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]

2019 Film Reviews – 18: Green Book [dir. Peter Farrelly; 2018]

I relented. Having read several pieces of convincingly damning criticism of this tale of an Italian-American racist’s journey to open-mindedness – following a stint as a chauffeur and bodyguard to an acclaimed, black musician – I decided my pennies would be better spent on other cinematic fare. But then came that Best Picture Oscar and I felt duty bound to see the thing for myself. … Continue reading 2019 Film Reviews – 18: Green Book [dir. Peter Farrelly; 2018]

2019 Film Reviews – 14: RBG [dir. Julie Cohen & Betsy West; 2018]

In a documentary concerned with the power of laws to shape our lives, it’s appropriate that a great deal of screen time is devoted to words. On several occasions, they literally flash before our eyes, illustrating one development after another in Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s tireless attempts to purge the USA’s statutes of their many biases towards sexual inequality. What’s more, the words serve to … Continue reading 2019 Film Reviews – 14: RBG [dir. Julie Cohen & Betsy West; 2018]

2019 Film Reviews – 6: Vice [dir. Adam McKay; 2018]

We quite often hear the complaint that ‘worthy’ films preach to the converted; Ken Loach’s output is perhaps the first that comes to mind in this regard. So why am I not excited by the possibility that the irreverent, genre-morphing style of Vice might be the very thing that gets through to audiences who wouldn’t normally show any interest in a political biopic? Maybe it’s … Continue reading 2019 Film Reviews – 6: Vice [dir. Adam McKay; 2018]

Film Review: Winter’s Bone [dir. Debra Granik; 2010]

Insular communities often make compelling subjects for films, but the greatness of Winter’s Bone comes from much more than just a fortuitous choice of context. Set in the USA’s unforgiving Ozark mountains, it tracks a young woman’s attempt to keep a roof over her family’s head which, because of prior events, means confronting the local equivalent of the Mafia. Featuring an intelligent, rock-steady performance from Jennifer Lawrence, every frame of … Continue reading Film Review: Winter’s Bone [dir. Debra Granik; 2010]

Film Review: True Grit [dir. Ethan & Joel Coen; 2010]

I’m not a great fan of westerns, but what I do appreciate is a good story, well told. That’s why the Coen brothers’ version of True Grit gets a firm thumbs up from me. By toning down their characteristic quirkiness, they’ve made room for the elegant simplicity of the plot, which sees a 14-year old girl hiring a drunken marshall to avenge the murder of her … Continue reading Film Review: True Grit [dir. Ethan & Joel Coen; 2010]