Movie Talk

Bridge of Spies | Film review - Tom Hanks & Mark Rylance anchor slippery Cold War tale

Steven Spielberg calls on the ever-dependable Tom Hanks to anchor Bridge of Spies, a slippery tale of espionage intrigue based on a true story from the height of the Cold War.

Radiating his customary diffident decency, Hanks plays James B Donovan, the Brooklyn insurance lawyer given the thankless task in 1957 of defending Soviet spy Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) in a US court.

The country is in the grip of the Red Scare, which for Donovan makes it all the more reason to stand up for the values of the US Constitution and give Abel a fair trial. (You...

The Good Dinosaur | Film review - Fun, peril and awe in Pixar's playful comedy adventure

What if dinosaurs had never gone extinct?

That’s the premise of Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur, a playful animated comedy adventure that invites us to imagine that the fateful asteroid that did for the dinosaurs 65 million years ago missed the Earth, allowing evolution to take a different course - and allowing Pixar to give us a Western-type tale of pluck and peril with a young dinosaur as its hero.

Arlo (voiced by Raymond Ochoa) is the runt of an Apatosaurus family of doughty pioneer homesteaders, who are busily turning a patch of wilderness into farmland in what appears...

Montana | Film review - Vigilante killer Lars takes a lippy orphan under his wing

Ludicrous revenge thriller Montana finds Lars Mikkelsen’s vigilante assassin taking lippy East London orphan McKell David under his wing and training him in the killing trade as he seeks to bring down the Serbian gang lord who slaughtered his wife and son during the Bosnian war two decades before. Cue mawkish surrogate-father/son bonding and unconvincing training montages. Mikkelsen somehow retains a dour dignity, but co-star David is flimsy, as are the script, direction and most of the supporting cast of bent coppers and trigger-happy henchmen, including those urban crime regulars Ashley Walters and Adam Deacon.

Certificate 15. Runtime...

Saturday Island (1952) | Hollywood teen idol Tab Hunter's big screen debut now on DVD

Appearing in his first major screen role, Hollywood teen idol Tab Hunter stars opposite Linda Darnell in this drama of restrained passion set on a remote South Pacific island during World War Two. Renamed in the US with the more racy-sounding Island of Desire, the British-made Saturday Island is featured here in a brand-new transfer from the original colour film elements, in its as-exhibited theatrical aspect ratio.

On a calm night in tropical seas, a hospital troop ship carrying sick and wounded from the Far East hits a magnetic mine, with the ensuing explosion forcing the crew to...

Inside Out | DVD review - Pixar's latest brainwave: a dazzling trip inside a young girl's mind

A young girl’s growing pains are brought to life with dazzling wit and tender wisdom in the brilliant animated movie Inside Out, Pixar’s best work since Toy Story 3 and Up.

Five personified emotions live inside 11-year-old Riley’s head – Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler); Fear (Bill Hader); Anger (Lewis Black); Disgust (Mindy Kaling); and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). They guide Riley’s feelings from a knob-laden control desk, processing her new memories as they arrive. And it’s Joy, wide-eyed, fairy-like and permanently buoyant, who takes the lead until Riley is uprooted from her hometown when her father takes another job.


Ted 2 | DVD review - Mark Wahlberg and his talking teddy bear are rude, crude and sometimes hilarious

Did we need a sequel to Seth MacFarlane’s shamelessly rude 2012 buddy comedy about a Boston slacker and his living teddy bear chum?

Probably not, but given the first film’s humungous box-office success, follow-up Ted 2 was surely inevitable.

Mark Wahlberg is back as stoner John and MacFarlane again voices the stuffed bear. Ted is now unhappily married to his brassy sweetheart (Jessica Barth) and faces legal wrangles when the authorities declare him ‘property’, not a person, leaving Ted and John to seek help from Amanda Seyfried’s pot-smoking rookie lawyer.

The jokes are definitely hit and miss, and many...

Hot Pursuit | DVD review - Reese & Sofia's buddy comedy vehicle is running on empty

Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara aim to strike Midnight Run-style sparks as a mismatched duo on the run from ruthless criminals and crooked cops in buddy comedy thriller Hot Pursuit, but this misfiring movie fails to ignite.

The pair’s contrasting physical attributes and personalities does actually have comic potential. Witherspoon is short and strait-laced as the rookie police officer who does everything by the book, and Vergara is voluptuous and fiery as a crook’s pampered trophy wife. But after Witherspoon’s routine job of escorting Vergara to court goes violently awry, the screenplay fails to make the most of their...

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 | Film review - Jennifer Lawrence's rebel heroine: a beacon to the end

Come on, we’re nearly there. One last heave.

It’s been a long, hard slog for Jennifer Lawrence’s renegade warrior Katniss Everdeen. And with Hollywood electing to turn Suzanne Collins’ best-selling Hunger Games trilogy into a quartet of films, the struggle to liberate dystopian future state Panem has begun to feel something of a slog for the viewer, too.

But just as rebel figurehead Katniss has sustained the revolution against Panem’s ruthless President Snow through its many reverses, so does Lawrence’s steely magnetism hold together this final instalment: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2.

It is a particularly dour kind...

The Dressmaker | Film review - Kate Winslet knocks them dead as a voluptuous Outback avenger

Imagine a Sergio Leone remake of Chocolat and you will get some idea of the tone set by this sumptuous, lavishly embroidered tale of Outback revenge - with Kate Winslet’s subversive outsider packing a sewing machine rather than a pistol and couture taking the place of confectionary as the agent of seductive change.

The Dressmaker opens with Winslet’s misfit heroine, Tilly Dunnage, stepping off the train at the dusty, one-horse town of Dungatar in early 1950s New South Wales, her arrival accompanied by the lush strings and jangling guitar that usually greet the heroes of Spaghetti Westerns. Like them,...

Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964) | The futuristic sci-fi lands on Blu-ray

Out on Blu-ray and DVD for the first time in the UK comes the thrilling 1964 sci-fi adventure Robinson Crusoe on Mars.

While following Daniel Defoe's classic castaway novel closely, this futuristic Boy's Own adventure transports its hero to outer space, as the first US astronaut to land on Mars. Paul Mantee plays spaceman Kit Draper, who gets stranded (with his pet monkey) on the Red Planet after an emergency crash landing. Now, he must find ways to adapt and survive in the alien landscape - but he may not be as alone as he thought…

Penned by...