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boom reviews Black Mass Black Mass (15)

These days being a famous film star is no guarantee that an audience will automatically turn up in their droves to see your latest flick. Forbes recently published a list of the biggest flops of the year, which included films starring Johnny Depp (Mortdecai), Bill Murray (Rock the Kasbah), Sean Penn (The Gunman) and Bradley Cooper (Aloha) in its top ten.

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boom reviews Whiplash Whiplash (15)

If the question to appear on the Family Fortunes board was, "Name the greatest drummer of all time", we wouldn't be surprised if the top answer was Animal from The Muppets. Hell, that would've been our collective answer. With maybe Phil Collins popping up in second place. So with these iconic drumming figures in mind, this film, set in a cutthroat music academy, could have its work cut out for it with a more popular audience. And yet, as the tense drama unfolds, it's clear that it's a title that never misses a beat.

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boom reviews The Skeleton Twins The Skeleton Twins (15)

There's a deep connection between Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader, but it's not quite a sibling relationship. For nine years they were part of the ever-growing Saturday Night Live comedy troupe, which also included Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Will Ferrell and Maya Rudolph during their comedic tenure. It's no wonder then that so many of them appear in each other's films, like some form of professional incest. Wiig and Hader have appeared on the big screen together before, most notably in 2009's hugely enjoyable Adventureland, but this is the first time they've taken their relationship to a whole new level: as twins.

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boom reviews Horns Horns (15)

Starring in a big budget film as a child actor doesn't guarantee further success – just ask Macaulay Culkin or the kid who played Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace. Well, you could try asking them, but you have to find them first. In 2001, at the age of eleven, Daniel Radcliffe got the lead in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, a role he continued to play for the next ten years, making him pretty much a household name. Since then, he's been pretty bold with his post-Potter roles, with darker fair like The Woman in Black and Kill Your Darlings. But just to reinforce his acting credentials, he also took to the stage to reveal himself, in all his glory, in the demanding Equus. In a sense, Horns sees Radcliffe return to the realms of fantasy in his latest role, for what he probably considered one hell of a part.

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boom reviews - Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (PG)

It's the eve of Alexander's (Ed Oxenbould) twelfth birthday and, as you would expect, he's pretty psyched. Although not quite the most popular boy at school – being on the accident prone side as he is can hold a boy back – he's still expecting a decent turnout for his birthday party. Then, horror of horrors, he learns that one of the most popular kids at his school has moved his party to the same day. This news just tops off what Alexander considers a terrible day. Although the rest of his family – mom (Jennifer Garner), Dad (Steve Carell), brother (Dylan Minnette) and sis (Kerris Dorsey) – are sort of sympathetic, he wishes that they could have, just once, the kind of really, really bad day that he often has. The next day arrives, his birthday, and something quite strange starts to happen: as soon as the family are up, it's obvious that they are all in for the mother of all mishaps of a day.

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boom reviews - '71 '71 (15)

When the E4 drama Skins first splattered onto our screens in 2007, no-one could have predicted how much of the fresh talent involved would move onto bigger things. One of the show's strongest characters was the enigmatic Cook, played by Jack O'Connell. There must have been days on shoot when other actors pitied themselves if they had to share screen time with O'Connell, who was like an acting Pac-Man devouring all those around him with his edgy performances. Apart from a small part in the decidedly by-the-numbers 300 sequel, 300: Rise of the Empire, O'Connell has been satisfied by starring in low-budget British films, of which '71 is the latest example.

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boom reviews - Gone Girl Gone Girl (18)

What goes up, down, up, down, up, down? No, not a happy penguin on a pogo stick, it's actually Ben Affleck's career. He may well have won two Oscars, but his career has seen more dips than a lap dancer on a large stag do. With the relatively recent success of Argo behind him, and with a turn playing Batman on the horizon in the high profile Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, it appears that Affleck is having his third or maybe fourth professional renaissance in Hollywood. And with the release of Gone Girl, he's clearly on the highest of highs right now.

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boom reviews - The Giver The Giver (12A)

It's understandable that audiences might get a little frustrated by the two-stream output currently coming from Hollywood: if you're not into superheroes or teens struggling in a dystopian future, you're in trouble. Unfortunately there looks like no sign of change on the horizon, with this trend likely to continue for the foreseeable dystopian future. However, although this effort clearly falls into the latter category, it at least attempts to do so in an original way. It's 2048 and society has changed beyond all recognition. Over the years, it has become the definition of homogeneity, with a society completely devoid of any emotions. This means there's no hate, which means there's no war, but also no love.

