Another Big Week for New Releases: 4th February



The long-awaited French ‘feel-good’ movie of forever, based on a true story. A quadriplegic aristocrat employs a young immigrant to be his new carer. Despite their vastly differing backgrounds, the two inevitably form a deep friendship proving that even those from different backgrounds can (gasp) be friends. If you liked Patrice Leconte’s ‘My Best Friend’ with Daniel Auteill, then you’ll love this. If, on the other hand, you found it patronising, trite and twee then you’ll absolutely hate it. Personally, I’m with you. Cert.15




Sequel to Taken. Taken 2 where? Somewhere with guns and action. And Liam Neeson – although that could pretty much be anywhere at the minute as he seems to be absolutely everywhere. After having rescued his daughter, Bryan Mills (Neeson – Taken, Grey, A-Team, Unknown etc) and his wife are taken hostage by the father of one of the kidnappers. Directed by Olivier Megaton (Transporter 3, Colombiana). Cert. 15



Tom Stoppard adapts the classic epic novel (considered by many to the greatest ever written) by Leo Tolstoy for the big screen. A tale of a life-changing love affair set in 19th century Russian high-society between the married aristocrat Anna Karenina and Count Vronsky. Expect sumptuous costumes, epic scenery and tears. Oh, and unfortunately Keira Knightley. Also starring Jude Law (Closer), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Savages, Kick-Ass)  and Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire). Directed by Joe Wright (Atonement, Hanna, The Soloist). Cert. 12




Hit HBO show written, directed and starring Lena Dunham who is arguably re-inventing mainstream American TV with her honest and unapologetic take on that period in life when you’re not really sure who or what you are, where you’re going or how – which could probably be any period, really…. Anyway, the show follows a group of four girls in their early 20s as they struggle to find their way in and out of jobs and relationships and carve out a space for themselves in a post-uni and post-financial crash world that only seems to have space for those more qualified, or less qualified or more or less something than they are. Full of well-written, flawed characters and very, very funny. It’s also nice to see a lead female in a TV show – or movie for that matter – who doesn’t necessarily look like, or act like, she wants to compete in America’s Next Top Model. It also has one of the best and understated last scenes to a series I think I’ve ever seen. Cert. 18




Critically acclaimed Scandinavian political drama series, inevitably compared to West Wing, returns for a second series. If you didn’t see the first season, it’s well worth it, so catch up now. Cert. 15




American comedy-drama. Thirty-something Jesse returns to his university town to visit his favourite professor and meets 19 year-old Zibby (Elizabeth Olsen) – the two bond over their love of literature. Cert. 12




Adam Sandler, Steve Buscemi and David Spade are some of the actors who provide their vocal talents to this animated feature about a high-end resort run by Dracula – non vampires and ghouls beware! Cert. PG


Video City Staff A-Z of Film: C is For… (pt.3)



C is for Clueless (1995).

I was going to write on Catch 22, thinking I know at least four other members of staff who were clearly gonna grab Clueless, sharp clawed beasts that they are. However, at a recent Video City soiree, I was informed that everyone else had thought the same thing, and I had underestimated their wonderful generosity. I, therefore have been entrusted with the job of having to express the unfathomable amazingness of Amy Heckerling’s masterwork.

Where to begin; When Clueless was released I was 12 years old and oh-so-very discerning. It was a big hit with the Spice Girls crowd at my school and I didn’t think twice about not seeing it. That was a rookie film-snob error. I was a young victim of what some might call ‘Taste’. Thankfully a couple of years later I put an end to that unfortunate personal habit. Then I saw Clueless for the first time.


As someone who mostly finds comedy intensely distressing, this such a great comedy. The script is snappy and smart and packed with hidden gems, perfect for endless repeat viewing. The characters are explosive but also subtly detailed and full of surprises. The costumes are funny and glorious. The soundtrack is non-stop infectious pop hits. Clueless is a brilliant period piece. In an era where leading film makers were looking back in time, Heckerling manages to make incredibly astute observations about the time in which she is living. Observations which in 1995 seemed slick but now that time is behind us become more and more profound.

