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Film Review: 'The Nut Job'

12 hours ago

★★★☆☆Making a successful feature length cartoon is a hard nut to crack. For every animated hit, a dozen sink without trace, relegated to being stuck on the DVD player just to keep the kids quiet on a wet afternoon. Fortunately, though clearly no Oscar contender, neither is Peter Lepeniotis' harmless The Nut Job (2014) a dud. Surly (Canadian comic actor Will Arnett) the squirrel has been banished from the rodent community in the inner-city park where he lives. Desperate to find food to survive on the mean city streets Surly, and his rat friend Buddy (Robert Tinkler), discover heaven - the seemingly abandoned Nut Shop. Unknown to them, however, the shop is cover for a group of desperate bank robbers.

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- CineVue UK

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Competition: Win prison drama 'Starred Up' on DVD

14 hours ago

From the director of Hallam Foe and Perfect Sense, David Mackenzie's Starred Up (2013) sees rising star Jack O'Connell take the lead as a troubled and explosively violent teenager transferred to adult prison where he finally meets his match - a man who also happens to be his father. To celebrate the eagerly anticipated DVD and Blu-ray release of Mackenzie's Starred Up this Monday (4 August), we have Three DVD copies of this gritty British prison drama to offer out to our valued loyal readers, courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. This is an exclusive competition for our Facebook and Twitter fans, so if you haven't already, 'Like' us at facebook.com/CineVueUK or follow us @CineVue before answering the question below.

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- CineVue UK

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Competition: Win 'Half of a Yellow Sun' on DVD

14 hours ago

Biyi Bandele makes his directorial debut with this adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's acclaimed novel Half of a Yellow Sun, starring British actors Thandie Newton and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Set in the late 1960s, the film follows twin sisters Olanna (Newton) and Kainene (Anika Noni Rose) as they arrive back home in Nigeria having finished their studies in England. To celebrate the home entertainment release of Half of a Yellow Sun (2013) this Monday (4 August), we have Three DVD copies to give away thanks to the kind folks at Soda Pictures. This is an exclusive competition for our Facebook and Twitter fans, so if you haven't already, 'Like' us at facebook.com/CineVueUK or follow us @CineVue before answering the question below.

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- CineVue UK

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Competition: Win Ayoade's 'The Double' on DVD

15 hours ago

Jesse Eisenberg (times two) and Mia Wasikowska star in writer/director Richard Ayoade's Submarine follow-up The Double (2013), a stylish adaptation of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's novella about a man who goes insane after the appearance of his doppelgänger. To celebrate the DVD and Blu-ray release of the British actor and director's sophomore feature this coming Monday (4 August), we have Three DVD copies of Ayoade's The Double to give away to our regular readership, kindly donated by the hardworking team at the film's distributor StudioCanal UK. This is an exclusive competition for our Facebook and Twitter fans, so if you haven't already, 'Like' us at facebook.com/CineVueUK or follow us @CineVue before answering the question below.

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- CineVue UK

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Competition: Win 'We Are the Best!' *closed*

15 hours ago

An adaptation of the graphic novel written by Lukas Moodysson's wife Coco, We Are the Best! (2013) revolves around three girls (Bobo, Hedvig and Klara) in 1980s Stockholm who decide to form a punk band - despite not having any instruments and being told by everyone that punk is dead. To celebrate the home entertainment release of Moodysson's winning crowd-pleaser this coming Monday (28 July), we have Three DVD copies of We Are the Best! to give away to our valued readers, kindly provided by the always generous folks at Metrodome Distribution. This is an exclusive competition for our Facebook and Twitter fans, so if you haven't already, 'Like' us at facebook.com/CineVueUK or follow us @CineVue before answering the question below.

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- CineVue UK

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DVD Review: 'We Are the Best!'

16 hours ago

★★★★☆Coco Moodysson's autobiographical 2008 graphic novel Never Goodnight related the delight and difficultly of forming a punk band, aged 13, in 1982. Along with two friends, and against the expectations of their peers and the adults around them, Moodysson created a dark and poignant tale of three friends who evince the spirit of punk at an age when change is painful, exhilarating and inevitable. Five years later the writer's husband, the director Lukas Moodysson, was looking for a new project. Following the death of Lukas' father, Coco felt a lighter, more upbeat film would be ideal. So, when he asked to adapt Never Goodnight, Coco's blessing was duly given to what would become We Are the Best! (2013).

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- CineVue UK

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Film Review: 'Delight'

31 July 2014 2:56 PM, PDT

★★☆☆☆The second entry in a proposed trilogy from British independent director Gareth Jones (2009's Desire being the inaugural chapter), Delight (2014) isn't short on lofty concepts and ideas but does rather struggle to lift itself above its budgetary limitations. A meditation on loss, memory and the post-traumatic stress disorder (Ptsd) plaguing Jeanne Balibar's haunted war photographer, there are certainly comparables to be drawn between Jones' latest and Erik Poppe's recent Juliette Binoche-starring A Thousand Times Good Night (2013), though the latter film comes up trumps in terms of dramatically realising the familial fractures that can emerge as a by-product of such a perilous vocation.

