The Death of Stalin ⭐⭐½

A movie where the sum of its parts doesn’t quite make a whole. A fine cast with some great performances, notably a superb cameo from Jason Isaacs as an army general reimagined as a gruff northerner (think Sean Bean with a chest full of military medals) and Jeffrey Tambor’s turn as Stalin’s weak, vain deputy. […]

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Bad Genius ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Fast Times at Bangkok High meets Oceans Eleven. Dramatising an enterprising exam-cheating syndicate, this could be read as a critique of social inequalities in Thailand or simply enjoyed as a first-rate caper-thriller. Slick and sharp direction, engaging characters, and a witty script add up to a roller-coaster ride of a movie which is genuinely suspenseful […]

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Downsizing ⭐⭐½

Alice goes down the rabbit hole and meets a Norwegian doomsday cult. Downsizing started well. A brilliant premise and the light satirical touches expected from Alexander Payne. It also has uniformly sound performances, including Matt Damon doing his Everyman thing to good effect (lots of lingering shots of him looking thoughtful), a handful of cameos […]

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Lady Bird ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Absolution for the sin of Damsels in Distress   A gem of a surprise movie at this year’s London Film Festival. Great Gerwig’s directorial debut is a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age movie with a mother / daughter love story at its core. Tender and witty,  never crossing the line into sentimentality,  and boasting a stellar performance from Saoirse […]

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The Breadwinner⭐⭐⭐⭐

Once upon a time in Kabul. A magical rendering of Deborah Ellis’s novel about the bravery of Parvana, a young Afghan girl, in the face of adversity. The power of storytelling, drawn from Parvana’s imagination, and of family love prevail against the backdrop of oppression and conflict. Throw into the mix two distinct styles of […]

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Howards End *****

A sparkling 4K restoration has earned Howards End a cinematic re-release 25 years after its original release. Sure … there is an absence of the directorial fancy flourishes that we now almost expect. But what you get in its place is a glorious visual feast with a sharp screenplay and top notch performances, notably from […]

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La La Land ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

Joyous and bitter sweet. A movie that Cinemascope was made for. Go see on the biggest screen you can! Despite mostly rave reviews, it is a Marmite movie … I have spoken to a few friends who vehemently disliked it whilst others have been in raptures. Whilst I acknowledge the singing and dancing aren’t up […]

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