2019 Film Reviews – 60: Booksmart [dir. Olivia Wilde; 2019]

Despite its (appropriate?) crudeness, there’s a real charm running all the way through Booksmart — a frenetic account of two American girls deciding, on the eve of their high school graduation, that they have to indulge in at least one night of partying, rule-breaking and all-round debauchery. As they try to fulfil this ambition, they meet a host of increasingly eccentric characters and stumble into … Continue reading 2019 Film Reviews – 60: Booksmart [dir. Olivia Wilde; 2019]

2019 Film Reviews – 21: Clueless [dir. Amy Heckerling; 1995]

Ten minutes into watching Clueless for the very first time, I got the distinct impression that I’d seen it before. But that’s precisely because of how terrifically influential this US high-school-set update of Emma turned out to be, not just on the countless cinematic pretenders that came after it, but on an entire generation’s use of language. “Whatever” (with requisite w-shaped hand gesture). “Loser.” “As … Continue reading 2019 Film Reviews – 21: Clueless [dir. Amy Heckerling; 1995]

Film Review: Christmas Vacation [dir. Jeremiah S Chechik; 1989]

I wonder if, in twenty or so years’ time, part of the pleasure of watching a screwball comedy made in 2011 will come from seeing what will, by then, have become ‘period details’. That’s certainly the case with this particular instalment of the National Lampoon series, which tells the story of creepy-as-ever Chevy Chase trying to bring his wife, children and in-laws together for a … Continue reading Film Review: Christmas Vacation [dir. Jeremiah S Chechik; 1989]

Film Review: Potiche [dir. François Ozon; 2010]

There’s nothing like a bit of political incorrectness to get you chuckling, especially when it’s in French, it features Deneuve and Depardieu and it treats its audience with intelligence. Poking fun at the gender politics (and the clothes!) of the 70s is probably quite easy, but Ozon stops his story from descending into predictability with a well-judged series of gentle twists and surprises. His chief … Continue reading Film Review: Potiche [dir. François Ozon; 2010]

Film Review: Thor [dir: Kenneth Branagh; 2011]

Everyone has their weaknesses and one of mine – at least in the realms of cinema – is comic book super hero movies. Give me two hours’ worth of ridiculous costumes, decent special effects and an intelligent story which sticks to the rules of its own world, and I’m happy. Thor doesn’t fare too badly on the first two counts, but it fails on the … Continue reading Film Review: Thor [dir: Kenneth Branagh; 2011]

Film Review: Submarine [dir: Richard Ayoade; 2010]

Teenage boys struggling with relationships and awkward family situations aren’t exactly under-represented on the silver screen, but Richard Ayoade manages to find a novel way of presenting this familiar subject in Submarine, a film which will surely walk away with this year’s Best Comedic Use Of Laconic Welsh Accents award. In the form of Oliver Tate, the movie gives us a memorable, angst-ridden (and hormone-riddled) … Continue reading Film Review: Submarine [dir: Richard Ayoade; 2010]

Film Review: You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger [dir. Woody Allen; 2010]

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy several moments in Allen’s latest film. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think some of the performances worked quite well some of the time. I’d be lying if I said the plot’s quirky intricacies didn’t make me reflect on the quirky intricacies of the plots of all our lives. But it’s difficult to feel much enthusiasm … Continue reading Film Review: You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger [dir. Woody Allen; 2010]