Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon Bonaparte

Ridley Scott does not meet his Waterloo in Napoleon, his headline-hopping spectacular about the man who conquered a huge chunk of Europe under the guise of a liberator. But nor is he covered in glory. This strange film has neither blockbuster smarts, nor arthouse depth, and is little use as a historical resource. If you don’t know Napoleon’s story already, you’ll struggle to keep up with what’s going on. In what are almost a series of sketchlike snapshots, it follows Napoleon Bonaparte the outsider upstart Corsican as the tactically brilliant army officer is swiftly promoted through the ranks. Napoleon saves the French Revolution from itself then mounts a coup d’état. He crowns himself … Read more

Beau Is Afraid

Joaquin Phoenix as Beau

Three’s a trend, so they say, and with Beau Is Afraid writer/director Ari Aster does just what his previous two films, Hereditary and Midsommar, did – he gets everyone talking. Terrible, some said. Brilliant, said others. Maybe it can be both at the same time, you could conclude, sitting right on the fence. And, fence-sitting coming naturally to some people, that is what it is – a brilliant meta-movie that simply doesn’t know when to stop and so outstays its welcome. In one of many comedy moments which seem less well advised the longer Beau Is Afraid goes on – it’s three hours long – Aster starts the action at the moment Beau … Read more


Joaquin Phoenix in Her

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 22 August Storm botnet maximum, 2007 Today marks the day when, in 2007, activity by the Storm Worm Trojan horse reached its maximum. Having been identified in January 2007, the worm spread via emails with catchy subject lines such as “230 dead as storm batters Europe”. Once the recipient had clicked on it, the Trojan horse would go to work, replicating itself and emailing itself out to others as spam. No one is really sure where the Trojan horse came from – some suggest the US, others Russia – but it was designed to work on Microsoft Windows systems, turning each … Read more

Walk the Line

Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash in Walk the Line

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 12 September Johnny Cash dies, 2003 On this day in 2003, Johnny Cash died, aged 71. A star from the mid-50s, after discharge from the army, until his death, the baritone Cash was known as a country singer though unlike many a country act he was a Christian who aligned himself with the sinners rather than the saints. Dressing in black rather than the more ostenatious garb favoured by country compadres, he was also unusual for the way he publically acknowledged the breadth of his taste – he made an album with Bob Dylan in the 1960s, his two-season TV show … Read more