Film Reviews

French Film Festival 2015

March 7, 2015
Gemma Arterton in 'Gemma Bovery' (2014)

Three years ago the ever-popular Alliance Francaise French Film Festival opened with Valérie Donzelli’s A Declaration of War. The film had been a hit in France but it provoked a good deal of muttering and eyebrow-raising among the first-night crowd at the Palace Verona who didn’t know what to make of a movie about a … More


A Most Violent Year

February 28, 2015
Oscar Issac in 'A Most Violent Year' (2014)

Oscar Isaac does his best to channel Al Pacino in A Most Violent Year, while director, J.C.Chandor acts as the medium by which the late Sidney Lumet gets to direct another film. These flashes of déjà vu don’t spoil a slow burning thriller that smoulders but never quite blazes. Despite the title, A Most Violent … More


Fifty Shades of Grey

February 28, 2015
Dakota Johnson in 'Fifty Shades of Grey' (2015)

Fifty Shades of Grey must be a deeply reassuring experience for anyone who believes western society is hopelessly mired in depravity. That such a confection might be seen as ‘erotic’ suggests we are more wholesome, more innocent, than might ever have been suspected. That it should be examined for underlying messages by psychologists and sociologists … More


The Interview

February 20, 2015
Seth Rogen & James Franco in 'the Interview' (2014)

I’d never felt much sympathy for the despotic regime in Pyongyang – until I saw The Interview. We know the late Kim Jong-il was a movie buff who went so far as to kidnap South Korean director, Shin Sang-ok and his actress wife, Choi Eun-hee, to help improve the quality of his propaganda films. One … More


Rosewater

February 20, 2015
Gael García Bernal in 'Rosewater' (2014)

Jon Stewart’s Rosewater can hardly fail to conjure thoughts of Peter Greste’s 400 days spent in an Egyptian prison for no apparent reason than having done his job as a journalist. Maziar Bahari suffered a similar fate, being imprisoned by the Iranian government from June to October, 2009, on trumped-up charges of espionage. Stewart, as … More


Citizenfour

February 20, 2015
Edward Snowden in 'Citizenfour' (2014)

It’s a coincidence that a wayward comedy such as The Interview is sharing cinema bills with two other movies with strongly political themes: Laura Poitras’s documentary, Citizenfour, which gives us a close-up view of US whistleblower extraordinaire, Edward Snowden; and Rosewater, which tells the real-life story of Maziar Bahari, a journalist imprisoned by the Iranians … More


Selma

February 14, 2015
David Oyelowo in 'Selma' (2014)

Selma would be a powerful film even without the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri. Arriving hard on the heels of that incident, this story of Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement takes on a relevance that no member of the audience can ignore. It seems that the racialist attitudes that divided the United … More


What We Did on Our Holiday

February 14, 2015
Billy Connolly in 'What we Did on Our Holiday' (2014)

Viewers who have come staggering, glaze-eyed, out of Selma or American Sniper, and are looking for a change of pace, might appreciate the whimsical charms of What We Did On Our Holiday. This comedy-drama by British writer-directors, Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin, is a spin-off from the popular BBC comedy series, Outnumbered. The actors may … More


Mortdecai

February 7, 2015
Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai' (2015)

Mortdecai is one of those films that would have had me surging towards the exit after about 10 minutes if I didn’t have a professional obligation to hang around. I could only watch with envy while members of the audience filed out at regular intervals. As an attempt at a brand of screwball or ‘caper’ … More


Still Alice

February 7, 2015
Julianne Moore in 'Still Alice' (2014)

“Less is Moore” should be one famous actor’s motto for this year. It’s said that Emmanuelle Riva’s career suffered because she was too selective about the roles she chose to play, but Julianne Moore should start being a little more choosy. We have just seen her in the most recent installment of The Hunger Games, … More