Room – 8.5/10

Take a fucking bow Brie Larson…


Hollywood is blessed right now with two spectacular actresses in Elizabeth Olsen and Jennifer Lawrence. Brie Larson impressed in The Spectacular Now, dazzled in Short Term 12 and with Room she has taken acting to a level that even Olsen and Lawrence are yet to reach. Before you accuse me of hyperbole, Larson has yet to prove she can carry a franchise or show the sheer range that Jennifer Lawrence has or the ability to star in a blockbuster like Olsen but in terms of a singular performance, Brie Larson in Room is right up there with any dramatic turn from anyone. She really is that fucking good.

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Avengers: Age of Ultron – 8.5/10

Avengers vs Skynet…


The problem that director Joss Whedon faced when following up the inaugural Avengers movie is how to keep things fresh in the face of the series overall approaching double figures. To do this Whedon brings previously unexplored characters to the fore with Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye and Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow enjoying much more screen time and a fleshed out back story.

Also helping to bring a different feel to Age of Ultron are new faces Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch respectively. I have been banging the Olsen drum for ages and whilst I would like to see her take on something more challenging she again impresses here.

Elizabeth Olsen continues her hot streak.

Perhaps the biggest ace in the pack for the Avengers sequel however is villain Ultron. Masterfully voiced by James Spader, Ultron is part Pinocchio, part Frankenstein’s monster and part Terminator to create a memorable and powerful antagonist for the Avengers to tackle.

In terms of the returning cast Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth improve in every instalment as Captain America and Thor as they have been allowed to grow into their roles gradually. While series favourites Robert Downey Jr and Mark Ruffalo take a bit more of a back seat in Age of Ultron, with Downey Jr seemingly coming to the end of his involvement in the Marvel universe.

It is very discouraging that Joss Whedon has decided to step down from the directing the third and final Avengers film Avengers: Infinity War as his talent in combining so many disparate characters into one finished article is unparalleled and with Ant-Man, Wasp, Doctor Strange, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Man, Falcon, Captain Marvel and maybe ever the Guardians of the Galaxy rumoured to appear it is difficult to see how Avengers: Age of Ultron will not be the last great Avengers movie.

Kill Your Darlings – 7/10

Harry Potter, Green Goblin and that guy with half a face from Boardwalk Empire stare into each others eyes.


Kill Your Darlings is the (probably largely fictional) account of the meeting of famous beat authors Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and his muse Lucien Carr and the tragedy that followed. The thought of Daniel Radcliffe portraying hell raiser Ginsberg probably horrified a lot of people but there is nothing wrong with his performance and he shares a great chemistry with Dane DeHaan (The Amazing Spider-Man, Chronicle) as Carr.

Even better though are Michael C. Hall (Dexter, Six Feet Under) and Jack Huston as Kerouac. Hall is both sinister and vulnerable as the older David Kammerer and the whole film lifts as soon as Huston appears. Underused is rising star Elizabeth Olsen who is brilliant as Kerouac’s long suffering partner Edie Parker (Olsen is my big tip for 2015).

A subject as specific as 50s beat poetry will put a lot of people off but I am not a fan of Kerouac’s writing and have only recently read Ginsberg and I still found a lot to enjoy here. As a serious historical account it is difficult to lavish any praise on Kill Your Darlings but if you take it as a mostly fictional drama there is enough solid acting on show to make this a worthwhile watch.

Godzilla 6/10.

The world is destroyed again. This time by like… straight line, robot dragons or something. Godzilla takes this badly.


Godzilla takes an interesting approach in portraying the famous daikaiju as a fearless and beautiful warrior. Noble and mysterious. This definitely breathes a new lease of life into the actual character of Godzilla but that is not enough to save the film as a whole.

The main problem here is that it massively feels like director Gareth Edwards put absolutely everything into making Godzilla look awesome so much so that little things like plot, character development and pacing fell by the wayside.

All the standard blockbuster traits are unfortunately present. A close up of a man’s face as he delivers a terrible line of dialogue, an actual ticking clock as a plot device, story lines tapering out all over the place. This is a shame because the big lizard does look absolutely breathtaking. The problem is we don’t see enough of him and too often he is lurking in the shadows like the bashful reptilian he is.


Another issue, is when the huge monsters crash into battle it is difficult to tell what is happening as it all just become mangled together. This has been a problem throughout the Transformers series as well and nobody seems to have a solution yet.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson does not have what it takes to carry a summer blockbuster and the movies best assets, Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Olsen, are both underused. In the creation of Godzilla, Edwards and his team have absolutely succeeded but in making a good film they have fallen quite short.

Martha Marcy May Marlene – 7.5/10.



5633_2A troubled young woman escapes from a cult. Spends lots of time looking into the middle distance.

When this film began and within minutes main character Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) was almost immediately psychologically and sexually abused I sighed and braced myself for yet another unnecessarily gruelling film showing nasty and ‘gritty’ violence towards women dressed up as art. I was pleasantly surprised by the end to find MMMM a well acted character study about paranoia, bullying and how some people use psychological manipulation to control the weak and unhappy. Elizabeth Olsen is a revelation here. Totally believable in what must have been a pretty tough role. She recently starred in Godzilla and is going to be a feature of the Marvel universe in the future too so keep an eye out. Hugh Dancy is just as creepy as he is in Hannibal although I’m not so sure he is meant to be and he kind of sticks out here. Eastbound and Downs John Hawkes is a world away from Kenny Powers redneck older brother. He is intimidating and dominant throughout as cult leader Patrick. This film would make a nice companion piece to fellow cult film Sound Of My Voice but most of all it is worth watching for Olsen’s haunting performance.