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John Cusack and Jack Black in High Fidelity

High Fidelity

      A film that caught a moment rather well. One of the moments it caught was the high point of Nick Hornby – the chronicler of a generation that was slightly more conservative, slightly more sentimental than the preceeding one, and had come to accept it. Director Stephen Frears’s version of Hornby’s novel … Read more
Cameron Diaz has her disco moment in Charlie's Angels

Charlie’s Angels

      Good god this film got some bad negative publicity when it came out. I’m really not sure why. Of course it’s not Ingmar Bergman, but it’s not trying to be. What it is trying to be is a light and frothy, giddy and bubbly pastiche of the Seventies adventure series – which … Read more
Jeremy Theobald in Christopher Nolan's debut, Following

Following

    Can you honestly tell from Following, that its first-time director Christopher Nolan is only two years away from making Memento, the film that put him on Hollywood producers’ speed-dials? Shot on weekends and holidays guerrilla-style around London for about $6,000, it is a real “you saw it here first” effort and the acting … Read more
Thandie Newton and the back of David Thewlis's head in Besieged

Besieged

    Bernardo Bertolucci was once famous you know. As a director of the brilliant political drama The Conformist, the controversial Last Tango in Paris, Bertolucci’s was one of the big names in cinema. Since that early 1970s heyday he’s stopped making headlines but continued making films. Often they have been marked out by the … Read more
Mathilda Paradeiser and Linda Molin in She Monkeys

15 April 2013-04-15

She Monkeys (Peccadillo, cert 12, DVD) Vaguely marketed as a lesbian drama, this is in fact an instant classic of the twisted coming-of-age genre, a superbly taut story of a teenager called Emma (Mathilda Paradeiser) who meets a similarly blonde, similarly athletic girl (Linda Molin) while learning equestrian vaulting. Meanwhile, at home, Emma’s five-year-old sister … Read more
Andrea Riseborough as young Margaret Thatcher in The Long Walk to Finchley

Five Films about Margaret Thatcher

    Margaret Thatcher, Mrs T, The Iron Lady, is dead. 31 years ago she was the most unpopular UK Prime Minister in history. Then, after winning the Falklands War she was re-elected in 1983. She was elected again in 1987 before being defenestrated by her party in 1990, a defeat she never quite came … Read more
Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie in Girl, Interrupted

Girl, Interrupted

    Girl, Interrupted tells the real-life story of Susanna Kaysen, who wrote the original memoir about her enforced stay at a mental hospital in the 1960s. She was banged up after a pills overdose for what was termed a “borderline personality disorder” but the suspicion remains that she was being incarcerated at least partly … Read more
Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler in The Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera

      It’s something of a minor industry to make fun of Andrew Lloyd Webber. But with this film version of his stage phenomenon (billions of dollars at box offices worldwide, and counting) it looks like the musical lord is once more going to be having the last laugh. It’s a story we all … Read more
Ryan Phillippe and Benicio Del Toro in The Way of the Gun

The Way of the Gun

    Having written The Usual Suspects, Christopher McQuarrie’s directorial debut was always going to generate a lot of interest. It also, when it finally did arrive five years later, generated a lot of disappointment, not least for McQuarrie, who wouldn’t direct another film until Jack Reacher in 2012. Which, looking back from more than … Read more
Anders Berthelsen and Iben Hjejle in Mifune

Mifune

      The title is a reference to Toshiro Mifune, the Japanese director Akira Kurosawa’s favourite actor. He died as the film went into production and director Søren Kragh-Jacobsen and writer Anders Thomas Jensen came up with the title as a way of honouring him. So, no, this isn’t Japanese arthouse; it’s Danish. Which … Read more
Nicole Kidman shocked in The Others

The Others

  Oddly, quite a few people hated this atmospheric ghost story when it came out. It’s a tale with a twist, set just after the end of the Second World War and it’s directed by the Spaniard Alejandro Amenábar. He was a cult name back then, thanks to Tesis and Abre Los Ojos and perhaps … Read more
Jonathan Rhys Meyers in Velvet Goldmine

Velvet Goldmine

        In 1988 Todd Haynes made Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story. In it he used Barbie and Ken dolls instead of actors to play out the tragic story of the singer with the golden voice whose anorexia eventually killed her off. Karen’s brother Richard Carpenter stamped it out of the record books, claiming Haynes didn’t have … Read more

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