Most importantly the story is full of hope. Not the fairy-tale, boring-boy-meets-irritating-girl, everything-is-alright-in-the-end, blah-blah-blah hope, but the kind where the fearless optimist comes out on top, the kind that makes the all that Beverly Hills sunshine seem a magical and utterly believable reality … but whatever.




C is for Caravaggio (1986), Derek Jarman’s autobiographical study of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.
‘As a painter and filmmaker, Jarman saw in Caravaggio his own dominant aesthetic interests.’
Leo Bersani and Ulysse Dutoit, Caravaggio. (London, UK: BFI, 1999).

Opening with Caravaggio (Nigel Terry) on his deathbed, Jarman’s film evolves via a series of achronological episodes reconstructing the painter’s life – boy to (men and) man – and an imagined love triangle between the artist, his friend and model Ranuccio (Sean Bean) and Ranuccio’s prostitute girlfriend, Lena (Tilda Swinton).


I could spill my innards over this one all day and tomorrow.
Fun as that would doubtless be, I shall  nevertheless spare you my mess by keeping this brief. Caravaggio is one of the most touching – trembling maybe  explorations of the criminal, clinical and heavenly motives that shape our desires and attendant endeavours. Jarman’s stunning imbrication of art (both Caravaggio’s and his own), sex, violence, death, religion and economics is at once hypnotic, erotic, provocative and truly visionary.
This is a great film for great people.
C is also for Clueless (1995).

C is for Clueless
Based on Jane Austen’s Emma, Clueless takes a wonderfully satirical stance on rich American teenagers. Alicia Silverstone, who plays the character of Cher, decides to help those less privileged in the popularity and looks department than herself, with some unexpected results. There’s colourful clothes, a sumptuous soundtrack and driving lessons; what more could you want?

Massive Week in New Releases – 28th Jan.



By director Asghar Farhadi (director of 2011’s sensational A Separation), About Elly (actually made in 2009 and only finding international interest after the success of Separation) follows the story of a teacher who is invited to the seaside by the family of one of the children she teaches. As a would-be tragedy unfolds, the fate of Elly is thrown into question. Cert. 12 Iranian with English subs.




Documentary about billionaire couple, the Siegel’s, who are building the largest domestic home in the USA modelled on the palace of Versailles. When the financial crisis hits, how are they to stay afloat, down-scale the luxury life-style and finish their dream home?




Mad as a bag of spiders. Must be seen to be believed. Don’t ask me what it’s about. Directed by the great  Leos Carax (Les Amants du Pont Neuf/Mauvais Sang). With the INCREDIBLE Denis Lavant (Beau Travail).  And, yes Eva Mendes and Kylie both make appearances… French with English subs.




Action-packed sci-fi flick, set in the year 2044. An assassin (Jason Gordon-Levitt, Dark Knight Rises) whose job is to eliminate targets sent back in time by a future criminal organisation, finds himself up against his future self (Bruce Willis, Lay the Favourite). Also starring Emily Blunt (Your Sister’s Sister). Directed by Rian Johnson, who also direct Gordon-Levitt in Brick Cert. 15




Light-hearted gambling caper directed by Stephen Frears (The Queen), starring Bruce Willis (Looper) and Rebecca Hall (Vicky Cristina Barcelona). Cert. 15




Drama about a substitute teacher in a tough high school and how his relationships with three different women change his life. Starring Adrien Brody (The Pianist), Lucy Liu (Kill Bill), Marcia Gay Harden (Pollock and Christina Hendricks (Mad Men). Directed by Tony Kaye (American History X). Cert. 15




Extraordinary documentary shot in a West Bank Palestinian village and made predominantly from footage shot by Emad Burnat, who bought a camera to make home movies, but who soon began documenting his village’s resistance to Israeli occupation. Arabic and Hebrew with English subs.



