• Agatha and the Midnight Murders

    Agatha and the Midnight Murders

    ★★½

    Agatha and the Midnight Murders (Joe Stephenson, 2020) 5/10

    Fed up to death over her creation of Hercule Poirot and how the character has taken over her life, Agatha Christie (Helen Baxendale) has written a manuscript for a new book in which she kills off the Belgian detective. With bombs falling over London she finds shelter in the basement of a posh hotel with her friend and chauffeur and an assortment of other people including a Japanese fan who wishes…

  • Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

    Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

    ½

    Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (Jason Woliner, 2020) 1/10

    Stupid beyond belief. Every joke in this sequel falls flat. A classic case of trying to wring laughs out of a premise that was never funny in the first place. Sacha Boren Cohen should from here henceforth stick strictly to dramas only. His Borat shtick is a pathetic bore.

  • Tenet

    Tenet

    Tenet (Christopher Nolan, 2020) 2/10

    A CIA agent (John David Washington), his sidekick (Robert Pattinson), an arms dealer (Dimple Kapadia), a Russian oligarch (Kenneth Nranagh) and his estranged wife (Elizabeth Debecki) all come together in a convoluted plot that allows them all to move backwards in time. In fact the plot is so dense - nonsense about plutonium bombs that will be detonated by the crazed heavy causing WWIII - that it comes in the way of all the spectacularly…

  • The Pledge

    The Pledge

    ★★★½

    The Pledge (Sean Penn, 2001) 7/10

    Penn's film is a remake of the classic 1958 German film "Es geschah am hellichten Tag", and based on the book by Friedrich Dürrenmatt. A lonely retired cop (Jack Nicholson) becomes obsessed with a murder case after making a pledge to the battered young girl's mother (Patricia Clarkson) that he would find the killer. The police - the Chief (Sam Shepard) and another cop (Aaron Eckhart) - close the case after a mentally challenged…

  • The Charge of the Light Brigade

    The Charge of the Light Brigade

    ★★★½

    The Charge of the Light Brigade (Tony Richardson, 1968) 7/10

    Richardson's film is a clear exercise in how NOT to wage war. In fact it's a clear warning against military interventions in other lands - true of most wars but very relevant in 1968 with the Vietnam War then raging and the great folly it turned out to be for the United States. This particular failed military action - hardly resembling the poem written by the then Poet Laureate, Lord…

  • Let Him Go

    Let Him Go

    ★½

    Let Him Go (Thomas Bezucha, 2020) 3/10

    What starts out suspiciously like a Hallmark tv-movie weepie suddenly turns into a Western thriller with gothic overtones. Bringing gravitas to the proceedings, but barely raising it above a notch or two from being a mere revenge potboiler, is the lackadaisical charm of both the leads. A retired sheriff (Kevin Costner) and his plucky wife (Diane Lane) deal with tragedy when their son dies in a freak accident. Some years later his widow…

  • Hillbilly Elegy

    Hillbilly Elegy

    ★★

    Hillbilly Elegy (Ron Howard, 2020) 4/10

    A true story about overcoming poverty and a relentless cycle of domestic violence and still managing to achieve the American Dream. Based on the bestselling memoir by J. D. Vance which not only charts the life of an Appalachian family as seen through the eyes of the youngest family member but is also an intricate reflection on white working-class Americans. A young boy manages to rise above the issues holding him back and through…

  • Conduct Unbecoming

    Conduct Unbecoming

    ★★★★

    Conduct Unbecoming (Michael Anderson, 1975) 8/10

    "Conduct Unbecoming" was a phrase used as a charge in courts martial of the British Armed Forces in the 18th and early 19th centuries "for behaving in a scandalous, infamous manner, such as is unbecoming the character of an officer and a gentleman". A courtroom drama presented as a whodunnit and set in a British officer's outpost mess in the North West Frontier Province of India during the Victorian era. The plot revolves around…

  • Trauma

    Trauma

    ½

    Trauma (Marc Evans, 2004)

    Visually stylish but hokey and confusing psychological thriller. A former art student (Colin Firth), who suffered a childhood trauma, survives a deadly car crash that kills his wife (Naomie Harris). The guilt-ridden man starts life afresh after moving into a creepy remodelled house which was a mental institution, finds a job and befriends a neighbour (Mena Suvari). When he starts seeing visions of his dead wife, a spiritualist (Brenda Fricker) informs him that his wife may…

  • Unhinged

    Unhinged

    ★★★

    Unhinged (Derrick Borte, 2020) 6/10

    Are you having a bad day? Well it's not nice to behave like "Angry Joe" (Russell Crowe) who started his day by bludgeoning to death his ex-wife and her husband and setting their home on fire. And he continues after a run-in with a single Mom (Caren Pistorius), with various problems of her own (running late while dropping her son at school and losing her job), on a freeway and starts relentlessly chasing her because…

  • No Reservations

    No Reservations

    ★★★

    No Reservations (Scott Hicks, 2007) 6/10

    Overworked control-freak chef (Catherine Zeta-Jones), single by choice, works her kitchen staff like a warden in a concentration camp hating any and all criticism from restaurant patrons. Into her ordered life arrives her deceased sister's young daughter (Abigail Breslin) who has to move in with her and a brashly dramatic co-chef (Aaron Eckhart) hired by the owner (Patricia Clarkson) of the restaurant to work alongside her. Chaos ensues in both her home and work…

  • Then She Found Me

    Then She Found Me

    ★★½

    Then She Found Me (Helen Hunt, 2007) 5/10

    A Rom-Com chick flick low on romance or drama or comedy yet is a pleasant enough watch thanks to a good cast. A school teacher (Helen Hunt) is going through a low period in her life. She is 39, the clock is ticking and she is desperate to get pregnant but her best friend and husband (Matthew Broderick) decides to dump her and walks out on their one-year old marriage. Then her…