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THE LOBSTER (15)
D: Yorgos Lanthimos 
Picturehouse/Film 4 (Ed Guiney, Cecil Dempsey, Yorgos Lanthimos & Lee Magiday)
UK/Ireland/Greece/France 2015
118 mins

Fantasy/Romance/Science Fiction

W: Yorgos Lanthimos & Efthymis Filippou
DP: Thimios Bakatakis
Ed: Yorgos Mavropsaridis
Mus: Johnnie Burn

Colin Farrell (David), Rachel Weisz (Short-Sighted Woman), Jessica Barden (Nosebleed Woman), Olivia Colman (Hotel Manager), Ashley Jensen (Biscuit Woman), John C. Reilly (Lisping Man), Lea Seydoux (Loner Leader), Ben Whishaw (Limping Man)

The Lobster is an unorthodox love story set in a dystopian future where it is deemed illegal to be single. Those without a companion must check into a hotel where they are given 45 days to find a suitable partner and those who fail are turned into an animal of their own choosing.
Colin Farrell is a new guest at the hotel following the breakdown of his marriage and finds it difficult to follow the ridiculously stringent rules, eventually escaping from the grounds and hiding in the woods, where he becomes involved with a group of rebels, one of which he falls in love with.
The deadpan humour and unemotional delivery make this one of the funniest films of 2015, but the bizarre, often ambiguous story won't endear itself to everyone. The satire in the film's early scenes also pokes fun at dating rituals and etiquette, but the story does lose its way in the final third. 
A wonderfully weird piece of independent filmmaking.
6/10

LOCAL HERO (15)

D: Bill Forsyth
Enigma/Goldcrest (David Puttnam)
UK 1983
111 mins
 
Comedy/Drama
 
W: Bill Forsyth
DP: Chris Menges 
Ed: Michael Bradsell
Mus: Mark Knopfler
 
Burt Lancaster (Happer), Peter Riegert (Mac), Fulton Mackay (Ben), Denis Lawson (Urquhart), Norman Chancer (Moritz), Peter Capaldi (Oldsen)
 
Akin to the style of Ealing comedies, Burt Lancaster is an American executive sent to a rural Scottish village to arrange the building of a new refinery.
The film lacks enough funny moments for it's length, but does have one particularly classic moment which has stood the test of time. 
The film found itself most successful in Scotland & the North of England, especially Newcastle-upon-Tyne, who have adopted Mark Knopfler's music theme as their city's unofficial anthem.
7/10
 

LOCK, STOCK & TWO SMOKING BARRELS (18)

D: Guy Ritchie
Polygram/SKA (Matthew Vaughan)
UK 1998
95 mins
 
Crime/Comedy
 
W: Guy Ritchie
DP: Tim Maurice Jones
Ed: Niven Howie
 
Nick Moran (Eddy), Jason Flemyng (Tom), Dexter Fletcher (Soap), Jason Statham (Bacon), Steven Mackintosh (Winston), Vinnie Jones (Big Chris), Sting (JD), Lenny McLean (Barry the Baptist)
 
For better or worse, Guy Ritchie's directorial debut rejuvenated the British gangster film and inspired an entire generation of films in its wake.
A young Londoner finds himself public enemy of the wrong sort after losing everything in a rigged poker game and with his friends, turns to robbery in order to pay off the debt, including the theft of a pair of antique pistols which they attempt to sell back to the owner they unknowingly stole them from.
Ritchie brings much style, intelligence and farcical comedy to his film, as well as a fantastic soundtrack and a brilliant cliffhanger ending with a wink & a nod to the all-time classic cockney crime caper, The Italian Job (qv).
7/10
 

LOCKE (15)

D: Steven Wright

Lionsgate/Shoebox/IM Global (Guy Heeley & Paul Webster)

UK/US 2013 (released 2014)

85 mins


Drama


W: Steven Knight

DP: Haris Zambarloukos

Ed: Justine Wright

Mus: Dickon Hinchcliffe


Tom Hardy (Ivan Locke), Olivia Colman (voice of Bethan Maguire), Ruth Wilson (voice of Katrina Locke), Tom Holland (voice of Eddie Locke)


Locke is a very noble attempt at a chamber play, set in one continuous location throughout its running time with a solo actor's performance carrying the entire film.

Tom Hardy plays Ivan Locke, a construction worker who makes a car journey from Birmingham to London on the eve of an important business deal. Along the course of the journey, he has various phone conversations with co-workers and his family as well as a woman who he once had a one-night stand with and it subsequently emerges that the reason for the sudden trip is to be with her as she gives birth to their child.

Though the material would make a much better fit as a stage play, it does work incredibly well on the screen, mainly because of Tom Harry's excellent performance.

7/10


LOGAN (15)

D: James Mangold

20th Century Fox/Marvel/TSG (Hutch Parker, Simon Kinberg & Lauren Shuler-Donner)

US 2017

137 mins


Science Fiction/Action/Adventure


W: Scott Frank, James Mangold & Michael Green [based on characters created by Stan Lee & the story "Wolverine" created by Roy Thomas, Len Wein & John Romita, Jr.]

DP: John Mathieson

Ed: Michael McCusker & Dirk Westervelt

Mus: Marco Beltrami


Hugh Jackman (Logan / Wolverine),  Patrick Stewart (Prof. Charles Xavier), Boyd Holbrook (Donald Pierce), Stephen Merchant (Caliban), Richard E. Grant (Zander Rice), Dafne Keen (Laura Kinney)


Following on from Deadpool's example, Logan injects a little more violence than what the audience is accustomed to into the X-Men universe, though without the comic relief that gave Deadpool some enchantment this makes for quite a grim addition to the superhero genre.

Set in 2029, where the day of the mutant has become a part of history. Logan (Wolverine) no longer has the healing capabilities he once did, and spends his days working as a limo driver and caring for an aged Professor Xavier, whose own superhero capabilities are more destructive than they are useful. 

Logan is approached by a strange Mexican woman with a young girl companion, asking for his help to take them both across the Canadian border, but she is murdered before he undertakes the job.  Logan takes the girl, who has mutant capabilities of her own, under his own wing to keep her safe from the antagonists on their trail.

Upping the body count and playing down the fantasy element, this attempts to take the superhero movie into a more serious genre, and whether or not it's appreciated for doing that is completely subjective to the viewer.

It does bring some closure to Hugh Jackman playing the character after two decades and it goes without saying that Logan is much better than the other solo Wolverine projects (X-Men Origins: Wolverine & The Wolverine) and begs the question why studios waited for Deadpool to be fly or fall as a maturely marketed superhero movie before taking a chance with this.

