Film Eye

Locke

Locke
Audience rating:
4.2 / 5
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Locke

Locke is is a uniquely gripping thriller from Oscar-nominated writer-director STEVEN KNIGHT. It is shot in ground-breaking style, following one man, Ivan Locke (TOM HARDY), as he races from Birmingham to London, where a woman with whom he had a one-night stand is giving birth to his child. In real time we follow his desperate attempts, in phone calls with his wife, sons and work colleagues, to prevent his life falling apart. ‘This ingeniously executed study in cinematic minimalism has depth, beauty and poise’ (Leslie Felperin, Variety), and won the British Independent Film Award for Best Film last year, with Hardy nominated for Best Actor.

Audience rating:
4.2 / 5
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Labor Day

Labor Day
Audience rating:
3.9 / 5
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Labor Day

Labor Day is a poignant and heart-warming movie that combines kidnap thriller, coming-of-age tale and romantic melodrama. A single mother, Adele (KATE WINSLET), and her son are taken hostage by an escaped convict, Frank (JOSH BROLIN). As their initial fear recedes they develop a close attachment to Frank and the three of them become, for a while at least, like a family. Kate Winslet's ‘bravura’ performance (Geoffrey Macnab, The Independent) was nominated for a Golden Globe and this latest from critically acclaimed director JASON REITMAN is ‘a lovely, intimate film... beautifully told and beautifully acted’ (Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times).

Audience rating:
3.9 / 5
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Starred Up

Starred Up
Audience rating:
4.1 / 5
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Starred Up

Starred Up is an extraordinary prison drama. JACK O'CONNELL plays Eric Love, a young offender moved prematurely to an adult jail ("starred up"), where his violent behaviour disrupts the running of the prison. His father Neville (BEN MENDELSOHN), who is a hardman lifer in the same prison, is charged with keeping him in order. The trouble is, Eric hasn't seen his dad since he was five. This ‘brilliant portrayal of prison life’ (Henry Barnes, The Guardian) is 'furiously compelling stuff, convincingly mounted and superbly acted’ (Tom Huddleston, Time Out). It was nominated for eight British Independent Film Awards last year – more than any other film.

Audience rating:
4.1 / 5
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The Invisible Woman

Magazine issue number: 27
The Invisible Woman
Audience rating:
4.3 / 5
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The Invisible Woman

Magazine issue number: 27

The Invisible Woman is an enthralling and beautifully filmed portrayal of the real-life secret love affair between Charles Dickens (RALPH FIENNES) and a young actress some 30 years his junior, Ellen ("Nelly") Ternan (FELICITY JONES). 'Brilliantly acted' and 'vibrantly alive' (Scott Foundas, Variety), this 'intelligent, exceptionally well-crafted film' (Philip Kemp, Sight & Sound) has been tipped for awards, not only for the actors but also for the script, cinematography and design. 'Period biographical dramas don't come much better,' wrote Todd McCarthy in The Hollywood Reporter, and this makes for 'an exceptional film' (Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times).

Audience rating:
4.3 / 5
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Nebraska

Magazine issue number: 26
Nebraska
Audience rating:
4.6 / 5
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Nebraska

Magazine issue number: 26

Nebraska is a bitter-sweet comic road-trip undertaken by a stubborn old man, Woody (BRUCE DERN), and his son David (WILL FORTE). Dern's wonderfully nuanced performance won him the Best Actor award at Cannes and director ALEXANDER PAYNE (Sideways, The Descendants) was nominated for the Palme d'Or. Consummately well-crafted, Nebraska is 'always funny and smart' (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian) and has been tipped for Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Director, Leading Actor, Leading Actress, Original Screenplay, Original Soundtrack and Cinematography.

Audience rating:
4.6 / 5
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Amour

Magazine issue number: 25
Amour
Audience rating:
4.3 / 5
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Amour

Magazine issue number: 25

Amour is the disturbing and moving depiction of an elderly Parisian couple having to cope with the woman’s mental and physical deterioration following a stroke. Greeted with resounding critical acclaim, Amour is ‘a devastating, highly intelligent and astonishingly performed work… a masterpiece’ (Dave Calhoun, Time Out). Director and writer MICHAEL HANEKE won the Palme d’Or for it in Cannes this year, where Amour was described as ‘film-making at the highest pitch of intelligence and insight. Haneke's mastery and supremacy have resounded here in Cannes like an orchestral chord’ (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian).

