London Film Festival 2017: Catch them first

You can’t start Christmas festivities until Halloween is out the way. But when can you start the Halloween fun? For me it’s after the preceding major event is done, and that’s London Film Festival. The 2017 edition is almost upon us; some of you may not have selected your cinematic gifts, whether for your nearest…

Anomalisa Review

It’s a Charlie Kaufman film, so it should be no surprise that Anomalisa playfully considers our beliefs and expectations. And yet it manages to offer up an experience even hardened cinema-goers will not expect. Given the endless possibilities afforded in a CGI age, it is a shame that animation is so frequently used in the service of robots hitting each…

Top 5: Leonardo DiCaprio

Well you know what they say – sixth time lucky! On Sunday the Academy satisfied a meme that began before memes were a thing, by awarding Leonardo DiCaprio the Best Actor award for his performance as frontiersman Hugh Glass in Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s revenge drama The Revenant. Whether or not he deserved it this year…

Oscars 2016: Preview

Hollywood’s gilded centrepiece is upon us again, and Tinseltown is tingling with anticipation. This time, though, the focus is rightly (finally) on what is missing; namely ANY nominees of colour in the acting, directing, writing, editing – well, most of the categories. With several high-profile figures including Will Smith & Jada Pinkett-Smith, Spike Lee &…

Sundance 2016: Preview

Another Park City film fiesta is upon us, with tens of thousands of talented folk gathering in the Utah mountains for a celebration of independent cinema from across the world. Here is this writer’s pick of what looks good in each category from the most mouth-watering cinematic menu. Be prepared to hear these names again…

TrailerTime: Room

As awards season really kicks into gear, there are few titles taking up as much speculative space as Room. Directed by Frank‘s Lenny Abrahamson, it is Emma Donoghue’s adaptation of her own 2010 novel. Taking its idea from the horrifying Josef Fritzl case, it is narrated by Jack, a young boy who has spent all his life in Room and turns…

The Lobster Review

If you had to die and become an animal, what animal would you be? It sounds like the discussion topic that comes with the joke in a Christmas cracker. For Yorgos Lanthimos it is the idea from which he explores love, emotions and the pressures of conformity in his dark, dry fifth feature The Lobster. David…

Carol Review

The glorious first shot of Todd Haynes’ Carol sets the tone for the majesty of what is to come. Opening on intricate lines that we cannot quite identify, the camera pans back to show them to be a street drain. It rises further, swooping over the bustle of New Yorkers fighting the winter chill, before coming to rest…

Brooklyn Review

Next time you hear ‘they don’t make them like they used to’, point the proclaimer to Brooklyn, the film of Colm Tóibín’s novel. It is a wholly satisfying slice of 1950s goodness, evoking with fondness and authenticity a period few of us actually remember. It also features one of the great screen performances of recent years…

Steve Jobs Review

Enough has been written, said and filmed about Steve Jobs since his death to fill several iPhones (even the 128gb ones). Trust Aaron Sorkin and Danny Boyle, then, to find a new approach to the enigma of the Apple empresario, this time portrayed by the ample talents of Michael Fassbender. Using a tripartite structure, we…

Tangerine Review

Think you know Christmas films? Think again. Tangerine, the fifth feature from Sean Baker, is a seasonal flick like no other. It’s also a buddy comedy like no other, an exercise in guerilla filmmaking like no other – it is quite simply unlike anything you have seen before. It is essential viewing. We meet sex workers…

Top 5: BFI London Film Festival

It was Samuel Johnson who said ‘When a person is tired of London Film Festival, they are tired of life’ – or something like that. Even the dictionary-writing Mr Johnson would be impressed by the encyclopaedia of titles on show at this year’s event, which runs from 7-18th October at several locations around the capital….