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Set in 1980 in East Germany. A woman suspected of attempting to leave GDR is exiled to a small community where the constant threat of surveillance leaves her questioning her instinct, her heart and wondering who she can trust. Directed by Chritian Petzold (Yella). German with English subs. Cert. 12



Spooky animated adventure from the makers of Coraline. Norman can speak to the dead and engages with zombies witches and all sorts to save his town from an age-old curse. Hurrah for Norm! Cert. PG




Critically acclaimed drama chronicling the decade long relationship between an openly out filmmaker and a closeted lawyer that begins with a casual encounter but soon grows into a much deeper connection. Directed by Ira Sachs (Forty Shade of Blue). Cert. 18




Japanese comedy and film festival favourite about a 60 year-old lumberjack who forms an unlikely friendship with a film crew who have invaded his remote habitat to shoot a zombie film. Cert. 12 Japanese with English subs.




Killer video tapes? Was this filmed in the basement of Video City?? Strange and horrifying films terrify a group of would-be thieves who have been sent to a rundown house in the middle of – yes – nowhere to retrieve some ‘rare footage’ held on a VHS. Could these films be stranger or more terrifying than some of the home movies Gary has been given to transfer to DVD? Unlikely… Cert. 18


If You Liked The Imposter…

The release this month of the documentary film, The Imposter, has caused something of a mild ‘Searching for Sugarman’ sensation. Here are 5 other films that deal with the same theme – some might argue that most of them are better than The Imposter, but, hey – decide for yourselves…



F for Fake (1973)

Video City favourite, F for Fake by Orson Welles, is a highly imaginative, playful and thought-provoking essay film that centres around two fraudsters – one, known by the filmmakers from the outset of filming who was intended as the original subject of the film (Elmyr de Hory – art forger extraordinaire) and the other whose fraudulent antics were only revealed whilst shooting was underway (Clifford Irving, who was writing a fake authorised biography on Howard Hughes – a story which is the subject of the film Hoax starring Richard Gere). The film, as Welles tells us, is about ‘trickery and fraud’ and is filled with wonderful scenes where Welles, a keen amateur magician, performs feats of illusion and sleight of hand that would make any con-artist proud. Best of all, however, are the scenes showing Elmyr casually knocking out a Picasso or a Matisse whilst boasting that he’s never had one of his paintings turned down from a gallery or a museum and that his forgeries are on display, therefore, in every major space in the world. Whilst the penny drops on this thought we watch as he discards these would-be masterpieces, tossing them carelessly into the fire… Who needs to go through the faff of printing money when you can just draw it? Riveting stuff.




Kiarostami’s moving docu-drama about a poverty-stricken dreamer who longs for the opportunity to be an artist and to be respected. Hossain Sabzian poses as famous Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf and is subsequently arrested and put on trial for fraud. For a full review click here. Trivia that I have just noticed: Makhmalbaf’s IMDB page photograph is actually Sabzian taken from Close-Up. Nice touch!




The Return of Martin Guerre (1982)

Gerard Depardieuski, before pretending to be Russian, made this film where he pretended to be a man pretending to be a man returning to his wife (Nathalie Baye) and village after many years of absence at war. He is much changed and suspicions arise about his identity that eventually lead to his arrest and a trial that threatens not only him, but also his wife who accepted him. Remade as the dreadful Sommersby with Jodie Foster and Richard Gere.



Six Degrees of Separation (1993)

Based on the play of the same name, and in turn on a true story of a young man for whom the doors of high society opened upon his claim to be Sydney Poitier’s son… Will Smith’s feature debut is a smart, thought-provoking drama about a con-artist whose charms win him a place in the lives of the upper crust.




How can a rat be a chef? Pixar addresses that pressing question with their usual wit and panache. A young would-be chef with no culinary skills finds himself on the verge of being fired from his kitchen job when he discovers a furry diminutive genius who has no hope of realising his own dreams of becoming a top chef. The two join forces in a con that will have you checking every corner of a kitchen before you dine forever more…


New Releases: 21st Jan.



