Wrong direction

26 February 2011 12:00 am

West Is West is the follow-up to the 1999 film East Is East, even though everyone should have left well alone and busied themselves elsewhere.

On the road with an alien

19 February 2011 12:00 am

Slam one down on the bar, scoop in some crushed ice and finish with a slug of grenadine. Paul is straight from the cocktail school of cinema.

Still life

12 February 2011 12:00 am

I didn’t go and see the Coen brothers’ remake of True Grit this week because I couldn’t get excited about it and don’t like westerns anyhow.

Second sight

5 February 2011 12:00 am

Although I can’t generally get too worked up about remakes, just as I can’t get too worked up about most things these days — too old; too tired; too long in what teeth I still have left (four, I think) — I suppose this Brighton Rock does have its work cut out.

Leaden mess

29 January 2011 12:00 am

Hereafter is directed by Clint Eastwood, produced by Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg, and written by Peter Morgan, although what would attract one of these big names to such a project, let alone three, is anyone’s guess.

Steps to destruction

22 January 2011 12:00 am

I have always suspected that, if you look for the black swan within yourself, it will end in tears, and now Darren Aronofsky has proved me right.

Neither here nor there

15 January 2011 12:00 am

Conviction is yet another film based on ‘an inspirational true story’ because, I’m assuming, Hollywood has now run out of made-up stories.

Bookends: Divinely decadent

8 January 2011 6:00 am

The film-maker John Waters specialises in weirdos. His new book, Role Models (Beautiful Books, £15.99), is a collection of interviews and anecdotes seasoned with off-beat fashion tips.

Film: Farewell to arm

8 January 2011 12:00 am

Unless you’ve been living under a rock — in which case, keep it to yourself; I’m done with rocks — you’ll have already heard about 127 Hours.

Right royal triumph

1 January 2011 12:00 am

The King’s Speech is a joy, and I adore it.

The long march

18 December 2010 12:00 am

Peter Weir’s The Way Back tells the story of a group of escapees from a 1940 Siberian gulag who walked across Siberia, Mongolia, Tibet and the Himalayas to freedom in British India, a journey of 12 months and 4,000 miles, and a journey that will bring into sharp focus the domitability of your own crappy spirit, particularly if you always take the bus two stops up the hill, as I do.

All the lonely people

11 December 2010 12:00 am

Whereas Sofia Coppola’s directorial breakthrough, Lost in Translation, featured two lonely souls rattling about in a Tokyo hotel, her latest film, Somewhere, features one lonely soul holed up in a Californian hotel, and isn’t half so good.

Incredible journey

4 December 2010 12:00 am

Monsters is a sci-fi alien film and is being promoted as a sci-fi alien film but it’s not really a sci-fi alien film as it’s a love story with a beautiful and unexpected ending.

Catching up with Clooney

27 November 2010 12:00 am

There are quite a few reasons to like The American. It is an action film with almost no action, making it a non-action action film which, I now know, is my favourite kind of action film. It stars George Clooney, and while I have tried to imagine Mr Clooney doing something uncharismatically — rinsing out his pants in the sink, say, or hosing down the car on a Sunday morning — I cannot. I’d buy a ticket for both. And it’s directed by Anton Corbijn, the Dutch photographer turned film-maker who made Control, the excellent film about Joy Division, and who knows how to compose a shot gorgeously.

Deathly dull

20 November 2010 12:00 am

By the time a film franchise arrives at its seventh and penultimate instalment, you probably know if it is something you enjoy or not, or at least I would hope so.

Trouble ahead

13 November 2010 12:00 am

This is, I should confess, not a film I meant to see. I meant to see Harry Potter, but turned up for the screening in the right place at the wrong time — a week early, I’m such a schmuck — and had to take what was showing, which was You Again, with the tag line: ‘What doesn’t kill you...will marry your brother.’ Instantly, I doubted the veracity of this — I can’t put my finger on what made me doubtful, I just felt it in my bones, and called my brother. ‘Jon,’ I said, ‘if I had athlete’s foot and it didn’t kill me, would you marry it?’ ‘No,’ he said. ‘And I’m already married to Mary, as you know.’ I do know this, just as I know that, if you can’t trust a film’s tag line, there may be trouble ahead.

Life’s losers

6 November 2010 12:00 am

Mike Leigh’s latest film feels cruel and is uncomfortable to watch which isn’t necessarily a bad thing — you can’t expect cinema to offer only comfort and warmth, my dears; cinema is not like the lobby of a country-house hotel — but it does make it a rather horrible experience.

Stiff competition

30 October 2010 12:00 am

So, a funny thing happened on the way home from the screening: I bumped into Paul Whitehouse, who has a cameo in Burke and Hare, and congratulated him on an extremely convincing tumble he takes down two flights of stairs (it hits just the right note, somewhere between the pantomime and The Exorcist).

Gang of four

23 October 2010 12:00 am

Red is not a very good film and neither does it try to be.

Interview – Tomas Alfredson: outside the frame

23 October 2010 12:00 am

Without warning, Tomas Alfredson jumps up and starts wading about the room like a water bird treading over lily pads.

Nice work, Zuck!

16 October 2010 12:00 am

The Social Network is a brilliantly entertaining and fascinating film about a subject in which I have absolutely no interest: Facebook.

When Stone gets stick

16 October 2010 12:00 am

Oliver Stone hits back at his critics

Enough is enough

9 October 2010 12:00 am

Really? This was necessary? Why? What’s the point? OK, I suppose revisiting Wall Street all these years later is timely, given the banking crisis and resultant global meltdown.

Women on top

2 October 2010 12:00 am

Although Made in Dagenham is far from perfect and has a particular fondness for those impromptu speeches which turn out to be stirringly spot-on, it is so warm-hearted and affectionate it wouldn’t be right to take against it.

Gut instincts

9 September 2009 12:00 am

Julie Powell wrote Julie and Julia, a book (and now a film) in which she described her attempts to cook a huge number of recipes by the cookery writer Julia Child.