“Final Portrait”

LIKE A GOOD meal, a good film leaves you feeling satisfied long after, no matter how greedy you happen to be. Such is the case with Final Portrait, the alternately droll and intense tale of the Swiss sculptor and painter Alberto Giacometti’s attempt to paint a visiting young critic in Sixties Paris. Through a shared […]

“Atomic Blonde”

AT THE CONCLUSION of Atomic Blonde, once the credits had ceased to roll and the lights had come up, a man several seats away from me and impressively wasted turned to his companion and said, or rather slurred, “bit pony, wasn’t it?” What our friend lacked in eloquence he made up for in accuracy, because […]

“The Hitman’s Bodyguard”

YOU HAVE TO admire the bravery of Patrick Hughes for casting at the centre of his new film, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, two of the more polarising actors to be working today. For those who find either Ryan Reynolds or Samuel L. Jackson irritating, watching––or perhaps it would be better to say enduring––this film must be […]

“Dunkirk”

THE CINEMATIC PORTRAYAL of the 1940 French and British evacuation from Dunkirk was, unsurprisingly perhaps, the most highly anticipated film of the summer. It was the latest offering from Christopher Nolan, arguably the best filmmaker of his generation, and the director’s first “war” film (though it has little in common with Saving Private Ryan, The Great Escape or any […]

“The Beguiled”

AT A CASUAL glance, Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled looks like a historical drama, with all the white dresses, corsets and maidenly behaviour that implies. It is––thank God––nothing of the sort. Instead it’s a gripping, witty and sexually-charged feminist retelling of its more overtly steamy predecessor, and, to my taste, the best film Coppola has made […]

“Transformers: The Last Knight”

POPCORN DIRECTOR AND pyrotechnics fetishist Michael Bay once defended his style of filmmaking by arguing that he caters to “teenage boys”. It occurred to me not long into Transformers: The Last Knight, just as yet another explosion sent bodies flying through the air, that Mr. Bay might have been a little hopeful in saying so. A […]

“47 Meters Down”

EXPLAINING HUMANITY’S WIDESPREAD (but unjustified) fear of sharks, the Harvard risk communication instructor David Ropeik said: “We’re not just afraid of things because of the likelihood that they’ll happen, but also because of the nature of them if they do happen. So it may be unlikely that you’ll be attacked by a shark, but it would […]

“Europa Report”

ARGENTINE FILMMAKER SEBASTIÁN Cordero’s found-footage sci-fi film Europa Report went relatively unnoticed when it was released, in part because it was a year remarkable for the release of a number of very good sci-fi films. It was in 2013 that Gravity, Under the Skin and Star Trek: Into Darkness first graced our screens, and there […]

“City of Ghosts”

THE THREE YEARS that I churned out stories for the online arm of London’s Metro newspaper coincided with the rapid rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the brutal Salafi jihadist offshoot of al-Qaeda that is intent, among other things, on establishing and expanding a caliphate governed by seventh-century law and confronting the ‘armies of […]

‘Baywatch’

IN CERTAIN CIRCLES––and you’ll know what I mean if you’ve ever volunteered the information that you can’t help liking, say, Borat, or Dead Snow––the suggestion that not all films have to be high art is met at best with undisguised disdain and at worst with slow backing away. Maybe the fear of those who reflexively […]