To enjoy yourself at the cinema, all you need is to be convinced that what you’re watching reflects reality. This movie is slow to find its rhythm, but gets there in the end. Seeing Ben and Alex (Idris Elba and Kate Winslet) hastily arranging for a privately owned twin-engine plane to get them out of snow-bound Idaho is clunky in the extreme, with both actors merely going through the motions – it is the sort of preamble that writers just want to get out of the way.
You would be forgiven for imagining that Paris in the swingin’ sixties was a vibrant, colourful city. There is no hint of that, however, in Stanley Tucci’s movie about the famous Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti (Geoffrey Rush).
I hung in, and I hung in (stoicism can be the reviewer’s essential trait), but with barely ten minutes remaining I yielded to the anguished cry from within – ‘get me out of here!’
When resurrected for the screen, events from the not-too-distant past can often take on an unexpected but spiky relevance to the contemporary social climate.
In November 2008, members of the Islamic terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba stormed the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai. At the end of a siege that lasted four days, 166 guests and employees of the Taj were dead.
The trouble with this schlock/horror flick (and it’s an observation that might be made of all cinema aimed at younger audiences these days) is that there is no climax.
A ski lift is careering down a mountainside. Inside it are two of our heroes. They are yelling and screaming as they bounce around like pinballs.
Judi Dench is back as Queen Victoria, and to all intents and purposes she has continued on from where she left off in Mrs Brown (1997) – which was probably director Stephen Frears’s intention.
Much as we don’t like to be (so many people boast that they’re not), we are all judgmental, and this is one of those rare movies that subtly propels you from one stern point of view to its opposite and at the end leaves you uncertain about where you stand.
As Anne, a wealthy American socialite living in Paris, Toni Collette is the ‘madame’ referred to.
There is an astonishing moment in this endlessly vile and lousy movie.
Just off the cuff, I don’t think that I have ever seen a chase scene shot in Amsterdam. And as far as that weary old action-flick standby goes, it is a beauty too, involving a motorbike and a speedboat fanging along the canals, as well as the usual screaming, smashing, summersaulting cars.
Presenting a little girl with a doll will eventually be regarded as an act of child abuse. There is no scarier prop in the horror movie genre and I wouldn’t have one in the house for all the farms in Cuba.
Tom Cruise comes with so much baggage, doesn’t he? To the point that it’s difficult to see him in any movie now without getting the impression that you are only watching him play himself (not that he would be the first actor to do this.
You really do need to savour movies such as this when they come along. Even at their silliest, as in Snakes On A Plane (2006), they manage to exploit our deepest, primal fears at the same time as they have us queueing up for more.
Halfway through this heist flick, there is a sequence that reveals more clearly to outsiders what the US is all about than anything you might see on the news or read in countless columns of the commentariat. The Coca-Cola 600, an annual NASCAR event, is about to commence.
Make no mistake, the hero of this is the Gun. Roland (Idris Elba) is the last in a long line of gunslingers living on a distant planet. His credo, pronounced with solemn piety before he shoots his victim, is ‘I kill with my heart’ – and he’s the good guy!
If you agree that the next war being arranged for us by the man-baby presidents of the US and North Korea will result in such annihilation that the following one will be waged with sticks and stones, then you might be surprised by the ‘sophistication’ of the weaponry envisioned for the future by director Luc Besson.
It might stretch the plausibility test, but this movie of charm and hope comes as welcome respite from the daily gormlessness of uncivil society.
There are more ways to kill a cat than by choking it with butter – which is to say that it has taken a long time for mainstream cinema to come up with a movie about a Muslim that is light-hearted but intelligent rather than earnest and self-congratulatory.
Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan’s 2010 culinary odyssey around the UK was originally shown over six episodes on BBC TV.
Obviously, being a Coppola makes it easier to get a director’s gig. Eleanor (wife of Francis) has provided us with a movie that is both a puerile and glossy travelogue of business-class France and a terminally boring homage to gluttony and pomposity.
Following on from Rise of (2011) and Dawn of (2014), Matt Reeves’s film completes what has been a brilliant and unexpectedly profound trilogy.
There is a terrific line in an Ani Difranco song: ‘If my life were a movie, everything I said would be interesting’.
Every blue moon, you find a connection between director and subject that is nothing short of alchemical.