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- CineVue UK

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Competition: Win 'Venus in Fur' *closed*

31 July 2014 2:29 PM, PDT

Based on the Tony Award-winning play by David Ives, Roman Polanski's Venus in Fur (2013) is a playful, highly intelligent and multi-layered examination of passion, perversion and the battle of the sexes from the acclaimed French director (Chinatown, The Pianist). To celebrate the home entertainment release of Polanski's latest offering this coming Monday (28 July), we have Three DVD copies of the challenging and witty Venus in Fur to give away to our cultured returning readers, courtesy of the team at independent and world cinema distributors Artificial Eye. This is an exclusive competition for our Facebook and Twitter fans, so if you haven't already, 'Like' us at facebook.com/CineVueUK or follow us @CineVue before answering the question below.

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- CineVue UK

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Competition: Win 'Noah' on Blu-ray *closed*

31 July 2014 2:28 PM, PDT

Darren Aronofsky, the Academy Award-winning director behind Requiem for a Dream (2000) and Black Swan (2010), takes the helm of this epic re-telling of the biblical tale, Noah (2014). Academy Award winner Russell Crowe stars in the film inspired by the epic story of courage, sacrifice and hope. In addition, the supporting cast features such talents as Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins, Logan Lerman and Ray Winstone. To celebrate the home entertainment release of Aronofsky's bold take on a familiar tale, we have Five Blu-ray copies of Noah to give away. This is an exclusive competition for our Facebook and Twitter fans, so if you haven't already, 'Like' us at facebook.com/CineVueUK or follow us @CineVue before answering the question below.

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- CineVue UK

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Film Review: 'Mood Indigo'

31 July 2014 8:54 AM, PDT

★★☆☆☆French director Michel Gondry is well-known for his eccentricities and wild imagination. However, with his latest quirksome endeavour, Mood Indigo (2013), the director falls into the trap of artifice over art, neglecting both plot and themes in favour of wild flights of unsubstantiated fancy. Gondry has based his film on Boris Vian's 1947 novel Froth on the Daydream. The story focuses on Colin (played by Gaelic heart-throb Romain Duris), a debonair member of the leisure class who wiles away his days creating strange whiz-bang devices (including a piano that mixes cocktails) in the company of gentleman's gentleman and gastronomic genius Nicolas (Omar Sy) and keen bibliophile Chick (Gad Elmaleh).

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- CineVue UK

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Film Review: 'Hide Your Smiling Faces'

31 July 2014 5:21 AM, PDT

★★★☆☆Partially funded by Kickstarter, Daniel Patrick Carbone's Hide Your Smiling Faces (2013) arrives in selected UK cinemas this week having picked up a number of accolades from various film festivals across the pond. It's easy to see why. While it may meander a little on occasion, the film is full of small yet hugely revealing observations regarding the trials of adolescence. It comes off like a solemn version of The Kings of Summer (2013), where instead of those hazy months between school being packed with endless possibilities, they appear to signal an end of sorts. The film follows two teenage siblings struggling with the aftermath of the apparent accidental death of a local boy, a friend of the youngest.

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- CineVue UK

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Film Review: 'The Deer Hunter'

31 July 2014 2:36 AM, PDT

★★★★★Structures within the time frame of empirical perspectives have a tendency to unknowingly look in the wrong direction. Michael Cimino's The Deer Hunter (1978) overcomes this problem by focusing on an intensely felt portrayal of the characterisation within a closed community that allows us to see the universality of a doom-inflected generation that blindly followed the path shown by the state. Time allows the peaceful reign to negate the demand for instantaneous discourse and the setting up of ideological walls that soon become entrenched. Over 30 years since it was first released, The Deer Hunter has become what it always was: a deep-rooted immersion into American blue-collar life.

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- CineVue UK

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Blu-ray Review: 'Rapture'

30 July 2014 3:56 AM, PDT

★★★★☆Another forgotten gem given new life on DVD and Blu-ray here in the UK, John Guillermin's Rapture (1965) is a beautifully-made and challenging oddity. It's a film which undoubtedly sent the top brass at Twentieth Century Fox (the studio who first brought it to screen) into a spin when it was first released, but there's a much more to chew on other than the sometimes risqué content. Agnes (Patricia Gozzi) is a confused and unhappy teenage girl on the cusp of adulthood, living in a coastal farmhouse in rural Brittany. She gets little love and reassurance from her emotionally aloof father (Melvyn Douglas), tuning instead to the sexually-active live-in housekeeper (Gunnel Lindblom) for womanly advice.

