biography

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


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


Finding Vivian Maier

November 15, 2014
Vivian Maier, Self Portrait, Highland Park, 1960s

Previously unknown until a few years ago, street photographer, Vivian Maier (1926-2009), is almost in danger of over-exposure. Having never exhibited a picture during her lifetime, over the past few years Maier has been the subject of non-stop shows in many parts of the world. Last month her work was shown for the first time … More


Kill the Messenger

November 1, 2014
Jeremy Renner in 'Kill The Messenger' (2014)

One might assume the public is willing to believe anything bad about the CIA, which has become a byword for clandestine criminality in the modern world, but Kill the Messenger suggests otherwise. It tells the true story of Gary Webb, an investigative reporter on the San Jose Mercury News, who breaks a once-in-a-lifetime scoop about … More


Reaching for the Moon

July 26, 2014
Miranda Otto in 'Reaching for the Moon' (2014)

“The art of losing isn’t hard to master;” wrote Elizabeth Bishop, in One Art, the poem that gets most traction in Bruno Barreto’s bio pic, Reaching for the Moon. “so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster.” It’s an obvious choice for a feature poem, as … More


Yves Saint Laurent

June 28, 2014
Pierre Niney in Yves Saint Laurent (2014)

Behind every great man, as we learn in Jalil Lespert’s Yves Saint Laurent, there’s a great man. More than any designer of the 20th century, Yves Saint Laurent (1936-2008) revolutionised the world of fashion, but his genius for haute couture may never have been fully realised without the business acumen of Pierre Bergé. This conventional, … More


Grace of Monaco

June 7, 2014
Nicole Kidman in 'Grace of Monaco' (2014)

In every photograph, French director, Olivier Dahan, is shown wearing a hat. Sometimes it’s a beret, but more often a baggy, brimmed affair that makes him look like a fashion-conscious engine driver. Although I’m no style guru, it seems a rather silly affectation. In theory a director’s dress sense shouldn’t have any relevance to the … More


The Invisible Woman

April 19, 2014
Ralph Fiennes in The Invisible Woman (2013)

Charles Dickens (1812-70) was not only a literary giant, he was a celebrity whose every move was chronicled in the press. As a practising Christian and tenchant social critic Dickens had a reputation to uphold, but his temperament and energy lured him away from the path of convention. The Victorians were no more flawed than … More