Guy Maddin (My Winnipeg, Saddest Music in the World) returns with this fantastical tale which is part noir, part ghost story and part re-telling of Homer’s Odyssey. Ulysses Pick (Jason Patrick) returns home after a long absence and journeys through his home, attempting to get to his wife (Isabella Rossellini) in her upstairs bedroom, but his progress is perpetually hampered by visions and ghostly encounters. Cert. 18




British film based on the classic 70s TV show of the same name. Cops in the flying squad who will do whatever it takes to put an old enemy away. Starring Damien Lewis (Homeland) and Ray Winstone (Sexy Beast). Directed by Nick Love (Football Factory). Cert. 15




Will Ferrell (Anchorman) and Zach Galifianakis (Hangover) star in this comedy that spoofs a presidential election campaign. Directed by Jay Roach (Austin Powers). Cert. 15




A film about making everyday count. British drama starring American actress Dakota Fanning (Man on Fire), presumably cast so the film would sell in America. Or perhaps because all our actors and actresses are already stateside. I wonder why when there are so many opportunities for them here….? Cert. 12















Video City Staff A-Z of Film: C is For…(pt.2)


C is for CAPTAIN BLOOD (1935)

If you enjoyed the slew of recent seafaring tales but wanted a little more pirate and a little less CGI, then I couldn’t recommend Michael  Curtiz’s romp Captain Blood more highly. It could have nothing to gain from the powers of modern technology, no need for blue screen, green screen or any other colour screen. The swashbuckling adventure takes us on a good Doctor’s Journey from law abider and upstanding citizen of 16th C England via warfare, slavery and pillage to pirate of the Caribbean.


Each member of the cast is as enjoyable as the next, Errol Flynn in his first leading role holds his own as the dashing hero while Olivia De Havilland matches his wry effeminate smile tooth for tooth. George Hassell plays the unwittingly useful but loveable governor Steed while Basil Rathbone and Lionel Atwill provide us with seething villainy. Good dialogue especially from Blood and his crew provide charm and humour, enriched by a particularly moving performance from Ross Alexander.

The well crafted cinematography of the film is thanks to Ernest Haller, who also leant his talents to Gone With the Wind, Rebel Without a Cause and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? One of the films highlights is a beautifully filmed and choreographed duel between the protagonist and fellow pirate lord Levasseur, complete with jagged rocks and crashing waves. The score was provided by Erich Korngold. the same composer who would later go on to work with Michael Curtiz, Eroll Flynn, and Olivia De Havilland on many other pictures (The Sea Hawk, Adventures of Robin Hood, Elizabeth and Essex).

This is a good Sunday afternoon film for most ages, then again, it is a great Tuesday morning or even thursday tea time film. Check it out before some massive studio snatches it up and re-hashes it into a CGI blinging, three-dimensional, space adventure. Captain Blood ticks all boxes of a great piratical adventure with flourishing swords, piles of plunder and of course the strong moral code (or at least set of guide lines).


For further pirate needs see The Crimson Pirate, starring ex-circus performer Burt Lancaster.

C is for Close-Up (1990) – directed by Abbas Kiarostami
A man aware of the hopelessness of his situation indulges in a diverting fantasy whereby he is allowed to escape from his life for a few days and become someone whom, in his own eyes and in the eyes of others, is respected and worthy of respect.

Close-Up tells the true story of Mr. Sabzian, a man with a love for cinema, who is struggling to support his family on the small income gained from his meagre job. A chance encounter with a woman on a bus leads him to tell an extraordinary lie – that he is Iran’s premier film-maker, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, director of Gabbeh and Kandahar etc – a lie which ultimately results in his imprisonment and being put on trial for fraud.

