The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Andrew Garfield)

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 seems like it could be the first feature film to take inspiration from AAA videogame development. That isn’t a good thing. You see, many weaker big-budget videogames suffer from creative inconsistency born of farming out their writing to dozens of writers; this guy wrote the lore, that guy writes the journal…

Marine Vacth in Young and Beautiful (Jeune et Jolie)

Young and Beautiful (2013)

Young and Beautiful’s opening shot is through a pair of binoculars, watching seventeen year-old Isabelle (Marine Vacth) as she strolls along the beach. Isabelle moves from beach to Parisian hotel rooms as a part-time prostitute by the name of Lea, while director François Ozon continues to survey her from a distance. Isabelle’s reasons for going…

Nat Faxon, Sam Rockwell, Liam James and Maya Rudolph in The Way, Way Back (2013)

The Way, Way Back (2013)

The Way, Way Back is a lightweight coming-of-age summer holiday comedy/drama, often funny but rarely convincingly dramatic. Much like After May, it places at its centre an actor not quite up to the task – here, Liam James as the introverted, awkward teenager Duncan. He’s not supposed to be particularly charismatic, but James finds little…

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

The Goldfinch is the third novel in just over twenty years from Donna Tartt, an author whose first novel The Secret History remains one of my favourite books of all time. The Goldfinch is an inspired, excellent work with much in common with her debut, even if it’s not quite on the same level. Like…

Pat Healy and Ethan Embry in Cheap Thrills (2013)

Cheap Thrills (2013)

Cheap Thrills is an ungainly mashup of grisly horror, blokey comedy and muted morality; it’s like the intersection on the Venn diagram of Jackass and Would You Rather? The conceit is bone-simple: dude (Pat Healy) is down on his luck; fired, broke, family at home. Meets up with an old friend (Ethan Embry) at a…

Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy, Johnny Depp and Rebecca Hall in TRANSCENDENCE (2014)

Transcendence (2014)

As we were dutifully informed before the preview screening of Transcendence, Wally Pfister not only shot this movie on film, but he also developed the film photochemically rather than digitally. This isn’t surprising for Pfister, acolyte of fervent film fetishist Christopher Nolan, but it is reflective of this cinematographer-turned-director’s old-fashioned approach to the material. Old-fashioned…