The Revenant (2016)


The Revenant’s gruelling shoot is already crossing over into Hollywood myth and legend.  It endured everything from freezing temperatures to an unusual lack of snow in Canada and saw more than one crew member either walk off the set or be fired.  All to bring us the story of Hugh Glass, (Leonardo DiCaprio) who is buried alive and left for dead by his fellow trappers after he is attacked by a grizzly bear.  Somehow he survives to pull himself out of his grave and give chase, seeking revenge on those that have wronged him.  So the question is, was it all worth it?

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)


When Disney purchased the rights to Star Wars there was, well, a shitload of emotion.  From those loudly proclaiming Star Wars was crap anyway to fans who were terrified that the big mouse was going to ruin the films that they held so dear.  In among all that chaos, one thing became certain.  It was back and was in the process of setting up a film universe to rival Marvel’s current behemoth (another Disney franchise).

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It takes a lot of balls to take one of the acting’s fastest rising stars and put him under a mask for an entire film.  Yet that’s exactly what Lenny Abrahamson has done with Michael Fassbender in his latest feature film Frank.  Written by Jon Ronson the film is based on Chris Sievey and his comic alter-ego Frank Sidebottom, who’s band Ronson spent time playing keyboard in.  Although in reality the only concrete link between the two characters is the giant mask that covers Fassbender’s face for the duration of the movie.  The character itself takes not just from Sievey, but troubled musical souls like Daniel Johnston and Captain Beefheart.

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How do you survive in modern day, small town Ireland, as a good priest.  That’s the rather simple question at the centre of Calvary.  In a world where the Catholic church has been hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons, we follow the last week of Father James Lavelle, (Brendon Gleeson) who in the opening scene of the film is told in the confessional booth that he is going to be murdered next Sunday.  He knows who has made the threat, but we and the rest of the characters in the film don’t, as even in these circumstances he honours the rules of the confessional booth.  As director John Michael McDonagh has said, it’s a who will do it, rather that a who done it.

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