For Sama

I have often wondered, watching on the news as one Syrian town after another gets bombed to smithereens, why do civilians stay? How can they? I remember asking that question three years ago, at the end of 2016, as the news showed us the very last civilians in eastern Aleppo climbing on to buses and leaving behind the city that had been turned to rubble by their own president. Waad al-Kataeb’s documentary For Sama provides some kind of answer to that question. Please click on image for more ...

Dog Weepies 2

In the order in which I watched them: Old Yeller (1957); Dean Spanley (2008); All Dogs Go to Heaven (1991); Lassie Come Home (1943). Please click on image for reviews ...

Dog Weepies 1

For my recent birthday I asked my daughters to get me as many as they could of the 10 DVDs ranked in the Guardian by film critic Anne Billson as the top ten Dog Weepies. My Dog Skip (dir: Jay Russell, 2000, starring Frankie Muniz, Kevin Bacon, and wonderful Enzo - who played Eddie in Frasier - as Skip, see above) is pretty much my idea of a perfect dog movie, touching as it does on a number of themes (coming-of-age, the construction of masculinity) and having at its heart a warm, believable, unsentimental relationship between human (boy) and dog. In the Guardian it was ranked at 7. How would the other films compare? Please click on image to find out ...

Don’t Look Now / Performance

The Watershed was showing these two Nicolas Roeg films in a double bill as part of its retrospective season of classics, curated by Mark Cosgrove. My friend Helen Taylor, who was introducing Don’t Look Now, invited me to see both of them with her. Please click on image to find out what we thought ...

I, Tonya

This is the funny, gripping, tragic, true tale of Tonya Harding, world champion figure skater and first ever to perform the Triple Axel in competition. Please click on image for full review ...

The Sisters Brothers

It’s some time since I saw Jacques Audiard’s previous films, A Prophet and Rust and Bone, but I seem to remember that in both of them we saw how some of the best aspects of human behaviour – generosity, thoughtfulness, idealism – can spring out of harsh and violent surroundings, and take us by surprise; so too, here, in the beautiful landscape of America’s west coast where the greed for gold drives all men. Please click on image to read more ...   

Bird Box

Had I been watching this in the cinema with Ismay, I would have been clutching her arm throughout, and doubtless embarrassing her with loud gasps and cries of fear and horror: truly edge-of-the-seat stuff … pretty damn scary even at home with the lights on, Pippin snoozing in front of the fire and Snuffkin curled up on her footstool. Please click on image for more ...

The Favourite

What a pleasure to watch this dynamic, colourful, stylish, noisy, tragicomic film about three remarkable women, played with élan by Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone; set in the court of Queen Anne, it is a psychological rather than a costume drama, but with utterly splendid costumes nonetheless ... Please click on image to read more ...