28th May2015

Preview: Sci-Fi London Film Festival 2015

by Mark Allen

What does the future (or perhaps, an alternate reality) hold for us? Well, if you live in London and have some free time over the next week and a half, then “science fiction movies” would be a pretty good bet. Running from Friday 29th May – Sunday 7th June, the 14th annual Sci-Fi London Film […]

25th May2015

‘Whiplash’ DVD Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Paul Reiser, Melissa Benoist, Austin Stowell, Nate Lang, Chris Mulkey, Damon Gupton, Suanne Spoke, Charlie Ian, Jayson Blair | Written and Directed by Damian Chazelle I’m not going to tell you anything you haven’t already heard; Whiplash is great, even (perhaps especially) if you’re not particularly into jazz drumming. J.K. Simmons ought […]

21st May2015

‘The Scopia Effect’ VOD Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Joanna Ignaczewska, Louis Labovitch, Akira Koieyama, Genevieve Sibayan, Jessica Jay, Haruka Abe, Morgan Ackermann, Bookie Anifowose | Written and Directed by Christopher Butler When watching a low-budget genre movie it’s always a little disheartening to discover that the film’s execution doesn’t quite live up to its ambitions. Sadly, such was the case with The […]

14th May2015

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Charlize Theron, Tom Hardy, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Zoe Kravitz, Riley Keough, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton | Written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nick Lathouris | Directed by George Miller Come on: you don’t need me to tell you that Fury Road is the best thing since sliced bread, surely? You’ve seen all the five-star reviews […]

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01st Apr2015

‘Diamond Heist’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Michael Madsen, Vinnie Jones, Jamelia, Tamer Hassan, Simon Szabó, Nikolett Barabas, Mark Phelan | Story by Csaba Pindroch & Zoltan Furedi | Screenplay by Ivo Marloh, Dénes Orosz, Róbert Koltai | Directed by Róbert Koltai, Éva Gárdos I’m not sure which title is worse: Diamond Heist, the name of the film I was tasked with reviewing; or Magic Boys, the name given to the streamed movie I […]

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18th Mar2015

‘The Town That Dreaded Sundown’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Addison Timlin, Veronica Cartwright, Anthony Anderson, Travis Tope, Joshua Leonard, Andy Abele, Gary Cole, Edward Herrmann, Ed Lauter, Arabella Field, Denis O’Hare | Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Earl E. Smith | Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon When you think about it, John Carpenter and Wes Craven are to blame. Without them we wouldn’t have the […]

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28th Feb2015

‘The Boy Next Door’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Guzman, Kristin Chenoweth, Ian Nelson, John Corbett, Lexi Atkins, Hill Harper | Written by Barbara Curry | Directed by Rob Cohen If I tell you that The Boy Next Door has more in common with The Room and Troll 2 than the work of Alfred Hitchcock, would you consider that a good thing? Don’t bother answering […]

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26th Feb2015

Frightfest Glasgow 2015: ’88′ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Katherine Isabelle, Christopher Lloyd, Michael Ironside, Tim Doiron, Kyle Schmidt, Jesse McCartney, April Mullen | Written by Tim Doiron,April Mullen | Directed by April Mullen Gwen (Katharine Isabelle) is just having one of those days. The kind where not only did she just shoot a diner waitress in front of a bunch of cops, she’s also missing a finger […]

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24th Feb2015

Frightfest Glasgow 2015: ‘REC 4: Apocalypse’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Manuela Velasco, Paco Manzanedo, Héctor Colomé, Ismael Fritschi, Críspulo Cabezas, Mariano Venancio, María Alfonsa Rosso | Written by Jaume Balagueró, Manu Diez | Directed by Jaume Balagueró When an established film series decides to shed its formula and try something wildly different in its structure – if not exactly its content – I can’t help but feel both relieved and […]

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23rd Feb2015

Frightfest Glasgow 2015: ‘The Atticus Institute’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: William Mapother, Rya Kihlstedt, John Rubinstein, Sharon Maughan, Julian Acosta, Anne Betancourt, Jake Carpenter, Brian Chenoweth, Bill J. Stevens | Written and Directed by Chris Sparling For over 40 years now, tales of demonic possession have been a faithful staple of horror movies. At least one major release each year dealing with a character – usually a […]

18th Feb2015

‘Jack Strong’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Marcin Dorocinski, Maja Ostaszewska, Patrick Wilson, Dimitri Bilov, Dagmara Dominczyk, Oleg Maslennikov | Written and Directed by Wladyslaw Pasikowski The IMDb synopsis for Jack Strong describes the film as a “gripping spy thriller” that “tells the true story of a man who dares to challenge the Soviet empire.” While it’s true that the story involves spies, soviets and men, […]

