comedy

The Volcano

July 12, 2014
Dany Boon & Valérie Bonneton in 'The Volcano' (2013)

For the second review I’d hoped to be writing about Beatriz’s War, the first ever feature from Timor-Leste. Unfortunately, circumstances conspired to prevent me seeing the film last week, so I’m falling back on a new French farce, The Volcano. One always goes to see a comedy with a sense of anticipation. It should be … More


Frank

June 21, 2014
Michael Fassbender & Domhnall Gleeson in 'Frank' (2014)

Frank is a movie that makes a fiction out of a difficult truth. The model for the lead character, who spends almost the entire movie walking around with a large papier-maché head lodged on his shoulders, was Frank Sidebottom, the creation of Chris Sievey (1955-2010), a wannabee rock star who found that wearing a different … More


The Trip to Italy

June 7, 2014
Rob Brydon & Steve Coogan in 'The Trip to Italy' (2014)

Four years ago, Michael Winterbottom had a hit with The Trip, a six-part television series, in which British comedians, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon drove around the Lake District, supposedly writing a series of restaurant reviews for the Observer. The series was condensed into a feature film that seduced audiences around the world. The Trip … More


Fading Gigolo

May 10, 2014
John Turturro in 'Fading Gigolo' (2014)

New York is a city that has dealt with the problem of difference by dividing itself into tribes and villages. That tribalism is gently satirised in John Turturro’s Fading Gigolo, which is not a sex comedy but a comedy of ethnicity. Turturro plays Fioravante, a laid-back New Yorker of Italian extraction who scrapes a living … More


The Grand Budapest Hotel

April 12, 2014
Ralph Fiennes in 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' (2014)

Walking into a preview of The Grand Budapest Hotel, a colleague wondered aloud if this was the film in which Wes Anderson would overcome his penchant for symmetry. In fact, The Grand Budapest Hotel must be the most maddeningly symmetrical movie ever produced! Frames are composed with a neatness and correctness that feels obsessive-compulsive. The … More


Le Weekend

March 1, 2014
Lindsay Duncan & Jim Broadbent in 'Le Weekend' 2013

To turn from Gloria to Le Weekend is to become conscious of the gulf that separates 58 from the mid-60s. Instead of the problems of being a single mature-age woman, we meet with the frustrations of a couple who have been yoked together for 30 years, to the point where they can hardly imagine themselves … More


Gloria

March 1, 2014
Paulina Garcia was awarded the Silver Bear for Best Actress at last year's Berlin International Film Festival for her role in 'Gloria' 2013

Over the past few years there has been an increasing volume of films about old people having sex – or thinking about having sex, or remembering what it was like to have sex. What began as an interesting sub-genre now resembles a movement. The trickle has become a torrent. One may only speculate on the … More


The Great Beauty

January 25, 2014
Toni Servillo in 'The Great Beauty' 2013

From one wild party to another. The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza) was the opening attraction of last year’s Italian Film Festival. This week it gets a theatrical release, having just been nominated for the Academy Award for the best Foreign Language Film. Whether it wins or not, director Paolo Sorrentino has made a movie … More


The Wolf of Wall Street

January 25, 2014
Leonardo DiCaprio in 'The Wolf of Wall Street' 2013

With most films if we can’t find any sympathy for the lead characters it’s a bad night at the cinema. The Wolf of Wall Street is the exception to the rule. A three-hour roller coaster ride that keeps us clinging to the handrail from start to finish, this orgiastic vision of greed and excess on … More


Her

January 18, 2014
Joaquin Phoenix in 'Her', 2013

Somebody had to make a film such as Her, and Spike Jonze was a good candidate. His last feature was an accomplished fairy tale, Where the Wild Things Are (2009); the previous one, the clever Adaptation (2002). In between there have been shorts, documentaries, and music video clips. Yet Jonze is a more mature filmmaker … More


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