The ambiguous line between truth and lie, reality and illusion is at the centre of the story and here we have a film within a film, with the ‘hand of the author’ clearly visible in various scenes (the voice of the director; the sound boom in the corner of the screen; the whirring of the camera; the clapperboard etc), and it is unclear which parts of the film are documentary, which parts reconstruction. With the form mirroring the content perfectly, Kiarostami in characteristic  fashion weaves together fact and fiction until it is virtually impossible to tell them apart, adding to the questions concerning the nature of identity – for instance, the distance that so often exists between the ideal self and the real self – as well as the relationship, which is more implicitly explored, between trust and value.

To a certain extent, of course, we are all impostors, daily engaged in the struggle of the truth and lie of ourselves; our interior and exterior lives often mis-matching as we conceal our vulnerabilities and project a self we don’t always feel, protecting ourselves from emotional attack and vying for status amongst our peers. Whilst Sabzian’s own project – his dream of being able to use art as a vehicle for self-expression – is thwarted, he becomes the subject of another’s artistic venture – Kiarostami’s. Visiting Sabzian in jail, Kiarostami  asks if there is anything he can do for him, and Sabzian replies “You can make a film about my suffering” and later, when on trial, he tells Kiarostami “You are my audience.” Kiarostami, in making the film grants Sabzian  a space in which he can speak for himself, to have a voice and to be the author of his own story. Sabzian’s own art, his own opportunity for expression must therefore come through within the project of another, and he does so before the court and the judge, before the camera crew and therefore before the world with the beautiful honesty of an imposter who, having been caught red-handed, has the courage to reveal themselves, to speak the truth from his soul as it were. Even whilst his detractors accuse him of acting – for the camera, for the court, for life and the ‘world stage’ –  he reveals himself as more genuine than most as he drops the mask and the daily dodge that we so often renew.

Sabzian to Kiarostami: “Tell him (Makhmalbaf) that The Cyclist is a part of me.”
The symmetry of the film, a device which in the wrong hands can feel fraudulent with artifice in itself, here has a clear resounding beauty – Sabzian’s hero, Makmalbaf – the director whom he impersonated – comes himself at Kiarostami’s request to collect Sabzian as he comes out of jail and whisks him off on the back of his bike, later lending him money to buy flowers to give to the family he defrauded. Life imitates art now, as this is the exact story Sabzian himself invented in the alleged ‘film’ he was making which landed him in jail to begin with… Kiarostami leaves us wondering: Is this art or life? And which is which? And, anyway, is there any difference?

C is also for Coffee and Cigarettes (2003) and Clueless (1995).

Serial Killers


By Jesse Tadini Rybolt

Although the best of the last decade’s TV series can arguably reveal something about us, delivering their ideas to us in slow, measured doses – easy to devour narrative nibbles, trickling into our system week by week, day by day – the best and most incisive never seem to deliver the jaw-hanging wonderment, the scrape-your-eyes-out-of-your-sockets-in-sheer-joy ecstasy that our best contemporary and often relatively unwatched feature films do.

I’ve recently been devouring TV series, almost against my will – finding joy and sedative pleasure in the gradual unfolding – but all the while they’ve produced in me an overwhelming sense of guilt.

The feature-length film: like a symphony with its many movements it gives us something that does not promise the next episode, does not leave us in wait for next Sunday night; does not leave those of us watching a DVD in a state whereby we are prepared to cast aside relationships, jobs, our own creative endeavours, tax returns, children, and reduce us to running through the streets, screaming for more! “I need to know what side Sergeant Brody is on!”, “Who, tell me WHO killed Laura Palmer!?”, “Is Jack Bauer really dead…?” (of course not, he’ll never die).

