Jennifer Connelly

The lesbian boarding school classic Mädchen in Uniform generally seems to be somewhere in the mix in Dario Argento films, and so it is with 1985’s Phenomena, another instance of a naive teenager, Jennifer (Jennifer Connelly) in this case, arriving at a girls school, this time in Switzerland, where she will be monstered by staff, pupils and other forces. Jennifer gets a frosty reception from the stiff-faced headmistress (Dalila Di Lazzaro), a woman with a gravedigger’s haircut, and by the other girls in the school, apart from her nice roomie, Sofia (Federica Mastroianni, niece of Marcello). Out in the big wide world there’s a killer on the loose, one who dispatches young women … Read more

Top Gun: Maverick

Maverick in the cockpit

Top Gun: Maverick comes such a long time after the original film – 30something years – that a quick introductory “previously on Top Gun” wouldn’t go amiss. Instead, new director Joseph Kosinski (who worked with Tom Cruise on Oblivion) puts us at ease with an opening sequence that’s a homage to Tony Scott, director of the original Top Gun – machines and processes fetished, a high tech something in silhouette, steam escaping from somewhere. A racing motorbike on a long flat road. “Hell, yeh” masculinity. Long lenses. Heat shimmers. It’s a “previously on Top Gun” as a mood board. And then we’re in to a story that wastes no time in letting us … Read more

Little Children

Kate Winslet in Little Children

A tale of American white-picket suburbia, disturbia perhaps, from director Todd Field, opening out a touch from In the Bedroom, whose focus was all there in the title. Our heroine, a Madame Bovary figure called Sarah (Kate Winslet), scandalises the harpies at the school gate by striking up a relationship with the only hot male on the school run (Patrick Wilson). Back home Sarah’s husband (Gregg Edelman) is big on internet porn, something Sarah doesn’t know till she catches him masturbating with a pair of panties on his face. But he’s small on most other things and so we sympathise with Sarah as she seeks solace in the arms of the hunky Brad. … Read more