Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road Review

It's been a long time coming but Max Rockatansky is back and what a lovely day it truly is for the man whose life is now consisting of merely sand and blood. George Miller's continued vision of his sand-worn, sun-ravaged world hits a new gear and never looks back as Mad Max: Fury Road reaches us at breakneck speed in what could be the defining blockbuster of this jam-packed year.

Max (Tom Hardy) is tracking across the desert plains with only the haunting memories of his past when forces led by the tyrannical Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) capture him. The diseased Joe is in a position of power as he dominates the supply of water, oil and ammunition, ruling over his Warboys with the promise of Valhalla in return for a worthy sacrifice.

Of course, this doesn't sit well with all, and when the trusted Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) looks to make a stand, the hellions of the roads are released and the chase begins. Max, serving as a blood source to crazed Warboy Nux (Nicholas Hoult), is forced to join them and soon finds himself embroiled in a fight for revenge and redemption.

Spitting fire, blasting through the airwaves and leaving twisted metal left, right and centre, George Miller's return to the sadistic and magnetic world that he created is nothing short of majestic, albeit demented. Thankfully, the crazed nature of Miller's picture is what sets itself apart from the rest and makes it likely one of the most original blockbusters you will witness this year.

Presented with a beautiful fiery orange pallet, Fury Road doesn't leave it long before we are in the presence of the rapid-fire, bombastic nature of a world ruled by an overweight, diseased overlord who is possessed by power. From spiked war machines to a motorcade trailer containing a fire-spurting guitarist, this truly is a removal from your standard offering.

Miller's penchant for the explosive drives this seemingly indestructible vehicle as we witness all manner of vehicle showdowns, resulting in fireballs of blood, sweat and carnage. The sheer imagination of flexible pole attacks, suicidal attacks and beyond pair with a rocking, pulsating Junkie XL soundtrack to create an experience like few others. This is the ultimate in frenetic and energetic cinema.

Replacing Mel Gibson was never going to be an easy job but Hardy more than holds his own as the dialogue-muttering and minimalistic Max rides again. The subtle dry humour, rugged look and regular heroics make this 21st century Max exactly what is required. Even more impressive is the brute force of Theron, forcing her way into our hearts as the figure of redemption and battering her way through the male dominated world around her.

For such a masculine, petrol-fuelled movie it's great to see at the core the portrayal of a strong female unit, only backed up further by the likes of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Zoe Kravitz, whose initial appearance as assumed damsels in distress are soon extinguished and evolved perfectly. Adding further dimension and another scintillating character study, Hoult may be the surprise package of the movie as Nux seeks the perfect death to enter the gates of Valhalla, only to find more than his fair share of obstacles.

It cannot go without saying that Fury Road is a remarkable achievement in visual splendor. Drenched in the sun-soaked, fire-breathing oranges of the deserted plains, each frame breathes life and then some. Even when the sun drops, the stark beauty of a dark blue night sky is a thing of stark fascination. Blurring the lines between real stunts and CGI, the film often will have you in awe at its stunts and the vehicle designs are pure alchemy for petrol heads and thrill seekers alike.

Mad Max: Fury Road may have been decades in the making, but it makes it up in aces for all the time lost, with a bombastic, knockout punch of a rage ride that leaves little room to catch breathe. Relentless at every possible moment, this is a film that makes even Fast and Furious 7 look like it's up against a monster truck of insanity. Miller is a master of his crafted world and Max is the quiet and lethal hero; what else more do we want.

Avengers: Age Of Ultron Review

Source: Wikipedia
The last time we saw the collective band of heroes that make up the Avengers it involved a hell of a lot of shawarma. It's fair to say that, since their toast of success following defeat of the Chitauri, a lot has happened for our team. For instance, Tony Stark looked to have called it a day, while Captain America and Black Widow uncovered some truths about S.H.I.E.L.D. that sent more than enough ripples through the ranks. So where do Earth's Mightiest Heroes go from here? Joss Whedon answers just that with Avengers: Age Of Ultron.

The Avengers have banded together once again as Loki's sceptor has surfaced and is in the possession of Baron von Strucker (Thomas Kretchsmann), a man whose HYDRA connection sees him looking to eventually utilise twins Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen).

Showing their enemies what a well-oiled unit can do, the team soon retrieve the sceptor and head back to Tony Stark's newly-built headquarters to kick back. Unfortunately, the party atmosphere is soon interrupted as Stark and Bruce Banner's experimental AI, Ultron (James Spader), finds a lease of life and a new mission is spawned. With Ultron intent on making the human race extinct, and the twins in tow, Earth's Mightiest Heroes have one hell of a task this time around.

Joss Whedon is a maestro in forging adventures that offer just as many thrills and spills as they do quick-fire laughs, and Age Of Ultron is no different. Looking to build upon the success of his mammoth box office smash, the Buffy and Firefly alumni smashes through the barriers at breakneck speed as he looks to grasp the audience in his palm and never let them go.

It all begins with a fist-pumping foray of money-shot moments and visual splendour as our famed team literally look to storm the castle, in this case, a HYDRA base. Having already established the team itself, the director immediately bypasses any re-introductions as the action takes centre stage. Heroes collaborating with their signature weapons, a slow motion leap of brilliance, and some creative camera flurries; this is what we pay for in a blockbuster and it paves the way for the rest of the film.

From then on, Ultron is dominated by the familiar wisecracks, some extra depth to some of the lesser vibrant characters and packed to the rafters with ample opportunity for the fans to descend into a rapturous state as comic book craziness takes over. The issue, albeit a slight one, is that this is a sequel that never quite hits above its predecessor, only matching the majesty of the first film.
For all the incredibly exceptional moments of heroic showcase, none ever quite feel beyond the reach of the finale set piece in the previous film, and often there is so much going on that there is a slight feel of over-exertion creeping in. True, Ultron is a job done fantastically in terms of fitting in a huge wealth of Marvel characters, it's just that it sometimes feels a tad overwhelming, especially in the big set pieces.

That said, the sequel does add further depth in the key areas; most notably in evolving team relationships and giving the smaller players their fair share of the cake. That couldn't be applied more to Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye, moving from the sidelines to become a pivotal force this time around. His background uncovered and nailing some great lines, this is more of the Hawkeye we require. The same can be applied to Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), her past endeavours teased and a simmering tension between her and Banner providing some of the strongest components of the film.

A film with such an ensemble, of course, requires great balance with its characters and Whedon manages to finely tune his use of each and every hero (and villain). The likes of Downey Jr., Evans and Hemsworth are still evidently having fun, while the addition of Spader to mix things up is inspired. The combination of Olsen and Taylor-Johnson also adds a great new dynamic to the series, as their brother-sister relationship is a strong bond that sees them as individuals who have plenty of say in events. As of others, let's just say some familiar faces may show up on the journey...

Avengers: Age Of Ultron is a fantastic and finely balanced blockbuster that copes incredibly well with a growing roster. Some of the creases from the first film are certainly ironed out, but at times it does feel a tad overwhelming in its scope, especially with an even bigger picture on the horizon. Needless to say, this is a mammoth picture that demands attention and once again ensures Marvel are at the top of their game and will be for some years to come yet.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

New Star Wars: The Force Awakens Poster Unveiled

We salute you John Boyega!

That's right; the British actor who is set to play Finn in JJ Abrams' epic revitalisation of the classic sci-fi property has taken to his Instagram account to unveil the glorious one sheet.

Vintage in every way, it produces a fair few reveals and hell of a lot to get extremely excited about. With the poster released today, it is believed that the final trailer the December release will arrive tomorrow, along with the opening of booking for the movie.

Check out the poster below.

Source: Disney

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol Review

Source: Wikipedia
Continuing the trend of Hollywood's blockbuster sequels in 2011 is the unmistakable Tom Cruise-driven Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, the fourth instalment of the massively popular saga. In a record breaking year, MI4 is one amongst a staggering 28 follow-up films and it's safe to say it can be ranked high up that list.

Once again delving into the world of politics and global relations, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol sees a return to the first Cruise Mission Impossible outing, specifically with the IMF being disavowed following an incident at the Kremlin. When a bomb goes off at the famous site, Ethan Hunt and his team are found at the scene of the crime and immediately the blame is pinned on them. With this revelation reaching government agencies globally the IMF is shut down and they soon find themselves going rogue in an attempt to clear their names.

The IMF now consists of just four members, each with their own separate part to play. Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is at the heart of the operation, heading towards any situation involving danger. Benji (Simon Pegg) continues to aid Hunt and his team through his technical and computer wizardry. Jane (Paula Patton) is an agent mourning the death of a close personal partner and is out for retribution. And, Brandt (Jeremy Renner) is a senior analyst with field experience looking to help uncover the real truth behind the Kremlin bombing.

With their unique skill sets, the foursome travel across the globe, from locales spanning Dubai, India and beyond, confronting the threat posed by villain, Hendricks (Michael Nyqvist), and his crew. Can the IMF uncover the truth with limited resources or does this sound the end for Hunt and his motley crew?

Following the conventions of its predecessors, Ghost Protocol is very much a Tom Cruise movie. He is the main attraction of the show and, truth be told, as usual he continues to show his credentials as one of the best action movie stars there is. Despite a huge focus on the less-than-tall Hollywood heavyweight, he is backed up by a superb gang in the form of Simon Pegg, Paula Patton and Jeremy Renner, each with unique performances to admire.

