Film reviews

Now showing at the UK box office this week

Saturday, 8th November 2014, 8:00 pm
Timothy Spall in Mr Turner
Timothy Spall in Mr Turner

OUIJA (15)

High school student Debbie (Shelley Hennig) consults a spirit board on her own and takes a tumble over her balcony with a string of fairy lights wrapped around her neck. Classmates struggle to make sense of her apparent suicide. “I never got a chance to say goodbye,” sobs Debbie’s best friend Laine (Olivia Cooke) to her boyfriend Trevor (Daren Kagasoff). During a nostalgic final tour of Debbie’s bedroom, Laine discovers an antique Ouija board and decides to rally the troops to make contact with their late friend and say their tearful goodbyes. Laine convenes at Debbie’s house with her truculent younger sister Sarah (Ana Coto), Debbie’s boyfriend Pete (Douglas Smith), gal pal Isabelle (Bianca A Santos) and Trevor to open a connection to the spirit world. Unwittingly, the friends make contact with a dark force that inhabits the house and torments the teenagers with the same greeting: HI FRIEND. The body count rises and Laine follows a trail of clues leading to a patient in Hoover State Care Psychiatric Hospital with intimate knowledge of the house’s previous occupants.

Rating: Two stars

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Charlie Countryman (Shia LaBeouf) sits in a Chicago hospital room with his father Bill (Vincent D’Onofrio) as a nurse turns off the life support of his mother Kate (Melissa Leo). Soon after, he sees Kate’s spirit in a hallway and begs her to tell him what to do with his directionless life. “Go to Bucharest,” she responds. Accepting these words of wisdom, Charlie boards a flight to Bucharest and befriends an elderly passenger called Victor Ibanescu (Ion Caramitru). The old man dies in his sleep and his spirit begs Charlie to deliver a gift intended for his daughter.

At the airport, the American abroad befriends Victor’s daughter Gabi (Evan Rachel Wood). They kindle an awkward romance but Gabi has an emotionally unstable husband called Nigel (Mads Mikkelsen), who has connections to the Romanian criminal underworld including a thug called Darko (Til Schweiger). Meanwhile, Charlie settles into shared lodgings at the Marco Polo Youth Hostel with two British tourists (James Buckley, Rupert Grint), who lead him astray with their stash of mind-bending narcotics.

Rating: Three stars


Mr Turner opens with the breathtaking image of the artist (Timothy Spall) capturing the rising sun over fields in Belgium. He returns to London and the home he shares with his father William (Paul Jesson) and housekeeper Hannah Danby (Dorothy Atkinson). The relationship between the two men is sketched in exquisite detail in these early scenes, with Turner warmly embracing his “daddy”. Turner channels his energy into his work, which continues to raise eyebrows at the Royal Academy Of Arts. During excursions to Margate, Turner meets Mrs Booth (Marion Bailey) and her husband (Karl Johnson) and rents a room from the couple so he can paint seascapes by the morning light. The burgeoning relationship between the artist and Mrs Booth sweetens the bitter pill of William’s passing and Turner continues to clash with the artistic establishment, represented here by Sir John Soane (Nicholas Jones) and his coterie. Mr Turner is a glorious period piece that offers us a glimpse behind the canvasses of a misunderstood maverick, who notes at one point, “When I peruse myself in a looking glass, I see a gargoyle.”

Rating: Five stars