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Bad Tales

This is an uncomfortable film. Set in a suburb of Rome, it documents a sizzling hot summer of pool parties and neighbourhood get-togethers seen through the eyes of an unreliable witness whose identity is a mystery. The problem is it goes nowhere:  the Swiss Italian writer/director  d’Innocenzo brothers, who won the Silver Bear best screenplay […]

News of the World

Paul Greengrass’s latest film, starring Tom Hanks as Captain Kidd, a former Confederate soldier eking a living reading the news to largely illiterate folk in the wild west, is pleasing to the eye but fails to light a fire in the soul. It’s a redemption tale, kicking off when Kidd finds a blonde girl dressed […]

Dead Pigs

Inspired by a real event in 2013 when 16,000 dead pigs start piling up in Shanghai’s mighty Huangpu river, American Chinese director Cathy Yan constructs a tale of corruption, greed, family ties and fakery. It’s a fine piece of film-making that  simultaneously entertains while educating.
All her central characters are inextricably linked. First there’s beauty parlour […]

I Care a Lot

This is Rosamund Pike as you’ve never seen her before. In I care a lot she plays an amoral glamorous business woman who specialises in slapping care orders on elderly and confused people thus gaining control of the their lives, and more importantly, their wealth. Once you’ve got past the distasteful premise (true by the way […]

Barb and Star go to Vista del Mar

 The Bridesmaids are back! Comic actor and writing duo Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig return to the big screen a comic caper designed to lift us out of lockdown gloom. Recently redundant sadly single sofa-saleswomen and besties decide spend their pay-out on a lifetime dream trip to Vista del Mar, a completely OTT Florida […]

The Dig

This is a gentle film, taking us back to pre-second-world-war Britain – and what an attractive place that seems to be compared to Covid-driven lockdown UK.  Young director Simon Stone has (almost faithfully) recorded the tale of the discovery of the famed Sutton Hoo burial site, the centrepiece being a Saxon ship containing fabulous gold masks […]

Babyteeth

Sixteen-year-old Milla is dying from cancer. On her way to school one day she has a sliding doors moment when she is literally bowled over by Moses (Toby Wallace), off his head on drugs, tattooed, spotty, dressed in his uniform of surf shorts. Attracted maybe by his kindness as he rips off his shirt to […]

The White Tiger

I loved Aravind Adiga’s Booker-winning novel when it was published and admire this clever adaptation for the big screen. It’s a modern-day parable of how David can slay Goliath and survive to tell the tale. Balram (Adarsh Gourav) comes from an impoverished rural family indebted to its feudal landowners.
A clever boy, he is determined to […]

Dear Comrades!

   This is a tour de force of film-making. Veteran Russian film director Andrei Konchalovksy chronicles the real events of 1962 that took place in a little-known town in the Cossack Don region, Novocherkassk. The drama unfolds through the eyes of a local female town councillor, an ardent follower of Stalin, but not so much of […]

Rams

This is an adaptation of Grímur Hákonarson’s 2015 lauded Icelandic film. I didn’t see that but Jeremy Sims brings some good old Icelandic dourness to the magnificent western Australian outback in this reimagination. Two brothers, Colin (Sam Neill) and Les (Michael Caton) live side-by-side on the family farm but have not spoken for 40 […]