Film Reviews

Living is Easy with Eyes Closed

October 25, 2014
Javier Cámara in 'Living is Easy With Eyes Closed' (2013)

Since the end of the Franco era Spanish filmmakers have made many attempts to engage with that time of backwardness and isolation. The Movida that began in the late 1970s, best exemplified by the anarchic sex comedies of Pedro Almodóvar, was an explosive reaction to the greyness of the preceding decades. When the shock waves … More


A Walk Among the Tombstones

October 25, 2014
Liam Neeson in 'A Walk Among the Tombstones' (2014)

Lawrence Block is a crime writer whose style seems made for the movies. Flat descriptive passages are punctuated by bursts of terse, witty dialogue. After a few pages the film is already rolling in your head. Add Liam Neeson as Block’s ex-alco, ex-NYPD, private dick, Matthew Scudder, and the package seems close to perfect. All … More


Force Majeure

October 18, 2014
Lisa Loven Kongsli in 'Force Majeure' (2014)

Force Majeure is a clever, ironic title for a Swedish film that was originally called Turist. The legal definition of force majeure is: “an event that is the result of the elements of nature, as opposed to one caused by human behaviour”. It’s a term used in contractual law referring to a situation when one … More


Before I Go to Sleep

October 18, 2014
Nicole Kidman in 'Before I Go to Sleep' (2014)

Rowan Joffé’s Before I Go to Sleep will inevitably suffer in comparison with David Fincher’s Gone Girl, which is currently blitzing the box office. Both films are based on best-selling novels, but the former, by British writer, S.J.Watson, is a more literary affair than Gillian Flynn’s ‘he said, she said’ page-turner. If Virginia Woolf had … More


The Judge

October 11, 2014
Robert Downey Jr. in 'The Judge' (2014)

If Siddharth is a movie about a father searching for a son, The Judge is the story of a son looking for a father. That’s where comparisons end, because the latter is an old-fashined, pumped-up Hollywood soap opera that provides a star vehicle for two wellknown actors: reformed bad boy, Robert Downey Jr., recently transmogrified … More


Siddharth

October 11, 2014
Rajesh Tailang in 'Siddharth' (2013)

Indian movies conjure up visions of extravagant song and dance routines, broad comedy and incandescent melodrama. Yet as the subcontinent grows wealthier and more cosmopolitan it is crafting a national cinema that transcends the Bollywood stereotypes. Increasingly it is the realist films of Satyajit Ray (1921-92) that seem to point the way forward, even though … More


Gone Girl

October 4, 2014
Rosamund Pike & Ben Affleck in 'Gone Girl' (2014)

Having written a smash No. 1 bestseller, there are not many authors with the discipline – or know-how – to sit down and thrash out the screenplay. This makes Gillian Flynn a rare talent, as she has managed to take a brilliant novel and put it through all those necessary cuts and compressions required of … More


Life of Crime

October 4, 2014
Jennifer Aniston in 'Life of Crime' (2013)

Comparisons may be odious, but they can hardly be avoided when it comes to Daniel Schechter’s Life of Crime and David O. Russell’s hit of last year, American Hustle. Both are slick crime-comedies set in a detail-perfect reconstruction of 1970s America – an ere that now looks as if it were designed specifically for comic … More


In Bloom

September 27, 2014
Mariam Bokeria & Lika Babluani 'In Bloom' (2014)

Family life takes on a different tone in Georgia in the early 1990s, a country freshly separated from the Soviet Union but immersed in a new civil war. In Bloom, co-directed by Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross, is set in the capital, Tbilisi, but everyone is affected by the proximity of violence, by the air … More


The Skeleton Twins

September 27, 2014
Kristen Wiig & Bill Hader in 'The Skeleton Twins' (2014)

Craig Johnson’s comedy-drama, The Skeleton Twins would have us believe that non-identical twins, Milo and Maggie, have not seen each other for ten years. As most twins of my acquaintance are virtually joined at the hip, this seems a trifle implausible. Such a rift would require a trauma of major proportions, and – although there … More


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