Royal rewards

4 June 2011 12:00 am

Macbeth may not be Verdi’s greatest opera, in fact it’s hard to imagine anyone’s claiming it is, yet in a performance that is as musically inspired as the one I saw at the Royal Opera last week (the second of the run) it comes across as an inspired work, almost all the way through, and one which can be considered seriously alongside Shakespeare.

In your dreams

28 May 2011 12:00 am

Two self-directed films this week, and that is usually a bad sign.

Unrequited obsession

28 May 2011 12:00 am

Two films this week, one assiduously without heart, and one which may suffer from a surfeit, so you pays your money and takes your pick or you don’t pays your money and you stays in and has a jacket potato and watches TV.

Guilt trip

21 May 2011 12:00 am

Win Win is a comedy-drama that is warm-hearted and compassionate and enjoyable without, alas, being especially remarkable or original, which is a bit of a blow but I think you’ll get over it, with bed rest and time.

Cut to the chase

14 May 2011 12:00 am

As Attack the Block is being touted as ‘the new Shaun of the Dead’ I expected a light-hearted romp rather than something quite bloody and nasty, although this does, at least, come in at a highly manageable 88 minutes.

One man and his dog

7 May 2011 12:00 am

My Dog Tulip is a tender and exquisite animation about one man and his dog which gets as close to what it is to love dogs as I’ve ever encountered, and goes a considerable way to making up for what dog-lovers have had to put up with at the cinema in recent years (Hotel for Dogs, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Marley & Me; utter tripe).

The Midas touch

23 April 2011 12:00 am

Now that we can read on Kindle and some people fear that paper-and-ink books will become extinct, one’s first impulse might be to say hurrah for this mighty production.

Triumph of goodness

23 April 2011 12:00 am

Two films, this week, because I spoil you — what can I say? It’s in my nature — and not much to choose between them apart from the fact that one is good (Cedar Rapids) and one is so bad (Arthur) that just thinking about it makes me want to weep for myself, for remakes, for film audiences, for the state of cinema today, for humankind and for dogs that are cruelly treated, which is not especially relevant but, if I am weeping anyway, I might as well include them.

Tale of the unexpected

16 April 2011 12:00 am

Now, children, are you all sitting comfortably? Good, then I’ll begin.

Bird watching

9 April 2011 12:00 am

Rio (3D) is a perfectly average kiddies’ flick, although, as it’s Easter and the kiddies are off school, anything that might amuse them and get them out of your hair should not, I suppose, be sniffed at, and this should do the trick; this is something you can park them at on the days you can’t dump them at grandma’s (grandmas love looking after their grandchildren.

Lost children

2 April 2011 12:00 am

I didn’t much like Oranges and Sunshine and I’ll tell you for why: it takes one of the most obscene scandals in 20th-century British politics — the mass forced deportation of British children to Australia, which began in the 1920s and continued right up until 1970 — and all but kills it off with its self-righteous stance, plodding script, mournful violins and clunky construction.

Mad about the boy

26 March 2011 12:00 am

I love this film. It’s terrific. You should go see it, and go see it now. Just abandon everything and go. The children? They’ll be fine, so long as you put all sharp objects and poisons out of their reach. Don’t use that old excuse! Now, how best to sum it up? OK, if you’ve ever wished that another Gregory’s Girl would come along, but with a darker underbelly — and who hasn’t? Particularly in the early hours — then this is it although, by mentioning Gregory’s Girl, I’m not saying Submarine isn’t original, because it is. I’m just trying to give you the flavour of it. Sometimes, I do wish you could be a bit more grateful. It’s not like I don’t give you free childcare tips. What more do you want? Blood?

‘We’ll always have Paris’

19 March 2011 12:00 am

The long war between France and the US has its liveliest consequence in the world of film: Hollywood does movies, the French do cinema.

Downhill all the way

19 March 2011 12:00 am

What the world needs now, perhaps as a matter of some urgency, is love, sweet love, but, failing that, wouldn’t a decent, warm, engaging rom-com do? It might but, alas, it isn’t Chalet Girl.

Defining women

12 March 2011 12:00 am

His & Hers is a film (obviously) which, by rights, should be as dull as dishwater, if dishwater is truly dull, which it sometimes is and sometimes isn’t.

Poor planning

5 March 2011 12:00 am

Although I appreciate it is always hard to come down from the Oscars and that special, magical tingle in the air — if I hadn’t turned in after MasterChef, as I always do, I would have certainly stayed up all night to watch — it’s time to get back to business and this week’s big film The Adjustment Bureau, which could do with a significant amount of adjusting itself.

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.