An Argument For High Speed Creativity

Last night I had the evening off so I thought I’d catch up with some movies. What would make a good double bill, I wondered. How about the latest releases from Lars Von Trier and Gaspar Noe? Never do an edgy art-house double bill when you’re feeling a bit fed up. I made it to […]

A Song On Sunday

In 1950s Russia young people were suddenly developing chesty coughs. They faked them to get X-rays, the results of which were printed on acetate and given to the patients, who then cut them into discs and recorded illegal American rock ‘n’ roll onto them. ‘Hipsters’ (2008) is the story of this underground movement. The film […]

Looking Back At The Movies

So how were the movies for you this year? It was the year of the Issue Picture, from the delightful ‘Black Panther’, although based on a sixties comic, to ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’, a moving family drama – the link here being people of colour getting out of the sidelights and into front-centre. There […]

Those English Films: Your Comments

Some excellent choices came out of the ‘Most English Films’ list, and prompted me to further thoughts. ‘Seance on a Wet Afternoon’ and ‘The Whisperers’ would make a great (if dismal) double bill, and make me suspect we could include any English film with a John Barry score. ‘Little Malcolm’ is a trudge, although I […]

The Most English Films Ever Made

Last night I finished the second draft of my thriller ‘The Villa’, and to relax watched ‘The Little Stranger’, based on the Sarah Waters novel of class and ghosts. Stripped of her fine writing, what’s left is a beautifully photographed, inert British film of mannequin poses, cut-glass accents, falling rain and damp rooms. The book […]

My Oscar Predictions

    Best Picture: “Black Panther” Marvel enters the Oscars race with a clever ‘woke’ film “BlacKkKlansman” Spike Lee back on form and funny with it. “Bohemian Rhapsody” Cheesy crowd-pleaser even has a ‘Beethoven composing’ moment and shouldn’t be here. “The Favourite” History, fact or deranged fan-fiction? It took me a minute to figure out […]

Too Many Old Queens: Fact VS Fiction

How do you make the the great stories of history relevant for a modern audience? It’s a question vexing many a writer and filmmaker. A cycle of historical films occurred some 40 years ago, with the huge success of the TV series ‘I, Claudius’ with Derek Jacobi, ‘The Six Wives of Henry VIII’, starring Keith Michell, ‘Elizabeth R’ […]

New Political Cinema: ‘The Front Runner’

‘The Front Runner’ marks a boundary change in political reporting. In the seventies, Hollywood went into politics – at least the Left did, and there’s a fine legacy headed by the endlessly rewatchable ‘All the President’s Men’. Political tales make for fine drama although there’s a tendency to turn them into satires like ‘Wag The Dog’, […]

Best & Worst Films Of 2018

Let’s have a somewhat quirky look at the year’s films, with one cavil: Due to the odd way I watch movies, through screenings and previews, I’m never quite sure what comes out when. But here are a few that left their mark on me this year, and not always in a good way. The Favourite […]

The Good, The Bad & The Strange

At this time of the year, with dark days and long nights, I try to catch up with as many films as possible, and thought I’d pass on my personal favourites, ie. they won’t match anything Peter Bradshaw at the Guardian likes. This year there were a number of worthy, serious films about weighty issues […]