In terms of humour, Simon Pegg's Benji is a show stealer, delivering the best one liner's in the movie and convincingly portraying the computer geek. The addition of Paula Patton and Jeremy Renner are welcome ones too; Patton adding a powerful and beautiful female to proceedings whilst Renner introduces further brawn and  superb acting abilities.

In addition to the exceptional cast, director Brad Bird creates some truly unbelievable set pieces throughout the 2 hours+ duration, most notably a scene in Dubai that may well be one of the best of 2011. Involving the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa tower, we witness Tom Cruise (who incidentally did not use a stunt double) proceed to climb the staggering structure and eventually jump from it. Hearts will flutter throughout that particular moment, no doubt.

For Brad Bird, directing his first ever live-action film, this is a monumental success story. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol delivers in every aspect of an action movie; beautiful locations, a solid storyline with some neat twists and turns and plenty of adrenaline-filled chase and fight sequences. Capping off 2011 with a bang, Ghost Protocol is one of the best action films of the year.

Interview - Haywire star Gina Carano

Source: THR
Gina Carano was a top MMA fighter before being thrust straight into the Hollywood limelight with the lead role in Steven Soderbergh's Haywire, supported by a superb cast consisting of the likes of Michael Douglas, Ewan McGregor and Bill Paxton, amongst many others. We were lucky enough to catch up with Gina whilst she was preparing for her upcoming role in Fast Six. Here's what she had to say when I threw some questions her way.

Filmoria: First of all, congratulations on your success in Haywire. How did you get involved in the role of Mallory Kane?
Gina Carano: Steven Soderbergh actually saw me fighting on CBS and then gave my management and agent a call. I'd just lost my first fight to Cyborg so I was just kinda depressed and he took the train up from LA and we had a four hour lunch. He asked if I wanted to do a movie and I was like, 'yeah sure' and then he went on to say he didn't have a script, producers or actors confirmed and explained him and writer Lem Dobbs would get working on it. It was incredible how fast it moved. The script ended up being good for me as Mallory is nothing like me and then he (Soderbergh) had me train with a secret service guy for seven months instead of an acting coach.

Filmoria: It must have been an overwhelming experience being touted by a top Hollywood director. How did you feel when you got the call and met up?
Gina Carano: I'm from the fighting world so I didn't really know who Steven Soderbergh was. I didn't really know anyone's names so I was very clueless on Hollywood. Since then, I have received the full education, believe me, and after it's all said and done, I look back and can't believe he did what he did and I couldn't be more grateful.

Filmoria: You also had a fantastic cast to work with. How welcoming were they? Did they teach you anything?
Gina Carano: They are some of the most beautiful people I have ever met in my life. I adore every single one of them and they treated me with such respect and with open arms. They all really took care of me and I took care of them in the fight scenes (laughs), it was a nice trade off!

Filmoria: Speaking of fight scenes, some are very brutal in the film, especially the opening sequence with Channing Tatum. 
Gina Carano: He's a big guy (Tatum), he's not small at all and he just slams my face into a table and it's like America's Sweethearts! He's been a fan of MMA for a long time and was so excited to get in there and train for the fight scenes, he also love loved to taunt me, he wanted a story to tell (laughs). One of my favourite fight scenes is the hotel scene with Michael Fassbender, I think that is really special. That was the very first fight scene that we shot and that was a very cool scene.

Filmoria: I'm very envious of the great cast you got to work with.
Gina Carano: (On the whole cast) They were all so incredibly open, all turned up with a smile on their faces, worked hard and didn't mind getting physical. I felt on a high the whole time I was filming, surrounded by these incredible people. (On McGregor) Probably one of the loveliest people I have ever met in my life. (On Fassbender) He was the first person I acted with and he's so special, you just get stuck watching him. He was on so many different levels so quickly I would get stuck. I didn't know who he was, I just knew he was the guy with the big smile from 300!

Fimoria: Your next film is Fast Six, how did you get involved in that project?
Gina Carano: We were actually working on a different film and we got a call, which we knew was a possibility, so the film got pushed to a later date and now we are doing Fast Six. It's a cool, big budget film and completely different from Haywire and it will give me good experience and knowledge of the range of Hollywood. We are close to signing the contract now and I think it starts shooting in July.

Filmoria: Can you shed any light on your character?
Gina Carano: (laughs) I'm not sure what I can say! It's in very early development so I'm not sure I'm allowed.

Filmoria: Obviously Fast Six is another film where you will be working with another strong cast. Is there anyone specific you are mostly looking forward to working with?
Gina Carano: I'm really looking forward to working with all of them, the women and the men. I didn't have a lot of females in Haywire so it will be a nice change. Everybody's said nothing but good things about The Rock and I'm looking forward to meeting him because he's done a fantastic job with his career going from athlete into acting and I really respect that. I've always been a Vin Diesel fan and my favourite film of his is Pitch Black. Also Michelle Rodriguez, and I know Luke Evans has just signed on and I'm a fan of his too. It's going to be a beautiful experience for me.

Filmoria: You mentioned Michelle Rodriguez, can we look forward to a head-to-head with her at all?
Gina Carano: (laughs) I don't know if I can say. Maybe.

Filmoria: We touched upon Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson. Do you look at his career and see his path as one you would want to follow?
Gina Carano: I think it's important in any career to pave your own way. When I got into fighting I didn't look at anybody and how they were doing, I just kept doing what was natural for me. I like what The Rock has done and respect him but I'd love to stay true to myself.

Filmoria: Finally, other than Fast Six, do you have any other future projects in the pipeline?
Gina Carano: We were working on In The Blood before Fast Six came along and pushed it back. It's similar to Taken and is something I'm really looking forward to filming eventually when we get our schedules worked out. We have a bunch of projects we can hopefully dive into after Fast Six.

Filmoria: Would you ever consider a return as Mallory Kane in another Haywire movie?
Gina Carano: I'd love to because I now understand more about getting into character. I don't know whether it would happen though, we will see. Maybe Steven Soderbergh will wake up one day and say 'hey, let's do it again.'

Must-See Movies: Donnie Darko

Source: Wikipedia
Long before he was battling the elements in The Day After Tomorrow and jumping back and forth in time in Source Code, Jake Gyllenhaal appeared in a film highly regarded nowadays as a cult classic. Released in 2001, Donnie Darko initially received a frosty reception, with its box office takings not surpassing the film’s actual budget. It wasn’t until the film’s dvd release that it and Writer/Director Richard Kelly began to receive the accolades that were so fully deserved.

It’s 1988 and our main point of focus is a young man named Donnie Darko. Donnie is a troubled individual who is experiencing post-apocalyptic visions and has recurring visits from a man in a bunny suit named Frank. Frank is there to deliver a message, the world is going to end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds. Plagued by Frank, Donnie is on a downward spiral, a puppet to Frank's wishes and aware of the impending apocalypse set to bring life to an end. Questioning the reality and meaning of his visions, Donnie embarks on a journey of self discovery and also looks to delve further into the realms of time travel before the world ultimately ends.

Driven by a fantastic cast, including the likes of Patrick Swayze, Drew Barrymore and Noah Wyle, Donnie Darko is a true cinematic masterpiece. Despite such a strong cast in terms of well known names, it is the likes of a young Maggie Gyllenhaal and a fantastic turn from Daveigh Chase (who later starred in the less successful offspring, S. Darko) whose roles are to be appreciated most. Gyllenhaal is superb as older sister Elizabeth and Chase introduces herself to the film world with a wonderfully innocent performance as young Samantha Darko.

Early appearances from some now well-known names are somewhat of a common occurrence in Donnie Darko. With the aforementioned Gyllenhaal siblings in leading roles, we also get glimpses of future stars Seth Rogen and Ashley Tisdale as well as Sucker Punch's Jena Malone, who plays Donnie's girlfriend Gretchen. Comedy king Rogen is reduced to little more than one line in the movie as a school bully and Tisdale's part is minimal as a geeky youngster asking for advice at a self-help talk. In truth, it is actually Malone who is well suited to the extended role. As Gretchen she is almost a female equivalent of Gyllenhaal's Darko, a quiet spirit with no true friends and secrets to hide. Her chemistry with the young lead drives the relationship mechanics of the film and gives a positive lasting impression.

When praising Richard Kelly's magical masterpiece it would be unfair not to mention the absolutely first rate soundtrack. Blending together some of the best artists from the 80s, including Duran Duran, Joy Division and Echo & The Bunnymen, we really are transported back to the great 'Breakfast Club' era. The pumping beats of Tears For Fears’ Head Over Heels is used to great effect in a scene whizzing through a bustling high school. The beautifully haunting 'Mad World' by Gary Jules hitting all the right notes to create a superb finale to the film. Kelly clearly chose the perfect songs to match the moods of different sequences in the picture.

Personally, it is my belief that Donnie Darko is among the greatest films of all time. A thriller where you are left to make your own interpretations of the events following its conclusion is much more effective and leaves you demanding to watch again to pick out anything missed on the first viewing. Needless to say, the film is complex and it will certainly will have you scratching your head at times, but the beauty is in the fact that you as the viewer are left to your own devices to interpret the events that unfold. We are never spoon fed the answers to our lead character's conundrum, something completely unique and often lacking in great science fiction dramas.

Richard Kelly's feature length directorial debut is a true work of art that I urge you to marvel at multiple times. An involved, thinking-man's flick, Donnie Darko is a gem in the time travel sub-genre, combining science fiction, love and humour all in one swoop. Admittedly some will simply discard it through lack of discipline but persevering with the film will only see you benefit from the wonders of a true visionary's mind.