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boom reviews - Obvious Child Obvious Child (15)

Rom-coms are pretty formulaic these days: boy meets girl, hilarity of one kind or another ensues, boy marries girl. Like they say, if it ain't broke. But what if you intentionally go out of your way to make a broken rom-com? Just as Donna (Jenny Slate) comes off stage after a stand-up gig in her local club, her natural buzz is soon killed by her boyfriend as he decides to break up with her. As if she wasn't feeling vulnerable enough, when she goes to the book shop she works in, her boss tells her that they're having to close down. So in quick succession, Donna finds herself both dumped and soon to be unemployed. Then, after a one night stand, she discovers she's pregnant.

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boom reviews - Lucy Lucy (15)

There was a time when you knew what to expect from a Luc Besson film; titles like Nikita, Leon and The Fifth Element were action-packed affairs that had a fair number of memorable set pieces. In recent years though, the French director has diversified by dabbling in animation with his Arthur and the Invisibles trilogy, 2011's historic biography The Lady and last year's comedy crime thriller The Family. With Lucy though, Besson returns to not only his action roots but in having a female lead at her ass-kicking best.

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boom reviews - The Congress The Congress (15)

Not so long ago, stories of how digital technology was going to change cinema were rife. Not just in terms of improved visuals and sound, but in the digitisation of actors; they used the examples of Humphrey Bogart and Marilyn Monroe and suggested that they could once again physically appear in new features. It didn't happen. Or, more accurately, it hasn't happened yet; director Ari Folman uses this premise as his jumping off point for his latest project.

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boom film reviews - The Young and Prodigious TS Spivet The Young and Prodigious TS Spivet (12A)

The term 'auteur' is one that is rarely used these days. Sure it's a little old fashioned, but the real reason for its absence is that there are very few around today. If you're unsure to its meaning, it was often used to describe (in the world of cinema at least) a director who managed to stamp his own visual signature on his work. A classic example being Alfred Hitchcock - if you were watching a Hitchcock film, you knew about it. That's not to say that there aren't a few still knocking about today who have their own unmistakable style, including Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese, and the director of this particular film, Jean-Pierre Jeunet. It's been five long years since his last inventive outing, the wonderfully surreal and silly Micmacs, and although his usual European sensibility has been replaced by Americana, there's no mistaking this for anything other than a Jean-Pierre Jeunet film.

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boom film reviews - Radioman Radioman

New York may well be the city that never sleeps, but it also seemingly has the largest collections of loons per square mile than any other city. But only one eccentric character can claim to have appeared in over a 100 Hollywood films: Radioman. In 1990, Radioman (real name Craig Castaldo), came across a film crew in the city that has trouble sleeping, shooting a film. He saw a man in a raincoat who looked a little down and out, like himself, and offered him a beer. The man turned out to be Bruce Willis in costume for his role on the film Bonfire of the Vanities. From that moment on, Radioman was hooked. Since then, Radioman, along with his bicycle and trademark stereo around his neck, turns up, regular as clockwork, to all the location shoots in the city. And for the last twenty odd years, Hollywood's biggest stars have come to know and love Radioman, and expect him to show up when they're filming there.

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boom reviews American Sniper American Sniper (15)

With his elegant, touching and thought-provoking 2006 double header Letters from Iwo Jima and Flags of our Fathers, Clint Eastwood has already proven he knows his way around a war film. As a follow-up to his recent Four Seasons biography Jersey Boys, the veteran director takes a more contemporary look at combat with this adaptation of the New York Times bestseller American Sniper, starring Bradley Cooper as ace Navy Seal marksman Chris Kyle.

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boom reviews The Drop The Drop (15)

It's not often that the appearance of Tom Hardy in a film doesn't grab all the headlines, but it has taken the death of his co-star to displace the usual Hardy hullabaloo. Sadly The Drop will be remembered for one thing, and one thing only, and that's for being the last film James Gandolfini starred in, having died earlier this year in Rome, aged 51.The New Jersey-born actor will always be fondly remembered for his striking portrayal of Tony Soprano in the HBO TV series The Sopranos. But since 2007, when that show came to an end, Gandolfini quietly embarked on more film roles. Although this isn't the best of the bunch, he still gives a supremely watchable performance.

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boom reviews Say When Say When (15)

Relationships are such funny things. For Keira Knightley's latest role, she finds herself involved in a number of relationships, and sadly for Keira, none of them really work. It's ten years after an awkward prom party and Megan (Knightly) is still trying to get her life into some kind of order at her prom reunion. Currently she's happy enough in her comfort zone. With no job prospects on the horizon, she helps her dad (Jeff Garlin) out by advertising his accounting firm on the side of a road twiddling and flipping a sign around. Another thing that hasn't changed in the last ten years is her boyfriend. But when Anthony finally decides to propose, Megan's feet get as cold as ice at the prospect.

