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Jill Wagner in Splinter

30 March 2009-03-30

Ratings on the UK system – U=universal, PG=parental guidance, 12, 15 and 18 are self-explanatory, E=Excempt Celia (Second Run, cert 15) Oz director Ann Turner’s classic 1989 rites-of-passage debut, about one girl’s amply furnished fantasy childhood. It’s the story of a child, from a child’s point of view, rather than adult looking back, and set … Read more
Walt Disney's Pinocchio

9 March 2009-03-09

Ratings on the UK system (ie U=universal, PG=parental guidance, 12, 15 and 18 are self-explanatory, E=excempt) Pinocchio 70th Anniversary Platinum Edition (Disney, cert U) From the days when the voice cast went uncredited, Walt Disney’s 1940 follow-up to Snow White gave us the Oscar-winning song When You Wish Upon a Star, a wooden boy with … Read more
Andrea Riseborough in The Devil's Whore

16 March 2009-03-16

Ratings on the UK system (ie U=universal, PG=parental guidance, 12, 15 and 18 are self-explanatory, E=excempt)   The Devil’s Whore (Lionsgate, cert 15) Having played Mrs Thatcher, Angela Riseborough is once more an iron lady in a proto-feminist TV series set during the English Civil War and laced with death and lashings of bodice-ripping and … Read more

Gran Torino

Old grizzled Clint Eastwood plays Shirty Harry in a film about redemption, ageing, learning to live with others, sacrifice but most of all about the myth of Clint himself. The skimpy plot concerns a grumpy Korean war veteran whose neighbourhood has gone to the dogs, evidence of which he sees in his immigrant neighbours, who … Read more

Tropa de Elite aka Elite Squad

Anyone who’s read a lot of film reviews will be familiar with the “redeeming features” style of reviewing. “Worth a look to see De Niro on fire”, “Ken Adam’s set designs lend it a style the script is struggling to equal”, and so on. Sometimes people pop round to my house to borrow a dvd … Read more

Batman: The Dark Knight

  Not having enjoyed the first Nolan/Bale Batman film (yes, he was traumatised by bats. I get it!) I wasn’t looking forward to the second. But, having been told how great it was, how awesome Heath Ledger was, how dark it all was, I was prepared to put prejudice to one side and settle back … Read more

Before Sunset

This 2004 follow-up to Richard Linlater’s 1995 Before Sunrise is a first-date movie for people who fancy themselves as having more going on upstairs. But grey matter to one side, do you need to have seen the first film to enjoy the second? Probably not, though it helps to know that in Before Sunrise Ethan … Read more

Norman McLaren: The Art of Motion

  Who? Those who have no idea who Norman McLaren is won’t be so nonplussed after the briefest glimpse of his work. Frequently working by drawing directly onto the film stock itself (as in Boogie Doodle), this Scottish-born wizard experimenter is the creator of an instantly recognisable style of animation, frequently set to jazz or … Read more

Kiss Me Deadly

Critics continue to argue over whether this is the best film noir ever made but all seem united on one point – Kiss Me Deadly is the best adaptation of one of Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer novels. Now 50 years old, the film opens with a scene that still packs a punch – cynical private … Read more
Gael Garcia Bernal in Amores Perros

Amores Perros

The film which announced the rebirth of Mexican cinema in 2000, Amores Perros was adored not just by cinephiles but also those who “don’t do subtitles”. The reasons are many and continue to make it a film worth seeing, or seeing again. Shot on film which has been deliberately processed in the “wrong” chemical to … Read more
Orson Welles in Confidential Report aka Mr Arkadin

Confidential Report

The prevailing wisdom on Orson Welles has changed in recent years. It used to be: “Poor Orson, his masterpieces (such as The Magnificent Ambersons, It’s All True, The Lady from Shanghai ) butchered by the studios”. Now it’s: “Lazy Orson, got most of the way through a film and then lost interest”. Certainly Welles subscribed … Read more
Emil Jannings as Mephisto in Faust

Faust

It says a lot about the continuing differences between the Old World and the New that not one of the many stabs at a straightforward cinematic version of Faust is American. The tale of the old man who sells his soul to have his youth back and then uses his new vigour to ruin a … Read more

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