Joseph at work

Surge is one of those films that make a nonsense of star ratings. It’s undeniably brilliantly conceived, played and made but whether you actually want to watch it is another matter. Compelling and entertaining are not the same thing. The IMDb charmingly calls it a “thriller about a man who goes on a bold and reckless journey of self-liberation”. I’d call it an almost clinical overview of a man going into, and eventually being swamped by, psychosis. Joseph, played by Ben Whishaw, starts out OK enough, if a bit twitchy. He’s one of the security guys at London Stansted Airport who frisk you as you go through from landside to airside. It’s a … Read more

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Karoline Herfurth and Ben Whishaw in Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Having wandered off up arthouse avenue in recent years, with The Princess and the Warrior and Heaven, director Tom Tykwer delivers his most accessible film since Run Lola Run. It’s an adaptation of Patrick Süskind’s runaway best-seller about an 18th century peasant with an incredible olfactory talent and the trouble that that gets him into. The feted Ben Whishaw gives it plenty of Norman Wisdom/Lee Evans gaucheness in the lead, as the lad whose almost Asperger’s talent for one single thing, and a commensurate lack of social skills, drives him on a giddy flight to the dark side. And the supporting cast is notable, sumptuous even. Dustin Hoffman does an entirely inappropriate panto … Read more

I’m Not There

Cate Blanchett as Bob Dylan

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 19 March Bob Dylan releases first album, 1962 Having dropped out of the University of Minnesota and relocated to New York City to visit the dying Woody Guthrie and break into performing, today in 1962 Bob Dylan released his first album. Eponymously titled Bob Dylan it came about after Dylan played harmonica on Carolyn Hester’s album in September 1961 and caught the eye of producer John Hammond. Hammond signed Dylan to Columbia Records in October 1961 and within five months the album was done. It was a collection of folk standards, coffeehouse favourites plus two Dylan originals – Song to Woody … Read more