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DVD Review: 'What We Did on Our Holiday'

1 hour ago

★★★★☆ The debut feature from BBC veterans Andy Hamilton and Guy Jerkin, What We Did on Our Holiday is one of 2014's most big-hearted, surprising and thoroughly likable films. While in many ways essentially the big screen version of an acclaimed, subtly developed sitcom – In this case, Outnumbered – it skips around the traps that befell the likes of The Inbetweeners (2011) or The Simpsons Movie (2007). Those films most resembled out of control episodes of their parent television shows, where jokes were allowed to repeat, fester and wear thin on even thinner story arcs. This feature uses allows the themes of the show to crystallise; the writers pushing the boundaries of the classic British family film.

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- CineVue UK

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Blu-ray Review: 'Shoah'

1 hour ago

★★★★★ Claude Lanzmann's monumental Holocaust documentary Shoah (1985) took 12 years to make. Compiling over 350 hours of footage, including interviews with individuals in 14 countries, the final cut - released anew on Blu-ray for Eureka's Masters of Cinema Collection - clocks in at over 9 hours. It's fascinating how the mind's immediate reaction to this seminal piece of filmmaking tends towards the numerical. Dehumanisation was a vital facet of the Final Solution, often through consideration of the 'Jewish problem' in mathematical terms. That intrinsic human coping mechanism, towards the empirical, adds just another layer of psychological and emotional complexity to this staggering work.

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- CineVue UK

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Blu-ray Review: 'Thief'

3 hours ago

★★★★☆ Fuelled by a pulsing synth soundtrack by Tangerine Dream, and rife with colourful dialogue and Chicago locals, Michael Man's masterful thriller Thief (1981) convincingly pursues its eponymous antihero to the desperate limits of his talent. "Raised by the state," Frank (James Caan) is an uncompromising loner and professional thief who is making up for lost time, stealing back from society after a lifetime of cheated dreams. The opening sequence - a thing of taughtly paced, neon-illuminated, and rain-slicked beauty - reveals Frank drilling through the walls of a steel vault meant to shut out, as well as within; like the prison where he wasted over a decade of his youth for stealing 40 dollars.

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- CineVue UK

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DVD Review: 'Stage Fright'

4 hours ago

★★★★☆ There's an eerily effective collision of genres happening in Stage Fright (2014). Horror, comedy and musical are all at play and, under the masterful hand of writer and director Jerome Sable, make for deliciously gory fun. While it hearkens back to the canon of 1980s "summer camp slasher" films , there's a refreshing tongue-in-cheek comedic tone here. Viewers can get the all-knowing wink as well as some guts on the side. Camilla Swanson (Allie MacDonald) is having a rough time: ten years ago, her mother, Broadway diva Kylie Swanson (Minnie Driver), was murdered. This unexpected death leaves Camilla and her brother Buddy (Douglas Smith) in the care of their mother's manager, Roger McCall (Meat Loaf).

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- CineVue UK

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DVD Review: 'Jimi: All Is by My Side'

5 hours ago

★★★☆☆ Breaking the mould and making fresh material out of things that have been around for decades is, arguably, one of Jimi Hendrix's most enduring traits. Reshaping the jazz, blues and rock music of his peers, he spent much of the late 1960s burning up everything in his wake. Fueled by his electric riffs and eclectic approach to life, he stands as an instant cultural reference point and undeniable power player of the 60s. Director John Ridley - perhaps best known for penning the 12 Years a Slave (2013) screenplay - approaches his Hendrix biopic, Jimi: All Is by My Side (2013) in a similar manner and, in doing so, breathes new life into the currently bloated genre of biopics.

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- CineVue UK

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DVD Review: 'Kinetta'

21 hours ago

★★★☆☆ The search for meaning can be a futile task in a world obsessed with imagined realities; especially when the line between fact and fiction is distorted and ill-defined. The innate quest for purpose is the core of Yorgos Lanthimos's surreal debut Kinetta (2005), where detachment from modern life is essential in order to unravel the enigmas of human behaviour. Set in a faded holiday resort populated by migrant workers, it contravenes the rules of the medium, approaching its mysteries from an innovative, often infuriatingly obscure perspective. The audience are forced to re-evaluate the world that exists outside the frame and immerse themselves in this comically absurd form of social commentary.

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- CineVue UK

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DVD Review: 'Honeymoon'

23 hours ago

★★☆☆☆ First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes your wife's possession by something rather insidious during your honeymoon at a secluded cabin in the woods. Romantic, right? Honeymoon (2014) is a lo-fi horror flick that builds on its familiar narrative setting, opting for simmering mystery and big jolts instead of slowly building tension. Newlyweds Bea (Rose Leslie) and Paul (Harry Treadaway) make the long journey from Brooklyn to the Canadian wilderness to spend their honeymoon at Bea's family cabin. After a few days of fishing, cooking and marital consummation, a disconcerting reunion with Will (Ben Huber), an old friend of Bea's, leads to her disturbing night-time disappearance.

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- CineVue UK

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DVD Review: 'Greatful Dead'

26 January 2015 5:00 AM, PST

★★★☆☆ Eiji Uchida's Greatful Dead (2013) combines several genres with an extremely compelling outcome. Black humour and mild farce combine to provide the tone and make it more than just an intriguing watch. Nami (Kumi Takiuchi) has been disillusioned with the idea of family from a young age; after her mother left to help children in a far flung land her father collapsed in on himself, confiding only in a mysterious woman in red and shutting out his two daughters. Nami's sister attempts ‘a normal life’ but Nami is left to find comfort in the welcoming bosom of a television shopping channel. When her father dies Nami is able to indulge in her hobby of finding and observing other similarly solitary figures. She becomes fixated on one elderly man, Mr Shiomi (Takashi Sasano), with unexpected consequences.

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- CineVue UK

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Blu-ray Review: 'Ganja & Hess'

26 January 2015 4:00 AM, PST

★★★☆☆ The inspiration for Spike Lee's upcoming Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2014), Bill Gunn's 1973 vampire-but-not-quite film Ganja & Hess is being re-released by Eureka! on DVD and Blu-ray. It is a strange creature of the night; jumping back and forth in time, sometimes repeating itself in detail, eliding other important passages entirely. A concise and coherent plot summary is difficult. Dr. Hess Green (Duane Jones) is stabbed by his colleague George Meda (writer-director Bill Gunn) with a relic from an ancient African civilisation. When he wakes up the next day, he is unharmed and finds himself with an incurable hunger for human blood.

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- CineVue UK

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DVD Review: 'The Equalizer'

26 January 2015 3:00 AM, PST

★★★☆☆ Despite The Equalizer (2014) reuniting director Antoine Fuqua and star Denzel Washington, Richard Wenk's lacklustre script - based on the 80s TV show - prompts little more than a disappointingly predictable display of bloodthirsty wrath and vengeance. In a disservice to the actor's gift for psychological complexity, Washington's usual wit and charisma are hidden beneath a wooden mask of vacuous discipline. When he isn't at his drab sales associate job, former black-op Robert McCall (Washington) geometrically arranges spoons at a Edward Hopperish diner. His only relief from loneliness a brief exchange over Old Man and the Sea with Teri (Chloe Grace Moretz).

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- CineVue UK

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