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Scilla Gabel as Elfie

Mill of the Stone Women

1960’s Mill of the Stone Women was the first Italian horror film to be shot in colour – Technicolor, no less – and is a landmark film which opened the door to the lurid looks and titillating scenarios of the giallo genre. Also known as Drops of Blood (or Il mulino delle donne di pietra, in … Read more
Raya and Victor put on headphones

Golden Voices

Films about the immigrant experience are hardly unusual at the moment, but Golden Voices manages to get fresh juice from a well squeezed formula. Perhaps surprisingly it’s a comedy, from Israel, largely in Russian. That’s a venn diagram right there. It’s also incredibly charming, does not go for easy laughs and has two fantastic performances … Read more
Judy and Mike sitting on a log


Burden? As in “white man’s burden”? Ironically, no. There’s a white saviour theme running right the way through Andrew Heckler’s film but it actually takes its name from its key character, Mike Burden, a lifelong member of the Klan who saw the error of his ways. With the flying of Confederate flags in the US … Read more
Feraud and d'Hubert duel

The Duellists

The Duellists is Ridley Scott’s feature debut and premiered in 1977, four years after his famous advert for Hovis bread (voted the UK’s favourite TV advert in a 2006 poll). Both are picturesque evocations of a world long gone – pre-War England, in the 45-second advert’s case, the world of post-Revolutionary France in the case … Read more
Vin Diesel and John Cena face off

Fast and Furious 9

Call it what you like, Fast & Furious 9 – or F9, or F9: The Fast Saga – is no good, a terrible disappointment in a franchise that in a 20-year run has managed to be one of the most reliable suppliers of screen fun, banter and action. However, F&F has proved to be totally … Read more
Captain Conan and Norbert argue

Captain Conan

The French writer/director Bertrand Tavernier died earlier this year (2021), like François Truffaut another of that band of movie critics who went on to prove that they could make great films as well as write about them. Captain Conan (Capitaine Conan) might not be the most shining example of Tavernier at his best, but it … Read more
Keiko Kishi and Robert Mitchum

The Yakuza

Robert Mitchum in a martial arts movie? That was Warner Bros’ crazy idea back in the early 1970s. Riding the massive success of their collaboration with Bruce Lee and the vogue for all things chop-socky, the next logical step was never to pack a paunchy and ageing Mitchum off to Japan but Warners went ahead … Read more
Oscar Isaac and Tiffany Haddish at a table

The Card Counter

In The Card Counter we meet another of Paul Schrader’s lost loners, with Oscar Isaac joining actors as varied as Robert De Niro (Taxi Driver) and Lindsay Lohan (The Canyons) as the latest in a series of souls seeking salvation, redemption, expiation in a do-or-die struggle with their own human frailty. In familiar Schrader first-person … Read more
Johnno and Spanner at the rave


There are two films from 2019 called Beats, both heavily into music. This is the other one – British (Scottish, more specifically) and set in the 1990s world of rave culture. I haven’t seen the American Beats, hip-hop to the core, so can’t say which one comes out on top but Brian Welsh’s Beats sets … Read more
Buscetta gives evidence

The Traitor

The Corleones weren’t fictional. There really was a crime family called the Corleonesi, after the town in Sicily where they came from. In The Traitor (Il traditore in the original Italian) we learn what happened when the Corleonesi fell out with a fellow mob family, in a dramatisation of the true story of Tommaso Buscetta, … Read more
The men are spooked

Ghosts of War

Ghosts of War is part of a recent wave of war movies with a supernatural flavour, slotting neatly alongside the likes of 2018’s Overlord (a funny macabre “Nazis do the weirdest things” near-miss produced by JJ Abrams), Frankenstein’s Army (a knowingly ridiculous 2013 film in which, at one point, one of the Baron’s descendant attempts … Read more
Max sneaks a glance at Matt

Matthias & Maxime

Because it’s a Xavier Dolan film, Matthias & Maxime has to be approached as if it were a bomb liable to go off any minute – his films often do. We meet the two guys, friends since childhood, on a rowdy weekend away at a lake house where they’re about to take part in another … Read more

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