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Film

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

Macon Blair in Blue Ruin

Blue Ruin is unwatchable, bloody – but, from what I saw, rather good

3 May 2014
Blue Ruin Key Cities
Looking for Light: Jane Bown Key Cities

Blue Ruin is a low-budget yet highly accomplished revenge thriller although whether you have the stomach for it is another matter. I do not have a strong stomach, as we… Read more

simon-callow

Simon Callow’s notebook: What it’s like to lose at an awards ceremony

8 March 2014

It was one of those weeks. On Monday, I was in four countries: I woke up at crack of dawn in Austria, took my first plane in Germany, my second… Read more

Nixon-shearer

Harry Shearer on bringing out Richard Nixon’s feminine side

18 January 2014

Hollywood tends to treat Richard Nixon as an oafish B-movie villain, so it is ambitious and original of Harry Shearer to try to convince a British audience of the very… Read more

They also serve: the Kennedy family enter the White House

The Butler, about a black domestic in the White House, is too painfully obvious

16 November 2013
The Butler 12A, Nationwide

The Butler tells the story of an African–American butler at the White House who served eight American presidents over three decades and it plays as a ‘greatest hits’ of the… Read more

courtoom_dramas_nicholson_cruise

'You can't handle the truth!' — the greatest courtroom dramas of all time

9 November 2013

Our legal system is pure theatre and always has been. Many barristers stand accused of being failed actors and vice versa. Judges love the dressing-up box and a chance to… Read more

Give us the money: James Toback and Alec Baldwin

Ryan Gosling couldn’t play Taki better than Taki

9 November 2013
Seduced and Abandoned 15, Key Cities

Seduced and Abandoned is both a satire on film-making and a love letter to film-making and a joy. A documentary made by the director and writer James Toback, in cahoots… Read more

Scary monsters: the demon from Jacques Tourneur’s 1957 film

How I learned to start screaming and love the horror movie

2 November 2013

Buddy, you can keep your Christmases and your Easters, your Hanukkahs and your Eids. For someone like me, the annual celebration that really matters is the one that falls on… Read more

Searching for her lost son: Judi Dench and Steve Coogan

Philomena is Dame Judi’s film

2 November 2013
Philomena 12A, Nationwide

Philomena is based on the true story of an Irish woman searching for the son stolen from her by the Catholic Church 50 years earlier, and although, as a cinematic… Read more

Forced to work together: Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy

Sandra Bullock must be blindfolded when she picks her movies

3 August 2013
The Heat 15, Nationwide

Sandra Bullock is a highly watchable actress and she seems like she’d be fun to hang out with — I have no idea why I think that; I just do… Read more