comedy

My Old Lady

November 15, 2014
Maggie Smith in 'My Old Lady' (2014)

Some films betray their stage origins too easily, some employ an all-star cast to paper over the cracks in a script or a story. My Old Lady might be found guilty on both counts. As the directorial debut of well-known playwright and occasional screenwriter, Israel Horovitz, it suggests the transition from theatre to cinema can … More


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


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


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


Italian Film Festival 2014 & Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

September 20, 2014
Eva Green in Sin City: A Dame to Kill for (2014)

Masterpieces are by definition rare, and from what I’ve seen so far, this year’s Lavazza Italian Film Festival has nothing to match Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty, which launched last year’s festivities. Aside from that significant absence the mix of films is remarkably similar. Last year we saw Mr. Volare, a feel-good bio-pic of the … More


Magic in the Moonlight

August 30, 2014
Colin Firth in 'Magic in the Moonlight' (2014)

Either the films are getting better or I’m becoming one of those critics who find redeeming features in unlikely places. Most reviewers seem to lose it after about 300 superhero flicks, when they finally begin to believe that someone in coloured leotards may have a rich inner life. My particular Waterloo might be Woody Allen. … More


The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

August 23, 2014
Robert Gustafsson in'The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared' (2013)

Forrest Gump never made it to Sweden, or else the Swedes loved the film so much they still haven’t gotten over it. Felix Herngren’s The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, takes elements familiar from Forrest Gump (1994), Zelig (1983), and Being There (1979), and adds an extra dose of … More


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


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