‘The Revenant’

IT IS DIFFICULT TO leave a showing of Alejandro Iñárritu’s savage film, The Revenant, without having the feeling that you’ve personally undergone some sort of violent assault. Of course, that’s nothing compared to the battering frontiersman Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) endures as he tries to find civilisation in the 800s9th century American wilderness. Man is pitched against nature in this […]

‘The Hateful Eight’

THERE ARE VERY FEW films that come to mind that justify a running time of more than three hours, so I suppose I must have expected something truly spectacular when I sat down to watch Quentin Tarantino’s latest effort, The Hateful Eight.

“The Lobster”

EVERYONE WILL, AT SOME point in their life, have woken up with a bemused expression on their face, and turned to their other half, and described a particularly bizarre dream. Few of those people, however, will have felt the urge to turn whatever peculiar happenings their subconscious has conjured up into a feature film. I […]

“Black Mass”

ANY GOOD GANGSTER FLICK dares, if not exhorts, the audience to find something to admire in its subjects. The characters may be charismatic, larger-than-life figures, or working-class overachievers who defy the disadvantages of their birth to accumulate staggering wealth and rise to positions of power they could never come to occupy through legal means. Or they’re Robin Hood types: class-war heroes […]

“Everest”

IT HAS BEEN THE enduring mission of man to try to conquer nature, and though the war, as it were, has been won, battles may still be lost. Such was the case of the 1996 Mount Everest tragedy, which is the subject of Baltasar Kormakur’s film. Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) and rival guided climb operator Scott […]

“Winter on Fire”

FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS of Jehane Noujaim’s documentary on the Egyptian Crisis, The Square, comes Evgeny Afineevsky’s Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom, a documentary on the 93 days of civil unrest in Kiev which began as peaceful student protests and became a violent revolution.

“Legend” (2015)

BIOGRAPHICAL FILMS HAVE an irritating habit of being underwhelming, even if, as in the case of Legend, you double up, so to speak, and focus on two people instead of one. There are exceptions of course––Ali, for example––but even in that case there are times when you find yourself looking at your watch. The problem […]

Mark Bell’s “Eddie: Strongman” (2015)

ANY MENTION OF “strongman” will elicit in the minds of members of my generation memories of the giant Magnus Samuelsson or Mariusz Pudzianowski pulling trucks and lifting stones and, red in the face and trembling, heaving hundreds of kilos in weight off the floor. Then and now, it was and is only on the fringes […]

“13 Minutes”

THERE WERE AT LEAST thirty attempts on Hitler’s life from 1933 until his death, the most well know of which was, Operation Valkyrie, which was popularised–and romanticised–by the 2008 film of the same name, starring Tom Cruise. Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg and his co-conspirators were, initially, enthusiastic about Nazism and the colonisation of Poland, […]

“What Happened, Miss Simone?”

LIKE JIM MORRISON or Janis Joplin or Kurt Cobain, Nina Simone deserves to be talked about as one of the artists of the 20th Century who as nearly as possible changed the culture with her artistic talents and force of personality. And like Morrison and Joplin and Cobain and, I suspect, many other creative geniuses––and […]