Cinema

The face of a film: Charlotte Rampling is hypnotic in ‘45 Years’

A film in which nothing happens — yet everything happens: 45 Years reviewed

Cinema

Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years stars Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay as a long married couple whose relationship is disturbed by a letter relating to his first girlfriend, a German who died in the Swiss alps 50 years earlier. Aside from… Read more

Gemma Arterton as Gemma Bovery, the male sexual fantasy made flesh, and Fabrice Luchini as Joubert

Gemma Bovery does not work as a film in any way whatsoever

Cinema

Gemma Bovery is a modern-day refashioning of Gustave Flaubert’s literary masterpiece Madame Bovary, and while such refashionings can work well in some instances — Bridget Jones as Pride and Prejudice, for example, or West Side Story as Romeo and Juliet,… Read more

Amy Schumer and Judd Apatow get serious in Trainwreck

Trainwreck wastes Amy Schumer’s talents

Cinema

Trainwreck is a romcom as written and directed by Amy Schumer, the American comedy prodigy whose Comedy Central sketch show is properly hilarious and transgressive, from what I’ve seen. Indeed, if nothing else, I beseech you to watch one particular… Read more

Joel Edgerton in The Gift

The plot has enough holes to file the Albert Hall: The Gift reviewed

Cinema

Were you ever not very nice at school? A bit of a tosspot to others, perhaps. Ever so slightly a jerk now and then and here and there? Were you inclined to take advantage of the weak, the vulnerable, the… Read more

You can’t keep your eyes off Iris

Fashion tips - and replacement hips - from a nonagenarian style icon: Iris reviewed

Cinema

Iris is a documentary portrait of Iris Apfel, the nonagenarian New York fashion icon. Nope, me neither, but that’s irrelevant, as all you truly need know is she is a joy, a wonder, and terrific, as is this film. It’s… Read more

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The Legend of Barney Thomson reviewed: comedy is sought but, alas, never properly found

Cinema

The Legend of Barney Thomson is the directorial debut of actor Robert Carlyle, and it’s one of those black comedies about a serial killer in which, as the bodies pile up, plausibility edges closer and closer to the window until… Read more

Charmless and boring: James Franco as Christian Longo

True Story does not deserve to have been told

Cinema

True Story is based on the book True Story, which is itself based on a true story, so there is a lot of truth knocking about, I guess you could say, but absolutely none of it is at all interesting.… Read more

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I honestly had no idea how rubbish The Choir would be

Cinema

If heartwarming, against-the-odds, triumph-over-adversity, wrong-side-of-the-tracks films float your boat and you are in no way demanding then The Choir is your boat floated, pretty much, but otherwise it’s nothing we haven’t seen before, hundreds of times. This is one of… Read more

Amy Winehouse: ‘not a fake bone in her tiny body’

Masterly and heartbreaking: Amy reviewed

Cinema

Asif Kapadia’s documentary about Amy Winehouse, whom Tony Bennett describes as ‘one of the truest jazz singers that ever lived’, and who died of alcohol poisoning at 27 (FFS), is masterly and gripping, which is a pity, as you can’t… Read more

Imogen Poots and Owen Wilson

She's Funny That Way isn't funny at all

Cinema

The writer and director Peter Bogdanovich has made three of my favourite films of all time (The Last Picture Show, Paper Moon, What’s Up, Doc?) but I don’t think I’ll be adding his latest, She’s Funny That Way, to the… Read more

Sir Ian McKellen as Mr Holmes

I dozed through it quite significantly: Mr Holmes reviewed

Cinema

Mr Holmes stars Ian McKellen as the great detective in his old age and while it could have proved a touching character study — who are you, not just when your mind starts to fail, but when the mind for… Read more

Adi Rukun tests the eyes of one of the men who killed his brother

Stunning, riveting, horrifying: Joshua Oppenheimer's The Look of Silence reviewed

Cinema

With Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing you’d be minded to think that’s it, that’s the Indonesian genocide (1965–66) done, but now he’s returned with a second film that is equally stunning, equally riveting — in its horrifying way —… Read more

John Boorman's Queen &  Country

Completely unmemorable - even though I saw it yesterday: Queen & Country reviewed

Cinema

Queen & County is John Boorman’s follow-up to his 1987 semi-autobiographical film Hope & Glory, although why a sequel now, after 28 years, I don’t know. (We’re not in regular contact.) I can only tell you that if you absolutely… Read more

You want a sinkhole to appear and swallow them up: Simon Pegg (Jack) and Lake Bell (Nancy)

Man Up review: a film that treats female singledom as if it were cancer

Cinema

Man Up is a British rom-com starring Simon Pegg as Jack and Lake Bell as Nancy. Nancy’s problem, at the outset, is that she is 34 and still single — has yet to ‘man up’ — and is therefore a… Read more

Thousands of protesters gather for an anti-war demonstration in New York, 2003

We Are Many reviewed: does anyone think this anti-Iraq War film will change anything?