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- CineVue UK

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Film Review: 'A Promise'

30 July 2014 3:38 AM, PDT

★☆☆☆☆It's been almost two decades since idiosyncratic French filmmaker Patrice Leconte delivered a near-masterpiece in the form of 1996's Ridicule, an opulent and hugely absorbing period drama of verbal sparring in the court at Versailles. It's safe to say that A Promise (2013), the director's first English-language foray, won't be knocking that aforementioned feature off the top spot any time soon. This stodgy Euro-pudding (German story, English adaptation, French director) was always going to run the risk of being a little uneven, but the end result is still disappointingly stilted and inert. Leconte directs this early 19th century love triangle with all the weight and depth of a leisurely ITV afternoon drama.

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- CineVue UK

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Film Review: 'Blackwood'

30 July 2014 2:37 AM, PDT

★★☆☆☆The haunted house has become such a recurring trope in horror literature and cinema that it's now a bona fide sub-genre in its own right. From modern semis to labyrinthine old mansions, there's little that's more innately spooky than feeling unnerved in one's own home, while filmmakers have utilised that communal fear sublimely in offerings from The Haunting (1963) to The Innkeepers (2011). The latest British entry into this communion comes in the form of Blackwood (2013), the feature debut from director Adam Wimpenny, based on the first screenplay by artist J.S. Hill. It's a strange film with some interesting ideas that ultimately rest on perfunctory storytelling, leaving the piece short on tension.

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- CineVue UK

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DVD Review: 'Venus in Fur'

29 July 2014 5:42 AM, PDT

★★★☆☆For Roman Polanski's latest, the now octogenarian director has adapted David Ives play Venus in Fur, which is itself based on the 1870 novel of the same name by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. Taking place entirely in a theatre setting, the chamber piece sees a playwright, Thomas Novachek (Mathieu Amalric), who is directing his own adaptation of Venus in Fur, interrupted at the end of a long day of auditioning the lead role by Vanda Jourdain (Emmanuelle Seigner), an actor late for the reading who insists on being seen, despite Thomas' obvious disapproval of her appropriateness for the role. We then have two actors, Amalric and Seigner, playing the part of an actor and a director, themselves performing roles.

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- CineVue UK

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DVD Review: 'Unforgiven'

29 July 2014 5:12 AM, PDT

★★☆☆☆Released to widespread critical and audience acclaim back in 1992, Clint Eastwood's Oscar-winning revenge tale Unforgiven is fondly remembered as a valiant last stand by an American movie genre that had been slowly dying a death for decades. The West, as it transpired, had been well and truly won, despite several sporadic attempts to spur the old horse back into life (see Open Range, the Coen brothers' True Grit and, most recently, Quentin Tarantino's revisionist Django Unchained). Now, 22 years on from Eastwood's original offering, director Lee Sang-il presents Yurusarezaru mono (2013), a loose remake transposed to nineteenth century feudal Japan, with cowboys replaced by samurai. »

- CineVue UK

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Blu-ray Review: 'Too Late Blues'

29 July 2014 4:52 AM, PDT

★★★☆☆John Cassavetes was the blue-collard labourer of American arthouse. Like the atonal timbre of jazz that tested musical conventions, the director excelled when left to experiment. Frequently, his movies appear as dummy-runs rather than finished products. His style stemmed from spontaneity, mistakes and impulse. His self-funded directorial debut Shadows (1959) was a lofty forerunner of independent cinema in the West. By saving the modest salaries he made acting in other director's films, Cassavetes had somehow breached himself from the suffocating constraints of Hollywood. Shadows was messy and barely received enough to reach critical acclaim.

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- CineVue UK

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DVD Review: 'Northwest'

29 July 2014 4:29 AM, PDT

★★★☆☆The second crime thriller to come from director Michael Noer (whose previous film, 2010's R: Hit First, Hit Hardest, was a collaboration between himself and fellow Dane Tobias Lindholm), Northwest (2013) does little that's new but still does enough to grip and occasionally thrill over the course of its necessarily brief runtime. Taking place within the Nordvest suburb of Copenhagen, notorious for its high crime rates and relative poverty, Noer's dark tale of low-level drug dealers and seedy sex traffickers is at its best when at home with the film's two shaven-headed brothers, the eldest of whom quickly finds himself seduced by the types of luxuries a life of crime can offer a willing footsoldier with "balls of steel".

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- CineVue UK

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Interview: David Gordon Green on Southern noir 'Joe'

28 July 2014 11:58 AM, PDT

David Gordon Green is that rarest of directors - unpredictable and eclectic. He's directed gripping art-house dramas like his debut George Washington (2000), stoner comedies like Pineapple Express (2008) and the historical spoof Your Highness (2011) - which America's Salon Magazine somewhat hastily suggested might be the worst film ever made. In time, the latter may be remembered as a poor film made by one of America's true talents, a director who was once compared to Terrence Malick - who now seems to be inspiring others (see the films of Jeff Nichols and David Lowery). Wanting a change from broad comedy, he made the low-key but well-liked Prince Avalanche (2013) under the radar but now returns to his early form with Joe (2013), a Southern noir set in deepest darkest Mississippi.

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- CineVue UK

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