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Film

13 December 2014

Marking a century Some things which celebrate their 100th birthday in 2015: 3-D films The first was shown at the Astor Theater in New York on 10 June, featuring the… Read more

‘I wanted my wine to have deeper shadows’

Michael Seresin – from film noir to pinot noir

6 December 2014

Michael Seresin claims, rather modestly, to ‘have no palate’, choosing instead to describe wine with light, colour and form. These are not your typical winemaker’s terms, but they make perfect… Read more

Too lovable: Bill Murray and Jaeden Lieberher in ‘St. Vincent’

St. Vincent: too much lovability and not enough roguishness from Bill Murray

6 December 2014
St. Vincent 12A, Nationwide

Is Bill Murray fit for sainthood? Certainly his fans have him figure as some sort of lesser divinity, maybe one of the more saturnalian Greeks or pagans, with a taste… Read more

Jack O’Connell in ‘Unbroken’ — out next month — one of the few films today with a star writing team, the Coen brothers

How Hollywood is killing the art of screenwriting

29 November 2014

Writing is dead. Long live writing. What do I mean when I say writing is dead? That’s a whole other article, but in brief: cinema killed the novel, email killed… Read more

paddington

Paddington review: put your mind at rest - no one gets marmalade up the bum

29 November 2014
Paddington PG, Nationwide

‘Please look after this bear,’ reads the famous label hanging round Paddington’s neck, and this film does that, admirably, handsomely, endearingly, lovingly and not at all sexily. Such a furore,… Read more

Hilary Swank and Tommy Lee Jones star in The Homesman

Just because The Homesman has a few women in it doesn’t make it a ‘feminist western’

22 November 2014
The Homesman 15, Nationwide

The Homesman, which stars Hilary Swank and Tommy Lee Jones and is set in the Nebraska territory in the 1850s, is being sold as ‘a feminist Western’, which is a… Read more

Railly, railly posh: Keira Knightley as Joan Clarke

The Imitation Game: a film that's as much in the closet as Alan Turing was

15 November 2014
The Imitation Game 12A, Nationwide

The Imitation Game is a biopic starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, the brilliant mathematician who broke the German’s Enigma code during the war, created the blueprint for the modern… Read more

Like Star Trek turned up to 11

Interstellar: like Star Trek – but dumber and more tiring

8 November 2014
Interstellar 12A, Nationwide

Christopher Nolan’s futuristic epic Interstellar isn’t a clever film, or even a dumb film with a clever film trying to get out. Instead, and no matter what the hype may… Read more

Timothy-Spall-as-Mr-Turner

Mr Turner: the gruntiest, snortiest, huffiest film of the year - and the most beautiful too

1 November 2014
Mr Turner 12A, Nationwide

Mr Turner may be the gruntiest film of the year, possibly the gruntiest film ever. ‘Grunt, grunt, grunt,’ goes Mr Turner (Timothy Spall) as he sketches, paints, gropes his housekeeper,… Read more

Brad Pitt with the crew of the Sherman tank, Fury

Fury: the men blow stuff up, then Brad Pitt takes his top off

25 October 2014
Fury 15, Nationwide

Fury is a second world war drama that plays with us viscerally and unsparingly — I think I saw a head being blown off; I think I saw a sliced-off… Read more

Timothy Spall as the eponymous painter in Mike Leigh’s new film ‘Mr Turner’

Mike Leigh interview: 'A guy in the Guardian wants to sue me for defamation of Ruskin!'

18 October 2014

Mike Leigh is in a cheerfully bullish mood when I meet him at the Soho Hotel. ‘Have you read today’s Guardian?’ Dammit — I should have seen that coming. ‘A… Read more

Tissues at the ready: James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan in The Best of Me

The Best of Me is more of a sleepie than a weepie - especially when our old friend No Sexual Chemistry makes an appearance

18 October 2014
The Best of Me 12A, Nationwide
Northern Soul 15, Nationwide

Take tissues to The Best of Me, I’d read, as it’s such a weepie, so I took tissues, being a weeper at weepies — I still dab my eyes whenever… Read more

