Review: David Byrne’s American Utopia

Director: Spike Lee Stars: David Byrne, Tendayi Kuumba, Chris Giamo In the second half of the 1983 'Stop Making Sense' tour, Talking Heads frontman David Byrne would disappear off-stage briefly only to re-emerge in an over-sized suit. The famous 'big suit' and its associated moves were a mockery of a certain Wall Street mentality that … Continue reading Review: David Byrne’s American Utopia

Review: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Director: George C Wolfe Stars: Chadwick Boseman, Viola Davis, Glynn Turman On 28th August this year the world stopped at the news Chadwick Boseman had died. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom arrives now on Netflix labored with the weight of containing the last performance of this firebrand young actor, taken from us just as he was … Continue reading Review: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Review: Education

Director: Steve McQueen Stars: Kenyah Sandy, Sharlene Whyte, Naomi Ackie Steve McQueen's Small Axe series of films comes to a bittersweet close with what appears to be his most personal tale - and possibly the most personally motivated piece of work in his career thus far. Throughout the strand, McQueen has spotlighted institutions that have failed … Continue reading Review: Education

Review: Liberté

Director: Albert Serra Stars: Iliana Zabeth, Helmut Berger, Marc Susini Consisting in the main of a furtive, debauched orgy in the moonlit French woods toward the end of Louis XVI's reign - conducted by libertines expelled from his court - Albert Serra's Liberté was largely rejected at Cannes in 2019 but has recently surfaced for … Continue reading Review: Liberté

The Best of 2020

The top ten Portrait of a Lady on FireNever Rarely Sometimes AlwaysEmaBeanpoleA Hidden LifeLovers RockOverseasDick Johnson is DeadRelicAn Easy Girl     Film Of The YearPortrait of a Lady on Fire Céline Sciamma's fourth directorial effort is some kind of masterpiece. The initially diffident, then slow-thawing relationship between painter, Marianne (Noémie Merlant), and subject, Héloïse … Continue reading The Best of 2020

Review: Alex Wheatle

Director: Steve McQueen Stars: Sheyi Cole, Jonathan Jules, Robbie Gee One of the points I wanted to cover (but skipped for the sake of relative brevity) in my review of Red, White and Blue was how important music remained to the storytelling; as vital an element as any in Steve McQueen's milestone Small Axe series. In last … Continue reading Review: Alex Wheatle

Review: Swallow

Director: Carlo Mirabella-Davis Stars: Haley Bennet, Denis O'Hare, Elizabeth Marvel Around the turn of the last century, a popular 'exhibit' at a touring freakshow would be the 'geek'; a person willing to eat anything at all - living, inanimate - to the delight and revulsion of incredulous spectators. The shock of this disturbing impulse - … Continue reading Review: Swallow

Review: Mank

Director: David Fincher Stars: Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, Tuppence Middleton Thanks to his episodic endeavours for Netflix - House of Cards but chiefly Mindhunter - it's been six long years since we were gifted A Film by David Fincher. The drought is up with this stylishly monochrome biopic of rummy Hollywood screenwriter Herman 'Mank' Mankiewicz. … Continue reading Review: Mank

Review: Red, White and Blue

Director: Steve McQueen Stars: John Boyega, Steve Toussaint, Antonia Thomas "Is that it?" It's the first thought that clapped into my mind as Steve McQueen cut to black and the credits began, joined by a wave of disappointment and a flutter of longing for greater resolution. It may be your reaction, too. But this sense … Continue reading Review: Red, White and Blue

Review: Monsoon

Director: Hong Khaou Stars: Henry Golding, Molly Harris, Parker Sawyers The past meets the present in Hong Khaou's understated second feature, which has this weekend arrived on BBC iPlayer for easy-access viewing; something I'd actively recommend. This bridging of generations isn't new ground for Khaou, whose previous film, 2017's Lilting, found a grieving Ben Whishaw … Continue reading Review: Monsoon

Review: Happiest Season

Director: Clea DuVall Stars: Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis, Aubrey Plaza The ratio of good Christmas films to... not? It's not exactly even. What's more, nobody's reasonably expecting any different. Even more-so than the flimsiest of rom-coms, they're the background fodder, the inconsequential ambiance, the backdrop to cosy evenings that are more notably about something else, … Continue reading Review: Happiest Season

Review: Hillbilly Elegy

Director: Ron Howard Stars: Amy Adams, Gabriel Basso, Glenn Close Ron Howard - purveyor of an almost unbroken record of dismally average movies - here outdoes himself, putting to rest the question of which Dan Brown adaptation amounts to his most feeble offering. Now he veers headlong into a career nadir so ill-timed and poorly considered … Continue reading Review: Hillbilly Elegy

Review: Lovers Rock

Director: Steve McQueen Stars: Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn, Ellis George, Micheal Ward The second installment in Steve McQueen's Small Axe strand shows a further loosening of the acclaimed director's composure; it's very flex marking it out as one of the most interesting pivots in his career thus far. It may be half the length of Mangrove, but it … Continue reading Review: Lovers Rock

Review: Possessor

Director: Brandon Cronenberg Stars: Angela Riseborough, Christopher Abbott, Tuppence Middleton Living and working in the shadow of David Cronenberg might well be a particularly daunting thing, but son Brandon is gamely stepping up to the task and if the world wasn't won over by his suitably vile debut Antiviral back in 2012, it certainly seems more … Continue reading Review: Possessor

Review: Mangrove

Director: Steve McQueen Stars: Letitia Wright, Shaun Parkes, Malachi Kirby My grandfather was a policeman and lifelong Tory. By the time I knew him as an old man he was defined in my eyes, sadly, as an alcoholic and a racist. So racist that he was even racist in his sleep. I was a child and … Continue reading Review: Mangrove