7/10


LOGAN LUCKY (12)

D: Steven Soderbergh

Filmnation/Bleeker Street/Fingerprint (Gregory Jacobs, Mark Johnson, Reid Carolin & Channing Tatum)

US 2017

119 mins


Crime/Comedy


W: Rebecca Blunt

DP: Peter Andrews

Ed: Mary Ann Bernard

Mus: David Holmes


Channing Tatum (Jimmy Logan), Adam Driver (Clyde Logan), Daniel Craig (Joe Bang), Riley Keough (Mellie Logan), Katherine Waterston (Sylvia Harrison), Seth MacFarlane (Max Chilblain), Sebastian Stan (Dayton White), Katie Holmes (Bobbie Jo Chapman)


Oceans Eleven meets Days Of Thunder for this crime caper set in West Virginia, where a pair of brothers, Jimmy and Clyde Logan, hatch a plan to pull off a heist during a NASCAR race, utilising Jimmy's knowledge of the underground tubes which carry money to the vault. 

For the plan to be a success, they require the help of incarcerated explosions expert Joe Bang, so we also get a prison break plot device to go along with the heist.

Despite having a rather poor title, the screenplay is good, as are the majority of the performances, especially from Channing Tatum, Adam Driver and Daniel Craig (Katie Holmes and Seth MacFarlane unfortunately drop the ball here). There's a couple of plot holes which might bother you if you allow them to, and a few characters are introduced for very little reason, but this is only nitpicking. 

Steven Soderbergh came out of a short retirement to take the reins on this movie, releasing it through his own distribution company. On this evidence, let's hope his filmmaking career continues on.

7/10


"Welcome to the 23rd century. The perfect world of total pleasure."
"Welcome to the 23rd century. The perfect world of total pleasure."
LOGAN'S RUN (PG)
D: Michael Anderson
MGM (Saul David)
US 1976
118 mins

Science Fiction

W: David Zelag Goodman [based on the novel by William F. Nolan]
DP: Ernest Laszlo
Ed: Bob Wyman
Mus: Jerry Goldsmith
PD: Dale Hennesy

Michael York (Logan 5), Richard Jordan (Francis 7), Jenny Agutter (Jessica 6), Roscoe Lee Browne (Box), Farrah Fawcett (Holly 13), Peter Ustinov (The Old Man)

In a future dystopian society, a couple attempt to escape from their fate, in which the powers that be doom the population to be put to death when they turn the age of 30.
The production values & visual effects of this science fiction classic may have dated rather badly, but the story is still of a very high quality, inspiring many modern science fiction films in the same way more seasoned novels like 1984 & Brave New World have.
It pains me to say it, but Logan's Run is a story which could benefit from a remake, of which there have been several unsuccessful attempts and a short-lived television series.
6/10

LOLITA (18)

D: Stanley Kubrick
MGM/Seven Arts (James B. Harris)
UK 1962
152 mins
 
Drama
 
W: Vladimir Nabakov [based on his novel]
DP: Oswald Morris
Ed: Anthony Harvey
Mus: Nelson Riddle
 
James Mason (Humbert Humbert), Sue Lyon (Lolita Haze), Shelley Winters (Charlotte Haze), Peter Sellers (Clare Quilty), Marianne Stone (Vivian Darkbloom), Diana Decker (Jean Farlow), Jerry Stovin (John Farlow)
 
Never one to shy away from controversial subjects, Stanley Kubrick's tackling of Vladimir Nabakov's contentious novel about a love affair between a grown man and a child is incredibly diluted from its source material, arguably because it's all the filmmakers could get away with in 1962, though the symbolism and innuendo is still done incredibly well.
The performances are never short of excellent and the screenplay does push some boundaries. It's far from the great director's best work though and the story is certain to leave an unpleasant aftertaste.
6/10
 

LOLITA (18)

D: Adrian Lyne 
Pathé (Mario Kassar & Joel B. Michaels)
US/France 1997
137 mins
 
Drama
 
W: Stephen Schiff [based on the novel by Vladimir Nabakov]
DP: Howard Atherton
Ed: Julie Monroe, David Brenner & F. Paul Benz
Mus: Ennio Morricone
 
Jeremy Irons (Dr. Humbert Humbert), Melanie Griffith (Charlotte Haze), Frank Langella (Clare Quilty), Dominique Swain (Dolores 'Lolita' Haze)
 
Though this 1990's adaptation of Nabakov's novel increases the age gap between the lustful man and the child of his desires, it seems even less controversial or provocative than Kubrick's 1962 version.
No fault can be placed with the performances, and the cinematography is also excellent. Perhaps the problems lie with director Adrian Lyne not wishing to caught up in the controversy of the subject matter (or perhaps it's simply not a very nice story to tell in the first place).
On balance, the 1962 version is much more palatable.
5/10
 
"Not every criminal wants to be one."
"Not every criminal wants to be one."
LONDON BOULEVARD (18)
D: William Monahan
IFC/Entertainment Film Distributors (Graham King, William Monahan, Quentin Curtis, Timothy Headington, Redmond Morris & Colin Vaines)
UK 2010
103 mins

Crime/Drama

W: William Monahan
DP: Chris Menges
Ed: Dody Dorn & Robb Sullivan
Mus: Sergio Pizzorno

Colin Farrell (Harry Mitchell), Keira Knightley (Charlotte), David Thewlis (Jordan), Anna Friel (Briony Mitchell), Ben Chaplin (Billy Norton), Ray Winstone (Rob Gant)

This British gangster film, brimful with the usual clichés, was the directorial debut of William Monahan (the Oscar-winning screenwriter of The Departed), who seems to be trying to ape Martin Scorsese's style with this lame effort.
Colin Farrell plays a former gangster, fresh from a spell in Pentonville prison for GBH, who finds himself torn between two employment opportunities within a day of walking free.
The first is to become a debt collector for Ray Winstone's firm, whilst the other is to do some handyman work for a reclusive actress (Knightley) who doesn't like being snapped by the paparazzi following the breakdown of her marriage.
Farrell makes his choice, but, of course, it's never that easy to go straight. 
The script is very messy, possibly not helped by some terrible editing which leaves you wondering who certain characters are or what purpose they deliver to the story (the doctor, the vagrant, some random Bosnian). Even the 'romance' between Farrell & Knightley seems wedged in like a jigsaw puzzle piece which simply doesn't fit.
Though the cast is promising, the performances aren't the best. Farrell's London accent wavers, Winstone merely drops the C-bomb a lot and Knightley is completely unconvincing & miscast. Everyone else is underused or unnecessary, aside from David Thewlis as a pot-smoking thespian, though again, his character is totally underwritten.
The biggest insult is that this film attempts to parallel itself with Billy Wilder's classic, Sunset Boulevard. A total mess of an effort which deservedly flopped at the box office. 
3/10

LONDON HAS FALLEN (15)
D: Babak Nafaji
Focus/Gramercy/Millennium/G-Base (Gerard Butler, Alan Siegel, Mark Gill, John Thompson, Matt O'Toole & Les Weldon)
US 2016
99 mins

