comedy

While We’re Young

April 18, 2015
Ben Stiller & Naomi Watts in 'While We're Young' (2014)

We all know the story of the fan that secretly hungers to supplant his or her idol. Look no further than All About Eve (1980), one of Hollywood’s finest moments. Noah Baumbach, the son of two film critics, can be relied upon to know all about this movie, and countless others. He also seems to … More


X + Y

April 11, 2015
Asa Butterfield in 'X + Y' (2014)

You’ve probably seen him in Hugo (2011), Martin Scorsese’s sole foray into the ‘young adult’ genre. Asa Butterfield is now 17, and much taller, although this doesn’t mean he has escaped the frail and sensitive roles. In Morgan Matthews’s X + Y, Butterfield plays the second disturbed child to be seen at the movies this … More


Samba

April 4, 2015
Omar Sy in 'Samba' (2014)

Four years ago, French filmmakers, Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano had such a huge hit with The Intouchables, it left one wondering what they could possibly do for an encore. The answer is Samba, another humanistic comedy-drama starring Omar Sy, the giant-sized wheelchair-pusher from the previous movie. The paradigm may be slightly different but the … More


A Little Chaos

March 28, 2015
Kate Winslet in 'A Little Chaos' (2014)

After watching Leviathan, a present-day tale with overtones of the Old Testament, it is almost a light relief to turn to A Little Chaos, Alan Rickman’s period drama of the Ancient Regime. Set in the court of the Sun King, Louis XIV, it is the story of a fictional landscape gardener, Sabine De Barra, and … More


Inherent Vice

March 14, 2015
Joaquin Phoenix in 'Inherent Vice' (2014)

Anyone who complains that the plot of Inherent Vice is confusing has obviously never read a novel by Thomas Pynchon. Confusion, or rather paranoia, is the standard condition of most of Pynchon’s characters, and perhaps readers, – which may explain why Paul Thomas Anderson’s film is the first attempt to bring this elusive author’s work … More


French Film Festival 2015

March 7, 2015
Gemma Arterton in 'Gemma Bovery' (2014)

Three years ago the ever-popular Alliance Francaise French Film Festival opened with Valérie Donzelli’s A Declaration of War. The film had been a hit in France but it provoked a good deal of muttering and eyebrow-raising among the first-night crowd at the Palace Verona who didn’t know what to make of a movie about a … More


The Interview

February 20, 2015
Seth Rogen & James Franco in 'the Interview' (2014)

I’d never felt much sympathy for the despotic regime in Pyongyang – until I saw The Interview. We know the late Kim Jong-il was a movie buff who went so far as to kidnap South Korean director, Shin Sang-ok and his actress wife, Choi Eun-hee, to help improve the quality of his propaganda films. One … More


What We Did on Our Holiday

February 14, 2015
Billy Connolly in 'What we Did on Our Holiday' (2014)

Viewers who have come staggering, glaze-eyed, out of Selma or American Sniper, and are looking for a change of pace, might appreciate the whimsical charms of What We Did On Our Holiday. This comedy-drama by British writer-directors, Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin, is a spin-off from the popular BBC comedy series, Outnumbered. The actors may … More


Mortdecai

February 7, 2015
Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai' (2015)

Mortdecai is one of those films that would have had me surging towards the exit after about 10 minutes if I didn’t have a professional obligation to hang around. I could only watch with envy while members of the audience filed out at regular intervals. As an attempt at a brand of screwball or ‘caper’ … More


Birdman

January 17, 2015
Michael Keaton in 'Birdman' (2014)

Mexican director, Alejandro González Iñárritu, has a reputation for dark and difficult films but Birdman is a philosophical black comedy that holds us from first to last. It’s a story about the theatre that examines the changing nature of fame, the difficulty of human relationships, the splendours and miseries of the actor’s life. It’s also … More


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