New in the MovieMail Blog

January Quiz 2015 -- back by popular demand!

January Quiz 2015 -- back by popular demand!

8th January

The year has barely begun and already we are looking for ways to escape. Our newly relaunched quiz will distract you from the humdrum and the mundane and challenge your knowledge of all things film along the way. Set by David Parkinson, this quiz is desi

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The Marx Brothers

The Marx Brothers

David Parkinson on 23rd January / comments

As Duck Soup goes on general release as part of a month-long BFI Southbank retrospective, Crash Course recalls the madcap genius of Minnie Marx's boys.

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A Most Violent Year: Film of the Week

A Most Violent Year: Film of the Week

Mike McCahill on 23rd January / comments

Writer-director J.C. Chandor's latest dispatch finds a would-be oil magnate (Oscar Isaac) struggling to maintain his principles in the face of increasingly aggressive competition. It’s a cool analysis of the modern marketplace, writes Mike McCahill.

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Mortdecai: Depp's latest dud deserves to die a death

Mortdecai: Depp's latest dud deserves to die a death

Mike McCahill on 22nd January / comments

This update of Kyril Bonfiglioli’s comic novels casts Johnny Depp as a raffish, moustachioed art dealer and bon vivant who gets caught up in the hunt for a stolen Goya painting. No-one’s mistaking it for an Oscar contender, reports Mike McCahill.

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Beyond Clueless: a teenage dream

Beyond Clueless: a teenage dream

Mike McCahill on 21st January / comments

This documentary collage from critic-turned-filmmaker Charlie Lyne mines the snarky teen movies of the 1990s and 2000s to discover universal themes and concerns. It’s a nostalgic rush where Proust meets Prinze Jr., writes Mike McCahill.

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Ex Machina: sleek Sci-Fi suffers from glitches in its system

Ex Machina: sleek Sci-Fi suffers from glitches in its system

Mike McCahill on 21st January / comments

This Sci-Fi thriller from the screenwriter of 28 Days Later and Never Let Me Go finds a young coder summoned to a millionaire’s retreat to test out his sexy new creation. Some of its internal software needs an upgrade, argues Mike McCahill.

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La Maison de la Radio: tuning into a French national institution

La Maison de la Radio: tuning into a French national institution

Mike McCahill on 20th January / comments

The latest documentary from Nicolas Philibert (Etre et Avoir) explores the broadcasting institution that is Radio France. There’s no great drama, but it’s a quietly diverting portrait of everyday activity, writes Mike McCahill.

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Sapphic Cinema

Sapphic Cinema

David Parkinson on 19th January / comments

The 30th anniversary release of Donna Deitch's landmark drama Desert Hearts prompts Crash Course to trace the surprisingly sketchy history of lesbians on screen.

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Whiplash: Film of the Week

Whiplash: Film of the Week

Mike McCahill on 16th January / comments

This taut melodrama finds an impressionable freshman at a New York music academy falling under the malign influence of a hard-headed drum teacher. It’s borderline ridiculous, but builds towards an extraordinary crescendo, writes Mike McCahill.

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Paper Souls: a ghost of a romcom

Paper Souls: a ghost of a romcom

Mike McCahill on 15th January / comments

This distinctively wintry French romcom establishes a love triangle between a grieving writer, a single mother, and the latter’s late husband. Their interactions elicit regular comic frissons, writes Mike McCahill.

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Testament of Youth: an outstanding tribute to the fallen of WWI

Testament of Youth: an outstanding tribute to the fallen of WWI

Mike McCahill on 15th January / comments

This adaptation of Vera Brittain’s memoir casts Swedish actress Alicia Vikander (A Royal Affair, Anna Karenina) as the writer who saw many of her contemporaries lost in battle. Her story remains immensely powerful, writes Mike McCahill.

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Wild: one woman's walk to self-fulfilment

Wild: one woman's walk to self-fulfilment

Mike McCahill on 14th January / comments

This leg-stretching biopic finds Reese Witherspoon playing Pennsylvanian-born Cheryl Strayed, a woman who elected to hike the Pacific Crest Trail on her own after divorcing her husband. Her reasons aren’t as clear as the view, writes Mike McCahill.

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The Marx Brothers

David Parkinson on 23rd January / comments

As Duck Soup goes on general release as part of a month-long BFI Southbank retrospective, Crash Course recalls the madcap genius of Minnie Marx's boys.

Read

Sapphic Cinema

David Parkinson on 19th January / comments

The 30th anniversary release of Donna Deitch's landmark drama Desert Hearts prompts Crash Course to trace the surprisingly sketchy history of lesbians on screen.

Read

Single Cell Cinema

James Oliver on 13th January / comments

James Oliver explores the origin of cinema and introduces the British forefathers of the art form.

Read

Classic Noir

David Parkinson on 6th January / comments

The DVD release of Robert Siodmak's seething existentialist thriller, The Killers (1946), persuades Crash Course to take a walk on the dark side...

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2005 - 2014: ‘We’re all stories, in the end’ - From Doctor Who to Utopia

Frank Collins on 24th December 2014 / comments

Frank Collins completes his survey of British Science Fiction television with an analysis of recent dramas.

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Santa at the Movies

David Parkinson on 22nd December 2014 / comments

With Get Santa already in cinemas and several festive titles available on DVD, Crash Course looks back on the movie career of the man in the red suit.

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