LFF 2014 - A Hard Day

If there is one film that couldn't have been categorised more perfectly in the 'Thrill' section at his year's London Film Festival it's Kim Seong-Hun's terrific A Hard Day. Propelling us at breakneck speed from the get-go, this is Korean cinema hitting it's famed heights, with frame-by-frame brilliance thrusting us into a 24-hour scenario where things just don't feel like they are going to get any better.

For detective Ko Gun-su (Lee Sun-kyun) a drive back to the station when he is called away from the mourning of his mother turns into a living nightmare as he is involved in a hit-and-run incident. With his car baring evidence of the event, Ko decides to brave the brunt of the consequences and takes the body in the boot of his car to be dealt with against the better judgement of the law.

Ko's day is about to get a lot worse; with the body only a small chunk of the problems he will encounter. With his team being investigated for corruption, the nightmare of the day only escalates when the dangerous and threatening cop Park Chang-min (Cho Jin-woong) makes his presence felt.
Breathlessly shifting us into a pacy and utterly enthralling tale of crime, tension and explosive events, director Kim Seong-Hun's second directorial outing is a Korean delight that once again propels the credentials of Eastern cinema. Intent on giving the audience exactly what they pay for in terms of a true down-to-the-bones thriller, the director fuses together a wonderful blend of well-placed humour and a distinct appreciation of all things dramatic as we twist and turn our way through a compelling 24-hour window that keeps us guessing to the very end.

Presenting its style succinctly, the film blissfully goes through the paces as our story surrounding Sun-kyun's main character unfolds, turning very quickly into a panic-inducing day of life-changing proportions. In delivering the tone and aggressive nature, the film is not only the grand work of a director but also revels in the performances of its two leading components.

Both Sun-kyun and Jin-woong are devilish in their portrayals of two diverse individuals working for the same corrupt police force. One seemingly innocent in his job, caught up in the middle of an event that brings out the worst in him, yet still has us backing him all the way, the other a sly, charasmatic and ultimately fiendish force not to be messed with.

From the unnerving phone calls slowly peeling back the layers, to the eventual face-to-face confrontations that turn to much more than verbal sparring, this is an opposing duo who simply lay the law down for how to serve up a delightful dish of bad-versus-good.

Laden with twists, biting hard with its compelling drama and throwing in some fiendish humour at the right moments, A Hard Day nails the thriller genre, grabbing the audience by the scruff of the neck and shoving them into the passenger seat of a wild ride like few others. Kim Seong-hun propels his name further into the Korean spotlight and possesses a massively reliable dream team in his leading duo. Fast, furious and utterly powerful.

LFF 2014 - Hard To Get

Hailing from South Africa, director Zee Ntuli brings to life an enthralling tale of two very different strangers brought together after an encounter with the same problematic individual making a name for himself in a small town on the cusp of Johannesburg.

Channeling action thrillers of years gone past, as well as looking to stamp its own mark on the genre, Hard To Get is a combination of brute force, stylised action shots and an awareness of the classic relationships brought to life in the most extreme of circumstances.

TK (Pallance Tladla) is a gigolo whose way with women makes him one of the most charismatic and envied men in the local town. Finding it relatively easy to coax the local women into engaging in sexual relations with him, TK soon comes across a mysterious stranger in Skiets (Thishiwe Ziqubu), who isn't quite like the other women in the area.

With a certain dangerous vibe emanating from her, TK finds his latest challenge is more than he bargained for as the local hot-headed troublemaker forces them out of town and on the run, with further troubles and challenges meeting them when they reach the bigger, wider world of Johannesburg.

At the age of just 25, director Ntuli is clearly well versed in the action genre, his stylish presentation and distinct awareness of how to engage an audience a key indicator throughout his directorial debut. Immediately impacting with a relentless opening that throws both of our main characters in at the deep end, Ntuli rarely leaves time for a breather as we witness altercations, dubstep-infused slow-motion sequences and the constant threat of shady individuals heading into a crash course with TK and Skiets.

While action predominently features throughout, at the core of the proceedings lies a love story that is coaxed along by regular- and sometimes rather laughable - innuendos that sometimes hinder the evolution of these characters joined together. While these can often serve as a hinderance, the constant question mark over their relationship is certainly a draw, with certain events really adding doubt or instilling a faith in the pair as a unit. This irregular nature to their connection serves as a nice change and really helps the film to stand apart from the cliched nature of such films.

Utilising a location such as Johannesburg is evidently an advantage to Hard To Get also, with the neon advertisings set across hotel rooms adding that extra zest to the film, while the use of slow-motion often aids in hammering home the impact of the violence being portrayed between not only men, but also the harsh reality of men beating on women. Coupled with the sandy and grimy plains of the local town, the film helps to showcase a huge difference in lifestyle as the location whisks from lower class residency to the high and mighty.

The leading pair in Tladla and Ziqubu certainly make for a bankable duo, both combining to create their South African Bonnie and Clyde-esque story, with a brilliant question mark over who exactly is the dominant force in the partnership. This plays out as one of the film's strengths and lays out the comedic moments, while the simmering romance is hard to keep your eyes off, especially with the constant question mark over whether they will indeed confront their own feelings.

Hard To Get is certainly a thrill ride that is worthy of its relatively short runtime and rarely lets up in relentlessly blitzing you with a crazed combination of slow-motion dubstep sequences, powerful violence and a romantic element that never deters from the main plot. Director Zee Ntuli may only be 25 but it is clear he already has a grasp for great filmmaking and it's inevitable he will be around for some time yet.

LFF 2014 - Electricity

On the surface if someone was to tell you that one percent of the population has epilepsy it wouldn't strike as much as reaffirming that this in fact totals to over 65 million people. It's a staggering figure and one that I'm sure many of you will not have known, let alone the actual impact such a disorder has on those experiencing the side effects day in, day out.

For such a strong neurological disorder to have been portrayed neither powerfully or enough within cinema leaves a question mark, but in the latest film from director Bryn Higgins - Electricity - we have a seemless portrayal of one woman tackling epilepsy and the impact it has on her life as a whole.

Lily O'Connor (Agyness Deyn) is mourning the death of her mother and is reunited with her brother Barry (Paul Anderson) as the obligatory last will and testament issues arise. Working as a cashier at a seaside amusement arcade, Lily's life is far from the excitement that she would possibly like to experience but part of that is down to her struggles with constant bursts of epilepsy beyond her control.

While attempting to deal with her mother's property and tracking down her missing brother Mikey (Christian Cooke), Lily finds herself aided by Mel (Lenora Crichlow) in London. With aid in all the right places and the net closing tighter on her long-lost brother, Lily finds that the biggest obstacle in her way is her disorder; one that is infused with an electrical ferocity and can strike at any moment.

As ambitious a project as Electricity is, director Bryn Higgins is a man who is firmly in control of his overall delivery of a subject that many have shied away from in the past. With the subject of epilepsy creating the core of his film it could have been immensely easy to over-exert this onto viewers and also really over-exuberate on the topic, but Electricity is a fine example of how to tenderly and responsibly explain just how such a disorder creates a great hole in the life of those experiencing it.

Part of that is down to the direction of the film, with the moments of epileptic seizures beautifully captured in an Alice In Wonderland-esque barrage to the senses. Electrical currents, melting visuals and a distinct sense of an otherworldly place all creating a sense of how this disorder takes hold and immerses one into a state of flux. Each and every moment of visual creativity is diverse and sells the controlled state one finds themself within when the epilepsy takes hold.

In collaboration with the wonderfully crafted moments from Higgins and his team, the star of the show Deyn is simply breathtaking and undeniably well versed in just how her character would react to such a burdoning illness in her life. Tackling the role head-on with a core emotion and determination like few others, the model-turned-actress is in a role that could define her for years to come and she handles this superbly, with no sign of a flaw throughout.

The support cast are also a breath of fresh air as we encounter the brash and over-confident nature of Lily's poker-focused brother Barry and her less-than-inviting younger sibling Mikey. The ever-reliable Lenora Crichlow also adds an interesting angle as a friendly stranger whose own life entangles with that of a much more complicated individuals, resulting in some strong scenes unfolding.

Key to the proceedings is the film's setting, as we whisk from the shorelines of the north of England, the waves lapping in the distance creating a calmer approach to life, while the travel to London ultimately presents the more manic and jarring events in Lily's life. It's a transition that works perfectly for both the epilepsy aspect of the film and the quest to find her brother.

Handled beautifully and driven strongly and succintly by an absolutely staggering performance from Agyness Dean, Electricity is a wonder; a film grounded in realism and forever possessing an awareness for a subject that has rarely been uncovered on screen. If you need another reason why British film is regularly considered among the elite of the cinematic realm then look no further than this, another trail blazer of magnetic proportions.

LFF 2014 - Mommy

There's an undeniable talent about Xavier Dolan that has been showcased throughout the immensely successful 25-year-old's plaudit-laden career. Showcasing his fifth directorial outing in as many years, Dolan has tackled many a jarring subject and this time takes a rather softer approach as he delves into the relationship of a mother and her son - but not without some conflict along the way - in the riveting Mommy.

Diane (Anne Dorval) and her son Steve (Antoine-Olivier Pilon) have just moved into a new neighbourhood and are seeking a new start. While Die seeks out a new living and a stable way of living, Steve is tackling his own issues as an ADHD sufferer, his violent spurts not only represented by bad language but also outbursts of physicality.