Action/Thriller

W: Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Christian Gudegast & Chad St. John
DP: Ed Wild
Ed: Paul Martin Smith & Michael Duthie
Mus: Trevor Morris

Gerard Butler (Mike Banning), Aaron Eckhart (President Benjamin Asher), Morgan Freeman (Vice President Allan Trumbull), Alon Moni Aboutboul (Aamir Barkawi), Angela Bassett (Lynne Jacobs)

Dull sequel to Olympus Has Fallen, obviously set in London where the world leaders have gathered for the British Prime Minister's funeral only to find themselves attacked by a network of terrorists and terrible CGI.
Of course, the American president isn't in any danger because secret service agent Mike Banning has his back. 
It's a telling sign when the director of the original film drops out because of concerns with the script and you can't blame Antoine Fuqua for doing so. His replacement, Babak Nafaji, probably does as good a job as he can with such a preposterous script, where superfluous characters are introduced without reason and big names star in bit-parts which are far beneath their talents. All of this could be forgiven if the action scenes were breathtaking, but they aren't. It also doesn't help that a complete mess has been made of London's geography.
3/10

THE LONE RANGER (12)
D: Gore Verbinski
Disney (Jerry Bruckheimer & Gore Verbinski)
US 2013
149 mins

Adventure/Western

W: Justin Haythe, Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio [based on the TV series created by Fran Striker & George W. Trendle]
DP: Bojan Bozelli
Ed: James Haygood & Craig Wood
Mus: Hans Zimmer
PD: Jess Gonchor
Cos: Penny Rose

Johnny Depp (Tonto), Armie Hammer (John Reid / The Lone Ranger), Tom Wilkinson (Latham Cole), William Fichtner (Butch Cavendish), Barry Pepper (Capt. Jay Fuller), Helena Bonham-Carter (Red Harrington)

Perhaps they really should've called this film Tonto, because it seems that he is the main hero and the Lone Ranger is the sidekick, and that's the main joke that the movie runs with. Still, if the producers wanted to miscast Johnny Depp at great expense, they may as well get their money's worth.
The big-budget update of the classic 1960's TV show suffers greatly from miscast actors, a rather ramshackle screenplay featuring some tacky one-liners, a meandering storyline and it's doesn't really do justice to the legendary character, but it's nowhere near as terrible as the critics made out and certainly didn't deserve to be listed as one of the worst films of the year at the Golden Raspberry Awards.
Despite being miscast, Johnny Depp doesn't give a terrible performance as Tonto, it's just that his accent ranges from British to god-knows-what, but since the film is part-comedy, I'll let this slide, the main problem is the weak story, but it's still quite clear to see that the writers were going for an origin story and a sequel was to be intended (which won't happen since this film was considered a box office flop).
It can't be denied that the film is an over-elaborate exercise in Hollywood profligacy, but you have to give credit where it's due, the visual effects and makeup are impeccable and some of the set pieces are rather thrilling, especially the finale with a dual steam train chase.
Yes, it's a rather naff film, but it's not totally awful and kids too young to remember the original character may enjoy it much more than an older audience.
4/10

"Based on true acts of courage."
"Based on true acts of courage."
LONE SURVIVOR (15)
D: Peter Berg
Universal (Peter Berg, Sarah Aubrey, Randall Emmett, Norton Herrick, Barry Spikings, Akiva Goldsman, Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson & Vitaly Grigoriants)
US 2013
121 mins

War/Action/Biopic

W: Peter Berg [based on the book by Marcus Luttrell & Patrick Robinson]
DP: Tobias Schliessler
Ed: Colby Parker, Jr.
Mus: Steve Jablonsky

Marc Wahlberg (Marcus Luttrell), Taylor Kitsch (Lt. Michael Murphy), Emile Hirsch (Danny Dietz), Ben Foster (Matthew Axelson), Eric Bana (Lt. Cmdr. Erik Kristensen)

It's unfortunate that the title is a bit of a giveaway, in fact, it gives away its winning hand before the film has even begun.
On a routine mission in Afghanistan, a small unit follow the rules of engagement by letting a family of farmers go, compromising their operation and are subsequently caught up in a firefight with Taliban soldiers.
What begins as a standard American flagwaver becomes an intrepid drama of survival against all odds, one which surprisingly manages to capture the spirit of humanity against all the bloodshed.
Much like Black Hawk Down (qv) it's a vivid and realistic representation of post-9/11 conflict in the Middle East. It's likely to be enjoyed more on the American side of the Atlantic, but can also be appreciated by those further afield. Based on true events.
6/10

THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG DISTANCE RUNNER (15)
D: Tony Richardson
British Lion/Bryanston/Woodfall (Tony Richardson)
UK 1962
104 mins

Drama

W: Alan Sillitoe [based on his short story]
DP: Walter Lassally
Ed: Antony Gibbs
Mus: John Addison

Tom Courtenay (Colin Smith), Michael Redgrave (The Governor), Avis Bunnage (Mrs. Smith), Peter Madden (Mr. Smith), James Bolam (Mike)

Tony Richardson was a hugely important and influential British filmmaker at the turn of the 1960's, helping to create a sub-genre which came to be known as kitchen sink dramas, which made heroes out of working class men, occasionally on the wrong side of the law.
Tom Courtenay plays angry young man Colin Smith, serving a sentence at a Borstal prison and encouraged by the governor to participate in a sports day against a local public school. During his training for the big cross country race, he uses the solitude of the run to reflect upon his depressing life and the crime which brought him to prison.
The story sets up an ending which doubles up as a rebellious standoff between the young, disillusioned working class and the staid, conservative ruling class. 
Tom Courtenay's debut performance is excellent, deservedly winning him a BAFTA award for Most Promising Newcomer.
8/10

"Life can never cage a man like this."
"Life can never cage a man like this."

LONELY ARE THE BRAVE (PG)

D: David Miller
Universal (Edward Lewis)
US 1962
107 mins
 
Western
 
W: Dalton Trumbo [based on the novel "Brave Cowboy" by Edward Abbey]
DP: Philip Lathrop
Ed: Leon Barsha & Edward Mann
Mus: Jerry Goldsmith
 
Kirk Douglas (Jack Burns), Walter Matthau (Sheriff Johnson), Gena Rowlands (Jerri Bondi), Michael Kane (Paul Bondi), Carroll O'Connor (Hinton), Karl Swenson (Rev. Hoskins), George Kennedy (Guitierrez)
 
Filmed during a time when the Western genre itself was fading, Kirk Douglas plays a dying breed, an independent cowboy who has himself imprisoned so he can help a friend escape from prison.
The plot could easily be described as a western version of the TV series "The Fugitive" with excellent performances from the cast, especially from hard-bitten veteran Kirk Douglas.
6/10
 
"Who lit the fuse that tore Harold's world apart?"
"Who lit the fuse that tore Harold's world apart?"

THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY (18)

D: John Mackenzie
Handmade Films/Black Lion (Barry Hanson)
UK 1980
105 mins

Crime/Drama

W: Barrie Keefe
DP: Phil Meheux
Ed: Mike Taylor 
Mus: Francis Monkman

Bob Hoskins (Harold Shand), Helen Mirren (Victoria), Dave King (Parky), Bryan Marshall (Harris), Eddie Constantine (Charlie), Stephen Davis (Tony), Paul Freeman (Colin), Pierce Brosnan (First Irishman)

A solid crime drama which doubles up as an allegory for Thatcher's entrepreneurial era in Great Britain. 
Bob Hoskins plays the London Dockland's equivalent of Al Capone, an affluent gangster who faces violent reprisals from his rivals who plan to build on his land.
The performances are excellent, especially from Bob Hoskins who is tailor-made for the role, but also from Helen Mirren. One minor gripe is in the quality of the sound mixing, particularly at the climax (which was filmed without any sound). Still, it remains a classic of British filmmaking and was the finest crime film to come out of the UK for the best part of two decades.
8/10

THE LONGEST DAY (PG)
D: Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton & Bernhard Wicki
20th Century Fox (Darryl F. Zanuck)
US 1962
169 mins

War

W: Cornelius Ryan, Romain Gary, James Jones, David Pursall & Jack Seddon [based on the book by Cornelius Ryan]
DP: Jean Bourgoin & Walter Wodditz
Ed: Samuel E. Beetley
Mus: Maurice Jarre

John Wayne (Col. Benjamin Vandervoort), Robert Mitchum (Brig. Gen. Norman Cota), Henry Fonda (Brig. Gen. Theodore Roosevelt), Robert Ryan (Brig. Gen. James Gavin), Rod Steiger (Destroyer Commander)

The Longest Day is a multi-faceted account of the D-Day Landings, focusing on preparation and strategy on both sides of the English Channel for two-thirds of the running time.
Considering the film was made in the early 1960's, the reconstruction of actual events is incredibly well done, incorporating real footage on occasion which sometimes works well, but not always.
A who's who compendium of big name actors from the era turn up on the cast bill of fare, some of whom are in blink-and-you'll-miss-them roles. 
Until Saving Private Ryan (qv) was released, this was the must-see film of the events which proved a turning point in WWII, and though it has become quite dated now, it's still worth a watch for big fans of war pictures.
8/10

THE LOONEY, LOONEY, LOONEY BUGS BUNNY MOVIE (U)
D: Friz Freleng
Warner Bros (Friz Freleng)
US 1981
79 mins

Animated

W: Friz Freleng, David Detiege & John W. Nunn

voices of: Mel Blanc (Bugs Bunny / Yosemite Sam / Daffy Duck / Porky Pig / various other characters), June Foray (Granny)

The Looney, Looney, Looney Bugs Bunny Movie is more a tribute to the golden age of Bugs Bunny and Looney Tunes cartoons rather than an original piece of work, starting with 1958's Oscar winner for Best Cartoon Short Film (Knighty Knighty Bugs) before concluding with the Oswalds (the cartoon Oscars), where Bugs and Daffy Duck both battle for recognition.
For the nostalgic value, this is a good showcase of Bugs Bunny cartoons, and should entertain youngsters throughout it's duration. It's just a shame that there's a lack of original adventures for the animated rabbit.
6/10

LOOK WHO'S TALKING (12)

D: Amy Heckerling
Columbia Tristar (Jonathan D. Crane)
US 1989
96 mins
 
Comedy
 
W: Amy Heckerling
DP: Thomas Del Ruth
Ed: Debra Chiate
Mus: David Kitay
 
John Travolta (James), Kirstie Alley (Mollie), Olympia Dukakis (Rosie), George Segal (Albert), Abe Vigoda (Grandpa), Bruce Willis (voice of Mikey)
 
One of the most successful movies of 1989 is pretty much a one-gimmick, one joke movie in which a newborn baby's thoughts are vocalised by Bruce Willis.
It gave John Travolta a comeback role after a decade of flops and also provided Kirstie Alley with her first big screen success after her work in the TV series Cheers.
Enjoyable enough for the duration, but it really isn't a classic.
6/10
 
LOOK WHO'S TALKING TOO (12)
D: Amy Heckerling
Columbia Tristar (Jonathan D. Crane)
US 1990
81 mins

Comedy

W: Amy Heckerling & Neal Israel
DP: Thomas Del Ruth
Ed: Debra Chiate
Mus: David Kitay

John Travolta (James), Kirstie Alley (Mollie), Olympia Dukakis (Rosie), Elias Koteas (Stuart)
voices of: Bruce Willis (Mikey), Roseanne Barr (Julie), Damon Wayans (Eddie), Mel Brooks (Mr. Toilet Man)

Since the first film was such a massive hit, a sequel was inevitable. This, however, feels rushed into production with a mediocre script and recycled jokes.
Baby Mikey is now in pre-school and is still voiced by Bruce Willis and now has a younger sister whose thoughts are narrated by Roseanne Barr.
If you find that premise amusing, then you may enjoy the film, if not, it's best avoided.
Another sequel, Look Who's Talking Now, emerged in 1993, this time with talking dogs. The phrase "flogging a dead horse" has never felt so apt.
4/10

LOOPER (15)
D: Rian Johnson
Columbia Tristar/Endgame (Ram Bergman & James D. Stern)
US 2012
118 mins
 
Action/Thriller/Science Fiction
 
W: Rian Johnson
DP: Steve Yedlin
Ed: Bob Ducsay
Mus: Nathan Johnson
 
Bruce Willis (Old Joe), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Young Joe), Emily Blunt (Sara), Paul Dano (Young Seth), Noah Segan (Kid Blue), Piper Perabo (Suzie), Jeff Daniels (Jack Abe Mitchell)
 
An intelligent, thought-provoking thriller which deals with the concept of time travel and paradoxes. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a 'looper', a hitman who executes people sent back in time from the future. Bruce Willis plays the same hitman, travelling back in time to correct a wrong.  The plot is actually a lot less complicated when you watch the movie and the performances of Gordon-Levitt, Willis, Emily Blunt & Jeff Daniels are all top notch, especially Joseph Gordon-Levitt who never fails to convince that he's Willis' younger self, especially with the aid of some excellent makeup techniques.
This is probably the best movie of its kind I've seen since 12 Monkeys (qv) way back in 1995 (Ironically, this also starred Bruce Willis).
A very entertaining slice of sci-fi.
7/10
 

LORD OF THE RINGS (PG)

