Dallas Buyers Club

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An unremarkable film featuring remarkable performances – first and foremost by Leto, whose entirely natural turn as transgender “Rayon” slightly edges McConaughey’s full-on interpretation of the homophobic Woodroof – while Jennifer Garner once again does her trick of quietly spinning a character that feels initially flat and pointless into something more memorable.

The Wolf of Wall Street

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One or two instances of dodgy editing aside, TWOWS is a masterpiece. By refusing to focus on the victims, and re-framing the crime as a kind of working class revenge on a system that typically excludes or exploits them, Scorsese permits us to enjoy every drug-addled excess. Leo 4 Oscar.

Twelve Years a Slave

 

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TYAS is a stunningly beautiful, brilliantly soundtrack-ed and punishingly complex film about the outrage of slavery. More than mere emotion-porn, and somehow subtler than his other films, over and over again McQueen asks us: how can we idly permit such horrors to happen so long as they don’t touch us?

The Great Beauty

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TGB is a ravishing piece of cinema, a Fellini-esque festival of sight and sound in the Italian capital, full of symbolism, touching on questions of philistinism, excess, and the vampirism of the wealthy, old, amoral upper class. It’s also, like the much-referenced artistic ambition of Flaubert’s, about nothing at all.

American Hustle

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American Hustle is the cinematic equivalent of pantomime – big hair, big accents, big acting –  a cynical, awards-baiting concoction that plays to the gallery; so slavishly does it follow the formula of last year’s best picture winner, Argo, that it may actually be a sequel. O Russell is better than this.

This is the End

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This is the End takes a diamond concept – several of-the-moment stoner-ish actors play themselves as the apocalypse hits – and mauls it to death with uncharismatic performances by somehow unlikable leads, cameos that go nowhere (thanks for stopping by Rihanna) and an extended rape gag that makes you want to die.

Interior. Leather Bar

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Stupid, pointless, err, ‘wanky’…Interior. Leather Bar could have been all these things but is (almost) none, providing, against all odds, satisfying intellectual purpose for everything it does, and even, surprisingly and playfully, mixes in meta-fictional elements to much better effect than Franco’s other 2013 po-mo project, This is the End.

August: Osage County

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A bit of a stage-y, act-y film, this, and in that regard somewhat enjoyable, but story-wise the central family is, almost to a (wo)man, intensely unlikeable, with the few who aren’t mean or spiteful still blithely disrespectful to ‘the help’, or ill-served by lurid plot twists that ring slightly false.