(US, 2014) Dir: John R. Leonetti. Stars Ward Horton, Annabelle Wallis, Tony Amendola, Alfre Woodard. “The overuse of flashing lights is always a sign of creative weakness in horror films (and many use it) as is the high volume slap sound scape and music. But nothing can make up for insipid characters who are two dimensional and unworthy of our attention, never mind sympathy,” says Andrew.
(US, 2014) Dir: Graham Annable, Anthony Stacchi. Voices of Elle Fanning, Simon Pegg, Toni Collette, Ben Kingsley, Jared Harris. “The stop-motion animation is extraordinary, but there is something lacking in this third film from Laika Studios – heart,” says Louise.
Stars Ellar Coltrane, Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette. "There is something quite extraordinary about Richard Linklater's film as it depicts a fictional representation about growing up, family, relationships and life's choices - using real time as its bookmark and calling card. It's like being a fly on the wall and watching 'ordinary' life change in front of our eyes," says LouiseStars Ellar Coltrane, Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette. "There is something quite extraordinary about Richard Linklater's film as it depicts a fictional representation about growing up, family, relationships and life's choices - using real time as its bookmark and calling card. It's like being a fly on the wall and watching 'ordinary' life change in front of our eyes," says Louise.
(US, 2014) Dir: Antoine Fuqua. Stars Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloe Grace Moretz. “The pensive, brooding calm of an in-form Denzel Washington as the man who has to do what he does - because he can - alleviates this gritty thriller from Training Day director Antoine Fuqua, in which Washington plays the Russian mafia as if it were a deadly chess game,” says Louise.
US, 2014) Dir: David Fincher. Stars Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris. “As far as adaptations go, this is one of the best, Gillian Flynn’s screenplay perfectly capturing the tone of her novel, in which a dark portrait of a marriage unravels… It’s disturbingly good. As well as dense, entertaining, funny, insightful and more,” says Louise. “.. director David Fincher wanted to make a flawless murder thriller in which the audience loyalty and association with the key characters was pushed and pulled unmercifully for maximum impact. He succeeds…” says Andrew.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
(US, 2014) Dir: James Gunn. Star Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, voices of Bradley Cooper & Vin Diesel. "Not since Han Solo and Chewbacca hit the galaxy has there been as much raucous energy and sheer fun as in this blast of a sci-fi fantasy involving a daredevil adventurer and a mysterious orb," says Louise.
HOUSE OF MAGIC 3D
(US, 2014) Dir: Jeremy Degruson, Ben Stassen. Voices of Cinda Adams, Edward Asner, George Babbit, Murray Blue. “It's the whimsy and mix of lovable characters that make this animated family film from Belgium a winner, especially for the youngsters, who will giggle and warm to the colourful visuals,” says Louise.
HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY, THE
(US/UK, 2014) Dir: Lasse Halstrom. Stars Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal, Charlotte Le Bon. "I loved the book with its incongruous elements of food, culture clash and dreams, but the film is nothing but a schmaltzy saccharine shadow constructed with commercial realities in mind," says Louise. "Disappointingly, the talented Lasse Hallström has reduced the poignancy and earthiness to cinematic dross," says Andrew.
(US, 2014) Stars Robert Downey Jnr, Robert Duval, Vera Farmiga. “The law may be black and white but there is nothing black and white about the father son relationship in this potent drama that comes to a blistering head during a murder trial…. It's a powerhouse of a film, worth seeing for the performances alone,” says Louise.
MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT
(US, 2014) Dir: Woody Allen. Stars Colin Firth, Emma Stone. "Rational thought and logic is pitted against magic and optimism in Woody Allen's delightful comedy in which Colin Firth and Emma Stone epitomise both ends of the spectrum. Of course love has something to do with it," says Louise. "The end is nigh for 79 year-old Woody, and thoughts of the afterlife after soak into his screenplays…It's all a bit over-simplified and overstated," says Andrew.
THE MAZE RUNNER
(US, 2014) Dir: Wes Ball. Stars Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Will Poulter, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Patricia Clarkson. “It doesn't quite have the bite or originality of The Hunger Games, but there are parallels in this first of a new sci-fi action fantasy franchise about survival in a controlled environment,” says Louise.
SKELETON TWINS, THE
(US, 2014) Dir: Craig Johnson. Stars Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader. “Dark secrets are revealed and raw emotions laid bare in this hard-hitting and moving film in which an indestructible bond between twins is both the trigger and the solution,” says Louise.
STEP UP ALL IN
(US, 2014) Dir: Trish Sie. Stars Gyan Guzman, Briana Evigan, Adam G. Sevani. “Sensational high energy dancing with inventive choreography and sassy rhythms make this fifth film in the franchise fly, even though the plot is wafer thin and the girl boy dynamic wanting. Oh if only Channing Tatum, who leapt to stardom in the 2006 film had returned to be part of the ‘all in’ casting, rather than relying on the presence of Ryan Guzman, who has all the physical attributes – except charisma,” says Louise.