The Place Beyond the Pines

There is no doubt, films are becoming more obtuse. Yet again I had to resort to research to enlighten my poor brain. This time over the title of the movie itself: I came out asking why on earth it was called The Place Beyond the Pines? Thank you, Philip French, whom I normally find rather pretentious […]


At last! An award-winning British film, this time the third by Ben Wheatley, who already has two low-budget black comedy/thrillers under his belt, Down Terraceand Kill List.British through and through, even the screenplay is written by its two co-stars Alice Lowe and Steve Oram. Their performances as a result are utterly convincing and give new meaning to […]

Searching for Sugarman

I missed this when it first came out in London; not surprising as it played for a very short time and the buzz hadn’t hit the streets yet. Now it has won the Best Documentary Oscar, everyone is talking about Searching for Sugar Man. And rightly so.

Very much in the style of two recent documentaries, Marleyand The Imposter(both […]

Django Unchained

Decided to brave the Singapore cinema for the first time; it’s so easy for us – just hop on a free shuttle bus and it’s 5 minutes to the nearest hi-tech complex, complete with food outlets where you can, surprisingly, buy a beer. The cinema itself, freezing cold as one would expect, has comfy seats, […]

The Master

Films like The Masterreally cause me to wonder if I am normal or not. Billed as a film about – loosely – the enigmatic L Ron Hubbard and the cult of Scientology (in which I dabbled as a teenager), it has gleaned outstanding reviews from critics whom I admire enormously: it was both Peter Bradshaw’s and […]

Promised Land

This should have been a great movie: starring Matt Damon and Francis McDormand, one of my favourite actors, and hinging on a hot topic, hydraulic fracturing or fracking. Somehow it didn’t do it for me, although it has had rave reviews in some parts of the US, and been panned in others. Perhaps this just […]

I Wish

Disappointed by Lincoln and thus eschewing Hollywood ‘ought to see’ currents like Tarantino, Bigelow and even Les Mis(never!) my eye chanced upon I Wish (thanks for the tip Peter Bradshaw).

Originally commissioned by a marketing company to celebrate the launch of the new Kyuushuu bullet trains, the film’s opening was timed to symbolise the regeneration of Japan following the devastating […]


When I was 13 or so, I used to compete against Daniel Day-Lewis in verse-speaking. Needless to say, he always won, and listening to his mellifluous voice and delivery as Abraham Lincoln, it is clear to see why.

Liam Neeson originally declined the role, saying he was too old; Day-Lewis is only five years younger but […]


Everyone in the world has heard of Bob Marley – now. But it was not always so; most of his life Marley had no Black following outside of Jamaica and his international concerts were populated by white, dope-smoking hippies. Now Bob Marley is the ubiquitous voice of reggae – which, we learn in this film, […]

Life of Pi

Always tricky writing a review the week of any awards announcements: the Golden Globes gongs surprise little: Lincolnand Day-Lewis; Ben Affleck twice – or perhaps squared, in this context – best director for Argo,best drama; Jessica Chastain but not Katherine Bigelow for the controversial Zero Dark Thirty. Laments for lack of women and minorities as ever in both […]