Kiefer Sutherland of 24 nominated for Primetime Emmy Award

I have difficulty sleeping, when I was eighteen my family pooled together to buy me a laptop as a birthday present ahead of skipping off to university. Previously, I’d had an .mp3 player and music to relax me at night, to stop my head tearing off in different directions as I lay in bed and lullaby me to sleep. Now, much to my girlfriends behest, I watch whatever inane TV show I can currently get my hands on and let the sounds, images and gently unravelling plot, lull me to sleep. The problem is the purpose of this is to send me to sleep – and it works. The problem comes when awaking the next day, having fallen asleep right in the middle of a gun fight the previous evening, I need closure. Over breakfast I’ll watch the concluding half, oh, and maybe just one more episode, maybe just ten minutes of the next one, maybe just the title sequence of the one after that. Suddenly it’s time to go work. That which has helped me sleep has simply turned into a waking nightmare, dragging me through the day in a stupefied half-slumber, my brain never having been given the opportunity to engage with anything worthwhile, and properly switch on.


I am myself a victim, but while the quality, spearheaded by popular programs such as Mad Men and The Wire keeps coming, our nights (for some our days) are filled with a fictional world, that while introducing us to sights unseen and taking us deep into lives that are not our own, take us away from the far more incisive, far more mind-altering offerings available to us. They require slightly more investment in one dosage, roughly: 90-120 minutes as opposed to the customary 45/60 minutes of a TV serials’ individual episode. But when these films end, unlike our beloved series, we find we have been offered a step into a singular world, a succinct idea, something to mull over. A moment at a film’s conclusion gives us time; time to stop, sit still, consider that which is around us, or that which is inside ourselves, without the next installment looming in front of us like some kind of gargantuan genetically modified carrot that keeps us lurching on, giving us an excuse to not think. The serial only offers us distraction, an opportunity to carry on blinkered, waiting for an ending we all know will never be fulfilling. After the tenth season, ratings will drop, the writers who were convinced by steady and equally narcotic pay-increases that they could carve out a real world, a real ending, a real sense of place, are rushed to conclude. To turn what they have spent so long creating into little more than a hyper-extended Hollywood thriller; to kill everything off with a final twist, so bizarre and nonsensical and devoid of resonance that not even the staunchest advocate of Homelands’ merit can defend. There is too much money in this new breed of TV; they need to perform a function; they need to keep you hooked, coming back for more, maintaining your high.


Whilst a quality feature film will get off your back after the credits roll, it may still stay firmly lodged within your mind, but at least something personal to the makers, something authored and passionately executed, will hopefully by the end have presented what it needs to, said what the makers feel they had to express.

With so many people now carrying smartphones in their pockets and laptops in their homes, we’re increasingly finding ways of putting a screen in front of our eyes everywhere we look. We no longer need to communicate with those we live with, don’t even have to sit down and watch a film together at the end of the day – we can all plug into our individual screens and follow the characters of separate worlds, forgetting about our own. Then, when we do have to walk out of the house, we just continue watching on our phones (that were originally designed to connect us?). I’ve seen people watching TV walking down the street, only pulling themselves out of these audio-visual bubbles when getting on/off the train, walking into the pub, stepping into work – again finding themselves amongst the living. These series help us to think of nothing and continue with us through our day, whilst we remain plugged in and switched off. Let us not become consumed by that which we devour.


New Releases: 14th Jan.



American gangster tale set during prohibition centering around a group of brothers in the moonshine business and the crooked cops who move in on them. Starring Tom Hardy (Bronson), Guy Pierce (LA Confidential), Shia LaBeouf (Transformers), Mia Wasikowska (Jane Eyre) and Jessica Chastain (Take Shelter). Written by Nick Cave and directed by John Hillcoat (The Road and The Proposition). Cert. 18




A violent, futuristic city is policed by cops who act as judge, jury and executioner. A rookie cop, Judge Dredd, is on a mission to take down the gang responsible for push the reality-altering drug known as SLO-MO. Directed by Pete Travis (Vantage Point) and starring Karl Urban (RED) and Lena Headey (Game of Thrones). Cert. 18




An ensemble piece from Fernando Meirelles, director of City of God, weaving together the stories of a group of people from different backgrounds as their relationships intersect. Starring Anthony Hopkins (Silence of the Lambs), Rachel Weisz (Constant Gardener), Ben Foster (The Messenger) and Jude Law (Closer). Cert. 15




