Review: Crazy Heart

By Jonathan Foreman, February 18, 2010

Hollywood adores alcoholic or addicted artists as movie subjects.

This may well have more to do with the culture of the filmmaking community than with any appeal the subject might have at the box office or its intrinsic fascination.


Review: A Single Man

By Gerald Aaron, February 11, 2010

Colin Firth gives a powerful and poignant performance as a gay British literature professor in California mourning the loss of his long-time lover (Matthew Goode). The sensitively directed adaptation of Christopher Isherwood’s 1951 novel by fashion designer-turned-filmmaker Tom Ford follows Firth through one day as he tries to come to terms with his new-found loneliness, interacting with enthusiastic student (Nicolas Hoult), a Spanish rent boy and his neighbour and best friend, divorced Englishwoman Julianne Moore.


Review: The Wolfman

By Gerald Aaron, February 11, 2010

This noisy revamp of the 1941 shocker offers suitably nasty CGI man-to beast-transformations as it delivers gore galore for genre fans.


Review: Food, Inc

By Gerald Aaron, February 10, 2010

Early in Robert Kenner’s polemical documentary, Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, says: “The industry doesn’t want you to know the truth about what you’re eating — because if you knew, you might not want to eat it.” Kenner all too believably proves it in an uncomfortable indictment of how the majority of US food production — animal and vegetable — is controlled by big business. This passionate film is undoubtedly one-sided but still very effective.


Review: Invictus

By Jonathan Foreman, February 4, 2010

Hollywood has a problem with films about South Africa and apartheid.

The opportunity to take a firm stand against a distant, obviously egregious racist system — and then bask in undeserved praise for courage, conviction etc — plays to the worst instincts of the film community. It usually leads to very bad films.

Invictus is not a very bad film. But it is probably the worst film Clint Eastwood has made since he started directing three decades ago.


Review: The Boys Are Back

By Jonathan Foreman, January 22, 2010

It was hard not to approach The Boys are Back without dread.

For one thing it is directed by Scott Hicks, who came to fame with 1996’s Shine, the sentimental and dishonest Oscar-winner about schizophrenic pianist David Helfgott, and who then made far worse films like Snow Falling on Cedars and No Reservations.

For another, the trailer makes this tale of a widower raising two sons amid golden Australian wine country landscapes look dull and cloying.


Where Star Wars meets Chaplin

By Marcus Dysch, January 21, 2010

A 25ft Tyrannosaurus Rex roars at Charlie Chaplin while a Dalek looks on — and all within sight of the Thames. No, not a scene from the imagination of a particularly eclectic movie buff, but one of the prop-filled exhibition rooms at the London Film Museum.

This is where memorabilia marking some of the greatest moments in British cinema history can be viewed by visitors, ranging from the original Rank gong to a spear from Michael Caine’s epic Zulu, via the Pinhead costume from Hellraiser.


The Infidel

By Simon Round, January 21, 2010

There have been very few British comedies about Jewishness — and even fewer that actually made anyone laugh. But The Infidel, a comedy written by David Baddiel on a Jewish (and Muslim) theme, does just that, by poking fun at both religions.

The mother of Muslim minicab driver Mahmud dies suddenly. As he goes through her papers, he realises that he has been adopted as a baby… from a Jewish family.


Review: Up In The Air

By Gerald Aaron, January 14, 2010

Director/co-writer Jason Reitman’s acidly funny follow-up to his marvellous Juno showcases George Clooney’s award-worthy performance as a corporate “downsizer”. He is the hired gun whose job is to constantly travel around the US firing luckless employees of the companies who hire him.

Clooney, smooth as a perfectly mixed cocktail, is perfectly cast as a narcissist who uses fellow-travellers for sex without commitment. Until, that is, his peripatetic affair with fellow executive Vera Farmiga takes an unexpected turn.


Review: 44 Inch Chest

By Gerald Aaron, January 14, 2010

Sexy Beast writers Louis Mellis and David Scinto are reunited with Ray Winstone for a stagey, foul-mouthed, unentertaining drama. Winstone is joined by fellow East Enders John Hurt, Ian McShane and Tom Wilkinson as he seeks revenge on the French waiter who has slept with his wife. As appealing as a winter power cut.