Audience rating:
4.3 / 5
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Shadow Dancer

Magazine issue number: 24
Shadow Dancer
Audience rating:
4.1 / 5
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Shadow Dancer

Magazine issue number: 24

Shadow Dancer is a taut psychological thriller set during the Troubles in Northern Ireland that has been called ‘riveting’ (Tim Robey, The Daily Telegraph), ‘mesmerising’ (Ed Gibbs, The Independent) and ‘brilliant’ (Damon Wise, The Guardian). It focuses on Colette, a young mother (played by Andrea Riseborough) who must agree to betray her beliefs and spy on her family if she is to see her young son grow up, and whose fate lies in the hands of secret service agent Mac (played by Clive Owen).

Audience rating:
4.1 / 5
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A Royal Affair

Magazine issue number: 23
A Royal Affair
Audience rating:
4.7 / 5
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A Royal Affair

Magazine issue number: 23

A Royal Affair is the extraordinary true story of a scandal that rocked 18th century Denmark and changed the political landscape of Europe. It follows a similar arc to The King’s Speech (2010) in charting an unlikely friendship between a King and his physician. What sets this royal epic apart is that this doctor was a radical who persuaded the King to pass political reforms and also became intimately involved with the Queen. This gripping tale of passion, politics, intrigue and tragedy is recounted with ‘elegance, intelligence and clarity’ (David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter).

Audience rating:
4.7 / 5
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A Dangerous Method

Magazine issue number: 22
A Dangerous Method
Audience rating:
3.7 / 5
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A Dangerous Method

Magazine issue number: 22

A Dangerous Method is about the turbulent relationships between pioneering psychiatrists Carl Jung (MICHAEL FASSBENDER), Sigmund Freud (VIGGO MORTENSEN) and a troubled young woman, Sabina Spielrein (KEIRA KNIGHTLEY), who comes between them. A fact-based costume drama, it marks a departure from the horror films for which director DAVID CRONENBERG is renowned. It is ‘elegant and absorbing… beautifully watchable and driven by a series of thoughtful and stylish performances’ (Mark Adams, Screen International). The film was nominated for a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and the actors have been nominated for various critics’ awards, including Mortensen for a Golden Globe.

Audience rating:
3.7 / 5
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Martha Marcy May Marlene

Magazine issue number: 21
Martha Marcy May Marlene
Audience rating:
4.3 / 5
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Martha Marcy May Marlene

Magazine issue number: 21

Martha Marcy May Marlene is about a young woman (played by Elizabeth Olsen) who flees a sinister cult based on a rundown farm in America's Catskill Mountains. Writer-director Sean Durkin’s feature debut, it won the Best Director Award at the Sundance Film Festival and the Prix de la Jeunesse at Cannes in 2011. It’s ‘remarkably assured’ and Olsen is ‘a revelation’, said Wendy Ide, writing in The Times. Rolling Stone's Peter Travers concurred that Olsen is 'an actress of uncommon subtlety and feeling. It's a sensational performance in a gripping psychological thriller.'

Audience rating:
4.3 / 5
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The Descendants

Magazine issue number: 20
The Descendants
Audience rating:
4.3 / 5
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The Descendants

Magazine issue number: 20

The Descendants is a gently bittersweet comedy drama from ALEXANDER PAYNE (Election, About Schmidt, Sideways). ‘Another blissful slice of Americana that confirms Payne as the finest chronicler of human foibles working in US movies,’ wrote Mike Goodridge in Screen International. ‘Both hilariously funny and heartbreakingly sad, it’s a beautifully observed movie.’ Set inHawaii, it charts the fallout from a speedboat accident that has left a woman in a coma. GEORGE CLOONEY stars as the woman’s husband in what several critics have called his best ever performance. Clooney, Payne and the film itself are on most lists of Oscar favourites.

