The Oscars

Everything you need to get ready for the 2015 Academy Awards, including nominations, predictions and interviews with the hopefuls

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From the worst ever Oscar winners to a recap of the most unlikely Oscar nominees, we’ve got everything you need to see you through to the Academy Awards. Take a look at the 15 films we think have a chance of bagging gold and becoming an Academy Award winner this year, and come back again for more 2015 Oscars predictions and news.

The latest 2015 Oscars interviews

Film

Steve Carell

The funnyman is ditching his comedy shtick to play a wrestling-obsessed megalomaniac millionaire murderer in ‘Foxcatcher’. We meet his serious side Once upon a time, all it took to be a leading man in Hollywood was a great jawline, a raging cocaine habit and the ability to run and fire a gun at the same time. But in this anxious age, we require a little more from our movie stars: we want them to be decent, down-to-earth, smartly dressed, happily married (human rights lawyers are very in at the moment) and even – perhaps trickiest of the lot – ordinary.All of which might explain why Steve Carell represents the bleeding edge of modern Hollywood cool. The father of two has been with his wife Nancy for almost a decade, with nary a hint of marital strain. He doesn’t yell at paparazzi. He’s never fallen out of an LA nightclub at 6am. You could take him home to meet your mother and they’d end up chatting about comfy jumpers and the best way to retile a bathroom. But isn’t that all a bit, well, boring? In Carell’s case, not remotely.For all his backstage blandness, the comedian-turned-actor has proved himself a riveting screen presence, at once easygoing and unpredictable, sweet-natured and slickly hilarious. Following an early stint as a roving reporter for news satire TV series ‘The Daily Show’, Carell proved his lead-role worth with a hugely popular, seven-year, Emmy-nominated, Golden Globe-winning turn in the US version of ‘The Office’, transforming Michael Scott into a far deepe

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Film

Eddie Redmayne

The actor’s portrayal of Stephen Hawking in ‘The Theory of Everything’ is astonishing – but what’s it like playing the world’s most famous scientist? The first time Professor Stephen Hawking saw ‘The Theory of Everything’, he emailed the director to say that there were moments where he thought he was watching himself. Eddie Redmayne, who plays Hawking, must have heard this story a hundred times, but when I mention it his face lights up. ‘That was the greatest review ever,’ he says, smiling ear to ear. ‘I want to retire.’No chance. The 32-year-old Londoner (currently best known for ‘Les Mis’) is about to join his mate Benedict Cumberbatch in the big league of Brit Actors Hollywood Would Most Like to Watch. Not only has he had the Hawking seal of approval, his performance in ‘The Theory of Everything’ is generating some serious Oscar heat.The film is more love story than straight biopic. It’s based on the memoir by Hawking’s first wife Jane (played in the film by Felicity Jones). The couple divorced in 1995 after 30 years and three kids, and while you might expect the film to be ‘team Jane’, it’s much more grown-up and honest about marriage than that. It’s also very funny. When a mate asks Hawking if everything ‘down there’ is still in working order, he replies: ‘That part is automatic.’Redmayne plays the professor from slacker student at Cambridge (before his motor neurone disease was diagnosed at the age of 21) to rock-star theoretical physicist. In the later scenes, when Haw

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Film

Reese Witherspoon

The actress and Cheryl Strayed, the writer behind her tough new role in ‘Wild’, talk about filming a bestselling memoir Hollywood likes Reese Witherspoon. The problem for Reese Witherspoon is that it likes her sweet, wholesome and, well, Reese Witherspoon-y. Which drives her nuts: ‘I’ve had so many frustrating conversations with the studios.’ She laughs. ‘They say: “We don’t want to see you curse in a movie or do drugs. We don’t want to see you have sex.’In her new film ‘Wild’ the 38-year-old does all three: sex, drugs and swearing. The film is based on a memoir by the writer Cheryl Strayed who backpacked 1,100 miles of the Pacific Coast Trail in too-tight boots to ‘save herself’ age 26 in 1995. Four years earlier her mum died of cancer, spinning Strayed into a cycle of one-night-stands and heroin use. Which makes ‘Wild’ sound a bit ‘Eat, Pray, Hike’. It’s not. It’s tougher.I meet Witherspoon and Strayed (who gave herself that hardcore surname after a divorce in her mid-twenties) in a Soho hotel drinking tea. The two women might be sisters – matching blonds who finish each other’s sentences. Witherspoon produced ‘Wild’ with the company she set up to make films with complex female leads, snapping up the book three months before it was published. ‘My literary agent sent it to me, and I read it in 24 hours. I was on a plane from New York to LA and literally could not put it down. The next morning I called Cheryl.’Getting a call out of the blue from Reese Witherspoon first thing

