Film

What If You Don’t Tell Me A Story?

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The reviews for Darren Aronofsky’s film ‘Mother!’ caused an uproar – among audiences mostly, not critics, who quickly saw how the director had set out his stall. But in a time when Victorian linearity and 20th century realism still rule in literature, film and theatre the fuss was to be expected. At the start of […]

Why I’ll Have To Write The Book Of Forgotten Films

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  Okay, the ubiquitous ‘Dunkirk’ was the best film of the year for me, but I have a special love of flawed oddities likely to disappear, so ‘Valerian’, ‘A Cure For Wellness’, ‘Snowpiercer’, ‘Mr Nobody’, ‘Rams’, ‘Skeletons’, ‘Black Pond’ and ‘What We Become’ all worked well enough that I was able to overlook any missteps…then […]

10 Fair-Play Murder Mystery Movies

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I love lists. Laying in bed, forming lists is a great game – a more male than female one, perhaps? (you tell me) but one I can’t resist. Realising that our cupboards hold an awful lot of movies I’ve not watched for a long time, I got to wondering about the best mysteries I’ve seen. […]

Valerian Will Bring Out Your Inner Geek

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‘Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Worlds’. It’s just so…French, that title, like ‘Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain’, which everyone ended up calling ‘Amelie’ before a backlash began against its perceived tweeness. The film was attacked by critic Serge Kaganski for offering a picturesque vision of bygone Paris with few ethnic minorities, although the […]

Sex & Scandal Beside The Thames

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How much of a gap existed between British cinema and Hollywood? Try this simple test. Ask yourself what comes to mind when you think of the word ‘pilot’. In the context of American film, you may get Star Wars movies or Tom Cruise fetishistically suited and booted in Top Gun. In the British equivalent, you […]

Why Can’t We Make Films Like This?

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I stopped reviewing for a while because I was seeing too many movies with date embargoes, but I’ve decided to occasionally mention items I think may be of interest. Here’s one you may not have heard of… It’s hard to make a mainstream comedy with a bit of depth. Hollywood and the UK rarely make […]

When Movies Reflect Politics

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Are American films really any worse now than they used to be? Is the idea of ‘Transformers 7’ being nominated for an Oscar any crazier than ‘Dr Dolittle’ making the Best Picture list four decades earlier? It’s tempting to name a year and suggest that before such-and-such a point movies were better. There have been […]

Withnail’s 30th Birthday

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Whenever a low-budget British film screened at our office, we virtually had to hold a lottery to find anyone who’d sit through it. Most of them were so astoundingly bad that we gave them to the junior staffers to handle. Anyone remember ‘Car Trouble’, in which  air traffic controller Ian Charleson is so annoyed with […]

‘Get Out’ Goes For The Throat

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It was one of the odder double-bills of the year. On a baking Saturday afternoon (London hotter than Ibiza shock! in April!) I saw ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (another Disney live-actionification that’s gaudily unbearable for anyone over nine, but I was there in a research capacity) and ‘Get Out’, about which I knew little other than […]

Unusual Cinema Books

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After being involved in the UK film industry for so long I can’t quite break the habit of buying cinema books, but there are surprisingly few interesting ones appearing now, as film publicity is micro-controlled by studios – so we get Disney coffee table books that whitewash the real stories, plus the odd exposé in […]