D: Ralph Bakshi
United Artists (Saul Zaentz)
US 1978
133 mins
 
Animated
 
W: Chris Conkling & Peter S. Beagle [based on the books by J. R. R. Tolkien]
Mus: Leonard Rosenman
 
voices of: Christopher Guard (Frodo), John Hurt (Aragorn), William Squire (Gandalf), Michael Scholes (Sam)
 
At the time of it's release, the rotoscoping animated techniques utilised to bring J. R. R. Tolkien's "unfilmable" story to life were considered groundbreaking and revolutionary. However, the film is left incomplete and without a generous enough box office return to complete it, we are only left with half the story.
It's regrettable that this was the case, leaving a cliffhanger ending and a conclusion hanging in limbo.
It's worth watching for historical interest, but the techniques may well look rather daft considering how far animation and visual effects have come in the thirty-plus years hence.
If anything, it's a testament to the excellent job Peter Jackson did bringing a live action version to the screen in 2001.
4/10
 
LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (PG)
D: Peter Jackson
New Line/Wingnut (Barrie M. Osborne, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh & Tim Sanders)
US/New Zealand 2001
171 mins

Fantasy/Adventure

W: Fran Walsh, Phillippa Boyens & Peter Jackson [based on the novel by J. R. R. Tolkien]
DP: Andrew Lesnie
Ed: John Gilbert
Mus: Howard Shore
PD: Grant Major 
Cos: Ngila Dickson & Richard Taylor

Elijah Wood (Frodo Baggins), Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Liv Tyler (Arwen), Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn), Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgee), Cate Blanchett (Galadriel), John Rhys-Davies (Gimli), Billy Boyd (Pippin), Dominic Monaghan (Merry), Orlando Bloom (Legolas), Christopher Lee (Saruman), Hugo Weaving (Elrond), Sean Bean (Boromir), Ian Holm (Bilbo Baggins)

See Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (qv) for review.
8/10

LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS (12)
D: Peter Jackson
New Line/Wingnut (Barrie M. Osborne, Peter Jackson & Fran Walsh)
US/New Zealand 2002
172 mins

Fantasy/Adventure

W: Fran Walsh, Phillippa Boyens, Stephen Sinclair & Peter Jackson [based on the novel by J. R. R. Tolkien]
DP: Andrew Lesnie
Ed: Michael Horton
Mus: Howard Shore
PD: Grant Major 
Cos: Ngila Dickson & Richard Taylor

Elijah Wood (Frodo Baggins), Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Liv Tyler (Arwen), Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn), Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgee), Cate Blanchett (Galadriel), John Rhys-Davies (Gimli / voice of Treebeard), Bernard Hill (Theoden), Billy Boyd (Pippin), Dominic Monaghan (Merry), Orlando Bloom (Legolas), Miranda Otto (Eowyn), Hugo Weaving (Elrond), David Wenham (Faramir), Karl Urban (Eomer), Brad Dourif (Grima Wormtongue), Andy Serkis (Gollum)

See Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (qv) for review.
8/10

LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING (12)
D: Peter Jackson
New Line/Wingnut (Barrie M. Osborne, Peter Jackson & Fran Walsh)
US/New Zealand 2003
192 mins

Fantasy/Adventure

W: Fran Walsh, Phillippa Boyens, Stephen Sinclair & Peter Jackson [based on the novel by J. R. R. Tolkien]
DP: Andrew Lesnie
Ed: Michael Horton
Mus: Howard Shore
PD: Grant Major 
Cos: Ngila Dickson & Richard Taylor

Elijah Wood (Frodo Baggins), Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn), Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgee), Cate Blanchett (Galadriel), John Rhys-Davies (Gimli), Bernard Hill (King Theoden), Dominic Monaghan (Merry), Billy Boyd (Pippin), Orlando Bloom (Legolas), Miranda Otto (Eowyn), Hugo Weaving (Lord Elrond), David Wenham (Faramir), Karl Urban (Eomer), Liv Tyler (Arwen), Andy Serkis (Gollum/Smeagol)

I can only review the trilogy based on the strength of this film as it was wholly intended to watch all three films.
The Return Of The King is possibly the best segment of the Lord Of The Rings tale, simply because of the battle scenes, particularly the fight for the Kingdom of Gondor.  The special effects and technical achievements are no better than the first two segments, unsurprisingly as they were all filmed in unison.  
Here's a breakdown of the trilogy.

LOTR: The Fellowship Of The Ring:  An excellent adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien's novel, showing promise of the great things to come.  The introduction of the characters eats up a lot of the running time, but this is forgivable because there are plenty. Setting up a good vs evil fantasy where the most unlikely of individuals, a diminutive Hobbit comes into the possession of a magical ring that holds an unspeakable power, and is given the quest of destroying the ring in the fires in which it was forged before a dark lord can once again claim it for himself.
Jackson's direction uses majestic, sweeping photography to bring the fantasy world of Middle Earth to life, using cutting edge visual effects, makeup and wonderful costumes and production design to make it feel as photo-realistic as possible.
The only black mark comes from an ending which leaves you emotionally empty and needing to watch more.

LOTR: The Two Towers:  The introduction of Gollum give the visual effects a new dimension, but as the story now splits into three narratives it becomes a little distracting.  
Hobbits Frodo Baggins & Samwise Gamgee continue their journey to Mount Doom, while the others from the Fellowship fight their own battles, freeing a town from the curse which hypnotised their king and preparing for a battle against the forces of darkness.
The weakest of the three segments, especially the scenes featuring Treebeard, which drag on a little too long, although they are wonderfully realised by Peter Jackson's direction.

LOTR: The Return Of The King: The concluding part, where the two story strands from the second film continue, as Frodo and Samwise near Mount Doom, where they plan to destroy the ring. Meanwhile, their friends prepare for a battle to end all battles, as the forces of darkness send all their armies to fight for the thrones of Middle Earth.
Although the last half hour drags on far too long (to tie up all the loose ends). This is the best of the lot.  The epic battle scenes are amongst the best captured on film.  I'd like to think though that the 11 Oscars lavished upon this film were for the entire trilogy as a whole, and not just for this one segment.
9/10

LORD OF WAR (15)
D: Andrew Niccol
Lions Gate (Phillippe Rousselot, Andrew Niccol, Nicolas Cage, Norman Golightly, Andy Grosch, Chris Roberts & Teri-Lin Robertson)
US/Germany 2005
122 mins

War/Thriller

W: Andrew Niccol
DP: Amir Mokri
Ed: Zach Staenberg
Mus: Antonio Pinto

Nicolas Cage (Yuri Orlov), Jared Leto (Vitaly Orlov), Bridget Moynahan (Ava Fontaine), Ethan Hawke (Jack Valentine)

Andrew Niccol's satire on the arms dealing trade is too scattered to connect meaningfully and can't quite decide on whether or not it's a black comedy or a political rant.
Nicolas Cage is rather miscast in the part and it's all quite forgettable.
5/10

LORENZO'S OIL (15)

D: George Miller 
UIP/Universal (Doug Mitchell & George Miller)
US 1992
135 mins
 
Drama
 
W: George Miller & Nick Enright
DP: John Seale
Ed: Richard Francis-Bruce, Marcus D'Arcy & Lee Smith
 
Nick Nolte (Augusto Odone), Susan Sarandon (Michaela Odone), Peter Ustinov (Prof. Nikolais), Kathleen Wilhoite (Deirdre Murphy)
 
Susan Sarandon delivers arguably her finest screen performance in this account of true story in which the parents of a young boy with a life-threatening illness defy medical opinions in concocting a cure for their son.
Without the power of the performances, this may well have just been a TV movie of the week without any memorable strength or emotional power.
Sarandon was deservedly nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for her work.
7/10
 
"Dare to be different."
"Dare to be different."

