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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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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31st Oct2014

‘Billy Club’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Marshall Caswell, Erin Hammond, Nick Sommer, Max Williamson, Mark Metcalf, Mathew Dunlop | Written and Directed by Drew Rosas, Nick Sommer I’ve always had a soft spot for slashers with a decent gimmick, so I was delighted when Billy Club‘s penchant for baseball-related violence was revealed. Too many horror movies are content to stick to the humdrum formula of having […]

16th Oct2014

‘Caesar And Otto’s Deadly Xmas’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Dave Campfield, Paul Chomicki, Linnea Quigley, Deron Miller, Summer Ferguson | Written by Dave Campfield, Joe Randazzo | Directed by Dave Campfield It would be pointless – not to mention foolish – to judge Caesar And Otto’s Deadly Xmas by the same standards as other films. This is chiefly because if we did we’d have to face up […]

13th Oct2014

‘Blood Soaked’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Rachel Corona, Laina Grendle, Lauren Myers, Heather Wilder | Written and Directed by Peter Grendle I’m not sure where exactly to start when talking about Blood Soaked. I considered including a brief plot synopsis so that I could more freely associate with whatever other elements of the film I felt required more discussion. I thought about […]

31st Jul2014

‘The Last Horror Movie’ Review

by Mark Allen

Starring: Kevin Howarth, Mark Stevenson, Antonia Beamish | Written by James Handel | Directed by Julian Richards Found footage horror films are usually a tough trick to pull off well. Not only do they require realistic performances and events so that audiences are (at least partly) convinced that what they’re seeing is real enough for the length of the […]

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28th Feb2014

‘Nymphomaniac Volumes I & II’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgard, Stacy Martin, Shia Labeouf, Christian Slater, Willem Dafoe, Uma Thurman, Mia Goth | Written and directed by Lars von Trier How long was the last film you went to see? How long do you think you were in the cinema, ticket-buying, ad-consuming and actual movie-watching all accounted for? Probably somewhere between 2 […]

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28th Nov2013

Thought Bubble 2013 Field Report

by Mark Allen

Over for another year, this weekend’s Thought Bubble was the biggest in its short history, and it definitely felt it. While I didn’t attend every panel or get every signature that I wanted to, my days were still jam-packed with awkward fan-worship of idolised writers, wonderful small press discoveries and comfortable reprieves in the plush […]

22nd Nov2013

Mark’s guide to Thought Bubble 2013

by Mark Allen

Well, it’s upon us once again, and not a moment too soon: the superlative annual comic convention Thought Bubble is back as part of both the Leeds International Film Festival and Comic Art Festival, with a signing tour currently wending its way across Britain and the main events happening this weekend at the Royal Armouries. And, […]

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