• Leaving Neverland

    Leaving Neverland

    ★★★★½

    Leaving Neverland is a 2019 documentary film directed and produced by British filmmaker Dan Reed. It focuses on two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who allege they were sexually abused as children by the singer Michael Jackson.

    The subject matter of long-running relations between Jackson and two boys aged 7 and 10 (and, importantly their families) is utterly brutal, complex and confronting. The documentary unfortunately has a plodding pace over two parts, which I felt didn't serve it well. Still, this is an essential documentary film to watch and evidences the power of the format.

  • Cinderella

    Cinderella

    ★★★★★

    Cendrillon (or, Cinderella) is an 1899 French film directed by Georges Méliès, based on the fairy tale by Charles Perrault. It was released by Méliès's Star Film Company and is numbered 219–224 in its catalogues.

    Cinderella was Méliès's first major cinematic success. It did well both in French fairground cinemas and at European and American music-halls, and inspired Méliès to create other lavishly designed storytelling films with multiple scenes.

    Méliès made another adaptation of the story, Cinderella or the Glass…

  • Leisurely Pedestrians, Open Topped Buses and Hansom Cabs with Trotting Horses

    Leisurely Pedestrians, Open Topped Buses and Hansom Cabs with Trotting Horses

    ★★★

    Leisurely Pedestrians, Open Topped Buses and Hansom Cabs with Trotting Horses is an 1889 British short silent actuality film, shot by inventor and film pioneer William Friese-Greene on celluloid film using his 'machine' camera.

    The 20 feet of film, which was shot in autumn 1889 at Apsley Gate, Hyde Park, London, was claimed to be the first motion picture, although Louis Le Prince successfully shot on glass plate before 18 August 1887, and on paper negative in October 1888.

    It…

  • Hyde Park Corner

    Hyde Park Corner

    ★★★★

    Hyde Park Corner is the first moving pictures developed on celluloid film.

  • Holidate

    Holidate

    ★½

    In Holidate, fed up with being single on holidays, two strangers agree to be each other's platonic plus-ones all year long, only to catch real feelings along the way.

    Painfully unfunny, with no sense of chemistry or genuine connection between the two leads, Holidate is a thoroughly uninteresting, over-dramatic and ridiculously plotted.

    The clue to Holidate's failure was it's botching of the couple's "meet cute" - if you can't even get that right in a film of this nature, it's not looking good for everything that follows...

  • Utopia

    Utopia

    ★★★★

    Utopia is a 2013 documentary film written, produced and presented by John Pilger and directed by Pilger and Alan Lowery, that explores the experiences of Aboriginal Australians in modern Australia.

    The title is derived from the Aboriginal homeland community of Utopia, Northern Territory, one of the poorest and most desolate areas in Australia.

    The film portrays successive policy failures of centre-right and centre-left governments in relation to issues of housing, criminal justice, public health, deaths in custody and treaty.

  • Sonic the Hedgehog

    Sonic the Hedgehog

    ★★½

    In Sonic the Hedgehog an extraterrestrial hedgehog is discovered by a scientist with evil intentions and plans to use his superpowers for his selfish needs.

    Has some moments of spectacle and fun, but not enough - and thoroughly seems to miss the joy, bravado and magic of the source material.

    Still, I didn't mind James Marsden's titanic effort to act against a tennis ball, and Jim Carrey is always a treat with his particularly goofy, madcap and hilarious turn as Robotnik.

  • The Holiday

    The Holiday

    ★★★

    Dumped and depressed, English rose Iris (Kate Winslet) agrees to swap homes with similarly unlucky in love Californian Amanda (Cameron Diaz) for a much-needed break.

    Iris finds herself in a palatial Hollywood mansion while Amanda navigates the lanes of a picture-perfect English village. Soon enough, both lovelorn ladies bump into local lads perfect for a romantic pick-me-up (Jude Law and Jack Black).

    Despite the terrible script, an undeserved run-time and being a tad hokey - there is just enough romanticism…

  • Palm Springs

    Palm Springs

    ★★★★½

    A millennial answer to Groundhog Day - stuck in a time loop, two wedding guests develop a budding romance while living the same day over and over again.

    I thoroughly enjoyed Palm Springs both from a comedic aspect and as a piece of light musing on life, consequence, grief, self-destruction and purpose.

    Whilst it's not the most complex of concepts - I thought that the plot and central gimmick of the film was tight and well-executed. Also, I adored the…

  • The Boxing Cats (Prof. Welton's)

    The Boxing Cats (Prof. Welton's)

    ★★★★★

    The Boxing Cats features two cats wearing boxing gloves and was filmed in Thomas Edison's studio in 1894.

    The performance was part of Professor Henry Welton's "cat circus", which toured the United States both before and after appearing in Edison's film. Performances included cats riding small bicycles and doing somersaults, with the boxing match being the highlight of the show.

    As for why the cats were filmed (apart from being an early example of people enjoying footage of cats), it…

  • Baby's Meal

    Baby's Meal

    ★★★½

    Le Repas de Bébé (also known as Baby's Dinner and Feeding the Baby) is an 1895 French short black-and-white silent documentary film directed and produced by Louis Lumière and starring Andrée Lumière.

    The film consists of one shot of Auguste Lumière, his wife and baby daughter having breakfast in the countryside.

    The film formed part of the first commercial presentation of the Lumière Cinématographe on December 28, 1895 at the Salon Indien, Grand Café, 14 Boulevard des Capucines, Paris.

  • Demolition of a Wall

    Demolition of a Wall

    ★★★★★

    Démolition d'un mur (or, Demolition of a Wall) is an 1895 French short black-and-white silent film directed and produced by Louis Lumière and starring his brother Auguste Lumière, along with two other men.

    It was filmed by means of the Cinématographe, an all-in-one camera, which also serves as a film projector and developer. As with all early Lumière movies, this film was made in a 35 mm format with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

    Auguste Lumière directs four workers in…