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A Magazine for Sheffield

The best and worst of 2012 and 2013.

Cult director Andrew Dominik is not someone that many people could pick out in a crowd, but if I was to mention films such as Chopper and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford then you might be keen to see his newest film, and you'd be right to. Killing Them Softly is a genuine classic in the gangster genre and offers a brilliant slice of social criticism to boot. Brad Pitt is back on top form as villain Jackie Cogan, a local enforcer tasked with bringing vigilante justice to local criminals. Pitt produced the film as well and has become Dominik's muse it seems, a partnership we can only hope stems into more films.

We all know what to expect when it comes to Wes Anderson -breathtaking cinematography, lots of laughs, a great soundtrack and that actor Bill Murray. Moonrise Kingdom is Anderson's greatest film to date, tracking the adventures of young boy scout Sam who escapes his group to run away with his true love Susie across a small island set to be hit by a tornado. It will make you laugh and cry hand in hand. It also features brilliant appearances from Edward Norton, Harvey Keitel and Bruce Willis. As Anderson's profile rises he is becoming the go-to name for actors who want to show they can 'do indie', and it works well for both parties. A truly beautiful little film that will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy inside.

This film really soared in under the radar. Directed by Welsh director Gareth Evans, it is a low budget Indonesian martial arts film about a group of elite police who have to infiltrate a drug gang's high rise apartment block. The story mainly focuses on Rama, a newly trained officer who has ulterior motives for being involved with the mission. Mark my words, the action is phenomenal. If you're a fan of a good scrap then this is the film for you. Rama has to almost single-handedly kill every single bad guy in the building using various weapons, including a wood axe, a splintered door and an exploding fridge. It is a genuinely classy flick and a great tribute to the martial art of Pencat Silak, in which lead actor Iko Uwais has been trained since the age of ten.


Yes, we have the return of the spandex clad orphan from Krypton (Superman for the comic book illiterate) and another brit, Henry Cavill, in another iconic American film role following in the footsteps of Christian Bale and Andrew Garfield. And with Christopher Nolan as producer and Watchmen director Zack Snyder in the director's chair, we look set to get an origins story with some grit, in-keeping with Nolan's Batman Trilogy.

A director-actor team up I'm enjoying right now is Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio, and with this film set to cover the theme of corruption in corporate banking and mob infiltration we could be set for another Scorsese gang land classic. His most recent works The Aviator, Shutter Island and Hugo have been diverse and impressive, but it will be nice to see the old master return to the genre that made his name.

Teenage boys the world over rejoice! Tarantino is back with his take on the Western genre. Christophe Waltz returns as a bounty hunter -cum- gun slinger and Jamie Foxx takes the lead role as Django, a freed slave on the hunt for his wife, who has been bought by Leo DiCaprio's plantation owner. Expect lots of comedy violence, memorable dialogue and yet more of that Tarantino style that we have all come to love.


Sacha Baron Cohen has had a relative amount of success in his film career. Ali G, Borat and Bruno have all taken the jump to the big screen and come off quite well, in turn raising his profile and making him a pretty penny along the way. Why on earth then did he decide to make this film? Gone is the mockumentary style of his previous films, replaced with your traditional film narrative. It's almost offensive that Cohen has drawn the comparison between himself and Charlie Chaplin. In no way is he as funny and in no way are The Dictator and Chaplin's The Great Dictator anything alike. The stereotype Cohen plays on is old and over-done. Trey Parker and Matt Stone already did the ridiculous terrorists perfectly in Team America: World Police. Cohen is just a few years too late.

As an original story penned by Paranormal Activity creator Oren Peli, the expectations for this film were pretty high. We all love a good a hand-held camera horror, but this film was really just a bit poor. A group of American tourists decide to embark on some extreme tourism and go to look at the nuclear site at Chernobyl. Typically they get stranded, they lose their Ukrainian tour guide and come face to face with some rather un-scary mutants. It's one of those horror movies that leaves you feeling devoid of any hope. Not just because every single character meets a grizzly end, but because it's so inaccurate it hurts. People can't outrun dogs or survive exposure to high levels of radiation. Just a bit silly.

We've had a good few Burton-Depp team ups in the last few years, but Dark Shadows should surely hail the end of this director-actor partnership. Based on a cult - read poorly made and sparsely watched - 1970s sit-com of the same name, Dark Shadows is an attempt by Burton to make vampires comical. In reality the laughs sink like lead balloons. Depp is so awful in this film that Barnabus Collins will probably be remembered as his worst performance. I won't spare any more words on this. Just avoid it like the plague.


A sequel to a prequel, I hear you say? Yes, the powers that be have deemed it appropriate to try and make a stand-alone Wolverine film that will be actually watchable and not star Placing Wolverine in Japan so that he can fight samurais with his claws and directed by James Mangold, this looks set to be yet another flop for 20th Century Fox as they seem desperate to squeeze every last dollar out of the most famous comic character before his copyright reverts to Marvel.

G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra was one of the worst things I have ever seen and the sequel was put back to a 2013 release due to the studio realising that it needs to be massively re-worked. It will star Channing Tatum and new lead actors Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and Bruce Willis in a bid to rake in some more money at the box office.

Why do people keep letting Roland Emmerich make films?! His string of disaster movies have failed to have any real social impact in the last few years and are more famous for being disasters themselves. This film will star Channing Tatum as a secret service agent tasked with saving the President after the White House is taken over by terrorists. Yeah, I just sighed as well so don't spend your hard earned cash on this because it really won't be worth it. It's also coming up against identical film Olympus Has Fallen starring Gerard Butler, which promises to be very similar and equally poor.


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