United Passions (2015) Review

With the World Cup kicking off in Russia today, what better time to review that great footballing drama “United Passions”? Inspired by actual events but mendaciously crafted to launder the true story and, quite probably, create an opportunistic "The Producers"-style tax write off, “United Passions” is such a bald-faced work of propaganda that you almost … Continue reading United Passions (2015) Review

All The Money In The World (2018) Review

It's been almost impossible to avoid the publicity surrounding Ridley Scott's polished-to-a-dull-sheen biographical crime drama "All The Money In The World" thanks to the scandal which engulfed its would-be star after allegations of his sexual predation came to light and Scott's swift decision to excise the actor from the movie and reshoot all of his … Continue reading All The Money In The World (2018) Review

The Greatest Showman (2017) Review

In the run-up to Christmas, I was very taken by the Sky Movies TV ad showing a mum and her daughter watching “The Sound Of Music” over and over again through the years. For me, it perfectly captured the sentimental sweet spot of Christmas, family and the magic of movies. I found myself wondering what … Continue reading The Greatest Showman (2017) Review

Battle Of The Sexes (2017) Review

One of the main, dispiriting takeaways from this biographical sports dramedy, which is as muddled as its genre classification, is that the more things change, the more they stay the same. In the present climate where sexism, discrimination and equality are at the very bleeding edge of public consciousness, “Battle Of The Sexes” fails to … Continue reading Battle Of The Sexes (2017) Review

Borg vs McEnroe (2017) Review

Gripping, insightful and quietly powerful, “Borg vs McEnroe” brings us a thoughtful examination of sporting drive and athletic rivalry at a watershed moment for international tennis. In the run-up to the 1980 Wimbledon Championship, Björn Borg (Sverrir Gudnason) contemplates the possibility that he could become the first person ever to win five consecutive Wimbledon titles … Continue reading Borg vs McEnroe (2017) Review

Lion (2017) Review

A fascinating and compelling true story of survival and serendipity, “Lion” delivers the best cinematic advert for Google since “The Internship”. Finding himself utterly lost after accidentally falling asleep on an out of service cross country train, five year old Saroo finds himself alone on the streets of 1980s Calcutta. Eventually he is taken in … Continue reading Lion (2017) Review

Hacksaw Ridge (2017) Review

Apparently completing the rehabilitative arc of Mel Gibson’s Hollywood career, “Hacksaw Ridge” is a powerful, if uneven, examination of the horrors of war and the demands of true moral courage. The fact it’s based on a true story just makes it all the more incredible. Desmond T. Doss, a Seventh Day Adventist, decides to enlist … Continue reading Hacksaw Ridge (2017) Review

Joy (2016) Review

Loosely based on the life of Joy Mangano, inventor of the Miracle Mop, “Joy” offers little more than evidence that David O Russell may be the smuggest filmmaker working in Hollywood today. The dedication of the film to ‘the true stories of daring women. One in particular.’ smacks of the self-satisfaction that permeates the whole … Continue reading Joy (2016) Review

In The Heart Of The Sea (2015) Review

If you created a Venn diagram of the casts of “Harry Potter”, “Game Of Thrones”, “Peaky Blinders” and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the sweet spot right in the middle would read “In The Heart Of The Sea”. Ron Howard’s latest offering is a star-studded retelling of the true story of the whaling ship Essex, which … Continue reading In The Heart Of The Sea (2015) Review

Bridge Of Spies (2015) Review

In these troubled times, America and the world could do worse than to look to the pages of history for some salutary lessons on how to deal with the current volatility we live with. It is serendipitous, then, that Steven Spielberg’s magnificent true life drama “Bridge Of Spies” arrives in cinemas this week to provide … Continue reading Bridge Of Spies (2015) Review

