Month: September 2014

  When he switches off the mouth, Robin Williams can be an incredibly effective actor. This is one of those turns, yet it’s ironically about a man who is a professional mouth, a DJ with a late-night show who uses his graveyard phone-in to tell and listen to stories. It’s another of Williams’s characteristics as …

The Night Listener Read More »

  Of the 350+ films I saw this year, these are the best ones. Some of them were released last year and I’ve been a bit slow getting round to them. Some of them were released even longer ago. The criteria are – I watched them in 2014 and I liked them. That’s it.     …

The Best Films of 2014 Read More »

  Halfway through watching this simple but fascinating documentary, by the same team that made the equally eye-opening 97% Owned, a friend turned up. Instead of saying “How are you?” or “Wanna cup of tea?” (I’m writing this in the UK), I said, “God, I’m watching this amazing documentary about economics in Japan and how …

Princes of the Yen Read More »

  If there is such a thing as “what the hellness” then Denis Villeneuve’s latest film absolutely has it. But then the French-Canadian does have form. With Incendies Villeneuve managed to turn the conflict in the Middle East into a thriller with a reveal that disconcerted and amazed. In Prisoners he made us feel bad …

Enemy Read More »

  Out in the UK This Week     Edge of Tomorrow (Warner, cert 12, digital) As hyper-aware of his position in the culture as he is of a camera in relation to his three-quarter profile, Tom Cruise knows that a lot of people want to see him taking a kicking. Edge of Tomorrow (or Live. …

29 September 2014-09-29 Read More »

  There are misgivings even during the opening scene of this decade-straddling epic about Ip Man, generally described as “the man who trained Bruce Lee”. There’s legendary martial artist Ip Man (the impassive Tony Leung) in a stylish straw hat taking on a phalanx of uglies in a torrential nighttime downpour. Slo-mo rain. It’s the …

The Grandmaster Read More »

    It’s often forgotten how much genre output the French make, and how well they do it. This icy thriller in a Chabrolesque mould has two brilliant performances at its centre. On the one side we have Déborah François as Mélanie, a young girl from a poor family whose ambition to become a pianist …

The Page Turner Read More »

  Out in the UK This Week     Of Horses and Men (Axiom, cert 15, Blu-ray/DVD/digital) The jacket photo of the DVD shows a man sitting on a mare that’s being mounted by a stallion. The look of passive acceptance on the mare’s face, randy enthusiasm on the stallion’s and stubborn resistance on the …

22 September 2014-09-22 Read More »

    There’s a grimy directness to the Liverpool gangster drama which substitutes Scouse sarcasm for the lairiness of the mockney geezer equivalent. Made by debut director James Marquand and starring its co-writer, James McMartin, it’s the story of a washed-up boxer with a low sperm count who takes a job as a bouncer, falls out …

Dead Man’s Cards Read More »

    Write what you know, they say, and David Nicholls certainly does that here. An adaptation of his 2003 best-seller about a 1980s working class kid going to university, written by a 1980s working class kid who went to university, this comedy is full of period flavour and has the tang of authentic experience. …

Starter for 10 Read More »