Brian Blessed as Prince Vultan and Sam J. Jones as Flash in ‘Flash Gordon’, part of the BFI ‘Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder’ season

Without sci-fi, there would be no cinema

11 October 2014

Do you know what’s hateful? The snobbery that film fans have to contend with. There’s the ‘it’s only a movie’ snobbery, by which cinema is suitable only for wastrels and… Read more

Poor, poor Effie: Dakota Fanning

Effie Gray can effie off

11 October 2014
Effie Gray 12A, Nationwide

Effie Gray, which has been written by Emma Thompson and recounts the doomed marriage of Victorian art critic John Ruskin to his teenage bride (he refused to consummate it), has… Read more

The accused: Ben Affleck stars in Gone Girl

David Fincher plays Gone Girl for laughs - at least I hope he is

4 October 2014
Gone Girl 18, Nationwide

Gone Girl is David Fincher’s adaptation of the bestselling thriller by Gillian Flynn, a relentless page-turner which I’ve heard people say they read ‘even though it’s not that good’ —… Read more

Rosamund Pike and family (L-R) Harriet Turnbull, Emilia Jones and Bobby Smalldridge

Outnumbered: The Movie (But Crap)

27 September 2014
What We Did On Our Holiday 12A, Nationwide

What We Did On Our Holiday is written and directed by Guy Jenkin and Andy Hamilton, the pair who created the hit BBC sitcom Outnumbered, and this is like an… Read more

Cinema

20,000 Days On Earth: is Nick Cave the missing link? Or the next stage in evolution?

20 September 2014
20,000 Days on Earth 15, Key Cities

Inspired by Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never (2011), Katy Perry’s Part of Me (2012) and One Direction’s This Is Us (2013), Nick Cave has released a documentary about himself. No… Read more

Whoop! The 1985 Gay Pride march through central London

Ignore the simplistic politics, Pride will make you laugh and cry

13 September 2014
Pride 15, Nationwide

1984 and all that. Which side were you on? The side of Margaret Thatcher, her hairdo and person standing rigid against a rising tide of industrial activism and British declinism?… Read more

Identity crisis: Nicole Kidman in Before I Go to Sleep

Before I Go to Sleep prefers creepy car parks to feelings

6 September 2014
Before I Go to Sleep 15, Nationwide

Before I Go To Sleep is Rowan Joffe’s adaptation of S.J. Watson’s bestselling thriller of 2011, but whereas the book was smart, gripping, ingeniously plotted and had psychological depth —… Read more

Herculean feat: hauling a steamship over a mountain for ‘Fitzcarraldo’

The enigma of Werner Herzog

30 August 2014

Strange things happen to Werner Herzog — almost as strange as the things that happen in his haunting, hypnotic films. In 1971, while making a movie in Peru, he was… Read more

Angry young man: Jesse Eisenberg as Josh in ‘Night Moves’

Night Moves – the opposite of a Dan Brown film

30 August 2014
Night Moves 15, Nationwide

Night Moves is a film by Kelly Reichardt, who also made the heart-wrenching Wendy and Lucy (2008), which may be one of my favourite films of all time. (If you… Read more

Inhuman being: Scarlett Johansson as Lucy

Lucy: the shoot-outs, car chases and mysteries of the universe

23 August 2014
Lucy 15, Nationwide

Here’s an idea for an article: The Tree of Life (2011) is the most influential film of the past decade. There’s quite a strong case to be made. Everything from… Read more

21 June 2014

The not-so-great charter David Cameron wants every child to be taught about Magna Carta. Some bits he might want to leave out: — ‘If one who has borrowed from the… Read more

Granville Sharp

The conservative anti-slavery hero who Belle leaves out

14 June 2014

Americans make movies about slavery and its abolition. In the past two years we’ve seen the Oscar-winning Twelve Years a Slave, based on a 19th-century slave narrative, and Django Unchained,… Read more

KEN

Why Ken Loach hasn’t made a decent film since Kes

31 May 2014

‘If you want to send a message,’ said Sam Goldwyn, one of the men who invented Hollywood, ‘try Western Union.’ It is such a well-known remark one might have thought… Read more