Movie Talk

Barely Lethal | Film review - Hailee Steinfeld’s teen spy grapples with high-school perils in breezy action comedy

Teenage assassin Hailee Steinfeld discovers that the treacherous world of espionage has nothing on the perils of high school in Barely Lethal, a bubblegum action comedy that is very much Kick-Ass meets Mean Girls.

Trained from infancy at a top-secret government facility that turns little girls into killing machines, Steinfeld’s junior spy yearns for a normal adolescence. So she fakes her own death in the middle of a mission and, having swotted up on a bunch of teen movies, reinvents herself as Canadian exchange student Megan Walsh. Cue larky fish-out-of-water comedy as the clueless Megan grapples with a crush...

HORROR FILM NEWS: FrightFest and Icon to release seven deadly titles

The UK's leading horror festival FrightFest, which kicks off this Thursday, have announced the first set of films to be released under their FrightFest Presents banner from Icon Film Distribution, who are best known for releasing the frightening Aussie horror The Babadook and the chilling It Follows.

The first batch of seven features will premiere first at Frightfest then make their online debut between Halloween 2015 and February next year through  iTunes, Virgin Movies, Sky, Google  Amazon, Xbox , Blinkbox, Google, Wuaki, TalkTalk and Volta.

From Sightseers actor-writer Steve Oram comes the surreal ‘monkey comedy’...

Unconscious | Film review - Kate Bosworth keeps her cool in slow-burn psychological horror thriller

An amnesiac man (Wes Bentley) wakes up following an accident to find a woman (Kate Bosworth) he doesn't recognise standing over his bed, claiming to be his wife. But is she his carer or his captor?

Titled Unconscious in the UK but Amnesiac in the States, this slow-burn psychological horror thriller has echoes of Stephen King's Misery yet very little of that film's chilling suspense or dark humour.

It doesn't help that Bosworth's icy character is all too clearly up to no good from the start, making the story's long-delayed twist revelation very much an anti-climax. Admittedly, director Michael...

The Falling (2014) | Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams plays a troubled 1960s teen in a beguiling British mystery

Set in a rural British girls’ school in 1969, director Carol Morley's The Falling explores issues of female friendship, desire and hysteria in a beguiling tale about a mysterious fainting sickness that spreads amongst the pupils.

Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams is Lydia, an intense and trouble youngster who becomes infatuated with best friend Abbie (Florence Pugh), and terrified that their relationship will be crushed by Abbie’s flirtation with Lydia’s loner brother, Kenneth (Joe Cole), who dabbles in the occult. When Abbie falls victim to the epidemic and Lydia herself succumbs, forcing their tight-knit group of friends to...

The Salvation | DVD review - Who needs revision? This old-school Western works just fine

Shot in South Africa by Danish filmmakers, The Salvation is a gratifyingly old-fashioned Western of the sort Hollywood long ago gave up making.

Mads Mikkelsen’s protagonist, a Danish soldier turned immigrant homesteader in the American southwest, shares Clint Eastwood’s hard-bitten taciturnity, and he makes an ideal hero when he embarks on a seemingly suicidal campaign of revenge against ruthless outlaw leader Delarue (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his gang.

There are no great surprises in store as the action moves relentlessly towards a final showdown, but the film’s cinematography is gorgeous and the supporting cast, including Jonathan Pryce and Eric...

Child 44 | DVD review - Tom Hardy’s dogged secret policeman hunts for a serial killer in Stalin’s Soviet Union

Tom Hardy’s tenacious secret policeman hunts for a child murderer amid the paranoia and terror of Stalin’s Soviet Union in this adaptation of Tom Rob Smith’s bestselling novel, Child 44.

Get past some contrived plotting - and the needlessly thick Russian accents adopted by the mostly British cast - and this 1950s-set crime thriller is grimly fascinating.

Hardy’s dogged MGB officer, Leo Demidov, first realises a killer is at large after the son of one of his colleagues is found dead in Moscow. Yet what makes his investigation so challenging – and so perilous for him and his wife...

Les yeux sans visage (1959) | The French horror classic shocks again on Blu-ray

Along with Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, French director George Franju’s 1959 Les yeux sans visage (aka Eyes Without a Face) reigns supreme as a masterpiece in modern horror, and is now available on Blu-ray in the UK for the first time from BFI.

Demented Parisian plastic surgeon Prof Genessier (Pierre Brasseur) and his loyal lovelorn assistant Louise (Alida Valli) abduct young woman to graft their skin onto the face of his disfigured daughter Christiane (Edith Scob). But with successive surgery, the isolated Christiane begins to lose her sanity and her will to live…

Eyes Without a Face caused outrage...

Good People | Film review - Dodgy windfall lands London expats James Franco & Kate Hudson in desperate straits

Struggling to get out of debt in London, expat American couple James Franco and Kate Hudson find an illicit £220,000 stash after their dodgy downstairs tenant turns up dead in Good People. But keeping the windfall lands them in desperate straits when brutal local gangster Sam Spruell and smooth Parisian drug dealer Omar Sy both come looking for the loot.

This low-rent crime thriller’s London setting never feels convincing - despite the presence of Tom Wilkinson’s dogged Met copper – and the film’s action-packed climax, which sees the couple fending off the bad ’uns using power tools, is even...

Vacation | Film review - A new Griswold is at the wheel - but this comedy sequel cum remake runs into the ditch

Thirty-two years after Chevy Chase’s hapless Clark Griswold took his family on a disaster-strewn road trip in National Lampoon’s Vacation - the 1983 film, scripted by John Hughes and directed by Harold Ramis, which set the freewheeling comedy series rolling - another Griswold clan hits the asphalt for sequel-cum-remake Vacation.

The irrepressibly chipper dad at the wheel is Clark’s grown-up son Rusty, determined to drag his jaded wife (Christina Applegate) and their two bickering sons – sensitive, guitar-strumming James (Skyler Gisondo) and psychotic, bullying younger brother Kevin (Steele Stebbins) – on a cross-country, family-bonding trip to Walley World, the...

Cinderella | DVD review - Lily James's fairytale heroine comes up sparkling with a wave of Branagh's magic wand

Hollywood filmmakers are no slouches these days when it comes to sending-up fairy-tale conventions, but Kenneth Branagh plays things daringly straight in this live-action Cinderella adaptation.

All the fondly familiar elements are here, but they come up looking fresh. Lily James’s radiant Cinderella sparkles, even under a coating of soot; Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden charms as the prince; Cate Blanchett’s cruel stepmother is magnificently haughty; snooty stepsisters Sophie McShera and Holliday Grainger are a gleefully ghastly double act; and Helena Bonham Carter is delightfully dotty as the fairy godmother.

With a wave of his directorial wand, Branagh nimbly...