While many are understandably stand-offish when confronting Steve in the neighbourhood, one person who soon befriends the two-person family unit is mysterious neighbour Kyla (Suzanne Clement). Kyla is currently on hiatus from work and experiences a stammer in her speech; along with the obvious fact that she isn't at all close with her own husband or child. Striking a blossoming relationship with both Steve and Die, Kyla not only finds a new lease of life but also aids in releasing a whole new meaning to living within her newfound friends.

Xavier Dolan is rarely one to skate far from controversial and powerful issues in his films but for the most part he sticks within boundaries of normality and presents a wonderful tale of a relationship that, like every, has its ups and downs. Not only exploring the true meaning of family, but also delving into the friendship aspect of life, he creates a wholly engaging and often humourous affair that revels in the wonderment and darkness that life can bring forth.

At the heart of Dolan's film is a simply subliminal performance from a young talent whose on-screen antics evoke so many different emotions from the audience. From sorrow to a real level of digust, Pilon is a true revelation, portraying a troubled youth to inch-perfect levels; his tantrums coaxing in the uncomfortable moments and a flip-sided cheeky humour often inducing a great deal of laughter. From such a young man comes an array of ever-changing emotions and he handles it with relative ease, tempting us into a false sense of security with a butter-wouldn't-melt persona, before whipping up a storm with his fists and vile language.

It doesn't stop there either, with both Clement and Dorval serving up their own powerhouse performances and going through the motions as they too jump from one end of the emotional spectrum to the next. Clement's Kyla is somewhat of a conundrum; sweet upon first clapping eyes on her eye, but possessing something deeper which remains a unexpected surprise that may catch many off guard. Dorval's Die on the other hand, is the woman bearing the brunt of physical and verbal assaults, her exterior steely and bold, while her insides slowly melt inside and transfer instinctively to the viewer.

Dolan's film isn't all spot-on though and there are issues encountered beyond the superb story and execution from its main acts. The music choices within the film, albeit looking to maintain the rather uncharacteristically upbeat notion, are often off-key with the events unfolding in front of our eyes and it drops the ball in its duration.

Agreed, some movies are completely acceptable in their use of a longer duration to tie up loose ends and find some sort of resolution, but Mommy takes it beyond that level and there will be moments where the end is in sight only for another fifteen to twenty minutes to follow. This slightly deters from what is actually a rather emotive and enjoyable outing from the talented filmmaker, but overall the experience once again showcases why this young individual is continuously racking up awards left, right and centre.

LFF 2014 - Robot Overlords

When you think of robots on the big screen many will offer up the likes of the Transformers, Johnny Five and various others when our technologically advanced beings come into play. While robotics have recently been thrust upon us with big-budget sci-fi clout, one film coming way of the UK looks to remain a little more grounded. Combining the likes of Sir Ben Kingsley and Gillian Anderson, Jon Wright's Robot Overlords presents a family adventure that doesn't quite hit the dizzy heights of manny of its predecessors.

The world has been ravaged by war as robots have taken over and dictate the lives of all humans, meaning life outside homes is practically impossible. When Sean Flynn (Callan McAuliffe) becomes determined to find his missing father (Steven Mackinstosh), he sets out on an adventure with his friends as danger lays in wait in the form of both the hulking robots patrolling and the betraying Smythe (Sir Ben Kingsley).

As Sean and his friends look to get closer to seeking out his father, Smythe schemes and involves Sean's mother (Gillian Anderson) in his treachery. With help in the form of the rebellious Wayne (Tamer Hassan) and a special power of his own unlocked along the way, can the robots be finally eradicated or will the planet remain a slave to the machines?

The first thing instantly noticeable about Robot Overlords is its over-willingness to throw around swear words as if it were a teenage comedy aimed at audiences 15 and above. Unfortunately this is not the case, and with its target audience very much in the youthful category, the visual gags and obsessive dropping of foul language appears rather distasteful. From a reference to the 'c word', to a kid making a robot scratch his nether regions, Robot Overlords rides very close to the edge and doesn't let up.

In its story is where the film actually garners the most plaudits; from its setup of a robots-versus-humans war to the aftermath, the film lays the foundations for an interesting movie well and even has some clever ideas along the way. Foolishly, this soon becomes dislodged and almost becomes a parody of itself with some truly questionable acting and even more puzzling dialogue.

Considering the status of its main draw actors in the fray, Robot Overlords gives both Sir Ben Kingsley and Gillian Anderson little to work with in terms of delivery. Admittedly, Anderson is incredibly wooden in her mother role, while Kingsley plays his pantomime villain to the best of his ability (ala Thunderbirds), but it all feels a little winceworthy. That's even before the massively miscast and unintentionally hilarious Tamer Hassan enters the fray with his cockney rebel Wayne, uttering lines such as 'You Rat!' and carrying a cliched swagger around with him throughout.

The CGI doesn't offer much inspiration either - even with its low budget taken into consideration - as Rubik's cube-esque spacecrafts kept afloat by shoddy fire effects leave little to to be desired and even the robots themselves remain less than intimidating. There are moments of tension and excitement from these otherworldly beings but it all feels too reckless to remain an engaging outing, even within the short 90 minutes runtime.

Robot Overlords lies somewhere in between childsplay and young adult, with the target audience questionable, especially with its barrage of swear words and questionable characterisation. It's a bold move from a director who has been in the horror field previously, but one that doesn't quite pay off.

LFF 2014 - Fury

War has been depicted on-screen throughout the decades from many different angles; whether from land, sea or air there is a common denominator in that all look to portray the true horrors of such historical events. The latest director to take on such a challenge is David Ayer, whose aptly titled Fury is both grounded in realism and instantly striking with its emotional connectivity.

As the close of the Second World War approaches in 1945, army sergeant 'Wardaddy' (Brad Pitt) takes his Sherman tank Fury into one final battle as the troops look to complete their mission in the heart of Nazi Germany. Joined by his motley crew (Shia LaBeouf, Jon Bernthal and Michael Pena), Wardaddy not only has to encounter the dangers of the enemy, but also the threat of a new recruit in Norman (Logan Lerman), whose inexperience in the field - let alone in a tank - makes him a liability.

With Norman refusing to embrace the harsh lifestyle of a soldier and a seemingly impossible mission in their path, the tank-bound soldiers are about to face their most testing times on a gruelling battlefield.

It can often be all-too-easy for war-based films to fall into the trap of relying heavily upon respect for former films and coming across as an end result that feels all too familiar. Thankfully, Ayer has full awareness of the genre he has entered into and the strong subject matter he finds himself embroiled within. War is a harsh and harrowing thing and the director carries this message throughout a film that is grounded in its realism and ultimately looks to depict just how psychological the warfare can be, as well as the physicality of it.

In assembling such a strong team to lead the film, Ayer has accomplished an immediate connectivity with the audience. With Brad Pitt in the driving seat as Wardaddy we have a sergeant whose layers slowly unfold for him to become the beacon of right and wrong, while the brilliant Lerman showcases the harsh terms in which younger men are drafted into an unavoidable fate. In addition, Shia LeBeouf hits back with a powerful performance as the emotion-driven Boyd, and the likes of Bernthal (immersed in yet another dark role) and Pena ensure that chemistry is at its peak level.

The cast pulling together in harsh circumstances (both lived through on and off screen) helps Fury power through the muddy and treacherous landscapes like a classic war movie. Filmed predominently in the UK, the presentation of the film is every bit the dangerous and damning scenario of war, the tank tracks squelching through the mud and bodies being deposited left, right and centre. The background sound of exploding shells and overflying planes only heightens the realistic edge to Ayer's representation of war and when battle commences it is an intense experience.

That is where Fury often revels; in-between some emotionally harrowing and affecting scenes (one within a German home especially handled perfectly), Ayer barrages us with a foray of thrilling and tension-thrilled battle cries, often coming out of nowhere. From seemless explosive tank head-to-heads to town raids, the End Of Watch director uses every opportunity to solidly bring us the horrifying nature of war without ever feeling heavy-handed or brutal. Indeed, bloodhsed is of high levels but this is once again the grounded reality of the situation and continually feels well handed under his direction.

Surprisingly moving, incredibly engaging and brimming with a level of humanity that many war films lack, Ayer's Fury is a film that is exceptional on many levels. Many may have issues with some of the characters but their actions only heighten the damning reality of soldiers involved in such horrific events. Handled beautifully in both its emotion and action, Fury is a sure-fire hit.

LFF 2014 - The Town That Dreaded Sundown

It's fair to say that in recent times the horror genre has become rather saturated with wholly familiar themes, whether they be found footage, paranormal presences or otherwise. Included within that list would be a barrage of remakes and sequels that never seem to recreate the magic of the original source material. One film looking to put it to the doubters of such films is an updated version of The Town That Dreaded Sundown, a remake/sequel that is much more creative than many would think.

It's 65 years since the events of the 'Moonlight Murders' in which the town of Texarkana was haunted by a masked killer hellbent on murder and chaos. With the annual Halloween anniversary once again under way, Jami (Addison Timlin), a young girl whose own past is as haunting as that of the murders, is forced to encounter another murderer on the loose.

Along with aid from the likes of Sheriff Underwood (Ed Lauter) and Lone Wolf Morales (Anthony Anderson), Jami must revisit her mysterious past as well as try to uncover whether the terrorising masked killer is in fact the original or a copycat.

Filmed in the same grainy presentation as the film it is based upon, the 2014 update of The Town That Dreaded Sundown is certainly a positive removal from the horror remakes of past. Under the wing of debut director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, and produced by recognised horror figures in Jason Blum and Ryan Murphy, the film almost becomes a hybrid of both sequel and remake, producing some worthy content in the process.

