First Man (2018) Review

Opening with Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) test piloting an X-15 rocket ship so high you fear he may crash in to the orbiting Universal Logo which went past mere seconds before, Damien Chazelle’s quietly absorbing biopic is something of an antithesis to the usual stars ‘n’ stripes bombastic heroic portrayal the US space program usually … Continue reading First Man (2018) Review

Adrift (2018) Review

The lure of a life of freedom on the open ocean is an easy one to understand, at least when the sea is a beautiful blue expanse, stretching out to an endless horizon. But the romantic picture postcard ideal doesn’t last long for Tami Oldham (Shailene Woodley) and Richard Sharp (Sam Claflin) when their trans-Pacific … Continue reading Adrift (2018) Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin (2017) Review

With something as pure and innocent as the adventures of Winnie The Pooh, you’d be forgiven for thinking the story of their creation would be equally as heart-warming and uplifting. But, as Simon Curtis’ absorbing biopic reveals, the truth is anything but. “Goodbye Christopher Robin” tells the true-life story of how one of the world’s … Continue reading Goodbye Christopher Robin (2017) Review

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

The Looming Tower Series Review

Charting the origins of Osama Bin Laden and the formation of al-Qaeda from the 1990s through to the tragic events that unfolded on September the 11th, “The Looming Tower” is a real-life historical “Homeland”. It peers behind the intelligence curtain and reveals the internal squabbles and intense rivalry between the FBI and the CIA that … Continue reading The Looming Tower Series Review

Citizen X (1995) Review

An HBO made for TV movie from 1995, “Citizen X” offers a fascinating glimpse behind the crumbling Iron Curtain of the 1980s, into a society where political corruption and ideological hubris led to the deaths of dozens of young men and women at the hands of the Soviet Union’s first identified serial killer. When a … Continue reading Citizen X (1995) Review

The Post (2018) Review

It may be a timely reminder of the vital importance of a free and independent press but despite the zeitgeist-harnessing subject matter, there’s something that never quite stops the presses about Steven Spielberg’s “The Post”. When explosive details of a cover-up spanning three decades and four presidential administrations come to light, the New York Times … Continue reading The Post (2018) Review

Darkest Hour (2018) Review

A British icon. A pivotal moment in history. A desperate race against time. “Darkest Hour” sheds some light on the earliest days of Winston Churchill’s premiership as Europe faced annihilation by the Nazi horde and the British political establishment teetered on the brink of self-destruction. This is no dry history lesson, though, thanks to a … Continue reading Darkest Hour (2018) Review

The Death Of Stalin (2017) Review

There’s something deeply disturbing about the fact it’s so easy to laugh at “The Death Of Stalin”. Were it not for the fact these events all actually took place, this absurdist comedy from Armando Iannucci could be dismissed for simply being too far-fetched for its own good. When Joseph Stalin (Adrian McLoughlin) suffers a devastating … Continue reading The Death Of Stalin (2017) Review

American Made (2017) Review

If you thought off-the-books, quasi-legal internecine government shenanigans were a practice brought to the White House by a tangerine reality TV buffoon, wait until you get a load of what was going on the last time a former celebrity became commander in chief. Telling the mostly true story of Barry Seal, a former TWA pilot … Continue reading American Made (2017) Review

Detroit (2017) Review

With serendipitous timing and real world resonance that borders on opportunistic, “Detroit” arrives in cinemas to emphasise the perilous nature of present day America and it’s far too recent shameful past. Detroit, 1967. The city is in the grip of growing discontent which is spilling over into racially-charged rioting driven by large scale disaffection and … Continue reading Detroit (2017) Review

Dunkirk (2017) Review

Insistent, cacophonous and unrelenting, the pre-release clamour around “Dunkirk” has been enough to give even the most hype-hardened cinema veteran combat fatigue. When it comes to the list of prerequisites, conditions and riders demanded before you even have the temerity to consider buying a ticket, never before in the field of cinema history has so … Continue reading Dunkirk (2017) Review

Churchill (2017) Review

While it no doubt provides a sensational showcase for Brian Cox’s performance as Britain’s most famous Prime Minister, this 90-minute movie covering the 96 hours before the D-Day landings makes you feel the passing of every single hour. In many ways, the film sets out to dismantle the myth of Churchill the great, respected wartime … Continue reading Churchill (2017) Review

Doctor Who: The Eaters Of Light (S10E10) Review

*SPOILERS* So…here we are, the calm before the storm; the deep breath before barrelling downhill towards the 12th Doctor’s finish line with only the two-part finale and a Christmas special to go. The last ‘ordinary’ episode of Capaldi’s era. And what better way to honour an era which has shown such reverence to the classic … Continue reading Doctor Who: The Eaters Of Light (S10E10) Review

Patriot’s Day (2017) Review

It’s been less than four years since the Boston Marathon Bombings and I went into “Patriot’s Day” wondering what the film, made so soon after the saturation news coverage, hoped to achieve. Director Peter Berg, of course, is no stranger when it comes to adapting true life events and, after an awkward opening, he manages … Continue reading Patriot’s Day (2017) Review

Hidden Figures (2017) Review

Set at a time when humanity looked to the stars with hope rather than around the world with fear, “Hidden Figures” is an uplifting true-life drama set during the space race at the height of the cold war. It’s 1961 and NASA is lagging behind the Russians in the race to get a man into … Continue reading Hidden Figures (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

