Film Reviews

American Sniper

January 24, 2015
Bradley Cooper in 'American Sniper' (2014)

Clint Eastwood’s gung-ho endorsement of Mitt Romney in the last Presidential election campaign left no-one in any doubt about his politics. Eastwood, now in his 84th year, is a believer in old-fashioned American values. He also seems to believe that Americans should be prepared to fight to death to preserve their basic liberties, whether it … More


Wild

January 24, 2015
Reese Witherspoon in 'Wild' (2014)

American Sniper shows us a man who sees it as his moral duty to defend what is good, even if it means making vast personal sacrifices on behalf of his colleagues and his country. Wild is the story of a woman who seeks to find herself after screwing up her life big time. Chris Kyle … More


Life Itself

January 17, 2015
Roger Ebert in 'Life Itself' (2014)

Roger Ebert is the only film critic with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It’s curious to think that a critic can be a star, but Ebert (1942-2013) had a following that would make any actor proud. He became the unofficial dean of American movie reviewers by virtue of sheer hard work, and … More


The Imitation Game

January 17, 2015
Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game' (2014)

Michael Keaton should give the Oscars a shake this year for his role in Birdman, but Benedict Cumberbatch will also be in the mix for his portrayal of mathematician Alan Turing in The Imitation Game. Indeed, Cumberbatch is so good it’s almost enough to make one overlook the liberties this film takes with history. By … More


Keep On Keepin’ On

January 17, 2015
Justin Kauflin and Clark Terry in 'Keep on Keepin' on' (2014)

Palace has found the perfect companion for Life Itself, in Alan Hicks’s Keep On Keepin’ On, a documentary about the great jazz trumpeter, Clark Terry. While Life Itself begins with Roger Ebert in his hospital bed, Keep On Keepin’ On introduces us to Terry on his 90th birthday. He may be old and sick with … More


Birdman

January 17, 2015
Michael Keaton in 'Birdman' (2014)

Mexican director, Alejandro González Iñárritu, has a reputation for dark and difficult films but Birdman is a philosophical black comedy that holds us from first to last. It’s a story about the theatre that examines the changing nature of fame, the difficulty of human relationships, the splendours and miseries of the actor’s life. It’s also … More


Mr. Turner

January 12, 2015
Timothy Spall in 'Mr. Turner' (2014)

“Turner’s thoughts were much deeper than ordinary men can penetrate,” said his friend, George Jones, “and much deeper than he could at any time describe.” He might have been reviewing Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner, which captures all the quirks and contradictions of Britain’s greatest artist. Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851), was a giant among landscape … More


The Water Diviner

January 10, 2015
Russell Crowe in 'The Water Diviner' (2014)

In the 1960s Anzac Day was routinely criticised as a celebration of war and a debased, drunken spectacle. Nowadays, in a country of far greater ethnic diversity, April 25 is treated with reverence. Indeed, to voice those criticisms that were commonplace in the 60s would be to risk being branded with the ultimate insult: “un-Australian”. … More


St. Vincent

January 10, 2015
Bill Murray in 'St. Vincent' (2014)

Sentimentality looms dangerously over Theodore Melfi’s comedy-drama, St. Vincent, which tells the tale of an aging misanthrope who becomes baby-sitter for a precocious little boy. I can hear the alarm bells ringing already. “It’s not that snotty little creep from Love Actually, is it?” Fortunately, no. The boy, Oliver, is played by 11-year-old Jaeden Lieberher, … More


The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

January 10, 2015
Martin Freeman in 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' (2014)

If Mr. Turner finds a director at the top of his game, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is the work of a mad scientist defeated by a monstrous machine of his own devising. This third and final installment of the Hobbit trilogy, following on from the hugely popular Lord of the Rings … More


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