04th Feb2016

‘Miss Hokusai’ Review

by Mark Allen

Cast: Anne Watanabe, Michitaka Tsutsui, Yutaka Matsushige, Kumiko Asô, Shion Shimizu, Gaku Hamada, Kengo Kôra | Written by Miho Maruo | Based on the manga by Hinako Sugiura | Directed by Keiichi Hara Choosing to depict an artist’s life in a form close to their own can be a tightrope walk. Miss Hokusai dares to examine the work and lives of two Japanese artists in the form of anime, but this […]

17th Jan2016

‘Creed’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Andre Ward, Tony Bellew, Ritchie Coster, Wood Harris | Written by Ryan Coogler, Aaron Covington | Directed by Ryan Coogler It’s not too often you get the seventh installment of a movie franchise that feels fresh, exciting and renews your faith in that series as a whole. Well, if you […]

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10th Jan2016

‘No Escape’ Blu-ray Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Owen Wilson, Lake Bell, Pierce Brosnan, Thanawut Kasro, Chatchawai Kamonsakpitak | Written by John Erick Dowdle, Drew Dowdle | Directed by John Erick Dowdle No Escape starts out with Jack and Annie Dwyer (Wilson & Bell) and their two daughters emigrating to an unspecified Southeast Asian country for Wilson’s work. This work is somehow […]

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22nd Dec2015

Watch the stunning new trailer for ‘The Assassin’

by Mark Allen

Having topped Sight & Sound’s ‘Best of 2015′ list, Taiwanese auteur Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s beautiful martial arts epic The Assassin is coming to the UK next month.  From the official press release: 9th century China. 10-year-old general’s daughter Nie Yinniang is abducted by a nun who initiates her into the martial arts, transforming her into an exceptional assassin charged […]

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14th Dec2015

‘Yakuza Apocalypse’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Yayan Ruhian, Rirî Furankî, Hayato Ichihara, Mio Yûki, Pierre Taki, Denden, Tetsu Watanabe, Yoshiyuki Morishita, Riko Narumi, Reiko Takashima, Lily Frankie, Masanori Mimoto, Shô Aoyagi, Manzô Shinra, Kiyohiko Shibukawa | Written by Yoshitaka Yamaguchi | Directed by Takashi Miike When considering the work of a director who often makes up to six or seven films […]

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19th Nov2015

Thought Bubble 2015: Post-Con Report & Interviews

by Mark Allen

The weekend of 14-15 November saw the annual Thought Bubble comic-con return once more to Leeds, and with it came a cornucopia of artists, writers, and their dazzling creations. Nerdly was on the scene the whole time, keeping an eye out for talented new creators, magnificent cosplay and, of course, invitations to alternate mid-con parties. (Sadly […]

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20th Oct2015

LFF 2015: ‘Queen of Earth’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Elisabeth Moss, Katherine Waterston, Patrick Fugit, Kentucker Audley, Kate Lyn Sheil, Keith Poulson | Written and Directed by Alex Ross Perry When two friends retreat to a lakeside cabin for a week, it’s not a holiday in the strictest sense: Catherine (Elisabeth Moss) is seeking refuge from both her recently dissolved relationship and the […]

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13th Oct2015

LFF 2015: ‘Green Room’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Patrick Stewart, Alia Shawkat, Macon Blair, Mark Webber, Joe Cole, Callum Turner | Written and Directed by Jeremy Saulnier A struggling punk band decides to play a gig that they really shouldn’t in Green Room, writer-director Jeremy Saulnier’s blistering follow-up to his 2013 sleeper hit Blue Ruin. The story sees the four-piece (with Anton Yelchin […]

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12th Oct2015

LFF 2015: ‘Tangerine’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Mya Taylor, Karren Karagulian, Mickey O’Hagan, James Ransone, Alla Tumanian, Luiza Nersisyan | Written by Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch | Directed by Sean Baker As a concept, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Tangerine sounds like an overambitious student film project. Filmed entirely on iPhones, we follow the travails of Sindee-Rella (Kitana Kiki […]

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08th Oct2015

LFF 2015: ‘High-Rise’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Tom Hiddleston, Sienna Miller, Jeremy Irons, Luke Evans, Elisabeth Moss, Keeley Hawes, Sienna Guillory, Reece Shearsmith, James Purefoy, Stacy Martin, Alexandra Weaver | Based on the Novel by JG Ballard | Screenplay by Amy Jump | Directed by Ben Wheatley First we’re given a glimpse at the end of the story we’re about to see unfold: Tom Hiddleston’s neurosurgeon Robert […]

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08th Oct2015

LFF 2015: ‘When Marnie Was There’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Sara Takatsuki, Kasumi Arimura, Nanako Matsushima | Written by Keiko Niwa, Masashi Ando, Hiromasa Yonebayashi | Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi Many a tear will be shed in the presence of Studio Ghibli’s latest – and possibly last – feature film. The company holds such emotional sway over its audiences unrivalled by any other animation studio (except for, say, Pixar) […]

