Meryl Streep is famously good at mimicking voices and accents, but she is also a genuinely great actress, and in The Iron Lady she gives a magisterial performance as Margaret Thatcher that ought to be a sure bet for an Oscar nomination.
It is largely because of her that the film makes for such gripping and often very moving watching.
Marilyn Monroe's appeal can seem hard to understand today. Her strange mixture of innocence, voluptuousness, dumb-blondeness and little-girlishness are as alien to contemporary sexual tastes as the heavyweight beauties in baroque paintings. Nevertheless, the doomed, damaged, superhumanly glamorous star remains an object of fascination almost five decades after her death.
Seth Rogen cannot help seeing the funny side of life. "I don't try to find it, it just happens," he says. "I can't remember the number of times somebody's been telling me a movie idea they have and I think it's a comedy, and it's not. Someone'll go: 'There's this guy who's hit by a car and he has to get his leg cut off', and I'll go: 'That sounds hilarious!' It's just how my brain hears things."
Knowing that the programmers of the UK Jewish Film Festival have done most of the hard work before you, choosing films to see is more a matter of determination to be out and about nearly every night of the week — there are gems available throughout the festival.
There are very few movies that depict Seder nights. There are even fewer that do so with an affectionate and intelligent sense of the celebration's variety, or the way that it brings out the best and worst in Jewish family dynamics.
Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic produce a disproportionately large number of talented actors, most of whom end up based in London. One of the younger crop is Cillian Murphy. He came to international notice as the hero of Danny Boyle's 2003 sci-fi horror film 24 Days Later.
It is now clear that filming in Britain brings out the worst in Woody Allen - or at least makes painfully clear just how tin-eared and clueless he can be when attempting to depict a culture outside his own. His last film to open in the UK, You will meet a tall dark stranger, was arguably worse than Match Point, Scoop and Cassandra's Dream.