Audience rating:
4.3 / 5
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The Skin I Live In

Magazine issue number: 19
The Skin I Live In
Audience rating:
4.5 / 5
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The Skin I Live In

Magazine issue number: 19

The Skin I Live In is a thriller and horror story, a modern-day Frankenstein tale, from maverick Spanish director PEDRO ALMODOVAR. Many thought this sublimely fashioned and compelling melodrama, which stars ANTONIO BANDERAS, should have won the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The Daily Telegraph's David Gritten called it 'the work of a master near the top of his game' and Wendy Ide in The Times praised it as 'Almodóvar at his most obscenely entertaining and shamelessly exploitative’.

Audience rating:
4.5 / 5
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Beginners

Magazine issue number: 18
Beginners
Audience rating:
4.2 / 5
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Beginners

Magazine issue number: 18

Beginners is all about fresh starts. EWAN McGREGOR is Oliver, whose father Hal (CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER) has just died. Oliver recalls how Hal came out as gay five years earlier at the age of 75, after the death of his wife of 45 years, and the film follows Oliver’s attempts to embrace love when it begins to blossom, just as his dad did. The romantic comedy label doesn’t do justice to this ‘deeply poignant’ (Peter Debruge, Variety) and ‘marvellously inventive’ film (David Edelstein, New York Magazine) which will ‘entrance sophisticated audiences’ (Allan Hunter, Screen International).

Audience rating:
4.2 / 5
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Never Let Me Go

Magazine issue number: 17
Never Let Me Go
Audience rating:
4.4 / 5
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Never Let Me Go

Magazine issue number: 17

Never Let Me Go is a poignant love story set in an England that is at once familiar and subtly altered. It focuses on three children as they grow up and come to terms with both their feelings for each other and a sinister fate that awaits them. This is ‘British film at its very best', with ‘outstanding' performances (David Gritten, The Daily Telegraph) from CAREY MULLIGAN, ANDREW GARFIELD and KEIRA KNIGHTLEY. All three were nominated for British Independent Film Awards (with Carey Mulligan named Best Actress) and Evening Standard Film Awards. ‘This is a moving and provocative film that initially unsettles, then disturbs and finally haunts you' (Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times).

Audience rating:
4.4 / 5
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Black Swan

Magazine issue number: 16
Black Swan
Audience rating:
4.4 / 5
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Black Swan

Magazine issue number: 16

Black Swan is a dark psychological thriller about a dancer in a New York ballet company whose obsessive quest for perfection causes her to become dangerously unhinged. Fantasy and reality become intertwined in her mind as she becomes enmeshed in a web of intrigue, and she is tortured by paranoid hallucinations as the drama approaches its thunderous finale. ‘Alternately disturbing and exhilarating' (Mike Goodridge, Screen International), this is ‘bravura moviemaking' and many critics expect NATALIE PORTMAN to win an Oscar for her ‘searing' performance in the title role (Geoffrey Macnab, The Independent).

Audience rating:
4.4 / 5
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Somewhere

Magazine issue number: 15
Somewhere
Audience rating:
3.8 / 5
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Somewhere

Magazine issue number: 15

Somewhere is writer-director SOFIA COPPOLA's affecting portrait of a jaded movie star, which won the Golden Lion, top prize at the Venice film festival, this year. It marks ‘an entrancing return to form' (Mark Adams, Screen International) for Coppola, whose acclaimed Lost in Translation (2003) won an Oscar for Best Screenplay as well as nominations for Best Director and Best Picture. Her depiction here of the absurdity and emptiness of life in the celebrity bubble ‘further hones her gifts for ruefully funny observation and understated melancholy' (Justin Chang, Variety). Grazia magazine called it ‘a must for fans of her absorbing, intimate style'.

