Film Reviews

The Big Short

January 14, 2016
Brad Pitt in 'The Big Short' (2015)

Don’t feel too bad if you fail to understand what a Collateral Debt Obligation (CDO) is, or how it works. Many thousands of investors who bought these packages in the lead-up to the American housing market crash of 2008, had no idea what they were buying. Not many of the Wall Street brokers who were … More


Point Break

January 7, 2016
Edgar Ramirez & Luke Bracey in 'Point Break' (2015)

There is no shortage of extraordinary nature cinematography in Point Break, but after watching The Revenant, it felt as artificial as a cartoon. The heavy imprint of CGI is all over this film, which is barely more than two hours of eye candy arranged over the flimsiest of plots. Before seeing this movie I would … More


The Revenant

January 7, 2016
Leonardo DiCaprio in 'The Revenant' (2015)

When he was receiving the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director at last year’s Academy Awards, Alejandro González Iñárritu, was already preoccupied with his next feature. He had begun planning The Revenant as early as 2011 but put it on hold when lead actor, Leonardo DiCaprio, was required for The Wolf of Wall Street. … More


The Bélier Family

January 6, 2016
Louane Emera in 'The Bélier Family' (2015)

For a people convinced of their intellectual superiority over the rest of the planet, the French have an incurable fondness for low-brow comedy and feel-good stories. Perhaps they’re just like us, after all. This year’s box office smash in France was La Famille Bélier, a comedy, like The Intouchables (2011) that finds humour and inspiration … More


Suffragette

January 6, 2016
Carey Mulligan in 'Suffragette' (2015)

It’s a common tactic when making a film about an historical moment to focus on a single participant. Make that character fictional and you have more room to move, being able to channel all the important points into an Everyman – or Everywoman. In Suffragette, Carey Mulligan plays that role. She is Maude Watts, an … More


Youth

January 4, 2016
Michael Caine in 'Youth' (2015)

Paolo Sorrentino’s This Must be the Place was the most cruelly underrated film of 2011. He followed up with The Great Beauty (2013), which was as close to a masterpiece that Italy has produced since the glory days of Cinecittà. Now we have Youth, another multi-layered homage to Fellini, filled with striking images and dubious … More


Joy

January 4, 2016
Jennifer Lawrence in 'Joy' (2015)

David O. Russell is one of the few active Hollywood directors that thinks in terms of stories, scripts and actors rather than big budgets and special effects. Paolo Sorrentino is the most talented director to emerge from Italy over the past two decades. Both men have new movies released this week, movies that are flawed … More


Star Wars: The Force Awakens

December 17, 2015
John Boyega & Daisy Ridley in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' (2015)

In preparation for the new Star Wars movie I planned to work my way through the six previous installments in this never-ending saga. At the end of the of year there is virtually nothing to write about until Boxing Day brings a swag of new releases, so I had time to do my homework. It … More


By the Sea

December 10, 2015
Angelina Jolie Pitt in 'By the Sea' (2015)

By the Sea has received such terrible notices I went along with diminished expectations – which was probably the ideal frame of mind in which to view Angelina Jolie Pitt’s third outing as a director. Think: “I know this is going to be bad,” and for a long time you can fool yourself that it … More


Truth

December 10, 2015
Cate Blanchett in 'Truth' (2015)

For those of us who haven’t grown up watching Dan Rather anchoring the CBS News, his portrayal in Truth is a little hard to swallow. Played by Robert Redford as a secular saint, Rather comes across a beacon of moral purity in the midst of a media swamp. Not only is he the ‘grand old … More