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Film

Benedict Cumberbatch

He’s played Pitt the Younger, Julian Assange and Stephen Hawking – now Benedict Cumberbatch is starring as Alan Turing in ‘The Imitation Game’ It’s 7.15 on a Saturday morning, and Benedict Cumberbatch is trying but failing to leave his Hampstead home and jump into a car to the airport. He keeps forgetting stuff, running back in, grabbing more things. ‘I’m useless at getting into a car. I always think of five things I have to have before I leave. It’s like threshold anxiety!’ This early hour is the only part of the day when the 38-year-old has a decent amount of time to talk, and he’s on the phone with me all the way to the check-in desk, talking fast about everything he’s up to.Most recently, he’s been recording the voice of the tiger Shere Khan for Andy Serkis’s new film of ‘The Jungle Book’ and rehearsing his role as Richard III in a series of upcoming Shakespeare plays for the BBC. Today he’s catching a flight to Toronto for the film festival where he will introduce ‘The Imitation Game’, a film in which he plays wartime hero Alan Turing, the mathematician who helped break the Nazi Enigma code and then faced postwar persecution because of his sexuality. The film opens the London Film Festival next Wednesday and is already being mentioned in the same breath as the Oscars. If anyone in cinema is on a high right now, it’s the actor once known as ‘that guy in “Sherlock”’.So, here we are, at the crack of dawn on a Saturday, talking shop. Something tells me you’re busy these days

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Film

Rosamund Pike

The Bond girl-turned-‘Gone Girl’ tells us about the rewards of crossing over to the dark side Early last summer Rosamund Pike was working her butt off in a gym near Glasgow. Not at a spinning class or doing hot yoga, but in several four-hour-long auditions over Skype with director David Fincher (‘The Social Network’). At the time, blogs were buzzing with gossip about which A-lister Fincher would cast opposite Ben Affleck in his film adaptation of ‘Gone Girl’.Gillian Flynn’s novel was the tube read of 2013 – an insanely addictive thriller about a woman who disappears on her fifth wedding anniversary. Natalie Portman, Charlize Theron and Emily Blunt all reportedly went for it. Pike was making a film in Scotland at the time and the gym was the only place with decent wifi. Even she was shocked by Fincher’s interest: ‘It was really cool realising that I was even on his radar. I mean, I’ve seen everything he’s ever done.’ It turns out that Fincher had her in mind from the get-go. He wanted a ‘relative unknown’ and liked her look, describing her as ‘luminously beautiful’. That’s no exaggeration. Rosamund Pike is flawless. It’s a weirdly muggy September afternoon in Soho when we meet, and everyone is damp and frizzy in the monsoon-ish weather. Except Pike, who despite being seven months pregnant, bump neatly covered by a 1960s-style navy pinafore dress, is all poise and perfection – more like a painting than a person. Pike’s first in-person meeting with Fincher to talk about ‘Gone G

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Film

Wes Anderson

The director explains how he lived with his A-list cast while making ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ and why he once carried €10,000 in a suitcase for Bill Murray That shoulder-length, neat-but-not-too-neat hair, that tweed suit, those Clarks ankle boots – is there a film director alive who looks more like a character in one of their own movies than Wes Anderson? He’s the 44-year-old Texan whose films, from ‘Rushmore’ and ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’ to ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ and ‘Moonrise Kingdom’, radiate hipster style, highbrow cheek and eccentricity.His new film, ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’, is his best yet. It’s the story of Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes, seriously funny), a smooth-talking concierge at a 1930s European hotel who becomes caught up in a murder inquiry and some caper-tastic political shenanigans when one of his elderly guests (Tilda Swinton, unrecognisable in prosthetics) dies suddenly.Anderson is on a roll. In 2012, ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ won him his largest audience ever and an Oscar nomination. Look carefully, and you’ll find his influence everywhere – in lesser, knock-off indie movies, quirky TV ads and the fad for all things crafty and analogue.Appropriately enough, we meet Anderson, who lives in Paris, in an old-fashioned London members’ club and hotel where even the wallpaper looks as if it’s been borrowed from one of his films. Does it upset you when people say that you make the same film over and over again? They think they’ve seen it all bef

