drama

Passengers

January 13, 2017
Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence in Passengers (2016)

Writing in the 1920s Aldous Huxley denounced the joyless “Good Time” that had made people into passive consumers of art and entertainment. Huxley regretted that the cinema had killed off amateur theatrics, while music making at home had been supplanted by the gramophone. He believed this indulgence in instant entertainment led to a crippling sense … More


Paterson

January 6, 2017
Adam Driver in Paterson, 2016. Photo by Mary Cybulsky - © Window Frame Films

For most directors film is a narrative art. Those movies that abandon story-telling in favour of portentous ‘poetic’ imagery are rapidly consigned to the arthouse bin where they are admired by a handful of academics and ignored by everyone else. In Paterson, Jim Jarmusch has demonstrated that it’s possible to make a film about poetry … More


La La Land

December 16, 2016
Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in La La Land (2016)

With seven nominations for this year’s Golden Globes it will be surprising if La La Land doesn’t blitz the coming awards season. 31-year-old writer-director, Damien Chazelle came to prominence with his impressive second feature, Whiplash (2014), described as a horror film about music. Now he has given us a musical that pays homage to the … More


Little Men

December 9, 2016
Michael Barbieri and Theo Taplitz in Little Men (2016

This time of year is the Sargasso Sea of new releases. The big films have already been reviewed and there is very little to see until Boxing Day, when one is confronted with an embarrassment of choices. In the absence of a Big Film, I’m obliged to write about a little one. Everything is of … More


Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

December 2, 2016
Joe Alwyn in Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (2016)

It takes a confident director to run with a title like Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, but we know that’s the case with Ang Lee – a fearless all-rounder who has worked in a wide range of genres since his debut in 1992. To keep the title is really a mark of respect for the … More


The Founder

November 24, 2016
Michael Keaton in The Founder (2016)

There are characters that can’t be made sympathetic no matter how many hardships they endure. One such is Ray Kroc, the “founder” of the McDonalds fast-food empire. In almost any other film we would warm to this story of a 50-something battler who succeeds in making it big through his commitment to unstinting hard work … More


Arrival

November 18, 2016
Amy Adams in Arrival. Photograph: Jan Thijs

Anyone who enjoyed Independence Day (1996), or some similar tale of alien invaders trashing Planet Earth, would be well advised to give Arrival a miss. For those who feel an evening’s cinematic pleasures to be incomplete without two full hours of Armageddon, Denis Villeneuve’s cerebral, atmospheric sci-fi flick will be a massive disappointment. For the … More


Nocturnal Animals

November 11, 2016
Amy Adams in 'Nocturnal Animals' (2016)

If one had to nominate the most enviable person in the world today it would be hard to go past fashion designer, Tom Ford. Charming, handsome and successful, adored by the rich and powerful. It hardly seems fair that Ford should also possess an incredible talent as a writer and director. What does one do … More


Hacksaw Ridge

November 4, 2016
Andrew Garfield in Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

Hacksaw Ridge has been widely touted as a “redemption” for Mel Gibson after his spectacular fall from grace that began in 2006. If there is any truth in this rather glib idea, Mel hasn’t taken the meek-and-mild route. In fact there are two Mel Gibsons at the helm of this movie – the old-fashioned Hollywood … More


Elle

October 28, 2016
Isabelle Huppert in 'Elle' (2016)

Dutch director, Paul Verhoeven, is a master of electric shock therapy, and in Elle he’s on the job right away. The movie opens with the sounds of glass breaking, thumps and muffled screams. The camera comes creeping around a corner and we find ourselves witness to a vicious rape scene, as Isabelle Huppert struggles with … More