We've all seen slasher films and, in truth, they can appear rather repetitive and lethargic by the time we reach the halfway point, but with the newly regenerated 70s-based horror we get a rather different beast. Intent on showing a high level of respect for its original, Gomez-Rejon often merges footage of the 1976 film in with his own fresh scenes to create a rather interesting combination of new and old that you can't help but admire. Maintaining that old-school feel to the proceedings certainly adds that extra chilling element and really makes you feel like you are watching within the heyday of such cinematic offerings.

The story, however, is rather one-dimensional like so many slashers, and is the slight letdown of an otherwise fresh and ambitious project. With many slasher films, the predictability comes in the kills and ultimately the key components of the lead character's background story. This is no different and, while the deaths are at times rather inventive and well executed, the core elements are simply a little too obvious for a wholly diverse horror outing.

The film also falls into the general pitfall of the sexual kind, with some nudity and needless sex scenes thrown in for good measure like any cliched slasher movie, leaning a little too much towards that framework we all know too well in this day and age. Thankfully these scenes don't deter too much away from the positives that few other horrors of late have been able to garner.

The Town That Dreaded Sundown may essentially be a remake but in merging blissfully the new and old versions of the film, along with some truly inventive and eye-catching presentation and death scenes, this is certainly one horror that could stay on the radar for years to come. You never know, this may even have the steel to become a newfound cult classic...

LFF 2013 - Enough Said

Earlier this year, both the cinematic and television community lost one of its kindred spirits in James Gandolfini. A man known for his iconic role in The Sopranos, the actor also gave some brilliant turns on the big screen, with Zero Dark Thirty and Killing Them Softly among the most recent. Despite his untimely demise, Gandolfini is present once again on the screen, co-starring in romantic comedy Enough Said, with Julie Louis-Dreyfus; in what is a beautiful penultimate film for the big man.

Eva (Dreyfus) is a masseuse whose everyday life involves massaging clients whose habits and obsessive chatter only depress her. To boot, she is a divorced mum whose fondness for the opposite sex seems to have waned with age, despite the impending loneliness of her daughter heading off to realms elsewhere for further education. Cue a visit to a party, where she meets Albert (Gandolfini), a man very similar to her; he too is divorced and has a daughter of the same age. Despite their insistence on being attracted to nobody at the party, the pair soon strike up a liking for one another and begin to date.

As things appear to go well, Eva also befriends poet Marianne (Catherine Keener), a woman whose penchant for explaining the imperfections of her ex-husband soon result in a big revelation: Albert is, in fact, Marianne's ex-husband.  Hearing this negativeness, Eva's doubts begin to creep in over the man she has fallen for. Will she continue the relationship? Or will the secret be revealed and all be lost?

It's fair to say that if this was Gandolfini's final bow in film then everyone would be smiling from ear-to-ear and shouting his praises to the high heavens. That's because Enough Said is a pure, unadulterated delight of a film; one that possesses a huge heart and shares the love and laughter between its cast and the audience.

It all resonates from the sheer electric chemistry brought to life by Dreyfus and Gandolfini. From the offset, where they meet at the party, the exchanges are brutally honest and, for the most part, utterly hilarious, only evolving into a caring thoughtfulness for one another. Their every exchange and delivery garners a reaction from the audience, whether it be a fond smile, a cry of laughter or, even at times, the sign of a tear - such is the brilliance of their pairing and their playing off one another.

With both on supreme form and helping to hammer home two very relatable individuals, the film only excels further as the minor characters get involved. Catherine Keener's unaware ex-wife is a nice subtle character thrown in for a spanner in the works, while Toni Collette and Ben Falcone have fun portraying the married couple who have plenty to say about the wrongs and rights of marriage.

Enough Said certainly nails the romantic comedy category with every inch of its personality but it also delivers plenty of messages along the way. Whether it be relating to the evolution of relationships, family or personalities, Enough Said simply has enough to say about everyday life and the trials and tribulations it brings.

This is one film you will come out of absolutely beaming, with Gandolfini's memory living strong through what is a hugely accomplished and funny performance. Tackling mid-life relationships and everything in-between, Enough Said is certainly one of the most warming and comforting films in recent times and leaves that wonderful feeling with you long after you exit the auditorium.

Imagine what a huge hug from the late James Gandolfini would have been like and this is the feeling you will have after watching Enough Said. Heart-warming, comforting and ultimately unforgettable, this is James Gandolfini at his best and a really wonderful delight. May he live long in the memory.

LFF 2013 - Tom At The Farm

As a young man still only in his mid-twenties, Xavier Dolan has certainly put in a hell of a lot of work to get where he is in the film industry. Having already directing a number of films and also starred in them, among others, he is an undeniable talent and continues to push the boundaries of filmmaking with strong subject topics and cutting drama. His latest film, Tom At The Farm, once again strikes with a difficult subject and shows off his incredible knack for standout films.

Tom (Dolan) is dealing with the emotional burden of losing his partner and looks to connect with his family, despite his partner's mother Agathe (Lise Roy) in the dark over her son's sexual orientation.  She owns a farm with her other son, Francis (Pierre-Yves Cardel), who incidentally knows of this secret, and is far from welcoming when Tom arrives to offer support.

With Agathe welcoming an additional face and help around the farm, Francis is quite the opposite, constantly threatening Tom and forcing him into precarious positions. As the façade continues with Sara (Evelyne Brochu) visiting as the 'girlfriend', tensions begin to rise and emotions head toward boiling point, with the fate of a family dangling on a knife edge.

Xavier Dolan's unique style of film direction continues to rear its head in what could be seen as one of his most ambitious and bold pictures so far in his glittering career. Presenting the audience with yet another homosexual-based drama riddled with emotional angst and truly vicious characters, Tom At The Farm is one film that singes itself into the brain and sticks their with a strong everlasting effect.

Intent on establishing the key characteristics of his protagonists, Dolan paints a very strong picture of each person involved in the proceedings and hammers home their reactions to the events unfolding with relative ease. From Dolan's very own Tom, whose depression and sorrow is clear for all to see, to Cardel's frankly horrible Francis, each individual is a presence when focused upon, and certainly provide the catalyst to drive the hard-hitting story on.

Dolan's turn as our main protagonist is commendable, conveying the sort of emotion you would expect from a character in his situation, while the physicality and harsh nature of Cardel's elder brother helps to create a situation in which us an audience often feel rather uncomfortable and unsettled. The pair battling with one another is helped along by a script that often stirs things up with some truly cutting dialogue and moments of true agonising awkwardness and painful scenarios. From Tom being cornered into a toilet cubicle, to a dance scene in a barn, the film's suggestive nature is as excruciating as the treatment Tom finds himself subject to, and really hits the audience hard.

It's the suggestive nature of the film that makes it so successful. Admittedly, at times, it does prove a little too much and not quite what we are looking for in such a drama, but when Dolan gets it right there are examples of great creativity in his emotional conveyance that really deliver the message.
Tom At The Farm will prove an excruciating uncomfortable view for many, with its powers of suggestion proving very unsettling at times. Despite this, director and star Xavier Dolan does counteract with powerful characters and a meaningful premise that once again shows his power of imaginative  cinema and cutting dialogue.

LFF 2013 - Northwest

Films about young criminals have almost become part and parcel on British filmmaking for some time now, with the likes of Kidulthood and beyond all serving up hard-hitting drama on the streets. One film looking to emanate those from the shores of Denmark is the gritty Northwest, a crime drama that really packs a hefty punch and brings to the foray a superb leading character.

Casper (Gustav Dyekjaer Giese) is a small-time criminal who spends his days breaking into people's homes and stealing valuable goods, only to sell them on to his 'boss' Jamal (Dulfi Al-Jabouri). Unfortunately for Casper, Jamal seems to be undervaluing the goods tht have been stolen and consequently the thief is becoming tired of his current employer's attitude towards him.

Cue Bjørn (Roland Møller), a seemingly big-time player in the criminal steaks, who offers Casper the chance to escape Jamal and work for him. Initially working on stolen goods, Casper soon works his way up the ranks under this new leadership and becomes a driver for prostitutes, earning him plenty of money to support his family. As his reputation begins to build, so does the unwanted attention from Jamal, and his brother Andy (real life sibling Oscar Dyekjaer Giese) also joining the ranks as his partner in crime creates a whole host of problems for Casper.

Those familiar with the territories of crime thrillers may look upon Northwest as yet another paint-by-numbers offering that appears on the surface as no more than another generic film not quite offering anything different. Thankfully, in Michael Noer's Northwest there is plenty to beam about, despite the subject matter being one that has been replicated time and time again.

Set in an area of Copenhagen commonly known as the Northwest, an area littered with criminals and often embroiled in gang feuds and violence, Northwest instantly strikes a chord in being a greatly grounded and honest representation of crime in a downtrodden area. The streets are filled with old and beaten-up cars, youths walk the streets looking for trouble, and gangs embark on the alleyways and garages around properties to plot their next mark of activity. It's all rather sticking to the core of realism and keeps within the lines to drop our characters into a world that we can ultimately remain invested in.

In that very world the character themselves also remain under that air of realism and rarely deter from it, helping to keep Northwest almost reminiscent of a crime documentary seen on television. This, in the main, is down to a superb leading performance from the elder Giese brother, whose presence and all-round characteristics drive forward the story of Casper. Casper is very much a young man whose priorities lie with his family, and when we experience his time with them is possibly when we get the best out of the actor. Conveying that love towards his mother and brother, and even more so when it comes to his young sister, Giese maintains a believability to Casper's insistence that they be rewarded for all his actions. This is very much a man whose criminal life seems the only option if his family is to live a good life and that air of desperation is always present upon his face throughout.