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Film

Felicity Jones

Watch this space: Felicity Jones, the Brit star of 'Breathe In', will soon be everywhere. But her feet are still firmly on the ground Interviews with Felicity Jones usually begin with a description of her as ‘the next Carey Mulligan’. Having met the two I can see why. They’re both girl-next-door pretty, head-screwed-on smart, friendly but wary of fame (biting their lips to stop giving too much away). And they’re friends, as it happens – meeting on the telly adaptation of ‘Northanger Abbey’ in 2007.Jones – who seems a fraction shyer than Mulligan – is bored of the comparison. ‘We’re so different,’ she sighs. ‘It’s weird. People don’t say that about Andrew Garfield or Eddie Redmayne. They don’t lump the boys together. I think it’s lazy. Just because we’re both female and British doesn’t make us the same.’The reason Jones isn’t a major star yet has a lot to do with how she’s turned down attention-seeking Hollywood roles. She said no to last year’s Snow White movie, ‘Mirror Mirror: The Untold Adventures of Snow White’, and acted in a play in London instead. Why? For her art? ‘No! That makes me sound so noble,’ she laughs. ‘It was a scheduling clash. We’d been talking about the play for a year.’Still, she hasn’t gone out of her way to make herself famous. ‘No,’ she shrugs, embarrassed. ‘I just try to be instinctive, pick interesting roles.’ Watch the 'Breathe In' trailer She’s much happier analysing her characters. Raised by her mum near Birmingham,

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Film

Richard Linklater and Ellar Coltrane

Director Richard Linklater cast Ellar Coltrane aged six to star in a coming-of-age film that took 12 years to shoot. The pair look back at pictures from the set Read our ‘Boyhood’ review Is ‘Boyhood’ the most nuanced home movie of all time? Not quite, and that would diminish Linklater’s achievement. Better to say that it retrains us to let go of melodramatic expectations and simply let life unfold, a remarkably sophisticated ambition. Unshakable, witty and deeply felt, the film will be paying emotional dividends for a long, long time. Latest film top tens The top ten time travel cockups on film The potential downsides to mucking about with the space-time continuum. Read more The ten most outrageous action scenes Strap yourself in. No, seriously. Read more The ten most unlikely Oscar nominees Seeing their names in the history books will forever make us do a double take. Read more Ten eye-catching actors in drag From Johnny Depp to Ryan Gosling, when actors swap trousers and shirts for blouses and skirts. Read more Latest film interviews Steve Carell 'It’s like I won the lottery.’ He's the funnyman who made 'The Office' a smash-hit in the States. Now Steve Carell is ditching his guy-next-door shtick to play a millionaire murderer in 'Foxcatcher'Read the interview Eddie Redmayne 'We only have one shot at life, and we have to live it as fully as possible.' The British actor on becoming Stephen Hawking and learning life lessons from the world's most famous scientistRea

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The latest 2015 Oscars reviews

Film

Birdman

‘Most of the successful people in Hollywood are failures as human beings.’ So said Marlon Brando. But what happens when their 15 minutes are up? It’s not like failure suddenly transforms former mega-celebs into humble human beings who can pick up their own coffee from Starbucks. That's Michael Keaton’s problem in this savagely funny, strangely sweet, sad and utterly brilliant New York-set comedy from Mexican writer-director Alejandro González Iñárritu, better known for his gloomy, state-of-the world dramas 'Babel' and '21 Grams'.Keaton is Riggan Thomson, an actor who raked in the cash in the early 1990s as a lame pre-‘Avengers’ superhero in a blockbuster franchise (a clear nod to Keaton's own days as Batman). He hasn’t made a Birdman film in years – but Birdman is still part of him. Quite literally: there's a naff, booming comic voice in his head (‘You're the real deal’), and it gives him superhuman powers. Is Birdman a figment of Riggan's imagination? Is this a dig at superstar actors with inflated egos who have trouble telling the difference between real-life and their movie characters? Whatever it is, Riggan has problems. He’s trying to reinvent himself for a second act as a Serious Artist, remortgaging the house in Malibu to write, direct and star in an adaptation of a Raymond Carver short story on Broadway. But Birdman is shitting on the plan, telling Riggan to make a reality TV show instead of this ‘piece of shit’.'Birdman' is hilarious simply as a film about putting on

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
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  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Film

