Film

Back to black: Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow

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

25 April 2015
Avengers: Age of Ultron 12A, Nationwide

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… Read more

Tippi Hedren helps save schoolchildren in The Birds. Hitchcock confided to François Truffaut that he’d had ‘some emotional problems’ with Hedren during the shoot. For the final scene, live birds were attached to Hedren’s clothes. The actress became increasingly hysterical over the course of the week it took to film it, and when a bird finally went for her eyes, she collapsed

A profile of the worlds’s most famous film director — with the most famous profile

18 April 2015
Alfred Hitchcock: The Man Who Knew Too Much Michael Wood

New Harvest, pp.129, £14, ISBN: 9780544456228

Alfred Hitchcock Peter Ackroyd

Chatto, pp.279, £12.99, ISBN: 9780701169930

‘Do it with scissors’ was Alfred Hitchcock’s advice for prospective murderers, though a glance at these two biographies reminds us that scissors are also the chosen implement of the silhouettist.… 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

18 April 2015
A Little Chaos 12, Nationwide

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… Read more

Bette Davis, 1940 (Photo: STF/AFP/Getty)

Why Bette Davis loathed theatre

18 April 2015

It was called Frankly Speaking and by golly it was. The great screen actress Bette Davis was being interviewed by not one but two men: George Coulouris, with whom she… Read more

Italy’s highest-paid heart-throb, Mastroianni as Guido Anselmi, a film director in ‘creative limbo’

How Fellini made his modernist masterpiece

11 April 2015

Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita was a box-office triumph in Italy in 1960. It made $1.5 million at the box office in three months — more than Gone With the… 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

11 April 2015
Woman in Gold PG, Nationwide

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… Read more

A still from the indie game Monument Valley

How gaming grew up

28 March 2015

Sometimes a guy feels abstracted from the world. He visits Europe’s finest galleries, but the paintings seem to hang like corpses from the walls. The great symphonies fail to stir… Read more

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

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

28 March 2015
Cinderella U, Nationwide

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… Read more

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

The Voices review: a hateful, repellent, empty film

21 March 2015
The Voices 15, Nationwide

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… 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?

14 March 2015
Suite Française 15, Nationwide

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 more

Staying power: Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard in ‘Blade Runner: The Final Cut’

How Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic, Blade Runner, foresaw the way we live today

7 March 2015

In 1977 a journeyman actor called Brian Kelly optioned a science-fiction novel called Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? The book’s author, Philip K. Dick, had been writing science fiction… 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

7 March 2015
Still Alice 12A

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… Read more

Recording sound effects Photo: Getty

All radio drama should be as good as this Conrad adaptation

7 March 2015

The aching hum of crickets. The susurrus of reeds. The lapping of waves. The unmistakable noise of a sound technician ripping a duster in two as the heroine’s dress was… 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

28 February 2015
The Boy Next Door 15
Hinterland 15

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… Read more

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

21 February 2015
Fifty Shades of Grey 18, Nationwide

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… Read more

BGC Charity Day

My moment of mortification with Saint Joan Collins

14 February 2015

I did a film with Dame Joan Collins once. No no, not The Stud. It wasn’t as good as that. It was called The Clandestine Marriage. And although it wasn’t… Read more

King maker: David Oyelowo in ‘Selma’, the best performance of the year not nominated for an Oscar

Selma review: rich, nuanced, heartbreaking

7 February 2015
Selma 12A

Selma, the civil rights film that stars David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King, undoubtedly contains the best and most powerful performance of the year as not nominated for an Oscar.… Read more

Turning Japanese: ‘Spirited Away’ by Hayao Miyazaki, who has influenced Pixar’s latest offering, Big Hero 6

How Japan became a pop culture superpower

31 January 2015

There is an island nation, just off the main body of a continent. It gained an empire from the force of its military and the finesse of its trading contracts.… Read more

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Trash, review: trash by name, trash by nature

31 January 2015
Trash 15, Nationwide

Trash is the sort of film one desperately wishes to be kind about — heart supremely, if not burstingly, in the right place and all that — but it doesn’t… Read more

No Strings

How consumer habits are subject to the law of unintended consequences

31 January 2015

Some time in the 1960s, a group of people in an advertising agency (among them Llewelyn Thomas, son of Dylan) found themselves debating the direction of causation in the purchase… Read more

A Most Violent Year2

A Most Violent Year, review: mesmerising performances - and coats

24 January 2015
A Most Violent Year 15, Nationwide

A Most Violent Year is a riveting drama even though I can’t tell you what it’s about, or even what it actually is. (What’s new?) Set in New York City… Read more

‘Exceptionally good’: Alicia Vikander as Vera Brittain in ‘Testament of Youth’

Shirley Williams: Saving my mother from the scriptwriters

17 January 2015

Shirley Williams sits at the head of a table in a large conference room in Lib Dem HQ. She will be 85 this year, but still has a finger in… Read more

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Wild made me want to puke

17 January 2015
Wild 15, Nationwide

Wild is yet another film based on a true story, as currently seems to be in vogue for some reason. (See The Imitation Game, Foxcatcher, The Theory of Everything, Testament… Read more

BRITAIN-ENTERTAINMENT-FILM-SCIENCE-PEOPLE-HAWKING

Stephen Hawking is a mysogynist. And The Theory of Everything is a whitewash

10 January 2015

Stephen Hawking is a misogynist; and also, quite possibly, a narcissist. You wouldn’t know it from watching The Theory Of Everything, the new biopic from Working Title, in which you… Read more

Chico, Harpo and Groucho Marx (left to right) enjoy a day at the races

What unites Churchill, Dali and T.S. Eliot? They all worshipped the Marx Brothers

10 January 2015

‘I had no idea you were so handsome,’ Groucho Marx wrote to T.S. Eliot in 1961 on receiving from him a signed studio portrait. The Missouri-born Eliot was the Marx… Read more