is theatre designer Fionnan (O'Conor), who is driving his fiancee Ruth (Huberman) crazy by being too-interested in planning the wedding. So she asks his best man Davin (Scott) to plan a stag getaway. They decide to go on a camping trip with Fionnan's brother (Legge) and his partner (Bennett), plus their friend Simon (Gleeson). But they fail in their efforts to avoid inviting Ruth's intense brother The Machine (McDonald). And sure enough, he takes over the weekend, causing abject mayhem at every turn as their casual hike becomes a series of frantic adventures.
The sharp actors create characters who are realistic and, for the most part, likeable. The exception is The Machine, and McDonald plays him mercilessly, chomping madly on the scenery. It's an over-the-top performance that constantly throws us outside the movie until we begin to see the man underneath the crazed bravado. But he causes the other guys to do inexplicable things as well, which sparks a reaction in us and allows for a bit of depth, especially for Scott in the meatiest role.
Continue reading: The Stag Review
Fionnan is the sensitive sort who's filled with excitement about his upcoming nuptials to partner Ruth. He's a nervous perfectionist who wants everything to be just right when the day comes, but makes no secret about his aversion to a traditional stag do of wild antics and drinking. When Ruth insists best man Davin take him on an outdoor adventure up a mountain for their bachelor's weekend, Fionnan is horrified but eventually agrees that he may enjoy a trek in the great outdoors. However, it is soon revealed that Ruth's insane brother nicknamed The Machine will be joining Fionnan and his friends - a fact that even makes Davin consider calling off their adventure. Instead, he attempts to deter him from coming along with a weird voicemail but, alas, he makes his presence known as he repeatedly brings trouble raining down on them on their journey.
Continue: The Stag - Clips
It's usually the bride that enjoys organising every little detail for their wedding, but in Ruth and Fionnan's relationship, planning the nuptials has become the only thing that guarded perfectionist Fionnan thinks about. However, concerned about his increasing seriousness and his hatred of adventure, Ruth enlists his best friend Davin to organise a stag night on a mountain. Fionnan eventually warms to the idea of a wildlife trek. that is until Ruth mentions that her ruthless brother The Machine is coming along too. Coping with The Machine becomes an uphill struggle when he throws away the stag group's compass and gets them lost, sets their tent on fire and insists on a nude streak through the woodland that almost gets them shot. But is he a blessing in disguise for strait-laced Fionnan, who may find this trip more of a milestone than a stag?
Continue: The Stag Trailer
Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....
Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...
Jimmy and Clyde Logan are two down-and-out brothers from West Virginia. Jimmy has been fired...
A young woman (Jennifer Lawrence) and her older husband (Javier Bardem) have the most perfect...
From Ireland, this looks like yet another Hangover-style stag-night comedy, but the script has surprising...
Fionnan is the sensitive sort who's filled with excitement about his upcoming nuptials to partner...