Alongside Giese, his real-life brother also packs a punch with an individual who very much wants to be like his brother, almost emanate him. Their relationship off-screen is clearly the catalyst for their on-screen partnership as the very actions and reactions to each other are pinpoint accurate to those of real life siblings, once again creating that authentic edge. Elsewhere, the rest of the cast do their best to portray individuals very much in the middle of a criminal life and, while they add some zest, are outshone by the two brothers.

Northwest could have been a simple and all too familiar offering into the library of crime-based films, but instead director Michael Noer differentiates and allows his picture to be seen away from the crowd. Gone is the usual path of a criminal we've seen all too often, instead replaced by a thoroughly interesting and strong lead whose journey is as enthralling as it is nail-biting. Both Giese brothers shine in their roles and help to add a nice punch to the events unfolding and the location of the film does wonders to create the atmosphere required for such a story. This is one Danish import worth investing in.

LFF 2013 - Afternoon Delight

Chances are you've seen Kathryn Hahn crop up in many a comedy, ranging from Bridesmaids to Anchorman - she's always been that woman in the background. So it brings great joy that she finally gets a chance to lead the way in her latest film, Afternoon Delight, showcasing her immense talents as an actress.

Hahn's Rachel is a married thirty-something with a young child who seems stuck in a rut. Her marriage is crumbling under the pressure of her husband's - Jeff (Josh Radnor) - insistence on working all the time and a lack of sexual activity in her life. Attempting to bring that 'something' back into their marriage, they both agree to head to a strip club in the hope that it will rekindle that old flame. While in the club, they come across beautiful blonde stripper McKenna (Juno Temple) whom Rachel takes a vested interest in.

A day passes and Rachel is keen to find out more about McKenna, and so heads out to the neighbourhood in which the stripper is located and the two begin to get to know one another more. When McKenna is left with nowhere to live, Rachel, always keen to help others out, offers a bed at hers. What Rachel doesn't realise is that her helpful nature is about to affect her life and everyone's around her, as McKenna becomes acquainted with her friends and family with serious consequences.

Afternoon Delight is a conundrum of a film that never quite identifies itself between being a comedy and/or a serious drama. At the heart of the story is a woman whose life is going through the ringer, her emotions all over the place and the physical side of her relationship really insignificant. While this real-life issue remains key, there are times where humour is attempted as means of escaping the situation at hand, but simply feels completely misplaced.

Nevertheless, the heart and soul of the film is undoubtedly Kathryn Hahn. Too long she has lingered in the background, and when she finally gets to step out from the shadows she really nails it with a powerful performance that truly hits home. While many may be under the impression that Hahn is a comedic performer, she turns the tables here with a striking emotive response, capturing the reality of her character's situation and drawing in the audience.

Providing their own source of acting calibre, co-stars Juno Temple and Josh Radnor are also on fine form. Two acting presences who feel at home on the indie circuit, Radnor and Temple are yet again welcome sights in their respective roles. Radnor's work-obsessed husband sees him move on from the single middle-aged characters we have grown to know him for, and he carries this extremely well, while Temple's promiscuous stripper McKenna is a familiar sight but yet far from a distraction from the positive. Much praise should also be given to Jane Lynch, whose limited screen time as Rachel's shrink proves she is still one of the best standout actresses out there. Witty and extremely clever, her delivery of dialogue and interaction with Hahn results in the most memorable scenes within the film.

It feels a great shame for such successful performances to be hampered by directing that ruins the dynamic of what could have been a very impressive film. You only have to look at one scene, involving a wives party that slowly descends into something that looks like it has been lifted straight out of a 'Real Housewives Of...' episode, to truly see that Afternoon Delight seriously lacks the directing prowess to couple with its A-class cast.

Filled with great performances, yet weighed down by an indecisiveness in its execution, Afternoon Delight often cracks open a can of laughter and combines with human drama, but is essentially all over the place. Not quite the delight it offers in the title.

LFF 2013 - Kill Your Darlings

It almost seems a blessing of sorts that Kill Your Darlings experienced issues initially with financing. After all, had the original cast of Jesse Eisenberg, Chris Evans and Ben Whishaw been banded together, we may have had a completely different film altogether. Thankfully, things changed along the way, and, spearheaded by Daniel Radcliffe and Dane DeHaan, Kill Your Darlings instead results in an utterly immersive and exceptional debut feature from director John Krokidas.

Based on a true story, the film tracks the early days of famous poet Allen Ginsberg (Radcliffe) as he works his way through freshman year at Colombia in 1944. Plagued by his unstable mother's condition and his father's unwillingness to help her, Allen's life is about to change when he meets the rebellious Lucien Carr (DeHaan), as well as fellow students William Burroughs (Ben Foster) and Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston).

Initially a student more interested in producing his poetry and working continuously on his typewriter, Ginsberg is soon introduced into a world filled with drugs, alcohol and rebellion as the intrigue of Lucien and his friends turns into a whole new outlook on life for Allen. Witnessing the craziness of Lucien's life, Allen partakes in copious drug and alcohol-fuelled days and gradually sees himself being drawn in by the aura of the volatile Lucien.

As he gets more involved with this wild individual, the figure of David Kammerer (Michael C. Hall) makes himself known and adds a whole new dynamic to this blossoming relationship. Lucien cannot rid himself of this man, but there may be one way he possibly could have him out of his life for good...

A sheer joy for so many reasons, Kill Your Darlings is one of those films that is extremely difficult not to like. For a debut director to tackle an era that has so often been imitated in many a film gone by is one thing, but to have big expectations upon him, especially with a superb cast at hand, Krokidas has created a hugely memorable film outing that will certainly have the audience searching up the main protagonists upon exiting the movie.

Why the praise, I hear you say? Well, Krokidas' directing talents are clear for the eye to see in many an instance. Firstly, the use of music in the film is a wonderful device to set the tone and introduce us to the Beat Generation, with toe-tapping tunes and even our characters dancing away to the wonderful music. His use of surroundings is also inspired, whether the interior of the very homes of individuals, the realms of the library, or the party locations, each have their own quirkiness and nail the 1944 feel wonderfully.

Where Krokidas does revel is in his standout scenes, with so many to note and admire. From a scene where the effects of drugs slow down those around Allen and his friends, creating almost an alternate world for them for an instance, to three intermittent scenes all sharing one key similarity, the director cleverly uses his expertise impressively. Such are the nature of the scenes that the actors involved all share a strong connection and that bond is extremely difficult to break throughout the film.

At the core of the film, Dane DeHaan and Daniel Radcliffe both excel in the shells of two great individuals. DeHaan once again proves he is the best young actor around currently, with his unhinged rebel Lucien, while Radcliffe impresses with his American accent and his spawning from timid young man to confident admirer of DeHaan's aura. Their chemistry is at times utterly electric, and the moments in which we witness the two of them gradually acknowledging their growing connection are spellbinding.

As well as DeHaan and Radcliffe, the supporting cast are also on the top of their game. Ben Foster is once again the perfect co-star as the unsettling yet massively interesting William, with Huston's Jack a nice dynamic character thrown in, and the likes of Elizabeth Olsen and David Cross both throwing in tidy less prominent characters into the mix.

A hugely successful first outing for director John Krokidas culminates in Dane DeHaan producing yet another spectacular performance and Daniel Radcliffe showing that he has the acting muscle to remove any previous typecasts with relative ease. Kill Your Darlings is bold, powerful and beautifully presented drama that is simply impossible to ignore. A must-see at all costs.

LFF 2013 - The Congress

After witnessing a rather unsatisfying taste of Robin Wright in Adore, my confidence levels for The Congress were actually pretty high before heading into see the film. With a promising trailer that unveiled an intriguing mix of real-life and animation, coupled with a rather fantastic cast, this was a film that ticked plenty of boxes, but ultimately it does lose its appeal as the duration goes on.

Based on the novel The Futurological Congress by Stanislaw Lem, Ari Folman's The Congress sees actress Robin Wright coming towards the end of her career as an actress. No longer wanted for big starring roles and accused of making the wrong choices throughout most of her acting career, Wright is almost forced into a deal with film company Miramount, meaning her physical acting days will be over.

Despite this, the company will be digitising her image and using it for films in many years to come, with her reaping the rewards, despite not actually physically playing the parts herself. 20 years pass and Wright's contract is up, meaning she has to attend a congress that is taking place in a vibrant and magical animated world. Upon arrival, things aren't quite what she expects and her whole life is turned upside down.

The Congress is very much a film that could be split into two in one way or another. With the first half focusing on the real world in which Wright, her family and her agent (Harvey Keitel) live, the second is a journey through the resplendent and stunning animated world which is ever-evolving. On paper, it certainly paints a lovely picture and, if anything, the idea of being immersed into a magical animated world is the most appealing of the two. Unfortunately, The Congress flips the rule book and is instead more favourable when in the real world.

It is in the real world that we can actually fully relate to the characters so important to the story itself. Robin Wright's now vulnerable and struggling actress is at her best when conveying the emotions that come with the changing film environment and her agent in Harvey Keitel does a splendid job in producing a meaningful and convincing agent out for the best for both him and his client. Also Danny Huston's forceful and domineering movie executive is a great cast member, his authoritarian side really bringing some punch to the story unfolding and introducing some strong views of the inside of Hollywood studios.

