‘Hampstead,’ directed by Joel Hopkins

Movie, 2017 A film whose premise doesn’t promise much, but which in a charming, uncomplicated way, delivers. Yes, this is a film about class and mannered societal behaviour, whose nuances are hard to find and which could be accused of being a little patronising. The film also has a backs to the wall, stick up for the underdog and – very politely – stick it … Continue reading ‘Hampstead,’ directed by Joel Hopkins

‘I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore,’ directed by Macon Blair

Movie, 2017 Quirky independent American film, following the adventures of a nurse, who engages the help of a heavy metal fan to investigate the robbery of her home. The quick descent and peril endured by the heroes at the hands of unrelenting and grim aggressors and an over stretched police department is both funny and fast paced – the sense of essentially decent, flawed and … Continue reading ‘I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore,’ directed by Macon Blair

“Murder on the Orient Express,” directed by Kenneth Branagh

Movie, 2017 All star adaptation played pretty straight and down the line. Once the ludicrous moustaches Poirot wears and the over-snappy dialogue become less distracting, the film settles down, possibly plodding a little here and there, but offering a reasonable degree of entertainment. Everything feels as it should do – the luxury of Continental Pullman trains and the wealth of its passengers who can afford … Continue reading “Murder on the Orient Express,” directed by Kenneth Branagh

“The Disaster Artist,” directed by James Franco

Movie, 2017 Dramatisation of Greg Sestoro‘s partnership with Tommy Wiseau which brought The Room to cult cinema screens, The Disaster Artist plays for and often delivers laughs, though not always doing it in a way which adds to the head in hand ham of The Room itself. A film, then, which brings an outsider’s attempt to get into to Hollywood right into the middle of … Continue reading “The Disaster Artist,” directed by James Franco

“All the Money in the World”, directed by Ridley Scott

Movie, 2017 Account of the kidnap and eventual outcome when Italian terrorists snatched John Paul Getty’s grandson, John Paul Getty the Third. A film which is well shot and focusses on the emotional struggles, particularly of mother Gail Harris, but also Cinquanta, the kidnapper closest to the victim. Period detail, the gruesome paparazzi and scenes of brutality towards the victim pepper a film which may … Continue reading “All the Money in the World”, directed by Ridley Scott

“England is Mine”, directed by Mark Gill

Movie, 2017 Biopic of Smiths singer Morrissey. While no whitewash, this feels like a fans’ film and homage to a hugely problematic figure, who’s come a long way and has alienated many who grew up and devoted themselves to The Smiths. Still, the atmosphere of footbridges, smoky pubs, bedrooms and 9-5 day jobs is all pretty effective and transport the viewer back to a mid-1980s, … Continue reading “England is Mine”, directed by Mark Gill

“The Death of Stalin,” directed by Armando Iannucci

Movie, 2017 The story of the struggle for power following Stalin’s death in 1950s USSR, made comically grotesque and rendered cartoon like. The effect is of making power look throwaway and ridiculous; always destructive. Some liberties are very likely taken with the source material, but done so in order to keep the film fresh and zipping along. Sometimes things happen almost too quickly; the key … Continue reading “The Death of Stalin,” directed by Armando Iannucci

“Downsizing”, directed by Alexander Payne

Movie, 2017 A film which flits between genres, coming on as a satirical dystopia, romance, comedy and a few other mixes and things besides, but never quite hitting the mark or convincing in any one particular area. It’s at its best in the sci-fi opening section, where ideas are set up and the tone is uncomplicated and humourous. After that, the injection of the more … Continue reading “Downsizing”, directed by Alexander Payne

“Baby Driver”, directed by Edgar Wright

Movie, 2017 What starts off as a an orgy of car chases and music doesn’t really develop into much more. But still, Baby Driver is a treat. If the first section and immediate submersion into action is a little tiring, and the love story and set pieces short of originality, there’s an undeniable force and energy in the film which lifts it a little way … Continue reading “Baby Driver”, directed by Edgar Wright

“In a Cottage in a Wood,” by Cass Green

Novel, 2017 Psychological thriller and something of a page-turner, which is largely effective, although very reliant on cliffhangers and a little prone to giving too many hints and clues which dampen subsequent would-be plot revelations. Some of the characters, too, could be a little more developed. But still, some good ideas in a book which packs action and incident enough for a screen adaptation. Doubtless, … Continue reading “In a Cottage in a Wood,” by Cass Green