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14th Feb2015

‘Blackhat’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Leehom Wang, Wei Tang, Viola Davis, Holt McCallany | Written by Morgan Davis Foehl | Directed by Michael Mann About an hour into my viewing of Blackhat I was struggling to remain conscious from boredom. About an hour later I was glued to my seat, my eyes and ears on full alert for whatever the film was going to throw […]

07th Feb2015

‘Jupiter Ascending’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Tuppence Middleton, Douglas Booth | Written and Directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski A rich science-fiction world, full of weird and colourful characters who still ring true despite having massive animal ears or wings, with well-defined politics, an ancient conflict and a lead couple who you […]

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03rd Feb2015

‘Doc Of The Dead’ DVD Review

by Mark Allen

Featuring: George A. Romero, Charlie Adlard, Joanna Angel, Robert Kirkman, Simon Pegg, Max Brooks, Bruce Campbell, Fran Kranz, Greg Nicotero, Jacqui Holland, Tom Savini, Traycee King | Written by Chad Herschberger & Alexandre O. Philippe | Directed by Alexandre O. Philippe I like zombies just as much as the next person. Well, okay, maybe a little more, but probably not […]

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02nd Feb2015

‘Whiplash’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Paul Reiser, Melissa Benoist, Austin Stowell, Nate Lang, Chris Mulkey, Damon Gupton, Suanne Spoke, Charlie Ian, Jayson Blair | Written and Directed by Damian Chazelle I’m not going to tell you anything you haven’t already heard; Whiplash is great, even (perhaps especially) if you’re not particularly into jazz drumming. J.K. Simmons ought […]

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30th Jan2015

‘Two Night Stand’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Analeigh Tipton, Miles Teller, Jessica Szohr, Scott Mescudi, Josh Salatin, Kellyn Lindsay, Michael Showalter, Leven Rambin, Joey Lauren Adams | Written by Mark Hammer | Directed by Max Nichols During The Theory of Everything, I could have sworn I saw the plot of Two Night Stand chalked up on one of Eddie Redmayne’s blackboards. Then I squinted […]

24th Jan2015

‘Ex Machina’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Domnhall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Alicia Vikander | Written and Directed by Alex Garland It’s rare these days to find a sci-fi that doesn’t bog you down in condescending exposition for the first half an hour, boring you senseless with background and character history to the point that you’re unlikely to care all that much when the story […]

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22nd Jan2015

‘Ghost Bride’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Yoson An, Rebekah Palmer, Fiona Feng, Catheryn Wu, Geeling Ng, Charles Chan, Ian Mune | Written and Directed by David Blyth I get a perverse  thrill out of terrible dialogue in movies. You know what I mean – the kind of cliched, hackneyed writing that sounds like it came right out of some washed-up actor’s mouth on […]

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13th Nov2014

Aesthetica Short Film Festival 2014 – Sunday Roundup

by Mark Allen

Here’s the second and final installment of my Aesthetica Short Film Festival coverage, a little later than expected but no less enthusiastic for it! Let’s dive right into the last day of the fest: One of the more enlightening screenings from the festival was Sunday’s showing of films from Iraq with an introduction from Human […]

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09th Nov2014

Aesthetica Short Film Festival 2014 – Friday Roundup

by Mark Allen

The last time I attended Aesthetica, I was a volunteer and didn’t get to see all that many films. The only complete screening I managed to view was at the venue I was manning; unfortunately, that screening was full of pretentious and acutely inaccessible experimental films, so I didn’t have all that great a time […]

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05th Nov2014

‘The Shoot’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: John Adams, Toby Poser, Sam Rodd, John DiMaggio, Claire Denis, Doug Spearman | Written and Directed by John Adams, Toby Poser Put simply, this is a mess. And not the good kind of cinematic mess that’s so overflowing with ideas the filmmakers can’t fit them all onto the screen without throwing coherent storytelling out the window. No, this […]

05th Nov2014

Preview: Aesthetica Short Film Festival 2014

by Mark Allen

This weekend the city of York is set to host Aesthetica Magazine’s fourth annual Short Film Festival, and 2014 looks to be their biggest year yet. Showcasing over 300 films from 39 countries in various pop-up venues, the BAFTA-recognised event has a reputation for delivering diverse content in a warm and unique atmosphere. From Aesthetica’s […]

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