This aspect is relatable, it's strong and most of all, pinpoints the whole thesis of the story we are watching unfold. In between Robin's acting fate is also a hugely significant sub-plot in her son Aaron (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and his slowly declining health state, adding that extra element of emotion. Then the film delves into animation and loses it touch.

Despite utter beauty in its wonderful creative world, The Congress soon finds itself meandering in a story that loses its way and becomes all too overwhelming. The additional voice casting of Jon Hamm and some brilliant visual representations of famous persons alive and deceased (including a white-teethed Tom Cruise) are indeed the pick of the bunch in this section of the film, but these are a mere distraction from many a moment of confusion.

Beginning as a promising emotional ride with plenty of engaging characters, The Congress descends into a discombobulated animated pallet with a story lost like its main protagonist. One half real-life brilliance, the other a beautiful wreck, this is a mixed bag from director Ari Folman and doesn't quite live up to expectations like it really should.

LFF 2013 - Captain Phillips

Nowadays, the most striking of news stories that break are likely to receive a film treatment, eventually - 9/11 has seen its film portrayals and war epics have always been a big part of the industry. The latest real-life story to be portrayed on the big screen is of a captain who saw his life on the line after Somali pirates took over his ship. Paul Greengrass’ Captain Phillips is a simply ground-breaking and affecting picture to say the very least.

Captain Rich Phillips (Tom Hanks) is once again setting out for another voyage in charge of a cargo ship, heading out around the coast of Somalia. As he discusses with his wife (Catherine Keener), each voyage never gets easier, and this is one particular voyage that he will never forget.

As Phillips and his crew set out to deliver their cargo of food and supplies, the captain remains meticulous in his planning and organisation. Wary of previous pirate threats as they journey towards the Somali waters, he urges his crew to remain focused as they put into motion a drill to ensure everything is under control should an incident occur.

During the drill, a group of pirates look to infiltrate the ship and use hostages to gain much required supplies and money for their own means. Initially failing, the pirates, led by the skinny yet resolute Muse (Barkhad Abdi), board the ship and take Captain Phillips as hostage. With the crew hiding in the bowels of the ship, it is up to Phillips to risk his life and manage the situation before help hopefully arrives.

Paul Greengrass is no stranger to delivering truly authentic drama to the big screen and Captain Phillips is no different. Tackling a stunning real-life story, Greengrass orchestrates his film with  a pinpoint breathlessness from the off, first gently easing us in with short character studies of both our main protagonists, both innocent and guilty. Once he beds us in with our specific individuals involved, he then cranks it up a notch as we are fully embedded into a wonderfully tense spectacle, proving his might behind the camera yet again.

Gasps aplenty and nail-biting tension remain the order of the day once the ship is taken over, with Hanks running the show with an exceptional performance of raw emotion, grit and determination. The actor is still one of the best in the business and this shows in his physical and emotion role, in which his every scene is filled with acting prowess and defined quality.

The film is also bolstered in its villains of the piece in the way of Barkhad Abdi and Faysal Ahmed. Abdi’s Muse is certainly one to look out for, his character’s stature rather petite but his evil streak hugely affecting. From the very moment he declares himself captain, Abdi hammers home his portrayal with a menacing and unhinged individual who will stop at nothing to prove his worth.
Backed by a powerful score and some immensely striking cinematography and imagery, Greengrass excels in grabbing the audience by the scruff of the neck and dropping them into the full chaos and fear of the scenario. Possessing superb actors in his arsenal, the director pairs this with a fluid style of filmmaking and plenty of pulse-pounding instances, solidifying Captain Phillips’ status as an Oscar contender.

Imagine all the best elements from last year’s stellar entries Zero Dark Thirty and Argo, throw in an unbelievable Oscar-worthy performance from Tom Hanks, and finish off with a profoundly moving ending, and Captain Phillips strikes a chord, making it one of the best films of the year. Gripping, ground-breaking and heart-wrenching stuff.

LFF 2013 - The Bounceback

You won't go far in the comedy genre without realising that the fundamentals of relationships are key to the proceedings and drive the narrative towards its resulting laughs and eventual conclusion. One particular film that burrows deep into relationships at this year's London Film Festival is The Bounceback, as we tackle the lives of four close friends all experiencing troubles in their own love lives.

Cathy (Ashley Bell) and Stan (Michael Stahl-David) were once a happy couple living together and enjoying every moment with one another. The same could be said for Jeff (Zach Cregger) and Kara (Sara Paxton), but things have changed and now the two couples are no longer in their pairings, instead tip-toeing around with their friends and avoiding their dreaded exes.

That is until Cathy heads to Texas to visit Kara, and Jeff decides to brave a reunion with her via a convenient same-timed visit to his best friend Jeff. With the four all in the same state together and their determination to avoid one another slowly coming to a peak, it is only a matter of time before they will have to address the issues at hand and come to some resolution.

The Bounceback is one of those comedies that is warm, funny and provides a decent 90 minutes entertaining without becoming too strenuous or tedious. The main reason for this is in its foursome running the show from the very off; two very different pairs that work extremely well as a dynamic. On one side, the more reserved and softer individuals in Ashley Bell's Cathy and Michael Stahl-David's Stan, while the other pairing of Zach Cregger's Jeff and Sara Paxton's Kara are brilliantly wild, crazy and unpredictable.

These are four friends who are simply connectable in every single way; their relationship troubles something that many of us will relate to, and the instance of new people coming into their lives also very true to life in the way it is presented. While the couple of Bell and Stahl-David are particularly focused on as the main protagonists, it is in fact our 'side' couple that have the best moments.

While Jeff's obsession and desire to win at the air sex championships may seem a little odd and unsettling, his whole persona and one-liners are at the core of what makes The Bounceback as funny as it is. That and the brilliance of Sara Paxton, whose self-confessed slutty Kara is a great character for the brilliant actress to let her hair down. With various colours in her hair and a willingness to cause mayhem, Kara is everything a rebellious woman is about and her putdowns and actions represent hilarity in the picture.

Director Bryan Poyser has obviously drawn from real-life situations for the film as it feels refreshingly realistic in its approach with not only the characters but also particular scenarios. Whether it be a text exchange between Stan and new girl Haley (Addison Timlin) or a 'bros before hoes’ argument rumbling among friends, these are all moments in the film that instantly click that button in the mind and draw you in to the events unfolding.

Poyser knows his audience and for the most part gives them what they need, but at times it does feel like it needs a little kick of inspiration to make the film something refreshingly original. At times, it does feel like this is the kind of film where you already know the final outcome of the story and also require a few more laughs, but for the most part The Bounceback is a reliable horse to back for satisfaction.

It's not a ground-breaking comedy by any means but The Bounceback is a fun and laugh-worthy ride in the world of relationships. Sara Paxton is the star of the show but credit must go to the whole cast as they comfortably breeze through and give the audience something to smile about.

LFF 2013 - The Double

A man whose career has seen him span the comedy realms of television, before setting out on his own directorial quest with the wonderfully quirky Submarine, Richard Ayoade cuts an unforgettable figure. His light-hearted style and striking persona make him one of the most interesting up-and-coming British directors out there, and things only get more intriguing with his latest release, The Double.

From the very first scene of Ayoade's second directorial feature we have the perfect set-up for our main character in question. Hard up in life and devilishly short of luck, Simon (Jesse Eisenberg) is sitting in his seat on a subway train that contains just one other person. With the remainder of the seats empty, the other individual orders him to move from his seat stating 'that seat is mine'.

Consequently, Simon is forced to move and relinquish his seat despite no other seats being taken up.
It's a perfect introduction to a character who simply cannot catch a break. Living alone and finding himself the subject of ignorance at work, Simon is a shy and reserved individual who feels like a ghost to those around him. Trying to pluck up the courage to ask out colleague Hannah (Mia Wasikowska), he soon finds that life is about to get a lot tougher as his very own doppelganger James (also Eisenberg, obviously!) arrives on the scene. The problem is; James is confident and outspoken, leaving Simon even more forgotten by those around him.

Cut from the same cloth as Garth Marenghi's Darkplace, The Double is a darkly funny return for Ayoade behind the camera and a far cry from his debut, Submarine. Presented in an alternate world it seems, the director is intent in getting into your mind and sticking in there for some time after, with dimly-let sets and laughs aplenty to keep the ball rolling. Such is Ayoade's style, that as soon as you let out a laugh you instantly feel almost guilty, as it twists and turns once again into a dark void that is certainly harrowing and unsettling at times.

At the heart of the film is a truly commendable performance from the brilliant Jesse Eisenberg. Any actor who can adapt his range to not only play a rather shy and reserved character that leads the way, but also play his polar opposite, is worthy of praise, and Eisenberg certainly nails it. Presenting one man whose downward spiral called life just goes from bad to worse, Eisenberg instantly catches the eye as he bumbles through subway journeys, finds awkwardness in a lift, and struggles to maintain a conversation with the girl he likes. It's all done superbly, and when it comes to him letting go as counterpart James, the results are fantastic.

As well as Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska flexes her acting muscles yet again as she continues her fine form as one of the most impressive young actresses in the business. Initially a sweet-faced and innocent individual, Wasikowska soon descends into something different as Ayoade's penchant for turning slightly grim and plunging proceedings into the shadows rears its head. She is simply great, as too are the almost obligatory cameo appearances. Paddy Considine's 80s television sci-fi star is tremendous fun as he wields a laser gun and fights off enemies. While Chris O'Dowd's frantic medical advisor brings the craziness to one scene.