The Grand Budapest Hotel

While other filmmakers get their hands dirty in kitchen sinks, Wes Anderson surely slips his into luxury cashmere mittens. His films overflow with intricate detail and make no pretence of existing in a world other than their own, just-about-earthbound parallel universe. So the five-star premises of his energetic new comedy ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ – a wedding-cake-like, pastel-coloured establishment situated somewhere in 1930s Mitteleuropa and peopled by eccentrics and lunatics – feel like business as usual. What’s different, though, is that the film’s shaggy-dog, sort-of-whodunit yarn offers laughs and energy that make this Anderson’s most fun film since ‘Rushmore’. Where ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ had heart, ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ has pace and a winning manic streak. It also gives Ralph Fiennes a rare comic role as Monsieur Gustave, a concierge who wavers brilliantly between thug and gentleman aesthete. From Gustave’s mouth pours a head-spinning cocktail of politeness and filth as he becomes embroiled in the murder investigation and inheritance tussles that follow the death of one of his most loyal guests, the elderly Madame D (Tilda Swinton, barely recognisable beneath a carapace of make-up). At Gustave’s side is his loyal apprentice, Zero Moustafa (newcomer Tony Revolori with a drawn-on pencil moustache), who decades later (now played by F Murray Abraham) recounts events over dinner to a writer played by Jude Law. The rest of Anderson’s cast is sprawling and starry. Blink

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Film

The Imitation Game

Hidden codes, secret meanings and mixed messages pulse through the reliable, old-fashioned, buzzing copper wires of true-life British period drama ‘The Imitation Game’. Snappy and not too solemn, but perhaps not as much of a psychological puzzle as it could have been, the film gives us key episodes in the tragic life of Alan Turing. He was the mathematician whose biting, anti-social intelligence briefly ran in step with the needs of the British war effort in the 1940s when he was employed to help break the Nazi Enigma code at Bletchley Park. Turing’s wartime achievements – kept under wraps for years – counted for nothing when his homosexuality fell foul of the law in the early 1950s, sending an already fragile personality into freefall. Benedict Cumberbatch, no stranger to roles with a hint of sociopathic genius, delivers a performance more complicated and knottier than the film around him. The script tends to spell out its themes, repeating a corny slogan: ‘Sometimes it is the people who no one imagines anything of, who do the things that no one can imagine.’ Cumberbatch, though, defies the film’s simplicity. His Turing is awkward, determined, at times comically stand-offish (a description that could just as easily apply to his Stephen Hawking, Julian Assange and Sherlock Holmes). The film gives us three periods in Turing’s life: his schooldays, wartime service and final years in the early 1950s. We intermittently hear Turing on voiceover telling his life story to a suspic

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Film

Boyhood

Looking at it one way, ‘Boyhood’ is a spectacularly cheap way of saving on actors’ salaries. To capture his rambling yet absorbing Texas family drama, director Richard Linklater (‘Before Midnight’) agreed with several actors – including his eight-year-old daughter Lorelei – that he’d shoot a movie with them over 12 years in dribs and drabs. Teenage voices drop, waists thicken and, in one benefit nobody could have predicted, Linklater’s star, Ellar Coltrane, playing the younger child of a divorced couple (Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke), develops into a shyly charismatic heartbreaker. Cool as it sounds, this long-game gimmick doesn’t guarantee a deep film. But amazingly, depth is what Linklater achieves, by letting the years play out in an uninterrupted, near-three-hour flow. ‘Boyhood’ feels unprecedented for its intimacy; the process is quietly radical, but the unassuming script even more so. We’re introduced to the clan in bursts. Olivia (Arquette), a single mother heading back to college, preps her kids for relocation to Houston, while their cool dad Mason (Hawke) shows up in a muscle car at weekends for trips to the bowling alley. You want the couple to reunite, but the plot has other plans, bringing on a procession of new husbands for Olivia, most notably a professor who becomes a vicious alcoholic (Marco Perella). Hawke’s character, meanwhile, drops the attitude and the wheels, eventually marrying a sweet, conservative Texan from a religious family. Both Arquette a

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Film

American Sniper

Only a filmmaker like Clint Eastwood – conservative, patriotic but alive and sensitive to human tragedy – could make a movie about an Iraq War veteran and fill it with doubts, mission anxiety and personal tragedy. ‘American Sniper’ is a superbly subtle critique made by an especially young 84-year-old. Like ‘The Hurt Locker’, it salutes the honest work of soldiers, in this case Navy Seals, shivering through their beach training and heading to the battle zone with a minimum of fuss. Among them is Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper), the real-life Texas rodeo rider who, after seeing terrorism on TV, transformed himself into the military’s most lethal weapon, racking up a confirmed 160 kills. But it’s what happens to Kyle back home – the shakes, the soaring blood pressure, the family dysfunction – that makes the film one of the most sympathetic combat movies ever produced. Bulked up yet still able to express his signature neuroticism (dialled down from ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ and ‘American Hustle’), Cooper has never been better than when embracing Kyle’s seesawing psychological state. The story ends on a terrible irony, which Eastwood slightly bungles with pageantry, but the overall mood is haunted.

