American Star

Ian McShane as Wilson

At last, in American Star, someone has given Ian McShane a lead role in a movie that he can get properly stuck into. Not a fine co-starring role (Sexy Beast) or fine supporting role (John Wick and its sequels) or as a fine co-lead in a spin-off from a TV show (Deadwood) but a bona-fide lead role in a movie that’s all his own. It’s a good movie too. It dips a bit in the last third but ends so powerfully you’ll forgive it. It opens powerfully too. In a stylised, wordless sequence, we follow McShane’s black-clad Wilson as he lands on the island of Fuerteventura, hires a car and drives out into … Read more

The Pleasure Girls

Francesca Annis and Suzanna Leigh

Misrepresenting itself cheerfully, The Pleasure Girls is an early arrival at the Swinging Sixties party that’s only partly what the poptastic theme song and energetic trailer claim it to be. Youth! Girls! Fun! Sex! Yes, but… For a while the story sticks close to Swinging expectations – young, pretty Sally (Francesca Annis) arrives in London from the fusty provinces to become a model, takes up with a David Bailey-esque photographer called Keith (Ian McShane) and together they have a fun time, going to parties and hanging out with all the other beautiful people of mid-Sixties London. So far, so groovy. But writer/director Gerry O’Hara has other stories to tell. For one thing his … Read more

John Wick: Chapter 4

Keanu Reeves as John Wick

Since the last appearance of John Wick, in 2019, Keanu Reeves has been in a Toy Story movie, a Spongebob movie, a Matrix movie and has voiced Batman in the animation Super Pets. Not bad for someone whose career at first glance alternates insane bursts of activity with lengthy snoozes. And so to the insanely grandiose John Wick: Chapter 4, another case of not much seeming to happen punctuated with frenzies of excitement. It’s the first film in the sequence not written by Derek Kolstad, who first pitched the idea of a supercool and unstoppable assassin re-entering the fray after his dog is killed in a screenplay originally titled Scorn. Keanu Reeves liked … Read more