In Cinemas Now
Doctor Strange (12A.)
Directed by Scott Derrickson.
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Mads Mikkelsen, Benedict Wong and Tilda Swinton. 115 mins
Marvel's big screen incarnation of The Avengers are the modern equivalent of The Rat Pack, a cosy, casual boys club (with Scarlett as the Angie Dickinson figure) celebrating relaxed success and casual superiority that is the only gang worth being in. Benedict Cumberbatch's successful introduction should see him successful ensconced as the group's Peter Lawford.
Directed by Ron Howard.
Starring Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Irrfan Khan, Omar Sy, Sidse Babett Knudsen and Ben Foster. 121 mins.
There's something rather touching and noble about this third adaptation of a Dan Brown bestseller. Having had a huge box office success with their turgid Da Vinci Code film, it would have been easy for Hanks and Howard to walk away, counting their money. But their Boy Scout sense of honour has compelled them to keep going back to the adventures of Robert Langdon and try and make a good one. Boy they really give it everything – a great cast, a Hans Zimmer score, beautiful locations. But you can't make a silk purse out of a Dan Brown novel.
American Honey (15.)
Directed by Andrea Arnold.
Starring Sasha Lane, Shia LaBeouf, Riley Keogh, McCaul Lombardi, Crystal B. Ice and Verronikah Ezell. 164 mins
In American cinema everything becomes a road movie eventually. Andrea Arnold's most acclaimed British film, Fish Tank, was about the life of an underclass girl stuck on an Essex council estate, a poetic take on the kitchen sink drama. In America that kitchen sink is on wheels and has miles of empty road ahead of it. Having scavenged a chicken from the bins Star (Lane) takes a shine to LaBeouf in a supermarket carpark. He lures her away to join a ragtag collection of tattooed, dreadlocked, pierced youth, crossing the country in a camper van, drinking, fighting, getting high, listening to rap music and … selling magazine subscriptions door-to-door. Apparently such magazine crews are a phenomena in the States but it seems like an odd business model.
I, Daniel Blake (15.)
Directed by Ken Loach.
Starring Dave Johns, Hayley Squires, Dylan McKiernan, Briana Shann, Mick Laffey and Harriet Ghost. 100 mins
Ken Loach is a director from over here doing rather well over there. Aged 80, he came out of retirement to make one more film about a decent man trying to get what he is due out of a callous, privatised benefits system, and came home with the Barn D'Or from Cannes, the second time he has captured the top prize. They love him over there. Over here we respect their passion and the invisible skill with which they are made, we are a little bit wary: like letters in brown envelopes, they never bring good news. And over the years the news has got worse and worse.
Directed by Nicolas Stoller, Doug Sweetland.
Featuring Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, Jennifer Aniston, Ty Burrell, Kelsey Grammer and Anton Starkman. 90 mins
It's a quirk of our society that having and raising children is a reveared, celebrated activity, but that society no longer has any use for children who are childish. Every cultural force is pushing for them to grow up as quickly as possible. Storks, a children's animation that doesn't seem to have any real feel for entertaining children, may be the apotheosis of this.
The Girl On The Train (15.)
Directed by Tate Taylor.
Starring Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson, Luke Evans, Justin Theroux and Edgar Ramirez. 112 mins
If you haven't read the book, I think you will come away from the film version thinking that Paula Hawkins must have a hell of a way with words to have spun this into a best seller; broken down into the rudiments of a screenplay the plot of The Girl on a Train seems to be a very thin thing. A woman spying on the house of her ex-husband and his new family during her daily commute is a decent start; having her create a fantasy around the perfect life of a woman who lives two doors down and then having that woman disappear is quite a stretch. You assume the story will deliver some cunning twists to justify all the contrivance: in fact the story turns on the alcoholic title character (Blunt) blacking out at a crucial moment and not remembering what happened on the night of the disappearance.
War on Everyone (15.)
Directed by John Michael McDonagh.