Audience rating:
3.8 / 5
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The Kids Are All Right

Magazine issue number: 14
The Kids Are All Right
Audience rating:
4.4 / 5
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The Kids Are All Right

Magazine issue number: 14

The Kids Are All Right is an astutely observed comedy drama about modern family life. ANNETTE BENING and JULIANNE MOORE have been widely tipped for Oscar nominations for their performances as a lesbian couple with two teenage children, both conceived from the same anonymous sperm donor. Their domestic set-up is disturbed when that sperm donor, played by MARK RUFFALO, unexpectedly enters their lives. This ‘wonderfully realistic film is both deeply affecting and riotously funny' (Sarah Cohen, Time Out) and is ‘an exceptional drama... the sort of pleasingly grown-up fare [that is] all too rare' (Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times).

Audience rating:
4.4 / 5
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Made in Dagenham

Magazine issue number: 13
Made in Dagenham
Audience rating:
4.5 / 5
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Made in Dagenham

Magazine issue number: 13

Made in Dagenham is a rousing comedy-drama based on a women's strike at the Ford car plant in Dagenham, east London, in 1968. SALLY HAWKINS leads a strong British cast, including BOB HOSKINS, MIRANDA RICHARDSON, GERALDINE JAMES and ROSAMUND PIKE, in charting the women's ground-breaking fight to achieve equal pay. It is a colourful, well-crafted dramatisation of history in the making, ‘more entertaining than earnest' and ‘heart-warming, inspiring and funny' (Grazia).

Audience rating:
4.5 / 5
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The Illusionist

Magazine issue number: 12
The Illusionist
Audience rating:
4.7 / 5
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The Illusionist

Magazine issue number: 12

The Illusionist is a poignant animated feature from SYLVAIN CHOMET, whose last full-length film, Belleville Rendez-vous, aka The Triplets of Belleville (2003) earned him two Oscar nominations. It is ‘exquisite and heart-rendingly affecting' (Trevor Johnston, Time Out), the story of an ageing conjuror in the dying days of variety entertainment at the end of the 1950s, when TV and rock'n'roll were taking over.

Audience rating:
4.7 / 5
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Crazy Heart

Magazine issue number: 11
Crazy Heart
Audience rating:
4.3 / 5
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Crazy Heart

Magazine issue number: 11

Crazy Heart is the portrait of an ageing, alcoholic one-time country music star, played by JEFF BRIDGES, which may be said to mark the pinnacle of Bridges's illustrious career. He has been awarded the Oscar for Best Leading Actor as well as the Golden Globe for Best Actor. MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL was also nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role as a single mother and local newspaper journalist who interviews Bridges's character, Bad Blake, and, despite her reservations, becomes romantically involved with him.

Audience rating:
4.3 / 5
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Micmacs

Magazine issue number: 10
Micmacs
Audience rating:
4.4 / 5
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Micmacs

Magazine issue number: 10

Micmacs is a vibrant urban fairytale from JEAN-PIERRE JEUNET, the acclaimed French director of Delicatessen (1990), The City of Lost Children (1995), Amelie (2001) and A Very Long Engagement (2004). Its ingenious plot centres on a group of resourceful misfits who provoke two rival arms dealers into fighting one another. The toast of many film festivals prior to its cinema release, it is ‘pure entertainment' - ‘a pleasing original comedy with charm to spare' with ‘brilliant' visual and wordplay gags that is ‘boundlessly inventive' (Mike Goodridge, Screen International).

Audience rating:
4.4 / 5
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Up in the Air

Magazine issue number: 9
Up in the Air
Audience rating:
4.0 / 5
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Up in the Air

Magazine issue number: 9

Up in the Air is hotly tipped by critics for Oscar success. A slick romantic comedy, it is also very poignant and ‘one of those rare mainstream Hollywood pictures that addresses contemporary issues gracefully' (Tim Grierson, Screen International). GEORGE CLOONEY stars as a man hired by companies to tell their employees they are fired. Much of his time is spent flying back and forth across the States and he lives for the perks of this life, avoiding meaningful human connections.

Audience rating:
4.0 / 5
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Bright Star

Magazine issue number: 8
Bright Star
Audience rating:
4.3 / 5

Bright Star

Magazine issue number: 8

Bright Star is the story of the love affair between Romantic poet John Keats (BEN WHISHAW) and Fanny Brawne (ABBIE CORNISH) in the two years before his death from tuberculosis at the age of 25 in 1821. Written and directed by JANE CAMPION (winner of an Oscar for The Piano), it has been described as ‘exquisite' by several critics and tipped for awards success.