LOSER (15)

D: Amy Heckerling
Columbia (Amy Heckerling & Twink Caplan) 
US 2000
95 mins
 
Comedy/Drama
 
W: Amy Heckerling
DP: Rob Hahn
Ed: Debra Chiate
Mus: David Kitay
 
Jason Biggs (Paul), Mena Suvari (Dora), Zak Orth (Adam), Tom Sadoski (Chris), Jimmi Simpson (Noah), Greg Kinnear (Prof. Edward Alcott), Dan Aykroyd (Mr. Tannek)
 
Released at a time when teenage sex comedies like American Pie & Road Trip were ten a penny, Loser dares to go against the grain by having an ostracised Midwest farmboy at a New York university as its main protagonist.
The trouble is, it plays it far too safe, with a lead character with absolutely no charisma and feels more like a preach against the "Youth of America's" behaviour.
There are much better anti-drugs campaigns than this, although Weezer's song "Teenage Dirtbag", with a music video which ties somewhat into the film, has ensured that this dirge has a little bit of longevity, but not much.
4/10
 
"Anyone else would be dead by now."
"Anyone else would be dead by now."

THE LOSERS (12)

D: Sylvain White
Warner Bros./Dark Castle (Joel Silver, Akiva Goldsman & Kerry Foster)
US 2010
93 mins
 
Action/Adventure
 
W: Peter Berg & James Vanderbilt [based on the DC comics]
DP: Scott Kevan
Ed: David Checel
Mus: John Ottman
 
Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Lt. Col. Franklin Clay), Zoë Saldana (Aisha Al-Fadhil), Chris Evans (Cpt. Jake Jensen), Idris Elba (Cpt. William Roque), Columbus Short (Sgt. Linwood 'Pooch' Porteous), Oscar Jaenada (Sgt. Carlos 'Cougar' Alvarez), Jason Patric (Max)
 
Though it may be based on a series of DC comics, this is closer to The A Team than the 2011 adaptation of the TV show ever dared to tread.
The characters are incredibly similar, as is their predicament; as an elite group of soldiers, they are set up to fail a mission and left for dead in Bolivia by their CIA superiors, only to sneak back onto US soil to exact their revenge.
It may suffer the usual action movie cliches, but it also contains some pleasant surprises as well as some amusing dialogue.
Unfortunately, it may not have done the box office business to merit a sequel, but it does deserve one (as long as it's good, of course).
6/10
 
"Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die. It's fun to be a vampire."
"Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die. It's fun to be a vampire."

THE LOST BOYS (15)

D: Joel Schumacher
Warner Bros. (Harvey Bernhard)
US 1987
92 mins
 
Horror 
 
W: Janice Fischer, James Jeremias & Jeffrey Boam
DP: Michael Chapman
Ed: Robert Brown
Mus: Thomas Newman
 
Jason Patric (Michael Emerson), Corey Haim (Sam Emerson), Dianne Wiest (Lucy Emerson), Kiefer Sutherland (David), Barnard Hughes (Grandpa), Corey Feldman (Edgar Frog), Jamison Newlander (Alan Frog), Jami Gertz (Star)
 
Twenty years ago, this film would have got a lot kinder rating out of ten, but unfortunately it's a film which clings to its nostalgic power rather than any other of its merits.
That being said, it has to be considered amongst the greatest movies of the 1980's simply because it found its way into the hearts of the VHS generation at the time of release.
Sam & Michael are two teenage brothers who, along with their mother, move to the carnival town of Santa Carla, where a gang of bikers with a dark secret seem to (literally) get away with murder.
Michael is seduced into the gang by a beautiful woman and is transformed into a vampire via a blood-drinking ritual. At the same time, Sam unites with the Frogg Beothers, who devise a plan to rid the town of the vampire gang.
Despite some rather silly moments, credit has to be given where it's due and The Lost Boys is truly one of the most enjoyable vampire films of all time (especially in comparison to the turgid nonsense which is passing for the sub-genre nowadays), as well as having one of the greatest movie soundtracks of all time.  
Anyone who grew up during the 1980's must have a copy of this film in their collection.
7/10
 

THE LOST CITY OF Z (12)

D: James Gray

Amazon Studios/Bleeker Street/Plan B/Keep Your Head/MICA/Mad River (Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Anthony Katagas, James Gray & Dale Armin Johnson)

US 2016 (released 2017)

141 mins


Biopic/Adventure


W: James Gray [based on the novel by David Grann]

DP: Darius Khondji

Ed: John Axelrad & Lee Haugen

Mus: Christopher Spelman


Charlie Hunnam (Percy Fawcett), Robert Pattinson (Corporal Henry Costin), Sienna Miller (Nina Fawcett), Tom Holland (Jack Fawcett), Angus Macfadyen (James Murray), Ian McDiarmid (Sir George Goldie)


The Lost City Of Z is a biographical adventure film inspired by true events in the life of Percy Fawcett, a British explorer in Bolivia and his attempts to locate an ancient lost city.

The legend of the real Percy Fawcett is quite well known, as it was his character which served a huge inspiration to Indiana Jones, as well as other similar fictional characters in popular culture.

This isn't this type of adventure film though, taking a low key approach to the material which makes it drag quite heavily throughout its lengthy running time.

The casting leaves a lot to be desired as well, and seems to have Charlie Hunnam and Robert Pattinson cast so the film would be marketed at a teenage audience. It has to be said that neither performances are particularly bad, but they won't win any awards either.

It is worth a watch, but it's nowhere near as epic as it really could have been.

6/10


LOST HORIZON (U)

D: Frank Capra

Columbia (Frank Capra)

US 1937

133 mins


Fantasy/Drama


W: Robert Riskin [based on the novel by James Hilton]

DP: Joseph Walker

Ed: Gene Havlick & Gene Milford

Mus: Dimitri Tiomkin

PD: Stephen Goosson


Ronald Colman (Robert Conway), Jane Wyatt (Sondra Bizet), H.B. Warner (Chang), Sam Jaffe (High Lama), John Howard (George Conway), Edward Everett Horton (Alexander P. Lovett)


A lost movie, since the original theatrical cut was not preserved and the closest thing to it now is a heavily edited version or one which utilises production stills and a remastered soundtrack to fill in the gaps.