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07th Oct2015

LFF 2015: ‘Suffragette’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Carey Mulligan, Anne-Marie Duff, Helena Bonham Carter, Romola Garai, Meryl Streep, Ben Whishaw, Natalie Press, Brendan Gleeson, Geoff Bell | Written by Abi Morgan | Directed by Sarah Gavron Two of the most violent and disturbing films of the last year are both period dramas about voting rights. The first is Selma, the story […]

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02nd Oct2015

LFF 2015: ‘Beeba Boys’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Randeep Hooda, Ali Momen, Sarah Allen, Waris Ahluwalia, Ali Kazmi, Steve Dhillon, Jag Bal, Gabe Grey, Dileep Rao, Gia  | Written and Directed by Deepa Mehta Beeba Boys starts with a scene straight out of Goodfellas: six men drive to a rendezvous, telling jokes and ribbing one another. They arrive at the—, three expensive-looking cars meeting […]

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01st Oct2015

LFF 2015: ‘Mountains May Depart’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Zhao Tao, Zhang Yi, Liang Jin Dong, Dong Zijian, Sylvia Chang | Written and Directed by Jia Zhangke Admitting this is the first film by Jia Zhangke that I’ve seen may lose me some street cred, but I was pleased to finally discover the filmmaker via his latest exploration of modern China, Mountains May Depart. A universal story of the […]

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29th Sep2015

LFF 2015: ‘Madame Courage’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Adlane Djemil, Lamia Bezouaoui, Leila Tilmatine | Written and Directed by Merzak Allouache A pill-popping purse-snatcher by day and habitual terror to his mother by night, Omar (Adlane Djemil) is a young man we can all relate to. Living in an Algerian shanty town and making ends meet fencing stolen goods only to buy himself Artane tablets (also […]

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28th Sep2015

LFF 2015: ’21 Nights With Pattie’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Isabelle Carré, Andre Dussollier, Denis Lavant, Sergi López, Mathilde Monnier, Laurent Poitrenaux, Philippe Rebbot, Karin Viard | Written and Directed by Arnaud Larrieu & Jean-Marie Larrieu Shortly after her estranged mother’s death, middle-aged Caroline travels to her palatial house in the country to settle affairs and bury her. She intends to stop for a night, attend the ceremony […]

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26th Sep2015

LFF 2015: ‘He Named Me Malala’ Review

by Mark Allen

Featuring: Malala Yousafzai, Ziauddin Yousafzai | Directed by Davis Guggenheim Some people make you feel so damn lazy. Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani activist who was shot in the head by Taliban for speaking out about the importance of educating women, accomplished more by the time she was 17 than most of us will do in our entire lives. […]

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26th Sep2015

LFF 2015: ‘Men & Chicken’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: David Dencik, Mads Mikkelsen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Soren Malling, Nicolas Bro, Rikke Louise Andersson, Lisbet Dahl | Written and Directed by Anders Thomas Jensen Looking for all the world like an absurd family farce directed by David Cronenberg (albeit in Danish), Men & Chicken certainly gets points for its commitment to oddness. Its premise sees two brothers, Elias […]

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17th Sep2015

‘Infini’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Daniel MacPherson, Grace Huang, Luke Hemsworth, Bren Foster, Luke Ford, Dwaine Stevenson, Louisa Mignone, Tess Haubrich, Harry Pavlidis | Written by Shane Abbess, Brian Cachia | Directed by Shane Abbess Sometimes all it takes to hook me into a movie is a solid premise. Other times it’s strong world building. And occasionally it’s the misguided […]

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11th Sep2015

‘Containment’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Louise Brealey, Lee Ross, Sheila Reid, Andrew Leung, Hannah Chalmers, Pippa Nixon, Luke McGibney, William Postlethwaite, Christos Lawton, Gabriel Senior | Written by David Lemon | Directed by Neil McEnery-West When deadbeat dad and failing artist Mark (jeez, close to the bone much?) wakes up in his dingy London council flat late one morning, […]

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05th Sep2015

Frightfest 2015: ‘Scherzo Diabolico’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Francisco Barreiro, Daniela Soto Vell, Jorge Molina, Milena Pezzi, Vita Vargas, Evan Alducin, Pau Alva, Tito Guillén, Pablo Guisa Koestinger | Written and Directed by Adrián García Bogliano Scherzo Diabolico, when squinted at from afar, might resemble one of the Coen Brothers’ crime-driven dark comedies. The story – about a kidnapping gone right which goes terribly wrong only […]

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03rd Sep2015

Frightfest 2015: ‘Over Your Dead Body’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Ko Shibasaki, Hideaki Ito, Hitomi Katayama, Ebizo Ichikawa, Maiko, Toshie Negishi, Miho Nakanishi, Hiroshi Katsuno, Ikko Furuya | Written by Kikumi Yamagishi | Directed by Takashi Miike Time to fess up: I don’t know all that much about Japanese folklore. Knowing the source material for an artwork that leans heavily on popular cultural institutions isn’t a requirement when viewing […]

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