Film Reviews

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Hidden Figures

February 24, 2017

Hidden Figures is yet another movie “based on a true story” that exercises Hollywood’s time-hallowed right to improve on the truth. The time-line for the events portrayed has been subject to a cut & paste job, while real-life characters have been given a makeover – or in the case of Kevin Costner’s Al Harrison, stitched … More


February 17, 2017

Religion is a dangerous subject for any filmmaker, but for Martin Scorsese it’s an obsession. Silence is his third religious movie after The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) and Kundun (1997), but almost all of Scorsese’s films have been religious at heart. One has only to count the number of crucifixion scenes. Like so many … More

Toni Erdmann

February 10, 2017

Toni Erdmann is a film destined to reignite that old question about the German sense of humour: “Do they have one?” It’s a stereotype Germans themselves like to joke about, in a not-very-funny way. On the evidence of Maren Ade’s long, unorthodox film it seems German humour is alive and well, although some viewers may … More

Manchester by the Sea

February 2, 2017

Patriotism demands we all get excited about Lion and its Oscar chances. Political correctness requires us to be appalled that a notorious sexual harasser such as Casey Affleck, has received a Best Actor nomination for Manchester by the Sea. If only life were so simple. By any standard, Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea is … More


January 27, 2017

There are two kinds of exotic in Lion – exotic India, all poverty and squalor; and exotic Tasmania with its rugged scenery and sporty lifestyles. Middle-class audiences in America and Europe can indulge in a double whammy: feeling sympathy for the Indians and envy for the Tasmanians. This is a first feature for Australian director, … More


January 20, 2017

Don’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot. In an interview with Theodore H. White of Life magazine one week after her husband’s assassination, Jackie Kennedy insisted that no-one should forget Camelot. It was the song Jack loved most, the lines he … More


January 13, 2017

Writing in the 1920s Aldous Huxley denounced the joyless “Good Time” that had made people into passive consumers of art and entertainment. Huxley regretted that the cinema had killed off amateur theatrics, while music making at home had been supplanted by the gramophone. He believed this indulgence in instant entertainment led to a crippling sense … More


January 6, 2017

For most directors film is a narrative art. Those movies that abandon story-telling in favour of portentous ‘poetic’ imagery are rapidly consigned to the arthouse bin where they are admired by a handful of academics and ignored by everyone else. In Paterson, Jim Jarmusch has demonstrated that it’s possible to make a film about poetry … More

Office Christmas Party

December 16, 2016

T.J.Miller, one of the stars of Office Christmas Party, was arrested last week for slapping someone across the back of the head after an argument about Donald Trump. In the movie he presides – with apparent impunity – over an evening of massive destruction of private property and numberless offences against good taste. In a … More

La La Land

December 16, 2016

With seven nominations for this year’s Golden Globes it will be surprising if La La Land doesn’t blitz the coming awards season. 31-year-old writer-director, Damien Chazelle came to prominence with his impressive second feature, Whiplash (2014), described as a horror film about music. Now he has given us a musical that pays homage to the … More

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