When an IRA bomb plot is foiled, the woman involved is given a choice: to suffer 25 years in prison or to become an informant for MI5. The difficulty for Colette (Andrea Riseborough, Brighton Rock, W.E.) is that those she must inform upon are members of her own family. When a secret IRA operation is interrupted, suspicions stir and Colette finds that her and her young son are in grave danger from those closest to her… Also starring Clive Owen (Croupier) and Gillian Anderson (X-Files). Directed by James Marsh (Man on Wire, Project Nim). Cert. 15




A Portuguese drama-fantasia split in two halves – the first, entitled Paradise Lost, is shot in 35mm and is set in present-day Lisbon where an elderly lady, Aurora, relies heavily on her maid and her neighbour to help make ends meet. On her death-bed, a strange man is summoned whom it transpires was the love her life. The second segment, entitled Paradise and shot in 16mm, sends us back to when Aurora was young and owned a game-hunting plantation somewhere in the African bush and was entangled in a passionate relationship with a handsome musician… Romantic verging on the poetic sublime, with fantastic cinematography and an imaginative soundtrack – one not to miss. Portuguese with English subs. Cert. 15




If your wife, or sister, or daughter suffers from a nervous disposition, is prone to outbursts of demoniacal laughter at inopportune moments, or fits of weeping over polishing the spoons then, fear not, her condition is common. Hysteria is gripping the women of 19th Century London. But what causes it, pray? Apparently, nothing that a mechanical feather duster can’t fix – which is not to suggest they have been over-exerting themselves trying to clean the top shelves. A simple trip to the doctor will soon relieve your women-folk of their symptoms. Mechanical feather dusters: now available in all shapes and colours. Starring Hugh Dancy (Martha Marcy May Marlene), Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Secretary) and Rupert Everett (Importance of Being Ernest). Cert. 15




Drama from the director of Maria Full of Grace. An Albanian family is torn apart by a blood feud. Children under threat. Children taking up arms. Children becoming adults before their time. Could be straight from the 9 o’clock news. Albanian with English subs. Cert. 15




A freaky looking film. Probably rated 18.



So many frocks for such a little fella…

In case you missed the news, the cream of Hollywood have announced their nominations for the 2013 Academy Awards. Whilst we wait with bated breath to see what everyone will be wearing, you can divert yourselves by ruminating upon the following (click on links for the trailers, folks):


Django Unchained
Les Misérables
Life Of Pi
Zero Dark Thirty
Beasts Of The Southern Wild
Silver Linings Playbook


Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln has the most nominations with 12 in total, including for Daniel Day-Lewis, who seems to be the favourite for best Actor. Check out Daniel in his previous Oscar-winning roles in There Will Be Blood (2007) and My Left Foot (1989).


Despite being Mr. Hollywood, Schindler’s List has been the only film to win Best Picture that Spielberg has ever made. So far.


Life Of Pi – Ang Lee
Lincoln – Steven Spielberg
Amour – Michael Haneke
Silver Linings Playbook – David O. Russell
Beasts Of The Southern Wild – Benh Zeitlin


Denzel Washington – Flight
Bradley Cooper – Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln
Hugh Jackman – Les Misérables
Joaquin Phoenix – The Master


Emmanuelle Riva – Amour
Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook
Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty
Quvenzhané Wallis – Beasts Of The Southern Wild
Naomi Watts – The Impossible


Alan Arkin – Argo
Christoph Waltz – Django Unchained
Robert De Niro – Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Master (Check him out in Jack Goes Boating)
Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln


Amy Adams – The Master (Check her out in The Fighter and Julie and Julia)
Anne Hathaway – Les Misérables
Helen Hunt – The Sessions
Sally Field – Lincoln
Jacky Weaver – Silver Linings Playbook


Amour – Austria
A Royal AffairDenmark
War WitchCanada


Amour, nominated in both the Best Picture and Best Foreign Pic categories, is directed by Michael Haneke. If you know him not, then get on it now. Recommended essential viewing to get up to speed: The Piano Teacher, Hidden, White Ribbon, Funny Games and Code Unknown. That should keep you busy until Amour comes out on DVD (18th March, so stop asking).


