Minari

David with his dad Jacob out in the fields

Minari is an old-school film of the sort you used to see at Sundance a lot, gentle character driven dramas full of people who were essentially decent. The sort of film Robert Redford used to direct, like Ordinary People or The Milagro Bean Field War or A River Runs Through It (which starred Brad Pitt, an exec producer here). It did well there, winning both the Grand Jury and Audience awards. In the dying days of the Donald Trump administration it asks and answers the question: who built America? The answer is immigrants, though that message is never uttered out loud. Instead we follow a Korean family who’ve moved out from the city … Read more

Ammonite

Saoirse Ronan and Kate Winslet

After a few years of doing mostly voice work, Kate Winslet has been coaxed back into a leading role in Ammonite, the follow-up to Francis Lee’s powerful breakthrough debut as a director, God’s Own Country. The 2017 movie told the story of forbidden love between two men on the wild and windy moors of Yorkshire. It’s tempting to see Ammonite as a remake – forbidden love on the wild and windy shores of Dorset – but is there more going on here than that? Winslet plays real-life 18th-century fossil-hunter Mary Anning – a huge Wikipedia page on her awaits if you know nothing about her. To boil it down: she lived in Lyme Regis … Read more

Byzantium

Gemma Arterton in Byzantium

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 26 November Vlad the Impaler becomes ruler of Wallachia for third time, 1476 On this day in 1476, Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia became ruler of Wallachia for the third time. His father, Vlad II, had become a member of the chivalric Order of the Dragon (Drache in German, Dracul in Romanian) in 1431. As the son, Vlad III carried the patronymic Dracula, son of Dracul (he signed himself Wladislaus Dragwlya). Vlad III spent a good deal of his life asserting his claim on Wallachia. He was first installed as a ruler by the Ottomans – Vlad III had been brought … Read more