Cinema

Big-screen documentaries never change the world. Blackfish has not shortened the queues to see maltreated killer whales leap through hoops at SeaWorld. Super Size Me reduced neither the all-American waistline nor the profit margin of McDonald’s. The Cove did not… Read more

Seeking a berth in Valhalla: Nicholas Hoult as Nux in ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’

Mad Max: Fury Road reviewed - your inner 12-year-old will be in heaven

Cinema

No one goes slack-jawed in wonder at the movies any more. In our cyber-enabled times, kid designers can mega-pixelate any old apocalypse on to the screen of your local Imax. It puts the new Mad Max in a strange relationship… Read more

Chris Rock as Andre Allen alongside Rosario Dawson as Chelsea Brown

Top Five reviewed: Chris Rock hits rock bottom

Cinema

The oeuvre of Chris Rock may not be fully known in this parish. He was the African-American stand-up who made a packet out of saying the unsayable about race. Richard Pryor kicked down the door, but it was Rock who… Read more

Spirited but always stylish: Carey Mulligan as Bathsheba

Far from the Madding Crowd reviewed: a proper film with proper acting and a proper story

Cinema

Firstly, a message to all Marvel fanboys: there is nothing for you here. Nothing. No CGI, no endless battles, no superheroines with their boobs on show, no deafening soundtrack and no Andy Serkis popping up for reasons I still can’t… Read more

Back to black: Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow

Avengers: Age of Ultron reviewed - confusing, undramatic, repetitive and loud

Cinema

Avengers: Age of Ultron is the second film in the Avengers franchise, as written and directed by Joss Whedon, and stars Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark (Iron Man), Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Scarlett Johansson… Read more

Gardeners’ world: Alan Rickman (Louis XIV) and Kate Winslet (Sabine De Barra) at Versailles

A Little Chaos review: Kate Winslet emotes her little socks off

Cinema

A Little Chaos is a period drama directed by Alan Rickman and starring Kate Winslet as a woman charged to design and build a grand fountain garden for Louis XIV at Versailles. The film is, I noted from the poster,… Read more

Ryan Reynolds and Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’

Woman in Gold review: even Helen Mirren is weighed down by the script’s banalities

Cinema

Woman in Gold feels rather like a Jewish version of Philomena as this too is about an older woman seeking justice for what has been stolen from her in the past but, unlike the Jewish version of almost everything, this… Read more

Portrait of a director: Robert Altman

I always think I'm going to hate Baumbach's films and never do: While We're Young reviewed

Cinema

Every time I sit down to a Noah Baumbach film I think I’m going to hate it, but I never actually do. From the French New Wave idiosyncrasies of 2013’s Frances Ha to the growing pains of his semi-autobiographical breakthrough… Read more

Ella (Lily James) with her evil stepmother (Cate Blanchett)

Lily James's Cinderella is more of a doormat than my actual doormat

Cinema

Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella is a Disney film based on a Disney film, so is double Disney, if you like. It is a live-action adaptation of the 1950 animated version, and an entirely faithful retelling. As such, it comes with no… Read more

Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) with his dinner date, Fiona (Gemma Arterton)

The Voices review: a hateful, repellent, empty film

Cinema

The Voices is ‘a dark comedy about a serial killer’, which is not an overcrowded genre, and I think we can now plainly see for why. I was up for it, initially. The buzz around the film had been good.… Read more

French villager Lucile Angellier, played by Michelle Williams, falls for a Nazi soldier

Suite Francaise review: what is this film playing at, when it comes to Jews in attics?

Cinema

Suite Française is being billed as a second world war romance about ‘forbidden love’ and, in this regard, it is handsome, solid, well played and probably fine, if you haven’t read Irène Némirovsky’s novel, but if you have? Then you… Read more

Oscar winning role: Julianne Moore in Still Alice

Still Alice review: you can see why Julianne Moore won an Oscar but the film’s still boring

Cinema

There’s always seemed something masklike about Julianne Moore’s face: she seems walled in by her beauty. When she smiles, the only thing that moves is her mouth; that superb fenderwork of bone remains as impassive as a sphinx. This very… Read more

Jennifer Lopez sets her sights on the boy next door

The Boy Next Door reviewed: a terrible new J-Lo movie that's disturbingly enjoyable

Cinema

Stateside critics, who panned Jennifer Lopez’s new film The Boy Next Door on its US release last month, may be unaware of the ability of the British to enjoy a film so bad it’s almost good. I suspect many Brits… Read more

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Fifty Shades of Grey, review: ‘Use a condom!’ my sister shouted

Cinema

And so, in the end, I went with my sister, Toni, to see Fifty Shades of Grey and we saw it at noon on Valentine’s Day at the Odeon in Muswell Hill. In the audience on that particular day at… Read more