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boom reviews Mr Turner Mr Turner (12A)

Mike Leigh's latest is a fascinating portrayal of renowned English Romantic landscape painter J.M.W Turner who, even as a child, could have wiped the smug faces of off all those brats sending their shitty pictures into Tony Hart's gallery. Supreme artist Joseph Mallord William Turner (Timothy Spall) returns to his London home after a trip to Amsterdam. He is estranged from his wife and daughters so lives with his housekeeper, Hannah Danby (Dorothy Atkinson); she thinks a lot of her employer and her services go beyond more than just waiting on him hand and foot, which he is more than happy to take advantage of. Although a member of the Royal Academy of Arts, Turner is not one to conform: far from it. In fact, you can bet that if feathers are ruffled, it's bound to be Turner doing the ruffling.

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boom reviews The Maze Runner The Maze Runner (12A)

Oh Lord, not yet another adaptation of a young adult fiction book series. An understandable reaction considering Hollywood's current trend for tapping into this bottomless pit of a market. It's obvious however that the fans of these books are keen to see their favourite characters come to life off the page and onto the silver screen, and are happy to pay for the privilege. So, along with characters running around in Lycra trying to save the day with their super powers, it's a trend that looks likely to stay. Joy. And yet here's the thing: The Maze Runner is quite a thrilling spectacle. No, we weren't expecting it either.

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boom reviews Maps to the Stars Maps to the Stars (18)

Crash. If we had to pinpoint where it started to go wrong for director David Cronenberg, it would probably have to be, quite appropriately, with this 1996 title of his. Before it, the Canadian writer/director helmed some of the eighties’ most deliciously disturbing films. You know the ones: Scanners, Videodrome, The Fly etc. Since then his output has been patchy at best, with 2012's Cosmopolis a new low for the talented director. The one thing that can be said for this latest effort is that at least it's better than that. Just.

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boom reviews Honeymoon Honeymoon (15)

According to various travel websites, the number one idyllic destination for couples to spend their honeymoon is Hawaii. However, considering that Southend on Sea – featuring the world's longest pier – doesn't even appear in their top tens suggests that these results can pretty much be taken with a pinch of salt. But what if you don't have the kind of money to splash out on Hawaii, or Southend for that matter? Where could you possibly have a fun time on the cheap? Well, what says romance more than a cabin in the woods, right?

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boom reviews - The Inbetweeners 2 The Inbetweeners 2 (15)

With their clunge-seeking holiday to Crete positively shooting its load all over the British box office in 2011 (setting the record for the biggest weekend opening for a comedy film ever), it was the safest of bets that loveable outsiders Will, Simon, Jay and Neil would be back. This time, the filthy foursome go sniffing down under for a bit of action.

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boom reviews - Night Moves Night Moves (15)

It may be hard for some to accept but the cold, hard truth is that we have really fucked up this planet of ours. Before we came along the dinosaurs had lovely fresh air to breath and clean water to drink. Then the human race popped up and screwed everything up by just smearing everything in toxic waste. If you think you're doing your bit by recycling your rubbish and reusing your plastic bags when you do your big shop, well, you are. But for many - like the protagonists in this film - it's just not enough.

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boom reviews - The Expendables 3 The Expendables 3 (12A)

It's all too easy to dismiss Sylvester Stallone as simply a washed-up eighties action hero. He is without question a savvy actor with an even savvier business head. OK, maybe he hires those savvy business types, but he knows what the public want from him. They want him to be Rocky and Rambo. Perhaps his acting nirvana will come with Rocky Vs Rambo, which would certainly make his fans cream themselves, possibly to death. Clearly a ridiculous notion, but never put it past Hollywood for having one or two of those. And if further proof of his savviness were needed, he brought us The Expendables. Why have one washed-up eighties action hero when you can have not only a whole team of them, but - more importantly - a whole new franchise built around them? Nothing short of genius.

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boom film reviews - The Company You Keep The Company You Keep (15)

Here's a nugget of a fact that may surprise you: Robert Redford has to date won only two Oscars, and neither of them were for acting. One was for Best Director for 1981's Ordinary People and another was a we-feel-kind-of-bad-that-you-haven't-won-more-Oscars, otherwise known as the Lifetime Achievement award, which he received in 2002. And to rub salt into the wounds, he has only ever been nominated once for a Best Actor award, which was for his performance in 1973's The Sting. And despite the fact the 77 year old Redford both directs and stars in his latest project, it's unlikely to alter his chances of picking up any further golden statues any time soon.

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boom film reviews - Star Wars The Phantom Menace 3D Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (PG)

It's difficult to really convey the deep-felt disappointment at watching The Phantom Menace in 1999 for the very first time. Despite the name, the music and the scrolling titles, it felt nothing like Star Wars. It' s now thirteen years on and perhaps now is a good time to let bygones be bygones, to re-evaluate its position in the hallowed Star Wars franchise, and take another look at the Phantom, albeit this time round through 3D glasses.

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