comedy

Downsizing & Call Me By Your Name

December 30, 2017
Floral tribute.. Downsizing

Last week saw a drought of reviewable films but Boxing Day always brings the deluge. The two most attractive, for me at least, are Alexander Payne’s Downsizing, and Call Me By Your Name by talented Italian director, Luca Guadagnino. The former might be called a comedy of ideas, the second is an unconventional, deeply intimate … More


The Disaster Artist

December 2, 2017
Oh, Hi Mark.

Tommy Wiseau was not your standard Hollywood male lead. With long black hair, an accent that sounded like Count Dracula, and about six studded belts, he looked like an aging refugee from a heavy metal band. In his mind, however, Tommy was right up there with Brad Pitt and Leo DiCaprio. He was horrified to … More


Russian Resurrection Film Festival 2017

October 27, 2017
Tonight, the ballet... Valery Todorovsky's ''The Boshoi

Why Russian Resurrection Film Festival? Is it a reference to Tolstoy’s famous novel, or to the revival of the Russian film industry in the post-Soviet era? A bit of both, I imagine, as the 14th RRFF is preocuppied with history and the literary classics. This year’s festival features a retrospective of films by Andrei Konchalovsky … More


Thor: Ragnarok & The Snowman

October 20, 2017
Thor & his buddy

At the beginning of this week I was looking forward to The Snowman, based on a gripping crime novel by Norway’s Jo Nesbø. I had fewer expectations for another Scandinavian saga – Thor:Ragnarok, the third installment of the popular Marvel superhero franchise. By the end of the week my expectations had been trashed so effectively … More


Victoria and Abdul

September 15, 2017
The Monarch and her Munshi

One marvels at the undying appeal of Queen Victoria for latter-day filmmakers. Along with two features: John Madden’s Mrs. Brown (1997) and Jean-Marc Vallée’s The Young Victoria (2009), there are dozens of movies in which the Dear Old Queen makes an appearance. She’s usually portrayed as a stern but lovable grand dame who strikes an … More


Logan Lucky

August 18, 2017
Meet the Logans

Steven Soderbergh is one of Hollywood’s mavericks and one of its great professionals. A certain percentage of his films might be termed arthouse projects, while others embrace the mainstream, leaping from genre to genre with the enthusiasm of a life-long student of the cinema. It’s almost as if Soderbergh becomes wary of his own artistic … More


The Trip to Spain

August 3, 2017
Lunching in La Mancha.. Brydon as Sancho, Coogan as the Don

In 2010 Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon took us on a culinary tour around the Lake District, in 2014 they ate their way through Italy. Now, reunited with director, Michael Winterbottom, they’re off to Spain. Long may their travels continue. The premise, as ever, is for these two sometime friends to visit a series of … More


Rules Don’t Apply

May 5, 2017
Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 9.29.51 am

Does anybody remember Howard Hughes? Rules Don’t Apply, Warren Beatty’s fictionalised portrait of the eccentric billionaire, was reputedly decades in gestation. In the meantime we’ve had The Aviator, Martin Scorsese’s bio pic of Hughes’s early life, with Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role. The film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, winning five. Thirteen years … More


A Man Called Ove

March 31, 2017
Rolf Lassgård in 'A Man Called Ove' (2015)

“You don’t need to put Christmas into everything,” complains Ove, whose life story has become a surprising worldwide hit. A Man Called Ove is unashamedly sentimental but this doesn’t seem to be a problem for most cinema-goers. Earlier this year, Ove earned Sweden an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. Being part of … More


Toni Erdmann

February 10, 2017
Peter Simonischek and Sandra Hüller in Toni Erdmann (2016)

Toni Erdmann is a film destined to reignite that old question about the German sense of humour: “Do they have one?” It’s a stereotype Germans themselves like to joke about, in a not-very-funny way. On the evidence of Maren Ade’s long, unorthodox film it seems German humour is alive and well, although some viewers may … More