Competition! Win a copy of Looking on Blu-ray!

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New HBO drama Looking offers an unfiltered look at three friendships in San Francisco, one of America’s most iconic cities. The show follows the complicated love lives of Patrick (Jonathan Groff), Agustín (Frankie J Alvarez) and Dom (Murray Bartlett), whose stories intertwine as they search for happiness in an age of unparalleled choices – and rights – for gay men.

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Adventurous feel-good fun for Christmases for years to come: Get Santa (review)

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One last Christmas review from me before the big day, and it has to be the British made festive comedy Get Santa currently in cinemas as we speak, so may be a great time killer over the holiday season for all the parents out there.

Santa Clause has crash landed while test driving his new sleigh just two nights before Christmas, and finds himself and his reindeer scattered across the city of London. When he attempts to rescue his reindeer from the compound of Battersea Dogs Home he is arrested and thrown into Lambeth Prison. He calls upon the help of nine-year-old Tom and his ex-con father, Steve, currently on parole from a two-year stint as a getaway driver to break him out and help save Christmas.

Written and directed by Christopher Smith, best known for independent British Horror films such as Creep and Severance, Get Santa is a great British effort at the Christmas Film. The film stars an array of British faces in the roles including Rafe Spall, Warwick Davis, Stephen Graham and none other than the fantastic Jim Broadbent as old Saint Nick himself, and works tremendously well as both a Christmas film and a prison break film, oh and a comedy too. There are nods to films and TV throughout, such as Ronnie Barker’s Porridge, The Shawshank Redemption and many Christmas films lend moments along the way.

Jim Broadbent is one of those actors who in my mind can hardly do wrong, especially in comedic roles, and here as Father Christmas, he excels and possibly becomes one of the greatest on screen renditions of Santa to so far grace our screens. Rafe Spall gives a heartfelt turn as the ex con father aiding his son in this impossible mission in an attempt to make up for his absence.

The father and son team are tailed by the police, headed by Trainspotting’s Ewan Bremner and Steve’s stern parole officer played by Joanna Scanlon, and Santa’s little helper in the prison is the convict known as Sally Gunnell (rhyming slang for tunnel) none other than Warwick Davis, all of whom bring some fantastic comedic performances to the fold.

As is important with any Christmas family movie, the film is full to the brim with sentiment and merriment, but there’s enough here to entertain the adults as well as the kids, including the scene in which prison barber (Stephen Graham) helps to reinvent Santa into the prison safe “Mad Jimmy Claws”.

Get Santa is shot and edited tremendously well, with modest yet believable visual effects here and there, although with perhaps a little too much lens flare, as seems to be the in thing these days (thanks JJ Abrams), but all in all creates a great adventurous feel good journey which will have and your children on the edge of your seat, in fits of hysterics and holding back the odd tear too. If you like Christmas films, well, I think that Get Santa is going to become one of those classics that will make essential viewing for many years to come.

Sex, Leins & Videotape #191. Tom Leins reviews The Inbetweeners 2, The Guvnors and A Spell to Ward off the Darkness

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Three years after achieving a huge hit with the first Inbetweeners movie, the cast are back with another ‘Brits Abroad’ money-spinner.

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The Inbetweeners 2 (Channel 4 DVD) picks up with geeky Will (Simon Bird) struggling to make friends at university, while self-absorbed Simon (Joe Thomas) is trapped in a loveless relationship with his new girlfriend Lucy. When Simon and dim-witted Neil (Blake Harrison) visit Will for a humiliatingly uneventful weekend, the hapless trio make the decision to travel to Australia to meet up with vulgar likely lad Jay (James Buckley), who is supposedly having the time of his life, working as a DJ in Sydney. Inevitably, Jay’s tall tales have little connection to reality and the posse’s feeling of mutual disillusionment spurs them on to explore Australia and rub shoulders with the hordes of hardened backpackers.

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Making films takes a lot of guts: Orson Cornick talks about Take Your Time

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Orson Cornick isn’t comfortable being called a filmmaker, we spoke to him to find out why, and what inspired his touching and mult-layered second film Take Your Time. Here’s what he said:

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Some of the best films ever, and under 15 minutes long! Exeter’s Two Short Nights (sponsored by Colourburn)

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Exeter’s Two Short Nights film festival is set to roll with a massive array of short films created by local filmmakers, as well as those from around the world, plus a whole load of information and inspiration for filmmakers and those interested in film.

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Surfing in a cold climate: the passion of Charging the Barrel

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Finian Vogel‘s short surfer film Charging the Barrel was premiered at the Bristol Surf Film Festival. The film explores the thoughts and experiences of three surfers and bodyboarders in Cornwall. Rather than celebrating perfection this film celebrates raw enthusiasm. We asked Finian about the inspiration behind and the making of Charging the Barrel, this is his response.

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The Cornwall Film Festival offers another weekend of top class movie excitement

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The films at the 2014 Cornwall Film Festival‘s on November 22 and 23 reads like a list of must-sees put together by a film buddy of discerning taste. If you don’t believe us watch the trailer (above)

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Sex, Leins & Videotape #190. Tom Leins reviews The Killing, Mystery Road and Earth To Echo

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Intrigue in Seattle, murder Down Under and a backwards-looking family movie – this week’s best DVDs reviewed.

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Based on the Danish crime drama of the same name (well, Forbrydelsen, technically), the US remake of The Killing first hit our screens in 2011, but enjoyed mixed fortunes, getting cancelled not once, but twice – only to be bailed out by Netflix on both occasions. With a fourth and final series now poised to air on the online streaming service, The Killing – The Complete First, Second and Third Seasons (MediumRare) is available to buy, with seasons two and three available on DVD for the first time.

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D&CFilm is the best place to come for the world of film in Devon and Cornwall. D&CFilm is for film lovers, filmmakers and all those who enjoy the moving image. There are reviews of latest releases and DVDs plus film features, film interviews and film news.