“Tyrannosaur,” directed by Paddy Considine

Movie, 2011 A film about an angry, dissolute widower, raging against the world and his relationship with a God-fearing Christian woman whose attempts to help him are undermined by her own domestic horrors. A savage start hints at the direction the film goes in, and while it’s unflinching and well made, it can hardly be described as being in any way ‘entertaining.’ Which probably wasn’t … Continue reading “Tyrannosaur,” directed by Paddy Considine

"Retreat," directed by Carl Tibbets

Movie, 2011 A film which, once it finally gets going, is tense and questioning. For much of the early section, however, the story about a couple grieving and escaping from a miscarriage is a bit of a plod, which never then really ties up with the rest of the narrative. When the set ups half way through the movie start paying off, things get much … Continue reading "Retreat," directed by Carl Tibbets

"Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class", by Owen Jones

Non-fiction, 2011 Compelling account which does what the title suggests, setting out how the working class has been set apart and savaged by contemporary power bases. Jones makes his arguments clearly and backs them up, then repeats them before going back again and doing it all over again. The book flags as a result – this feels like a tight documentary spun into a mini-series. … Continue reading "Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class", by Owen Jones

"Albert Nobbs", directed by Rodrigo Garcia

Movie, 2011 Story of a female Irish hotel worker passing herself as a man in order to keep in employment, encountering a load of bad behaviour until finding a soulmate in a similar position. This is a film whose serious themes could perhaps have been visited more imaginatively, as Nobbs the “man” looks curious rather than believable and the story plods rather than sparkles and … Continue reading "Albert Nobbs", directed by Rodrigo Garcia

"Half Blood Blues", by Esi Edugyan

Novel, 2011 A story of betrayal and part reconciliation, looking at the relationships between members of a jazz band who’d split after the Nazi crackdowns in Berlin and then the invasion in Paris. This is an entertaining, vividly drawn work which occasionally veers perhaps a little too far into a retelling of history, but which nonetheless effectively tells a good story evolving round Sid, who’s … Continue reading "Half Blood Blues", by Esi Edugyan