Film review: The Festival

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 The Inbetweeners co-creator Iain Morris brings a summer staple to the big screen with mud-caked comedy The Festival, his first directorial work without collaborator Damon Beesley by his side. At his university graduation, hapless Nick (Joe Thomas) is dumped by girlfriend Caitlin (Hannah Tointon) before embarrassing himself in front of his peers. To drag him out of a self-loathing slump, his best friend Shane (Hammed Animashaun) takes him to a music festival, in the hope that it will be the ideal antidote to his brutal break-up.

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Film review: Mission: Impossible – Fallout

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 In recent years, the cinematic landscape has become increasingly packed with remakes and reboots, but Tom Cruise’s signature franchise has really stood the test of time. Along with writer-director Christopher McQuarrie with whom he frequently collaborates, the pair present the sixth instalment of the showstopping spy thriller series. Mission: Impossible – Fallout sees IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his team attempting to track down stolen plutonium cores. Matters are made more complicated when they are joined by moustachioed CIA assassin August Walker (Henry Cavill) who is assigned with keeping tabs on their controversial methods.

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Film review: First Reformed

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 Paul Schrader made a name for himself as a film writer in the 70s when he penned the screenplay for Martin Scorsese’s critically acclaimed masterpiece Taxi Driver. Since then, his work has divided audiences and he is very much regarded as a hit-or-miss director. His latest piece is psychological thriller First Reformed, which stars Ethan Hawke as troubled pastor Ernst Toller who serves at a historical church in upstate New York. When expectant mum Mary (Amanda Seyfried) asks him to counsel her environmentalist boyfriend, he begins to question his faith and subsequently suffers an existential crisis.

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Trailer: Bohemian Rhapsody

Directed by: Bryan Singer

Starring: Rami Malek, Ben Hardy, Gwilym Lee, Joseph Mazzello

Release: October 2018

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Film review: Dumped (Larguées)

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French writer-director Eloïse Lang explores the relationship between a mother and her daughters in comedy-drama Dumped (Larguées). Rose (Camille Cottin) is a wacky party animal who enjoys a care-free life of drinking and dancing until the small hours. Her sister Alice (Camille Chamoux) is quite the opposite; happily married with two young children. When their mother Françoise (Miou-Miou) is dumped by their father for a younger woman, they hatch a plan to cheer her up, whisking her off to Réunion island for what is intended to be a weekend of sun, sea, sand and serenity.

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Film review: Eaten by Lions

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For his second feature film, director Jason Wingard has adapted his award-winning 2013 short film Going to Mecca into feel-good comedy Eaten by Lions. Following the death of their beloved grandmother, half brothers Pete (Jack Carroll) and Omar (Antonio Aakeel) head to Blackpool in search of the latter’s estranged father. They come-of-age on their life-affirming journey, finding laughs and a chance of love along the way.
 Wingard co-wrote the script with David Isaac who is known for his work on British sitcoms and soap operas. This style certainly come across in the way that the gags are set up, and the narrative is consistently amusing without achieving big laugh-out-loud moments. There are some excellent cameos from comedic veterans Johnny Vegas and Kevin Eldon as the plucky brothers navigate their way through a sub-standard story, and enough charm and warmth throughout to make the road-movie an enjoyable ride.

3stars

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Film review: The Secret of Marrowbone

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 Acclaimed Spanish screenwriter Sergio G. Sánchez takes to the director’s chair for his feature debut The Secret of Marrowbone, a mystery drama that follows a close-knit family threatened by their dark past. In dire need of a fresh start, siblings Jack (George MacKay), Jane (Mia Goth), Billy (Charlie Heaton) and Sam (Matthew Stagg) move from Britain to rural America, setting up home in the Marrowbone House where their mother grew up. When tragedy strikes, they must protect each other from a sinister presence.
 The titular ‘secret’ of the Marrowbones serves as a plot-device to drive the narrative forward, and while the story becomes overly convoluted by a lacklustre love-triangle sub-plot, the smart implementation of traditional horror elements makes for a tense cinematic experience. Sánchez skilfully executes jump scares and other genre tropes, crafting genuinely frightening scenes in the eerie haunted-house setting. Despite some heavy-handed storytelling flaws, the piece works as a suspenseful chill-ride and a solid showcase for rising acting talent.

3.5stars

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