Film

The Elle Word

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No Spoilers In a week where a judge who asked a woman in a rape trial why she couldn’t just keep her knees together has resigned from the Federal Court of Canada, and in a time when America has a president who routinely degrades women for fun, it seems that ‘Elle’ could not be more […]

Why The Year’s Most Awarded Movie Will Be A One-Off

No Spoilers I liked ‘La La Land’ but I can understand why there’s a back(whip)lash going on in this most hated and moribund of genres. It looks as if the film is set to sweep Baftas and Oscars this year (with ‘Moonlight’, I hope), which in the last couple of months has meant a green […]

Is The Arthouse Film Dead?

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London has opened more arthouse film venues in the last two years than it has for decades. There’s the excellent Piccadilly Picturehouse, the Curzon chain, the Everyman chain, the Electric, the wonderful Regent Street Cinema and many others are now screening live theatre events – so why would arthouse be in any danger? Because we’ve […]

Cinema Museum Picks 1

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  It came as a shock to be flicking through a copy of BFI Monthly (now called Sight & Sound) to discover that the first British colour feature film was made just 16 years before I was born. For me, ‘British film’ was a tautology, the punchline to a national joke on a par with […]

My Best & Worst 2016 Films

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2016 was the year that movie scripts full of self-referential crudity finally reached Peak Ironic and burned themselves out, thank goodness. Now perhaps we can go back to good stories, well told. Let’s have no more business success stories or B-team superheroes. I also hope we’ve seen the last of a very tired trope, the […]

The Founder

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There’s a good reason why Arthur Miller’s ‘Death of a Salesman’ remains such a touchstone in the American psyche. The national ambition is to sell big (Britain, let’s remember, was accused of being ‘a nation of shopkeepers). In ‘The Founder’ Michael Keaton plays Ray Krok, the desperate salesman who goes from flogging milkshake machines to […]

Trading On Fear

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An extraordinary new documentary, ’13th’ from Netflix sheds light on a little-understood loophole in the US Constitution. The 13th Amendment says that there will be no slavery except for those convicted of a crime. The clause allowed for involuntary servitude to be used as a punishment in the aftermath of the Civil War. America comprises just […]

Peter Cushing: Not Forgotten – And Not Gone

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The first big shock I got watching ‘Rogue One’ was how much better it was than the last Star Wars film, a piece of forgettable fan service masquerading as a movie. But then, this supposedly stand-alone adventure is from Gareth ‘Monsters’ Edwards, a British director who already has great form. The second was realising that […]

The Problem With ‘Snowden’

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I would like to think of myself as one of Churchill’s children, imbued with a fundamental knowledge of what is required to be a decent, moral person. It puts me on the side of Edward Snowden, and this past week I’ve become fascinated by the backlash against Oliver Stone’s film about him. In the UK […]

Rowling VS Pullman

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Yesterday Charles commented on my complaint that JK Rowling (whom we all rightly regard as A Good Thing) has in the past not been too worried about developing characters or plots, and that the books offer a full-scale retreat into happier times. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but it’s nice to see a sub-plot in […]