Silence (2017) Review

Oppressively contemplative and impassively brutal, Martin Scorsese’s religious epic sweeps us back in time to the rule of a cruel and uncompromising Japanese Shogunate. When a Dutch trader delivers the last letter from Father Cristóvão Ferreira (Liam Neeson) and testifies that Ferreira committed apostasy after being tortured, two of his former pupils – Father Sebastião … Continue reading Silence (2017) Review

Anthropoid (2016) Review

One of two films this year to cover the real life events of Operation Anthropoid, Sean Ellis’ film is a tough, bleak and uncompromising retelling of the WWII mission to assassinate SS General Reinhard Heydrich, the main architect behind the Final Solution and the Reich's third in command after Hitler and Himmler. Pulling no punches … Continue reading Anthropoid (2016) Review

The Revenant (2016) Review

Alejandro González Iñárritu’s latest offering sees yet another story ‘based on true events’ brought to life on the big screen. This time it’s ‘inspired by’ the true story of frontiersman and fur trapper Hugh Glass. When their expedition is attacked, a US Army sponsored fur trapping party look to experienced frontiersman Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) … Continue reading The Revenant (2016) Review

The Danish Girl (2016) Review

Adapted from David Ebershoff’s 2000 novel, “The Danish Girl” brings us a fictionalised account of the life of Lili Elbe, one of the first people in the world to undergo gender reassignment surgery. The film, like its source novel, is much less an exploration of the prejudices and societal attitude towards sexuality and transgender issues … Continue reading The Danish Girl (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

Suffragette (2015) Review

Powerful, gripping, infuriating and heart-breaking in equal measure, Director Sarah Gavron’s “Suffragette” brings a pivotal chapter of British history to vivid life without ever falling prey to feminist diatribe. It charts the story of Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan), a fictional wife and mother who finds herself caught up in the events and activities of the … Continue reading Suffragette (2015) Review

Bill (2015) Review

Written by and starring the cast of “Yonderland”, “Bill” sees them returning to their “Horrible Histories” roots and exploring a ‘lost’ era of Shakespeare’s life, finally revealing the true story behind his rise to fame and fortune as England’s most celebrated playwright. When the Earl of Croydon unwittingly overcommits himself in the presence of Queen … Continue reading Bill (2015) Review

Selma (2015) Review

Ava DuVernay’s absorbing account of the real life events in Selma, Alabama may lack the relentlessly vicious sadism of “12 Years A Slave” but it still doesn’t shy away from showing the plain and ugly truth about what went on during those tumultuous weeks in 1965. The cruelty, injustice and violence may not be as … Continue reading Selma (2015) Review

300: Rise Of An Empire (2014) Review

A belated follow-up to 2006’s “300”, this part prequel/ part ‘side-quel’/ sort of sequel by necessity discards much of the principle cast of the first film to focus on events in the rest of Greece around the time of the Battle of Thermopylae. Cobbling together a handful of sort of related historical events and taping … Continue reading 300: Rise Of An Empire (2014) 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

Exodus: Gods And Kings (2014) Review

If the ending of the saga of Middle Earth left you pining for epic cinema adaptations of fantasy literature, you didn’t have to wait too long for the next one to come along. Sir Ridley Scott’s contribution to the Biblical cinematic oeuvre is a mediocre, overly solemn and thematically muddled retelling of elements of the … Continue reading Exodus: Gods And Kings (2014) Review

Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb (2014) Review

“Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb” is a curious beast. After the popularity and success of the previous instalments a third sequel is hardly a surprise. What is surprising, and perhaps a little disappointing, is that this third instalment is so thin on plot that it seems to exist merely just to let … Continue reading Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb (2014) 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

Pompeii (2014) Review

I went into “Pompeii” expecting a disaster movie and ended up getting a pretty disastrous movie, but then what else would you expect from notoriously mediocre director Paul W S Anderson? I do mention the volcano erupts, so *spoilers* ahead, I guess? The film opens with a largely unnecessary and bloodthirsty sequence set in 62AD … Continue reading Pompeii (2014) Review

12 Years A Slave (2013) Review

The fact this is a true story is heart-breaking and horrifying. As American cinema continues its raw and painfully cathartic recognition of the nation's past, in "12 Years A Slave" it has produced its most unrelenting, brutal and uncompromising pieces of cinema yet. Gone is the scholarly detachment of "Lincoln", the polemic hypocrisy of "The … Continue reading 12 Years A Slave (2013) Review

Mr Peabody & Sherman (2014) Review

There is an itch that Hollywood just can’t seem to scratch. It’s a nagging, nostalgic yearning for something from its collective youth that try as it might, it just can’t seem to get to catch on with the modern audience. I’m talking, of course, of “The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show”. Hollywood keeps on coming back … Continue reading Mr Peabody & Sherman (2014) Review

The Butler (2013) Review

For some reason, despite my not infrequent visits to the cinema, I’ve no recollection of ever seeing a trailer for “The Butler” and as a result, my expectations were formed mainly by the poster and the few snippets of information I’d been unable to avoid (I was particularly intrigued by the idea of Alan Rickman … Continue reading The Butler (2013) Review

Lincoln (2012) Review

It would appear the general scholarly consensus is that “Lincoln” is a reasonably accurate retelling of the final four months of Abraham Lincoln’s life and in particular his efforts to get the 13th Amendment through the House of Representatives, which is a relief after 2012's ludicrous vampire-slaying take on the early life of the 16th … Continue reading Lincoln (2012) Review