1917

Ho hum: beautiful cinematography, weighty subject matter, excellent acting; so why does this much-praised film seem more like a video game than an accurate representation of the First World War? Please click on image for full review ...

Little Women

What a terrific film with which to kick off the new decade: the tender, funny, passionate story of four glorious, loving, high-spirited sisters, the March girls, growing up in genteel poverty in Concord during the American Civil War; over seven years we follow their journeys towards the finding of their authentic grown-up selves. For full review please click on image ...

Harriet

Cynthia Erivo is magnificent as freedom fighter and liberator of slaves Harriet Tubman in this wonderfully watchable inspiring film by Kasi Lemmons. Please click on image to read more ...

Sorry We Missed You

The phrase ‘gig economy’ seems to me a euphemism: isn’t a ‘gig’ something you go to for pleasure and entertainment? You’ll find neither pleasure nor entertainment in Ken Loach’s sombre new film, Sorry We Missed You; rather, a brutally realistic depiction of what the so-called gig economy does to people’s lives. Please click on image to read more ...

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 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 ...