The Lady In The Van (2015) Review

Adapted from his own play, based on his memoir, Alan Bennett’s “The Lady In The Van” is a wonderfully poignant meditation of the nobility of the human spirit and the importance of kindness, compassion and understanding. It tells the [mostly] true story of Bennett’s unusual friendship with an eccentric homeless woman called Miss Mary Shepherd, … Continue reading The Lady In The Van (2015) Review

The Walk (2015) Review

Robert Zemeckis’ film retells the true story of French high wire artist Philippe Petit who realised his dream to carry out a daring (and completely illegal) high wire walk between the two towers of the World Trade Centre in New York. As you’d expect from Zemeckis, technical wizardry abounds in this movie, from the judicious use … Continue reading The Walk (2015) Review

Legend (2015) Review

Based on the book ‘The Profession Of Violence: The Rise And Fall Of The Kray Twins’ by John Pearson, Writer/ Director Brian Helgeland’s “Legend” takes a look at the notorious East End gangsters from their ascent to the top of the underworld hierarchy to the events which would prove to be their downfall. Glossy, stylish … Continue reading Legend (2015) Review

Straight Outta Compton (2015) Review

Charting the meteoric rise, bitter disintegration and tentative reconciliation of pioneering West Coast hip hop group N.W.A., “Straight Outta Compton” is a curious beast, slightly uneven in texture but bolstered by some mesmerising performances, none more so than O’Shea Jackson, Jr’s portrayal of his real life father Ice Cube. It’s perhaps not a surprise given their … Continue reading Straight Outta Compton (2015) Review

Foxcatcher (2015) Review

Bennett Miller’s “Foxcatcher” is a film utterly convinced of its own greatness. So convinced, in fact, that it does not feel the need to provide a coherent narrative of the profoundly unsettling story of how two talented wrestling brothers came to be caught up in the twisted machinations of an eccentric and unstable multi-millionaire. The … Continue reading Foxcatcher (2015) Review

American Sniper (2015) Review

After the disinterested and flat direction of “Jersey Boys”, Eastwood seems to have regained some of his mojo with this film which despite a few flaws emerges as a faithful and respectful adaptation of Chris Kyle’s 2012 autobiography. Structured into four chapters to parallel Kyle’s four tours of duty in Iraq, the film makes occasional … Continue reading American Sniper (2015) Review

Mr Turner (2014) Review

Beyond being vaguely aware he was a painter, I knew nothing of the work or life of J M W Turner. I came out of Mike Leigh’s “Mr Turner” determined to learn more about this exceptional man and keen to find out which galleries display his work so I can go and see them for … Continue reading Mr Turner (2014) Review

Jersey Boys (2014) Review

Jukebox musicals always run the risk of being a little cheesy and there's more than a whiff of Quattro Formaggi about this Four Seasons musical biopic. Telling the story of the iconic pop group, it charts their rise from the Jersey projects, their run-ins with the Mob and ultimately the divisions and rivalries which tore … Continue reading Jersey Boys (2014) Review

Diana (2013) Review

There’s nothing in this flat, uninspired biopic which will change your opinion on the late Diana, Princess of Wales whatever it was: either a precious, much wronged saintly victim of a callous and cruel establishment or an arch-manipulator, all too aware of and willing to use the vast, unquestioning affection she commanded. This overly soapy film … Continue reading Diana (2013) Review

Lovelace (2013) Review

The film “Deep Throat” came out before I was born but it’s still the origin of the phrase I knew first. Before I’d heard of the Watergate Scandal and way before “The X Files”, I knew of its existence as a porno movie. I’d probably heard of it before I really understood what a porno … Continue reading Lovelace (2013) Review

Behind The Candelabra (2013) Review

Steven Soderbergh’s last film before his self-imposed ‘sabbatical’ from film making is a useful reminder that we should hope he doesn’t stay away too long. Produced by HBO for television in the United States (because Hollywood studios declined to produce the film for being ‘too gay’ for mainstream audiences) it nevertheless received a theatrical release … Continue reading Behind The Candelabra (2013) Review