The Father, After Love, A Quiet Place Part II and others – Screen Time June 2021

Strong central performances were the most notable feature of June’s best films. But first let’s get the exception out of the way. Peter Rabbit 2 (Will Gluck) is the very worst sort of children’s film: cynical, unfocussed and completely uninspired. It has no clue who its audience is, and very little interest in attempting to find out. The 2 year old and 3 year old … Continue reading The Father, After Love, A Quiet Place Part II and others – Screen Time June 2021

Nomadland, Mogul Mowgli, Akira and others – Screen Time May 2021

May 2021 will forever be remembered as the month when cinemas re-opened. So perhaps it was fitting that the first post-lockdown release I enjoyed on the big screen was Nomadland, Chloe Zhao’s much-lauded meander through the unsettled lives of the USA’s itinerant ‘community’, as seen through Frances McDormand’s complex, loveable central character. All films should be watched within the magical space of a picture house, but this is particularly true when it comes to movies such as Nomadland, which convey so much of their power through long shots lingering on gaspingly open spaces. Whether this very curious, idiosyncratic take on modern Americana will stand the test of time remains to be seen, but it was certainly a moving way in which to resume what will hopefully be a permanent return to one of my favourite places in the world.

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The Mauritanian, Promising Young Woman, Sound Of Metal and others – Screen Time April 2021

How to be good? This was the question that seemed to tie together most, if not all, of April’s film viewing. From the sun-saturated capers of Hitchcock’s To Catch A Thief (great fun, but certainly one of the master’s less memorable efforts) to the pulse-quickening horrors of Bryan Fogel’s The Dissident (an important piece of work, to be sure, but why do such documentaries have … Continue reading The Mauritanian, Promising Young Woman, Sound Of Metal and others – Screen Time April 2021

Tina, Ammonite, Midnight Cowboy and others – Screen Time March 2021

Through no conscious planning, March turned out to be a time for extraordinary women, at least as far as film-viewing was concerned. The month’s first movie – Pieces Of A Woman (dir. Kornel Mundruczo) – certainly didn’t shy away from placing the female experience at the centre of its focus, but it was a tediously unconvincing affair, with one of the most laughable childbirth sequences of recent years. The female with whom I watched it doubted whether anyone involved in the production had ever stepped inside a delivery room. 

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The Fullness Of Paradise – A Special Project With Amouage

Once again came the momentary struggle against the lack of control over my drifting body, to be replaced by a sense of surrender It is with tremendous excitement that I’m able to give you the very first glimpse of The Fullness Of Paradise, a modern fable I’ve been asked to write for the Oman-based perfume brand, Amouage. At this stage, the only part of the … Continue reading The Fullness Of Paradise – A Special Project With Amouage

News Of The World, I Care A Lot, Mank and others – Screen Time February 2021

Looking back at the list of films I managed to notch up in February, I’m struck by how many of them veered towards the bizarre. For instance, there was The Prom, Ryan Murphy’s colourful film version of the Broadway musical about celebrity types injecting an acceptance of diversity into small-town America. The shopping-mall-set rendition of the Bible-basher-bashing Love Thy Neighbour (“There’s no way to separate / Which rules you can violate / Let’s hope you don’t masturbate”) certainly scored high on the weirdness meter. But it was several notches below the outright bonkers-ness of Barb And Star Go To Vista Del Mark (Josh Greenbaum) which featured, amongst many other surprises, a talking crab, friendly sea spirits and the sight of Jamie Dornan delivering a (convincing!) Eurovision-style song-and-dance number containing the immortal lyrics, “Seagulls in the sand, can you hear my prayer?” Dornan was perhaps the best thing in this ludicrously enjoyable romp, striking just the right balance between straight and silly.

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Best Films Of 2020

Surprise, surprise, my attempts to keep this blog updated with regular posts in 2020 failed. Mind you, I can’t take all the blame this time. A certain microscopic nasty caused what we might call ‘some disruption’ to all our lives last year, and although I had (and continue to have) a great deal to say about the situation, much of it was probably best kept to myself. Or, to be more precise: best relegated to the fiction-forming part of my brain, ready to emerge years from now in a short story or novel.

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