5 Broken Cameras
The Gatekeepers
How To Survive A Plague
The Invisible War
Searching For Sugar Man



Michael Haneke – Amour
Quentin Tarantino – Django Unchained
Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola – Moonrise Kingdom
Mark Boal – Zero Dark Thirty
John Gatins – Flight

Taken To Our Shelves – Come And Prize Them Off


“I am quite at a loss ma’am; tossed from moment to moment like a pancake on a bat.”

British comedy mini-series, written by and starring Julia Davis, Hunderby is a brilliant parody of 19th century costume dramas – (drawing most obviously on Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca – look how the filthy housekeeper draws so hungrily the scent off her dead mistress’ undergarments) –  the likes of which any Brit with a TV knows before even knowing their own name. ‘Tis a delight to tickle the edges of even the droopiest mouth.



Surviving Life by avant-garde animator extraordinaire, Jan Svankmajer. A man goes to a psychoanalyst once his fantasy world gets out of hand. Expect a spectacle both bizarre and captivating, complete with bickering between the portraits of Freud and Jung. If only all therapy sessions could be so wonderfully insane, instead of just plain insane.

This Week’s New Releases: 7th Jan.



Following the success of her 2006 film, Away with Her, actress-turned-director Sarah Polley brings us another relationship-led drama again touching on the issues of extra-marital affections and, in this case of Take This Waltz, the question of whether love can ever remain fresh or if all relationships are destined to end in disappointment… The ever-watchable Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine) remains ever-watchable, portraying a woman whose sensitivity and seeming fragility in the face of sheer existence is sadly not sufficiently explored in the film, leaving the viewer wondering if loads of footage had been ditched from the final cut, or if Williams is just too good an actress for a script that promises more than it delivers. Still worth watching, but you may need to mutter a few reassuring words to your beloved at the end. Also starring Seth Rogen (Pineapple Express) and Luke Kirby (Labour Pains) and Sarah Silverman as the under-explored character of the alcoholic sister-in-law. Cert. 15




One of the most highly anticipated releases of recent months, The Imposter is one of a new generation of ‘super’ documentaries, shot and marketed like a Hollywood blockbuster – described by The Hollywood Reporter as a “mesmerising psychological thriller”. A boy goes missing in Texas and reappears three years later to be reunited with his family and yet…. AND YET, all is not what it seems. Or, more to the point, the boy is not who he seems. Or is he? Hmm.




Another documentary on the Rolling Stones because, apparently despite years of publicity, no-one knows anything about them. To be fair, this is meant to be pretty good so, rock on.



The first of two films made to mark the centenary of the great man who not only single-handedly kept Havana in the cigar trade, but whom apparently also made a few decent films as well. Made for HBO, The Girl stars Toby Jones as Hitchcock and Sienna Miller as Tippi Hedren, star of The Birds (and mother of Melanie Griffith).










Inspector Montalbano




New Releases: 1st Jan.



British director, Peter Strickland, who grabbed attention with his feature debut, Katlin Varga (2009) returns with this giallo-inspired drama about a sound engineer (played by the excellent Toby Jones) who finds employment on the production of an Italian horror film. Sounds dark, weird and potentially brilliant, with Strickland proving himself to be one to watch.




Comedy set in a remote village in Ireland which finds itself invaded by alien creatures from the sea who are allergic to alcohol. Naturally, to save themselves, the village have a giant piss-up.  Well, feck, what can you do?



the-hour-banner-season-2The British cold-war era espionage thriller series, starring Dominic West (The Wire), returns for a long-awaited second season.