The story, based on a novel by James Hilton, concerns a group of people who flee a Chinese revolution by plane only to crash land in Tibet, only to discover the idyllic civilisation of Shangri-La, where the weather is always pleasant and the inhabitants live in peaceful harmony.

From an artistic perspective, the film is quite wonderful, utilising brilliant cinematography, production design and visual effects to tell a story which would have been incredibly difficult to film as far back as 1937.

Unfortunately, it could also be said that Lost Horizon was a huge flop during its cinema run, failing to recoup its budget for many years following its original release. That being said, many of Frank Capra's films were unappreciated at the time, and only became hailed as the classics they are several years later.

1973 saw a bizarre musical remake released. Avoid that version at all costs.

8/10


LOST IN SPACE (PG)
D: Stephen Hopkins
New Line/Prelude/Irwin Allen (Mark W. Koch, Stephen Hopkins, Akiva Goldsman & Carla Fry)
US 1998
131 mins

Science Fiction/Adventure

W: Akiva Goldsman [based on the television series]
DP: Peter Levy
Ed: Ray Lovejoy
Mus: Bruce Broughton
PD: Norman Garwood

William Hurt (Prof. John Robinson), Mimi Rogers (Maureen Robinson), Heather Graham (Judy Robinson), Lacey Chabert (Penny Robinson), Jack Johnson (Will Robinson), Matt LeBlanc (Maj. John West), Gary Oldman (Dr. Zachary Smith)

The original TV series of Lost In Space aired in the late 1950's and was very much a classic of its time, charting the interplanetary adventures of the Robinson Family after their mission around the universe is sabotaged by a camp megalomaniac doctor and the spaceship's robot going beserk.
Aside from the opening act, this big screeen outing had none of the thrills and adventure that made the TV such a treat, instead it wastes time with rubbish CGI effects, pathetic alien pets and a time paradox plot which makes no sense.
The acting isn't much better, with Matt LeBlanc bringing the same character he played on the set of the TV show Friends into the mix.
The only saving grace for this is that a planned sequel never materialised. Put it in a shuttle and send it to the far end of the galaxy, never to be watched again.
1/10

"Everyone wants to be found."
"Everyone wants to be found."

LOST IN TRANSLATION (15)

D: Sofia Coppola
Momentum (Sofia Coppola & Ross Katz)
US 2003
102 mins
 
Comedy/Drama
 
W: Sofia Coppola
DP: Lance Acord 
Ed: Sarah Flack
Mus: Kevin Shields
 
Bill Murray (Bob Harris), Scarlett Johansson (Charlotte), Giovanni Ribisi (John), Anna Faris (Kelly), Fumihiro Hayashi (Charlie)
 
Lost In Translation is the cinematic equivalent of jetlag, which isn't to say it isn't interesting, or even entertaining. On the contrary, it's an intelligent, thought-provoking comedy-drama with a couple of excellent performances from its star pairing and the on-screen chemistry they bring.
Bill Murray is an ageing actor in Tokyo to film a whisky advert, while Scarlett Johansson is a newly wed left to her own devices while her husband is on a business trip in the same city. 
Lost in their own lives as well as in an alien foreign city, they find each other and share a deep connection as well as a meaningful friendship.
There are some who will fail to understand it's appeal, but those who do will have plenty of healthy discussions about the ambiguous ending of this alternative love story.
8/10
 

THE LOST PATROL (PG)

D: John Ford

RKO (Cliff Reid, Merian C. Cooper & John Ford)

US 1934

73 mins


War/Adventure


W: Dudley Nichols [based on the novel "Patrol" by Philip MacDonald]

DP: Harold Wenstrom

Ed: Paul Weatherwax

Mus: Max Steiner


Victor McLaglen (The Sergeant), Boris Karloff (Sanders), Wallace Ford (Morelli), Reginald Denny (George Brown), J.M. Kerrigan (Quincannon)


Dated now, but the basic premise here has been oft-imitated in the 80+ years since...

Based on the novel by Philip MacDonald, The Lost Patrol sees a small group of soldiers in hostile territory whilst on a mission in the Mesopotamian desert. 

It seems unfair to judge this film from a modern perspective, as it feels incredibly stilted when compared to other films with similar plots. For 1934, it is very well done... but (from a modern perspective) it is incredibly dull.

6/10


THE LOST WEEKEND (PG)
D: Billy Wilder
Paramount (Charles Brackett)
US 1945
101 mins

Drama

W: Billy Wilder & Charles Brackett [based on the novel by Charles R. Jackson]
DP: John Seitz
Ed: Doane Harrison
Mus: Miklos Rozsa
PD: Hans Dreier 
Cos: Edith Head

Ray Milland (Don Birnam), Jane Wyman (Helen St. James), Phillip Terry (Nick Birnam), Howard DaSilva (Nat), Doris Dowling (Gloria), Frank Faylen (Bim)

A serious film from a brilliant director whose talents span a multitude of cinematic genres. 
The Lost Weekend was the first Hollywood studio film to deal with the subject of alcoholism, starring Ray Milland as an aspiring author who tries to overcome writer's block by hitting the bottle in a weekend which sees him spiral deeper and deeper into his addiction and dependency.  
Though certain elements of the picture are dated, the message is still relevant, while director Billy Wilder uses a touch of symbolism and surrealism to make our protagonists plight even more dramatic, utilising moody black and white photography by John Seitz and an eerie music score by Miklos Rozsa. It was Ray Milland's performance which earned all the plaudits, including a Best Actor Oscar, and thoroughly deserved too.
Winner of 1945's Academy Award for Best Picture.
9/10

LOVE ACTUALLY (12)
D: Richard Curtis
Universal/Working Title (Duncan Kenworthy, Tim Bevan & Eric Fellner)
UK/US/France 2003
135 mins
 
Romance/Comedy
 
W: Richard Curtis
DP: Michael Coulter
Ed: Nick Moore
Mus: Craig Armstrong 
 
Hugh Grant (David), Alan Rickman (Harry), Bill Nighy (Billy Mack), Emma Thompson (Karen), Colin Firth (Jamie), Laura Linney (Sarah), Liam Neeson (Daniel), Martin McCutcheon (Natalie), Keira Knightley (Juliet), Kris Marshall (Colin), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Peter)
 
Rubbish Actually. Umpteen stories, multiple characters, but absolutely no chemistry. I don't know what alternate universe this movie is meant to be set in, but it's so incredibly subversive that it borders self-parody!  In fact, there isn't very much in this movie about love either. It's all lust, obsession, infatuation and extra-marital affairs, and not one gay/lesbian storyline??? In the 21st century??? Really???
Practically all the male characters in this movie are middle-aged, charmingly befuddled, dithering fuddy-duddies. It's as though they knew they were going to cast Hugh Grant, but didn't know what role to offer him. 
Bill Nighy steals this movie as an ageing rockstar vying for a Christmas hit with a novelty song. His story strands are the only ones to make me laugh and keep me interested. The rest is all absolute bollocks!             
Nevertheless, this movie was very popular with its main demographic (women, people who like Eastenders) and spawned other ensemble rom-coms set during a holiday period (Valentine's Day, New Years Eve, Halloween)
It just wasn't for me.
5/10

"Love means never having to say you're sorry."
"Love means never having to say you're sorry."

