Serena (Susanne Bier, 2014)

The combination of Hollywood darlings Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper seems like a sure-fire recipe for success. They lit up the big screen in previous collaborations Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle, earning themselves multiple Oscar nominations and for Lawrence, even a win. However, warning bells start ringing when one discovers that Serena was filmed back in 2012, has struggled to find a distributor, and has now arrived with barely a whimper.
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The Drop (Michaël R. Roskam, 2014)

“From the author of Shutter Island and Mystic River, starring Tom Hardy…” Imma stop you right there because I’m already sold. After those edge-of-your-seat, gripping, twisty films I was eager to see author Dennis Lehane’s first screenwriting gig, based on his short story Animal Rescue.  Plus TOM HARDY.  Continue reading FILM REVIEW: The Drop

FILM REVIEW: Nightcrawler

Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy, 2014)

We’re so used to seeing Jake Gyllenhaal play the good guy. The hardworking detective in Prisoners, the loveable stud in Love & Other Drugs, and of course Jack in Brokeback Mountain (excuse me while I cry myself to sleep). It’s a change then to see Gyllenhaal play his creepiest character yet, in a film where he reportedly only blinks four times. Continue reading FILM REVIEW: Nightcrawler

FILM REVIEW: What We Did on Our Holiday

What We Did on Our Holiday (Andy Hamilton & Guy Jenkin, 2014)

Amazing Amy is BRITISH! I’d almost forgotten she existed before Gone Girl. But here’s Rosamund Pike reminding us that she too can play normal, boring characters. But she’s not the main player in What We Did on Our Holiday, where all adults play second fiddle to the kids. Written and directed by Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin who brought us the hilarious British television show Outnumbered, What We Did on Our Holiday follows a similar pattern, but with a sea change. Frustrated parents, hilarious children, laughs all round. Continue reading FILM REVIEW: What We Did on Our Holiday

FILM REVIEW: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (Francis Lawrence, 2014)
clairestbearestreviews_filmreview_hungergames_mockingjay_jenniferlawrence_posterAs exciting as the release of a new Hunger Games instalment can be, I had some reservations about Mockingjay – Part 1. Despite being the shortest book in the trilogy (by a few pages) its filmmakers are following in the footsteps of Harry Potter and the Twilight series and splitting the final novel in two – ah, that old chestnut.  Continue reading FILM REVIEW: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1


My Old Lady (Israel Horovitz, 2014)

When the opening titles revealed that My Old Lady was directed by its playwright, I had concerns. To my dismay, these were justified. It was so, so, clear that this was meant to be a play and not a film. While long conversations work on stage, on film they can grow tedious, and that was indeed the case here. Continue reading FILM REVIEW: My Old Lady

FILM REVIEW: Finding Vivian Maier

Finding Vivian Maier (John Maloof & Charlie Siskel, 2013)
clairestbearestreviews_filmreview_findingvivianmaier_kidWho knew Mary Poppins was a street photographer? Though she wasn’t quite as magical, Vivian Maier, like Poppins, was a nanny with a special gift. Snapping shots on her box camera wherever she went, she amassed a collection of over 100,000 photos which she kept in storage, some not even developed until they were found after her death by collector, John Maloof. Continue reading FILM REVIEW: Finding Vivian Maier