Nebraska

Bruce Dern in Nebraska

  Staggering along under a weight of folksiness, much like its old-guy hero is staggering along on his beat up legs, Alexander Payne’s latest movie is sweet and wry but let’s not all get too excited. The film certainly doesn’t. Bruce Dern is the old guy, an amnesiac oldster with a “beer isn’t drinking” drink problem who reckons he’s won some obviously fake mailout sweepstake – “you could already have won a million dollars” kind of thing. With nothing else to live for, and getting under the feet of his wife (June Squibb), Woody decides he’s going to get to Nebraska any old how to pick up his winnings, even if it means … Read more

Trainspotting

Ewan McGregor in The Worst Toilet in Scotland

  A movie for every day of the year – a good one     27 September     Irvine Welsh born, 1958 On this day in 1958, in Leith, Edinburgh, Irvine Welsh was born. Or was he? After a police arrest in 1996, just after fame had hit him like a heroin rush, the police revealed that he was in fact seven years older, so born in 1951. Or 1961, if the BBC’s Writing Scotland website is to be believed. But 1958 is what the author maintains (I say “maintains” though his own website is silent on the subject), so let’s stick with that. After growing up in nearby Muirhouse, Welsh moved … Read more

Keyhole

keyhole 2

    “That penis is getting dusty” – a line of dialogue in wonky auteur Guy Maddin’s latest film, another arthouse exploration of arthouse themes delivered in high contrast monochrome, from a camera on a bungee and via an editor with attention deficit disorder. There are a couple of famous names too, just to lure in the unwary, or more likely to open the wallets of the various art foundations that funded this mad collision of references. Isabella Rossellini, longtime Maddin collaborator and utterer of the great line in his film The Saddest Music in the World – “If you’re sad and you like beer, I’m your lady” – she’s here. So too, … Read more

4 January 2013-01-04

Toby Jones in Berberian Sound Studio

Out in the UK This Week Berberian Sound Studio (Artificial Eye, cert 15, Blu-ray/DVD) “A dangerously aroused goblin prowls the dormitory” – a line that says it all from the never-seen film that soundman Toby Jones is working on in Peter Strickland’s follow-up to the brilliant, Romanian-set Katalin Varga, a brilliantly overheated, Italian-set homage to 1970s “giallo” horror. Really worth watching with headphones on, this one. Berberian Sound Studio – at Amazon   The Imposter (Revolver, cert 15, Blu-ray/DVD) One of the most gripping films of 2012, a semi-documentary about how a 20something French juvie managed to pass himself off as a missing 16-year-old from Texas. And why the family bought it. A … Read more

Now Is Good

Jeremy Irvine and Dakota Fanning in Now Is Good

In Love Story, the 1970 weepie in which boy meets girl and girl dies – sorry, that’s it – it is, let me reiterate, the girl who dies. It always is, sickness being part of the female condition, in mainstream Hollywood of the era anyway. Different decade same idea in Now Is Good, a boy-meets-girl-and-girl-dies weepie with Dakota Fanning as the pale, interesting girl, Jeremy Irvine as the boy she falls for and leaves behind. To go into further plot detail is pointless – the publicity material points out that Tessa (Fanning) has a bucket list and that losing her virginity is at the top of it. But that’s little more than a … Read more

3 December 2012-12-03

tdkr stl 010 h

All distribution, certification info applies to UK only   The Dark Knight Rises (Warner, cert 12, Blu-ray/DVD/Download) The series has been overpumped but Christopher Nolan’s third Batman film is definitely the best of the bunch, a luxuriously long, character-packed comicbook adventure all the better for featuring Christian Bale’s caped crusader very little. The Dark Knight Rises – at Amazon The Bourne Legacy (Universal, cert 12, Blu-ray/DVD/Download) It’s the Bourne Leftovers, with Jeremy Renner taking over from Matt Damon, the taciturn amnesiac superspy now having a memory, a loose tongue and little raison d’etre. S’OK. Just. The Bourne Leftovers – at Amazon New Year’s Eve (Warner, cert 12, Blu-ray/DVD/Download) A Love, Actually idea – … Read more

James Bond: The Omega Man

daniel craig planet ocean

007 first strapped on an Omega watch in 1997. Since then the once-ailing franchise has gone from strength to strength. Coincidence? Every human being on the planet, even those in Bhutan, or out in the rainforest distilling poison from tree frogs, knows who James Bond is. So ubiquitous is he that even people who haven’t yet been born have a favourite James Bond actor, a favourite Bond girl, a favourite Bond movie, Bond song, car or baddie. In fact even as I write these words images of Louis Armstrong, Daniel Craig, an Aston Martin Vanquish, Jaws and Denise Richards (wrong, I know) are flashing across my cerebral cortex. But, now that Adele has belted … Read more

9 March 2009-03-09

Walt Disney's Pinocchio

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 a Freudian nose and one of the studio’s darkest and finest animations. Pinocchio – at Amazon The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (Disney, cert 12) The Holocaust through the eyes of a nice German lad (Asa Butterfield) whose dad just happens to be a death camp commandant. The everyday normality of the death camps and the mix of … Read more