LOVE STORY (PG)

D: Arthur Hiller
Paramount (Howard G. Minsky)
US 1970
99 mins
 
Romance
 
W: Erich Segal
DP: Dick Kratina
Ed: Robert C. Jones
Mus: Francis Lai
 
Ali MacGraw (Jenny Cavilleri), Ryan O'Neal (Oliver Barrett IV), Ray Milland (Oliver Barrett III), Katherine Balfour (Mrs. Barrett), John Marley (Phil Cavilleri), Russell Nype (Dean Thompson)
 
Considered a huge classic at the time of its original release, some may say due to the iconic theme by Francis Lai, it's a much imitated romantic story of a love affair torn apart by a terminal illness.
The generation who grew up with it will appreciate it most and it will still garner favour with fans of romance. More cynical viewers will find little to enjoy about it, except perhaps for John Marley's supporting role as Ali MacGraw's character's hard-bitten father.
6/10
 
"X marks the legend."
"X marks the legend."
LOVELACE (18)
D: Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman
Millennium Films/Radius-TWC (Heidi Jo Markel, Laura Rister, Jason Weinberg & Jim Young)
US 2013
93 mins

Biopic/Drama

W: Andy Bellin
DP: Eric Alan Edwards
Ed: Robert Dalva
Mus: Stephen Trask

Amanda Seyfried (Linda Lovelace), Peter Sarsgaard (Chuck Traynor), Sharon Stone (Dorothy Boreman), Adam Brody (Harry Reems), Juno Temple (Patsy), Eric Roberts (Nat Laurendi), James Franco (Hugh Hefner)

Lovelace is a part-biographical drama about pornographic actress Linda Lovelace, who rose to notorious fame after the 1972 release of Deep Throat, one of the most successful adult films of all time.
Amanda Seyfried is completely miscast in the lead role, but her performance is pretty good despite this. The main problem with the film is that it claims to be based on Lovelace's autobiography, yet her story changed a number of times before she became a born again Christian and her fourth revision went on to become a best-selling book. Omitting a lot, this portrays Lovelace less as a wild child at the turn of 1970's and more a religious innocent coerced into adult filmmaking by an oppressive, violent husband, with any reference to drug-taking and alcoholism completely removed.
For a more truthful retelling of events, the documentary Inside Deep Throat is far more faithful to the actual events rather than this women's lib drama which doesn't quite penetrate deep enough.
5/10

THE LOVELY BONES (12)
D: Peter Jackson
Paramount/Dreamworks/Wingnut/Film4 (Peter Jackson, Carolynne Cunningham, Fran Walsh & Aimée Peyronnet)
US/UK/New Zealand 2009
135 mins
 
Drama/Fantasy
 
W: Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh & Phillipa Boyens [based on the novel by Alice Sebold]
DP: Andrew Lesnie
Ed: Jabez Olsson
Mus: Brian Eno
 
Saoirse Ronan (Susie Salmon), Marc Wahlberg (Jack Salmon), Rachel Weisz (Abigail Salmon), Susan Sarandon (Grandma Lynn), Stanley Tucci (George Harvey), Michael Imperioli (Det. Len Fenerman)
 
Despite the best efforts of an excellent cast, The Lovely Bones isn't so lovely. I've not read Alice Seberg's original novel, but this adaptation is nothing like the profound story of the afterlife I was expecting and was merely an excuse for Peter Jackson to show off how mesmerising and dazzling CGI can be.
Saoirse Ronan gives a great portrayal as Susie Salmon, but it's all in vain when Peter Jackson uses her only as a character to manipulate the visual effects around. Rachel Weisz is excellent with the poorly-developed character she has to work with and Mark Wahlberg is okay with the grieving father role. Susan Sarandon is completely superfluous to the plot and merely exists for unnecessary comic relief. A shame.
The best performance by far is Stanley Tucci as the ominous neighbour. He brings the perfect amount of creepiness and humanity.
Despite the acting and visual effects, the whole thing's a bit of a mess.  
It's not the cinema heaven I was anticipating from the trailers, nor the cinema hell I was warned about from some other reviewers. It's just like the CGI labyrinth Peter Jackson displays on show for us within - a complete cinematic purgatory.
4/10
 

LOVING (15)

D: Jeff Nichols

Focus Features/Big Beach/Raindog (Jared Ian Goldman, Ged Doherty, Colin Firth, Nancy Buirski, Sarah Green, Marc Turtletaub & Peter Saraf)

US/UK 2016

123 mins


Drama/Biopic


W: Jeff Nichols

DP: Adam Stone

Ed: Julie Monroe

Mus: David Wingo


Joel Edgerton (Richard Loving), Ruth Negga (Mildred Loving), Marton Csokas (Sheriff Brooks), Nick Kroll (Bernie Cohen), Michael Shannon (Grey Villet)


Jeff Nichols biographical drama studies the real life case of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple whose marriage in 1950's Virginia saw them arrested and exiled from their home state.

Civil rights lawyers subsequently fought the case, taking it all the way to the US Supreme Court.

The two principal performances are excellent, especially Ruth Negga, who received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.

Nichols takes a low-key approach to the material, without sensationalising it with Hollywood gloss. 

Certainly among the better films of 2016.

7/10


THE LUZHIN DEFENCE (15)
D: Marlene Gorris
Renaissance/Clear Blue Sky (Caroline Wood, Stephen Evans, Louis Becker & Philippe Guez)
UK/France 2000
108 mins

Drama

W: Peter Berry [based on the novel by Vladimir Nabakov]
DP: Bernard Lutic
Ed: Michael Reichweitz
Mus: Alexandre Desplat

John Turturro (Aleksandr Ivanovich Luzhin), Emily Watson (Natalia Katkov), Geraldine James (Vera), Stuart Wilson (Leo Valentinov)

At a chess tournament, a Russian grandmaster has to choose between his love for the game or his love for a woman.
This intellectual-edged romantic drama is much more interesting than it sounds, driven by a strong central performance from John Turturro who can count himself unfortunate not to receive a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his work.
Worth a watch, but like the game of chess itself, it won't be everyone's cup of tea.
6/10