• Cyrano

    Cyrano

    ★★★½

    It’s a genuinely fantastic performance from Peter Dinklage here as Cyrano – just as well, because the film lives or dies on its ability to convince you of his charisma. Not just that, of course: his love for Roxanne must be complete also. Dinklage is dynamite here, in a performance that does these two things brilliantly.

    Roxanne herself is perhaps less convincing: but it’s a very difficult trick to pull off. Haley Bennett’s job is to make Roxanne the most…

  • C'mon C'mon

    C'mon C'mon

    ★★★★

    A long haul flight was the perfect opportunity to catch up with this much-talked about film. I’ve a few friends that thought very highly of it, and I can absolutely see why.

    Joaquin Phoenix is Johnny, an audio journalist travelling America interviewing kids from different cities to learn about what their lives are like, and their hopes for the future. Without kids of his own, it’s a good lifestyle for this kind of work – and so he finds himself…

  • Brian and Charles

    Brian and Charles

    ★★★★½

    Brian (David Earl) whiles away the hours making some questionable inventions in his cottage in rural Wales. He’s become part of the background, and that seems to be just how he likes it – until the chance discovery of a mannequin head and a washing machine helps him build a robot so wonderful the rest of the village begins to take notice. Squarely outside of his comfort zone, Brian comes to terms with taking care of and living with his…

  • Thor: Love and Thunder

    Thor: Love and Thunder

    ★★

    A good example of 'the best bits were in the trailer'. There's still a lot of goodwill towards the Marvel Cinematic Universe, of course – and for the character of Thor in particular, who seems to occupy a more comedic space in the lines of superheores we're presented with. For that reason, it makes sense that Taika Waititi returns as director: he has a keen eye for comedy, and it worked pretty well in the hero's last solo outing (Thor:…

  • Song of the South

    Song of the South

    ★★½

    What to say about Song of the South, the now infamous entry in the Disney canon that's unlikely to see the light of day publicly any time soon? I think it's probably best to start with my own personal experiences of it.

    I've seen this film many, many times as a kid. It was one of the first VHS videos I bought when it was released in 1991 (I think). I could quote whole passages of it and sing the…

  • The World of Apu

    The World of Apu

    ★★★★½

    The concluding chapter of the Apu Trilogy doesn't disappoint. It functions almost a a standalone film – something Pather Panchali also manages. And whilst I'd recommend this film to anyone who'll care to listen regardless of whether they've seen the others or not, the vibrancy and emotional impact is heightened beautifully by having spent time with the previous installments of this wonderful trilogy.

    Now an impoverished student in Calcutta, Apu (Soumitra Chatterjee) finds himself at a crossroads – unable to…

  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

    ★★★★½

    Another outing for this film – this time with my youngest daughter, who has now read the books. There’s nothing to say here that I haven’t said before, but it was lovely watching with her. She didn’t enjoy it as much as she enjoyed the book. But what does she know? Pfff; dumb kids.

  • Aparajito

    Aparajito

    ★★★★★

    Arts or sciences?
                                     – Headmaster

    Long overdue, but I’d never seen the second two films in Satyajit Ray’s Apu Trilogy – and, spurred on by the wonderful experience of seeing Panther Panchali again, I settled down to watch Aparajito.

    The move to the city has changed things for the Ray family: Harihar is finding more work and gaining a strong reputation as a talented…

  • Elvis

    Elvis

    ★★★½

    It’s a sensational performance from Austin Butler as Elvis here, which makes all the difference in the world. Not being a die-hard aficionado, I’m perhaps not the best person to judge this, but I’ve routinely struggled to understand how the swagger and obviously theatrical strutting of the man could create such a sensation: Butler manages this beautifully, creating a character that’s miraculously believable instead of just another tired parody. Less successful for me was Tom Hanks as Col. Tom Parker…

  • Pather Panchali

    Pather Panchali

    ★★★★½

    My dear friend Pete introduced me to Pather Panchali many years ago, when we ran a community cinema together. It's one of his favourite films and he couldn't resist programming it, taking advantage of the stunning 4K restoration undertaken by The Criterion Collection and L'Immagine Ritrovata in Bologna. We were the first in the UK to screen the restoration, as I'd had the Blu-Rays imported only days after the US release. I was incredibly struck by it, and it's stayed…

  • Blue Velvet

    Blue Velvet

    ★★★★

    I'd tried to watch Blue Velvet a few times before now and I'm pretty certain I never quite finished it when I was younger. That's perhaps understandable: it's a film that seeks to repel, just as much as it asserts that what lies beneath 'normality' is itself repellant. And it does an excellent job of both of those things.

    The most noteworthy performances are from the secondary characters: Dennis Hopper as the unhinged criminal Frank Booth, and Isabella Rossellini as…

  • True History of the Kelly Gang

    True History of the Kelly Gang

    ★★★½

    I'd wanted to see this in cinemas back in 2019. The trailer was so striking: it laid out a very clear vision of what the film was to be – punky, unforgiving, visually arresting. Unlike a lot of films, True History of the Kelly Gang lives up to the promise of that trailer.

    It's another astonishing performance from the ever-reliable George MacKay as the conflicted, conditioned and compromised anti-hero Ned Kelly. Split broadly into three chapters, the film does an…