Audience rating:
4.3 / 5

Broken Embraces

Magazine issue number: 7
Broken Embraces
Audience rating:
4.2 / 5

Broken Embraces

Magazine issue number: 7

Broken Embraces is the latest stylish offering from PEDRO ALMODOVAR (All About My Mother, Talk to Her, Bad Education, Volver). A cleverly constructed melodrama with both film noir and comedy elements, it features a blind scriptwriter who had been a film director before losing his sight in a car crash. He recalls a passionate affair with the leading lady of his last movie (PENELOPE CRUZ) who was also the mistress of the shady industrialist financing the picture. ‘Pure moviegoing pleasure' said Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian.

Audience rating:
4.2 / 5

The White Countess

Magazine issue number: 6
The White Countess

The White Countess

Magazine issue number: 6

The White Countess is the final film from the acclaimed producer-director partnership of ISMAIL MERCHANT and JAMES IVORY, made before Merchant's sudden death in 2005. Set in Shanghai in the late 1930s, KAZUO ISHIGURO's original screenplay charts the relationship between blind American ex-diplomat Todd Jackson (RALPH FIENNES) and penniless Russian émigrée Countess Sofia (NATASHA RICHARDSON).

Capote

Magazine issue number: 5
Capote

Capote

Magazine issue number: 5

Capote is an absorbing biographical drama, the unnervingly perceptive portrait of Truman Capote (PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN), author of Breakfast at Tiffany's. Critics described Hoffman's nuanced and insightful portrayal as 'mesmerising' and he was awarded an Oscar, a Bafta and a Golden Globe for Best Actor. The film also received Oscar and Bafta nominations for best film, director, adapted screenplay and supporting actress.

My Summer of Love

Magazine issue number: 4
My Summer of Love

My Summer of Love

Magazine issue number: 4

My Summer of Love is the intoxicating story of a friendship between two teenage girls one summer which becomes increasingly intense. The unlikely protagonists are Mona (NATALIE PRESS), sparky but poor, and the accomplished TAMSIN (EMILY BLUNT), back from boarding school. It is directed by PAWEL PAWLIKOWSKI with music by Goldfrapp. Jason Solomons writing in The Observer described it as a 'gorgeous little film' and it won the Michael Powell Award for Best British Film at the Edinburgh Film Festival.

The Saddest Music in the World

Magazine issue number: 3
The Saddest Music in the World

The Saddest Music in the World

Magazine issue number: 3

The Saddest Music in the World is a surreal film by GUY MADDIN featuring a competition run by a brewery proprietor (ISABELLA ROSSELLINI) in Winnipeg in 1933 during the Great Depression. She knows that sorrow is best drowned in beer and organises a contest to find the saddest music around as a means of promoting her beer in the US as Prohibition ends. Musicians come from all over the world to compete for the huge cash prize.

Capturing the Friedmans

Magazine issue number: 2
Capturing the Friedmans

Capturing the Friedmans

Magazine issue number: 2

Capturing the Friedmans charts the real-life disintegration of a family, following the arrest of father Arnold and youngest son Jesse for sexually molesting young boys. Incredibly the disturbing story is told through actual video footage shot by family members themselves. Their predilection for goofing around in front of the camera, even as the crisis unfolded, makes it especially engrossing. It won the Grand Jury Prize for best documentary at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival.

The Station Agent

Magazine issue number: 1
The Station Agent

The Station Agent

Magazine issue number: 1

The Station Agent features a dwarf trainspotter (PETER DINKLAGE) who inherits an abandoned rural train station. He heads off to live there and, despite seeking solitude, finds it hard to avoid attention. A distracted artist (PATRICIA CLARKSON) nearly knocks him over and an over-friendly hot-dog vendor (BOBBY CANNAVALE) is forever knocking on his door. In spite of himself, he becomes swept up in their lives, finding friendship and romance. This charming and engaging film won the Sundance Film Festival Audience Award and a BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay.