biography

The Danish Girl

January 22, 2016
Eddie Redmayne in 'The Danish Girl' (2015)

When Gore Vidal’s novel, Myra Breckinridge, was made into a truly lamentable movie in 1970, transgender issues were hardly front page news. The idea that someone could feel like a woman trapped in a man’s body, or vice versa, was the stuff of ribald comedy. The wheel has turned so completely that transgenderism now occupies … More


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


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


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


In the Heart of the Sea

December 4, 2015
Chris Hemsworth in 'In the Heart of the Sea' (2015)

Ron Howard is the kind of old-fashioned director Hollywood loves. He is happy to work with trash such as The Da Vinci Code (2006), but able to rise to the occasion when given a more challenging assignment such as Apollo 13 (1995) or Frost/Nixon (2008). The skill is to make the trash seem a little … More


The Program

November 26, 2015
Ben Foster in 'The Program' (2015)

It’s strange that with so many excellent documentaries being made today, filmmakers still believe that every true story needs to be turned into fiction. This was the case with features such as The Walk and Freeheld, which reworked the subjects of acclaimed documentaries. Now Stephen Frears, who really should know better, has entered the fray … More


Freeheld

November 5, 2015
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page in 'Freeheld' (2015). Photograph: Lionsgate

Some actors always get to play the romantic lead, the vamp or the action hero, Julianne Moore should be careful she doesn’t get stuck with another terminal illness. Having gradually succumbed to Alzheimer’s Disease in Still Alice, she now gets the chance to experience Stage 4 lung cancer in Freeheld. Unfortunately she’s really excellent in … More


Bridge of Spies

October 23, 2015
Tom Hanks in 'Bridge of Spies' (2015)

Steven Spielberg has spoken out against Hollywood’s over-reliance on superhero flicks, when there are so many other ways to make a popular movie. It’s what he’s been doing since Jaws (1975), the film that put him on the map. Today the name ‘Spielberg’ is synonymous with a certain style of Hollywood entertainment – lavish, detail-perfect … More


Legend

October 16, 2015
Tom Hardy in 'Legend' (2015)

Ronnie and Reggie Kray will forever be linked with the Monty Python sketch about the Piranha Brothers, Doug and Dinsdale. As you may recall, Dinsdale – “a cruel man, but fair” – liked to nail the occasional head to the floor, while Doug’s preferred weapon was sarcasm. There are plenty of moments in Legend, Brian … More


Black Mass

October 9, 2015
Johnny Depp in 'Black Mass' (2015)

How many dud movies does it take before one can be over an actor? With his roles in films such as Mortdecai (2015) and Tusk (2014), Johnny Depp has been sailing close to the wind. It’s been a long time since he has worked harder on a character than he does with Boston gangster, James … More