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Film

Foxcatcher

This should have been something truly remarkable: a peerless cast of playing-against-type Hollywood bigwigs, a director whose track record (‘Capote’, ‘Moneyball’) screams quality and a real-life story that speaks to timely themes of wealth, privilege and exploitation. But somehow ‘Foxcatcher’ is more fascinating curio than genuine heavy-hitter: intense, thoughtful and studded with startling moments, it’s just too dour and muted to ever properly catch fire.Channing Tatum gives the performance of his career as Mark Schultz, the bruised but unbowed Olympic wrestler who signs up to a new training centre run by oddball millionaire John DuPont (Steve Carell), the scion of a serious old-money family. Grasping the chance to escape the shadow of his successful older brother (Mark Ruffalo), Schultz Jr falls increasingly under DuPont’s malign, mesmerising influence.It’s hard to say exactly what’s at fault here: the performances are flawless – Carell fully justifies his unlikely casting, while Ruffalo is as dependable as ever –  and the script is astute, intimate and at times shocking. But there’s just no real life in the film: aiming for a tone of studied foreboding, director Bennett Miller instead sucks all the energy from his story. ‘Foxcatcher’, then, is something of a failure – but it’s a peculiarly compelling and indelible one.

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  • 3 out of 5 stars
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Film

Interstellar

Christopher Nolan’s overwhelming, immersive and time-bending space epic ‘Interstellar’ makes Alfonso Cuarón’s ‘Gravity’ feel like a palate cleanser for the big meal to come. Where ‘Gravity’ was brief, contained and left the further bounds of the universe to our imagination, ‘Interstellar’ is long, grand, strange and demanding – not least because it allows time to slip away from under our feet while running brain-aching ideas before our eyes. It’s a bold, beautiful cosmic adventure story with a touch of the surreal and the dreamlike, and yet it always feels grounded in its own deadly serious reality. It’s hard to talk about the story without ruining its slow drip of surprises. So let’s be vague. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) lives with his family – his father-in-law (John Lithgow) and two young kids – in a not-too-distant future where living off huge fields of corn is the only business around. Dust storms brew, and there’s an apocalyptic vibe, as if the Depression of the 1930s had been transplanted to a dying Earth. Cooper has a strong bond with his daughter, Murph (Mackenzie Foy). But when this former pilot is given a chance to head a mission into space, he grabs it. It’s all very Messianic. This rough-and-ready everyman’s destiny is to join a secret project to save the Earth directed by the ageing Professor Brand (Michael Caine). And so he blasts into orbit in the company of Brand’s daughter (Anne Hathaway) and two other scientists (Wes Bentley, David Gyasi). This is no bus

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Film

Whiplash

You already know the ferocious jazz teacher played by JK Simmons in the electrifying New York-set drama ‘Whiplash’ if you've seen things like ‘Full Metal Jacket’, ‘Battle Royale’ and – just to be clear – the grizzly bear in ‘Grizzly Man’. Clad fully in black, biceps bulging, Simmons’s Fletcher exudes attitude: he rules the top department of an elite New York music school with a clenched first. Part of the joy of watching dramas like this must be a masochistic thrill in seeing young hopefuls suffer: drumming student Andrew (Miles Teller from ‘The Spectacular Now’, fully convincing) is nearly destroyed by this monster, a barking man who’s impossible to please. Yet even though our hero’s knuckles bleed and his snare gets spattered, you think: that’s some truly glorious noise he’s making. The discipline and beauty of bebop has never been better served by a film. ‘Whiplash’ might have followed this trajectory to a feel-good destination, one involving a recital, some proud parents and a teary hug. But that’s not where the young American writer-director Damien Chazelle wants to go – and bless him for it. Fletcher’s put-downs become more vicious (and riotously un-PC), the drive to perfection turns Andrew into a bitter, uncaring boyfriend, and the plot’s tone nears that of a thriller, sometimes awkwardly. Credibility becomes shaky: will a violent car crash prevent Andrew from staggering to the gig in a concussed delirium? Don’t ask. Disappointing Fletcher is too terrifying a prospe

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • 3 out of 5 stars
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