Le Mans ’66, The White Tiger, Assassins and others – Screen Time January 2021

Seven films in one month is quite a poor achievement for me, and as I type these words, I’m trying to work out why I didn’t treat myself to more in-house cinematic outings. But the reasons aren’t forthcoming. Was it all to do with the extra-grey, Covid-enhanced January malaise by which so many of us seemed to be dragged down? Or was I just a bit too busy with writing commitments? I feel certain that, had we been in the ‘normal world’ (what does that even mean any more?) I would have managed to go to the cinema on more than seven occasions, but in the all-pervading spirit of counting our blessings, I suppose I ought to declare that seven is better than none.

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2019 Film Reviews – 71: The Two Popes [dir. Fernando Mereilles; 2019]

If theatre is better at exploring ideas than film is, perhaps that’s why The Two Popes feels as though it would have been slightly more comfortable at The National. Or maybe it’s because it consists of little more than conversations between Pope Benedict and the soon-to-be Pope Francis as they wrestle with their differing views on the role of the Catholic Church. But it would … Continue reading 2019 Film Reviews – 71: The Two Popes [dir. Fernando Mereilles; 2019]

2019 Film Reviews – 66: Marriage Story [dir. Noah Baumbach; 2019]

There’s no doubt that much of Marriage Story is touching and memorable. As it crosses over from America’s east coast to its west, this story of a couple handling the realities of a break-up – and its effects on their child – impresses with its honesty and its refusal to descend into mawkishness. But I’d suggest that its one-sidedness is a serious and fundamental flaw. … Continue reading 2019 Film Reviews – 66: Marriage Story [dir. Noah Baumbach; 2019]

2019 Film Reviews – 65: Tell Me Who I Am [dir. Ed Perkins; 2019]

In 1982, Marcus Lewis was injured in a horrific accident. When he emerged from a coma, he could recognise no-one but his twin brother. All other memories of his life prior to the accident had vanished. He was effectively a blank slate, with no knowledge of his parents or his childhood. His twin took it upon himself to ‘reeducate’ Marcus, giving him a crash course … Continue reading 2019 Film Reviews – 65: Tell Me Who I Am [dir. Ed Perkins; 2019]

2019 Film Reviews – 62: The Laundromat [dir. Steven Soderbergh; 2019]

What a curious little film. First, Antonio Banderas and Gary Oldman appear – playing two lawyers at the centre of 2016’s Panama Papers scandal – and proceed to give us a direct-to-camera lesson in the development of the barter system and the creation of money. Then Meryl Streep pops up, trying to navigate the treacherous world of fake insurance policies following the death of her … Continue reading 2019 Film Reviews – 62: The Laundromat [dir. Steven Soderbergh; 2019]

2019 Film Reviews – 61: The Irishman [dir. Martin Scorsese; 2019]

Several critics have declared The Irishman to be Martin Scorsese’s finest film of the last decade, and whilst I agree that it is superb, I think I’d qualify the praise slightly by saying that it’s probably his most fan-pleasing film of recent years. This epic – but never baggy – story of a low-grade criminal getting caught up with the mob and possibly playing a … Continue reading 2019 Film Reviews – 61: The Irishman [dir. Martin Scorsese; 2019]

2019 Film Reviews – 4: Roma [dir. Alfonso Cuarón; 2018]

I suppose we should be grateful that the rise and rise of Netflix – and the consequent absence of most of its films at our cinemas – has coincided with significant improvements in home viewing technology. If nothing else, Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma was a superb workout for the speed of my broadband connection and, more importantly, for the Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos capabilities of … Continue reading 2019 Film Reviews – 4: Roma [dir. Alfonso Cuarón; 2018]