Richard Ayoade certainly possesses a wealth of directing talent and brings the majority of it to the plate with The Double. With a commanding blend of comedy and darkness, it may not fit with everyone, but for me personally it ticked all the boxes. Vigilant and impressive turns from both Eisenberg and Wasikowska, as well as a constant high level of directing, coupled with superb sound editing, make The Double one dark treat worth shining a light on.

LFF 2013 - We Are The Best!

The punk age of music was all about rebellion, standing out from the crowd and simply breaking away from the norm. With this firmly in mind, Swedish director Lukas Moodysson brings us his latest offering, We Are The Best!, combining punk with a wonderful story of three young girls living life to the full and embracing their growing friendship as they create their own band.

Set in the 1980s, We Are The Best! follows Bobo (Mira Barkhammar) and Klara (Mira Grosin), who are the best of friends, and seen as outcasts at their school. The main reason for this is their love for punk music; a genre that many see as aged and useless. Sporting their own punk-style hair and clothes, Bobo and Klara are on the cusp of being teenagers, and are enjoying the freedom and revitalisation that the music brings to them, resulting in their aspirations to be a band.

Eventually joined by the religious Hedvig (Liv LeMoyne), who is also cast out at school as one of the 'loser' kids, the young girls begin to spark up an unbreakable bond and friendship as they escape down a path of punk music, boys and discovery. Determined to showcase their song in the works, 'Hate The Sport', the girls soon find out what it means to be a tight-knit trio and dare to defy all those around them who doubt them.

The perfect film to give you that warm feeling inside, Moodysson's latest offering is as lively and endearing as the focus music featured in his movie. Pumping with punk songs left, right and centre, We Are The Best! is elevated with its lively soundtrack and strengthened further by a lovely story and a three-pronged attack on the core emotions through its wonderful lead actresses.

It's a great feat to get three young stars, of such young ages (12 and 13, to be precise) to command the screen and carry a film, but that's just what Barkhammar, Grosin and LeMoyne do, reminding the audience of their own childhood and how fun it was to hang with friends and experience the wonders of youth. All representing different types of characters, loud, reserved and shy, the girls bring a certain memorable edge to the film and consequently maintain a connection with the audience throughout. It's exceptional to see and is no doubt hugely down to the inspired decision from the director to have the girls live together during production of the film.

In having Bobo and Klara as untalented musicians and embracing Hedvig as the 'talented one', we also get a nice dynamic in the growing relationship, allowing for many moments of humour between the girls, almost improvised in their nature. These are among the peaks of the film and once again leave us the viewer smiling from ear to ear.

That's exactly what We Are The Best! is all about; connecting with its audience and leaving them with a warm heart and a huge smile on their face, and Moodysson's film does exactly that. It's key characters are all ones you want to back from start to end, the issues of youth covered (first love, poor decisions etc) are all very familiar and the backdrop of the punk scene all combine to create a wonderful concoction of a film defying the generic coming-of-age cliché.

We Are The Best! is a lovely surprise of a film that stands on its own two feet, providing a beautiful chemistry between its lead trio and leaves you with a grin like a cheshire cat. It's bold, humourous and packs plenty of charisma, very much like its focus music genre. This may be the best thing to come out of Sweden since IKEA...

LFF 2013 - Like Father, Like Son

Films that tackle real-life issues are often those that seem to connect to the audience much easier than, per say, a science fiction epic or an action-adventure. This often is the case due to the strength and relation with the featured characters that the audience find, and none more-so than with Hirokazu Koreeda's latest film, the powerful and emotionally driven Like Father, Like Son.

Work-driven architect Ryota (Masharu Fukushima) lives with his wife Midori (Machika Ono) and their six-year-old son Keita in a posh and pristine apartment and live a seemingly structural life. Ryota dedicates his life to work as the breadwinner of the family, while Midori works in a shop and tends to their child and maintains the homestead. Ryota has strong beliefs that his son be independent, even at his young age, ensuring he plays the piano each day and keeps that same structure applied to the young boy.

When they are summoned to the hospital, a revelation is announced as the parents discover that their child was actually swapped at birth with another, meaning Keita is not their child. Instead, a child named Ryusei is their own blood; his family at current being a mother, father, a brother and a sister. The polar opposite of Ryota, Ryusei's father is a happy-go-lucky man who invests his time with his children, often playing in ball pens with them, sharing baths and generally enjoying their company whenever he can.

As it becomes apparent that the children can be swapped back, an emotional situation boils up and the families must decide what action to take while the children are still young.

Japanese films have a special bond with the subject of family, and Like Father, Like Son is no different. Koreeda, who has gone on record to say just how personal this film is to him, presents a feature that sparks an instant connection with the audience in the way it is presented. Exploring what it means to be a parent and just how different some parents' approaches to their children vary, it is a fantastic study of humanity and our emotions.

What is most impressive is how the director creates a dynamic between the two involved families thrust into this unique and shocking situation. On one side the unbelievably exceptional Masahura Fukushima, whose parenting skills seem to be lacking, while the other father in the equation representing what a father figure should be about. While the men differ in opinions at to what should be done to solve their issue, the women of the story seem to be those who agree and have to be the problem solvers.

The gulf in characterisation is what provides the most interest in the film without a doubt, and this drives the emotional connection that is present throughout. From Ryota, with his hotel-like apartment and love for work, we instantly see he is the most troubled father, while our second father is the one whom instantly we feel a love and warmth towards. As the story drives on, we get a sense of how each is taking the news and, of course, the difficulty the children themselves are having with this awkward discovery.

The child performers themselves are also to be highly praised. They are the ones who duel with the dramatic side of things, often throwing in the more light-hearted moments of the film, but not without adding their own slice of heartiness. Such is the strength of the cast, that Like Father, Like Son breaks the boundaries of age and gives you a truly honest and heartfelt scenario that all can reach out to.

A stunning and impressive drama from director Hirokazu Koreeda, Like Father, Like Son is a breathtaking family-based Japanese offering with plenty of heart and grand performances, particularly from Masahura Fukushima. It weaves a web of intrigue for the audience and never breaks that connection, culminating in one of the best foreign entries of the year and one to savour long after the credits appear.

LFF 2012 - The Summit

Of all the featured documentaries laden across this year's schedule for the BFI London Film Festival, The Summit was one that instantly stood out from the crowd. The sheer thought of a film that tracks mountaineering and the individuals involved in such a dangerous and life-threatening past-time, appeared an interesting spectacle.

K2, also known as the Savage Mountain, is the focal point of what is an ultimately fascinating documentary surrounding a group of climbers who embarked on a mission in 2008 to conquer the mountain with the second-highest fatality rate in the world and return to their families unscathed.
Four years ago saw the most dangerous and dramatic event in all of mountaineering as 24 climbers from a variety of nations took the challenge to conquer K2 and reach the highest peak. Some having already failed previously, others striving for glory having never experienced the terrors of such an intimidating natural behemoth.

Central to The Summit comes a story of profound sadness and sacrifice as we witness the tragic demise of Irishman Ger McDonnell, just one of those eleven climbers who lost their lives over that fateful period in August. An approachable person and a favourite among the teams climbing, McDonnell lost his life after breaking the code in which all climbers agree to leave behind those who have fallen or are trapped. Instead of heading to safety himself, McDonnell aimed for courage as he set out to save those in trouble, only to fail at the hands of the deadly natural elements.

Charting McDonnell's path, as well as the men who accompanied him on the mission, The Summit documents a truly riveting and unmissable spectacle that will have you on the edge of your seat until its conclusion.

Morality, brotherhood and ultimately loss are the key elements that drive Nick Ryan's The Summit to the pinnacle of documentary making. His beautiful blend of interviews, reconstructed footage and breathtaking imagery provide what is not only one of the year's most well-balanced documentaries but one that tugs at the heart strings and offers a real representation of human nature in tough circumstances.

In the reconstruction element of the film, The Summit thrives through the cinematography of Robbie Ryan where we are witness to the spectacular views of the K2 landscapes; a beauty that soon turns to a beast of disastrous consequences. Introducing to us a plethora of varied shots covering the stunning snow-covered mountains, Ryan is quick to acknowledge such unmatched wonders and uses them to create a sense of wonderment before all flips on its head.

Beauty turned sour soon results in some rather harrowing reconstructive footage as we track the climbers from their initial planning of the expedition to reaching the pinnacle of K2, before disaster strikes as the descent proves that the Death Zone really has the name for a good reason. Merging superbly with the acting element of the film, the actual footage from the climbers and the several interviews with survivors and family members also play a key part in creating a film that truly immerses its audience.

Witnessing family members heartbroken when recounting the fateful days in which their loved ones perished or their lives hung in the balance really hits home and The Summit neatly and respectfully deals with each individual in a decent manner. Amongst the interviews, footage and real-life drama, one element of the film also looks to its audience to solve some conundrums raised.

In bringing forward the media's viewpoint of the tragic losses in 2008, The Summit cleverly grabs its audience not only emotively but also in raising certain questions regarding the huge event it has covered. In featuring the media's view that the climbers were in fact inexperienced and therefore heading to almost certain death, Nick Ryan's film also proves to become a thinking man's documentary as well as one to document a truly tragic event.

Poignant at times and forever gripping, The Summit is a remarkable documentary surrounding what was an exceptionally tragic event. The interviews will tug at the heart strings and the cinematography present the wow factor, but it is the human side of the film that wins most plaudits. Essentially a film of memories, The Summit features some incredibly engaging and intriguing real-life characters and whether you are a mountaineering enthusiast or not, is sure to have you on the edge of your seat throughout.