Trumbo is a barnstorming triumph of cinematic liberalism

4 Stars (4 / 5)

 

From Sunset Boulevard to Argo, Hollywood has always been in the business of self-mythologizing.

It’s not often, though, that the industry takes its licks for the mistakes it’s made along the way.

Writ large among them is, of course, the blacklist, which saw scores of talented, Left-leaning film-makers left out in the cold as the paranoia surrounding Communism reached fever pitch.…

Creed has boxing and cinema in its blood

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Few film series have taken the beating in their time that Rocky has.

After a triumphant first bout that launched Sylvester Stallone into the big-time, the series steadily descended into cheesy self-parody. After the judge’s decision of Rocky IV — great villain, hilarious overuse of musical montages — and the knockdown loss of Rocky V — which ended with the Italian Stallion beating some ginger lout in a street brawl — Rocky Balboa allowed the former champ (both the title character and Stallone himself) to make a semi-graceful exit.

Room is a minor masterpiece in microcosm with two miraculous performances

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

 

We take a lot for granted out in the world.

It’s full of space and objects, enough so that we can overlook just how much “thingness” there is to our everyday existence. Imagine a world then of only ten feet by ten feet, a world where every item has a sense of permanency to it: Bed, Wardrobe, Skylight.…

Rampling and Courtenay shine in 45 Years

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

 

What do you do when you discover your life is built on a lie — or, if not a life, a truth half-told?

That is the dilemma that Kate Mercer (Charlotte Rampling) finds herself in after 45 years of marriage to Geoff (Tom Courtenay); a childless couple comfortably set in their ways after more than half a lifetime together — closer to two-thirds in fact.…

The Big Short goes long on edudrama and it pays off – magnificently

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

You wouldn’t think the recent global financial crisis would be the stuff of comedy, but The Big Short makes it funny – and educational, and genuinely moving.

Directed and co-written by frequent Will Ferrell collaborator Adam McKay (Anchorman, Talladega Nights) and with an all-star cast, including Christian Bale, Steve Carrell, and Ryan Gosling, The Big Short makes for a highly entertaining (and instructive) study of greed, fraud, and three groups of people who sought to profit from the meltdown before it happened.…

The Danish Girl is too tasteful for its own good

3 Stars (3 / 5)

 

Why do we resent prestige pics, the kind of film you might call “Oscar bait”?

Maybe it’s their penchant for cloying sentimentality; emotional manipulation of the most transparent kind. Perhaps it’s the notion that a little gold man somehow represents the pinnacle of cinematic achievement, as opposed to simple mastery of the form.…

Grandma is an endearing tale of OAP rebellion

4 Stars (4 / 5)

 

“Where can you get a reasonably priced abortion in this town?”

Elle Reid is not your run-of-the-mill septugenarian. With her mane of dark hair and her acerbic wit, she’d look more at home at a ‘60s campus demonstration than a retirement community.…

Steve Jobs is a near perfect fusion of functionality and artistry

5 Stars (5 / 5)

 

What is the current fascination with technology entrepreneurs?

From The Social Network to AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, key figures in the PC movement, real or imagined, have grown to legendary status in the public consciousness.…

The Wave (2015) starts as a tsunami and turns into a washout

2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

 

You may remember Dennis Gansel’s The Wave (Die Welle), a fictionalised take on The Third Wave, which saw a group of high school students established their own fascist dictatorship as part of a social experiment.

In Listen To Me Marlon a long-dead legend finally opens up

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

 

Whatever happened to Marlon Brando?

Better known in his later years for his onset antics rather than the quality of his performances, it seemed a far leap from the chiseled passion of his early work — The Wild Ones, A Streetcar Named Desire — to the boredom and bloat that marked his final decade.…