10 November 2014-11-10

Léa Seydoux and Tahar Rahim in Grand Central

Out in the UK This Week X-Men: Days of Future Past (Fox, cert 12, Blu-ray/DVD/digital) Films that frontload their action, especially films that are big-screen event movies as all the X-Men series are, often do so because, secretly, they know they’re small-screen channel-hoppers. So when the seventh X-Men movie in 14 years kicked off with a big action sequence, I started scribbling “lack of confidence” in my notes. I was totally wrong. Director Bryan Singer might be lacking for friends in Hollywood right now – what with “twink party” allegations and all – but he’s absolutely on his game here. Maybe, in fact, he feels like he’s got something to prove. For starters, … Read more

The Best Films of 2014

Scarlett Johansson in Under the Skin

Of the 350+ films I saw this year, these are the best ones. Some of them were released last year and I’ve been a bit slow getting round to them. Some of them were released even longer ago. The criteria are – I watched them in 2014 and I liked them. That’s it. The Best Computer Chess (2013, dir: Andrew Bujalski) Andrew Bujalski, inventor of mumblecore, proved there’s life in the old beast yet with this retro-verité drama about geeks meeting in the 1980s to pit their programs against a chess-playing computer. Shooting on original video cameras in fuzzy-edged boxellated black and white, Bujalski catches the moment when the let-it-all-hang-out era died and our … Read more