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The Place Behind The Pines – David Cianfrance. Tatty Tats and dumb drama

Tweet    The Place Behind The Pines – David Cianfrance The paradoxes of cool. If you think you are – you aren’t. If you try to be – you won’t be. Worst of all: if everyone tells you are and you believe them – you never could or will be. Cool is impossible to define: […]

Trance – Who’s Who and What’s What Mind games with Danny Boyle

Tweet    Trance – Danny Boyle Not all banknotes can be forgeries. A forgery can only be passed off as real against the background of a viable currency which requires that most notes in circulation are genuine. Much the same logical limitation applies to the central dramatic device that lies at the heart of the […]

Django Unchained – Quentin Tarantino

Tweet    Django Unchained – Quentin Tarantino Django contains the many strengths and several weaknesses of Quentin Tarantino. As with all his best movies, he takes a well-established generic form, here the Western, and develops its elements to farce; to absurdity; even finally to destruction. With scabrous dialogue, scandalous amorality and an almost childish determination […]

A Good Day To Die Hard – John Moore – a franchise as dead as Python’s parrot

Tweet      A Good Day To Die Hard –  John Moore Don’t. No, seriously – don’t. At last I can shed my secret shame – I’ve always enjoyed most of the Die Hard series. But this latest crass, meritless, ear-splitting drivel finally emancipates me from this affliction. I like trashy films; good trashy films: […]

Zero Dark Thirty – Kathryn Bigelow. The assassination of a terrorist

Tweet    Zero Dark Thirty – Kathryn Bigelow Lincoln could be described as portraying the unprincipled pursuit of a principled objective, in conflict with the principled pursuit of an unprincipled end. It is a tragic lesson of history that when old men possessed of power talk with passion about principles – young people die. No […]

Hitchcock – Sacha Gervasi. Cinema’s master craftsman revealed

Tweet      Hitchcock – Sacha Gervasi I’ve always thought of Alfred Hitchcock as the master craftsman of cinema: meticulous in preparation, rigorous in execution and always controlled. His films seldom strayed outside the generic corridor of thriller, suspense or mystery. All demonstrate a respect for and careful control of story, character and plot. The […]

Lincoln – Steven Spielberg. The past is another place….

Tweet    Lincoln – Steven Spielberg “The past is another country. They do things differently there.” L P Hartley’s now almost proverbial opening lines of The Go-Between constantly resonated in the back of my mind throughout this powerful, accomplished, superbly acted film. With typical authority and characteristically meticulous attention to detail, Spielberg assembles to great […]

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Peter Jackson Technical triumph Dismal Drama

Tweet    Technical Quality Dramatic Quality    The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Peter Jackson This visual realisation of a fantasy world of endlessly warring kingdoms is a technical tour-de-force: graphically state of the art with special effects to match. Simon Bright’s Art Direction aided by Andy McLaren and Ben Milson, together with Dan Hennah’s […]

The Hunt – Thomas Vinterberg. Flipside to the Jimmy Savile saga.

Tweet      The Hunt – Thomas Vinterber This sensitive, insightful Danish film is the flipside to the Jimmy Savile saga. A timely warning that the undoubted truth that we should always listen to children, does not, cannot, mean that we must always take everything they say at face value. What this beautifully acted, subtly […]

Silver Linings Playbook – phoney, patronising but with great Lawrentian moments

Tweet      Silver Linings Playbook – David O Russell The mesmeric Jennifer Lawrence almost makes this phoney movie work – but not quite. For me at least. Claudia Winkleman on BBC’s now equally unwatchable Twittery Film 2012 loved it; while her mate on the show, Danny ‘Boy’ Leigh hated it. Reluctantly, I’m with Danny […]