Month: January 2021

Robert and Sylvie outside her dad's record store

Sylvie’s Love

  The remarkable thing about Sylvie’s Love is actually how unremarkable it is in many ways. It’s a white-sliced, white-picket-fence melodrama of a sort that once might have starred a Joan Crawford. Except it’s black rather than white people playing all the parts. That shouldn’t be remarkable, nor should stories

Read More »
The young stars of We Can Be Heroes

We Can Be Heroes

  Robert Rodriguez takes the Spy Kids idea for another spin around the block, and crashes on the way. Spy Kids, if you don’t remember, was about kids stepping up when their James Bond-like parents got waylaid. Here the parents are not spies but superheroes, and after they’ve been captured

Read More »
Leslie Mann, Dan Stevens, Isla Fisher, Judi Dench

Blithe Spirit

  “Hail to thee, blithe Spirit! Bird thou never wert,” run the lines in Shelley’s poem To a Skylark. And though there’s plenty of spirit in 2020’s remake of a 1945 film often considered a classic, this bird resolutely fails to take wing. The basic plot remains the same as

Read More »
Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman gear

Wonder Woman 1984

  And so Wonder Woman 1984. Last time we saw Gal Gadot’s lasso-swinging Amazon she was helping to win the First World War, and now, nearly 70 years on, here she is again in the era of Armani suits and “greed is good” and in a year most closely associated

Read More »
Andrey throws the TV

Why Don’t You Just Die!

  The trailer does not lie. Why Don’t You Just Die! (Papa, sdokhni in the original Russian) is a camp melodrama awash with blood, gruesomeness, novel ways of hurting people and comic-book cruelty. It’s as if all the horrible things that ever happened to Wile E Coyote were bundled together

Read More »
King-Lu and Cookie out in the woods

First Cow

  Kelly Reichardt’s films often operate at two levels. At the surface one story plays out, while somewhere to one side, and often as a comment on the first story, something different is going on. First Cow could really be called First Love, since it’s the story of two men

Read More »
Joe playing jazz

Soul

  We’re so used to the phrase Pixar Movie that it’s often easy to forget that they are in fact directed by actual human beings, not rendering algorithms. Soul is co-directed by Pete Docter and Kemp Powers, says the imdb, but the end credits of the film itself tell us

Read More »
Mrs and Mr Walsh hold each other

Anything for Jackson

  Horror films tend to be populated by sexy young things, but in Anything for Jackson the two protagonists are a pair of people in their 60s, played to the hilt by Julian Richings and Sheila McCarthy. Actually, Anything for Jackson is more trad than it at first appears, because

Read More »
David and Alex on a motorbike

Summer of 85

  Intense, sexy and brooding, Summer of 85 (Été 85 in the original French) is François Ozon’s latest look at human relationships of a particularly febrile sort, all set in a seaside town at a time when Ozon himself would have been a teenager. After a languid and deliberately cinematic

Read More »
Dominique (left) with star rider Lupo

The Racer

  The Racer is three stories in one. It’s an insider’s view of the life of the domestique, the unsung heroes of cycling who set the pace for their top man, act as a windbreak and even help him take a piss – the glamour. It’s a personal drama about

Read More »