Starring Alexander Skarsgård, Michael Peña, Theo James, Tessa Thompson, Caleb Landry Jones, Stephanie Sigman and Paul Reiser. 98 mins.
Film maker John Michael McDonagh is the more talented but less celebrated brother of playwright/ film maker Martin McDonagh. Brother Martin made the widely acclaimed In Bruges, with Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleason, but came a cropper when he went to America to make Seven Psychopaths. JMM made his mark with The Guard and Calvary, two inspired black comedies featuring Gleason, and has now come even bigger cropper in America, with this tale of two corrupt coppers in Alburqueue. The swagger of the title is that this will be a sweeping assault on all taboos where nothing is sacred and nothing will be off limits. The reality is a frenetic hyperactive cartoon critique of frenetic hyperactive cartoons. If nothing else it is a bold and foolhardy endeavour. Yes, it falls flat, but it's falling flat from a great height.
Blood Father (15.)
Directed by Jean-François Richet.
Starring Mel Gibson, Erin Moriarty, William H. Macy, Dale Dickey, Michael Parks and Diego Luna. 88 mins
Blood Father is short but fearsome; much like its leading man. At the start of the film a bearded, ex-con Gibson very grumpily tells hi support group he has been clean and sober for two years. And that’s the message audiences are supposed to take from this lean thriller: Mel’s still mean, moody and mad, but he’s also repentant.
Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children (12A.)
Directed by Tim Burton.
Starring Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Ella Purnell, Samuel L. Jackson, Allison Janney, Terence Stamp and Judi Dench. 127 mins.
This is a film that is about people who are stuck in a time loop, a cosy little bubble, where they get to happily and successfully repeat the same party tricks and idiosyncrasies over and over again, untouched by the outside world. A mildly cynical person might suggest that this is a perfect subject for a Tim Burton film, a man who has been peddling much the same dark visions throughout a thirty-year directing career. A very cynical person might suggest that that would be to vastly over estimate the quality of his film making for the last decade and a half which have been dark shadows of the stuff that made him famous.
Deepwater Horizon (15.)
Directed by Peter Berg.
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, Gina Rodriguez, John Malkovich, Dylan O'Brien and Kate Hudson. 108 mins
Near the beginning of this re-staging of the 2010 oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, there is a scene that will chime with anyone frustrated by the general inaudibility of dialogue in Hollywood films. While flying in by helicopter Mr. Jimmy (Russell) notices something happening on his rig that he doesn't approve of. As the helicopter lands he interrogates the welcoming committee about it beneath the din of the still whirling blades. Afterwards he is asked what they said and admits that he couldn't hear a thing.
Urban Hymn (15.)
Directed by Michael Caton-Jones.
Starring Shirley Henderson, Letitia Wright, Isabella Laughland, Ian Hart, Steven Mackintosh, and Shaun Parkes. 117 mins.
The Heroic Inspirational Teacher movie is a well established minor genre – there's one along every three to four years – but the Heroic Inspirational Sociology Lecturer turned Social Worker movie might prove to be rather less appealing. Still there are Heroic Inspirational anythings these days – chefs, choir masters, etc – so why not?
Under The Shadow (15.)
Directed by Babak Anvari.
Starring Narges Rashidi, Avin Manshadi, Bobby Naderi, Ray Haratian and Arash Marandi. In Persian with subtitles. 84 mins
Under the Shadow, a ghostly chiller set during the Iran/ Iraq War, is one of the most unusual movies you'll see all year. It's also totally formulaic. Life in a Tehran apartment block in 1988 that is rapidly becoming deserted as tenant flee the Iraqi missile bombardment, is not a location I can recall another British director choosing for a debut feature. But its story about a family coming apart as a supernatural force takes over their child has been used in every other major scary movie of the last few years, as has the briefly-glimpsed-creepy-figures-in-the-dark style of tension. It's familiar chills, in an unfamiliar setting.
The Magnificent Seven (12A.)
Directed by Antoine Fuqua.
Starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio, Lee Byung-Hun, Haley Bennett and Peter Sarsgaard. 133 mins
The remake of the Magnificent Seven is a western made in the new old fashioned way. Although the western was pronounced dead at least three decades ago, they keep popping up from time to time, but not like this. Fuqua's take is not revisionist or deconstructionist or elegiac or horror hybrid or contemporary spaghetti or Tarantinoesque, it is a cowboy film as cowboy films used to be: a big mainstream entertainment. In those terms it succeeds better than most of the summer's blockbuster offerings.
The Girl With All The Gifts (15.)
Directed by Colm McCarthy.
Starring Sennia Nanua, Gemma Arterton, Paddy Considine, Glenn Close, Fisayo Akinade and Anamaria Marinca. 111 mins
The zombie apocalypse remains the culture's preferred end-of-it-all fantasy, and one that the British have traditionally been rather good at: Shaun of the Dead, Dead Set, even, Cockneys vs Zombies. The most thoroughly British of British zombie films is Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later, a film so PC it refused to label its packs flesh eating creatures Zombies: they may rip apart human flesh but there’s no need for them to be stigmatised. The Girl With is another rather fine and well-mannered zombie movie, and just as in 28 Days Later the menace isn't from the undead, but creatures who have become flesh eaters due to a virus.
The Lovers and the Despot (PG.)
Directed by Ross Adam, Robert Cannan.
Featuring Choi Eun-hee and Shin Sang-ok. 96 mins
Movie buffs are generally not the type of person one wants to associate with, on account of them of them being a bit nerdy and not comfortable in social situation. This principle is perfectly exemplify by history's most fanatical film buff, Kim Jong-il. The communist equivalent of Little Lord Fauntleroy, he grew up in seclusion, not allowed to play with other children as he was groomed for dictatorship and in such a bubble he instinctively turned to the movies for inspiration. So while he was still waiting to become the Dear Leader he kidnapped the south's most famous star and director to make film's for him.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (12A.)
Directed by Taika Waititi.
Starring Sam Neill, Julian Dennison, Rima Te Wiata, Rachel House, Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne and Rhys Darby. 101 mins
A few weeks ago when a critic-selected list of the best films of the century so far, the one with Mulholland Drive at number one, was announced many real people complained that it was just full of obscure, boring films that critics liked and none that real people liked (except Mad Max: Fury Road and as it's on that list you're not so sure about that one now.) This week you are going to see lots of rave reviews from film critics about a New Zealand film with an odd title from a director with a hard to pronounce name and I'd just like to take this opportunity to reassure all you real people out there that this time, we know what are talking about: we speak for you all. You're going to love this - probably be one of your films of the year.
Bridget Jones's Baby (15.)
Directed by Sharon Maguire.
Starring Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey, Sarah Solemani, Jim Broadbent and Emma Thompson. 123 mins
Renee Zellwegger may no longer bear much resemblance to Renee Zellwegger but she still, more or less, looks and sounds like Bridget Jones. More importantly, after the misfiring second film, this third instalment looks and sounds just about as good as the first one, which is the really very good indeed.
Blair Witch (15.)
Directed by Adam Wingard.
Starring James Allen McCune, Callie Hernandez, Corbin Reid, Wes Robinson, Valorie Curry and Brandon Scott. 89 mins
After 17 years in which the found footage/ shaky cam horror gimmick has been done to death, the director of the much admired The Guest, has decided to go back to the source. In doing so, he and scriptwriter Simon Barrett have tried to second guess the audience's answer to the question, “And how would you like your new Blair Witch film?” The answer they've come up with is, “Same again with bells on, please.”
Captain Fantastic. (15.)
Directed by Matt Ross.
Starring Viggo Mortensen, George McKay, Samantha Isler, Kathryn Hahn, Steve Zahn, and Frank Langella. 119 mins.
Viggo Mortensen is Captain Fantastic, a counter culture figure raising his family of six kids in the wilds of the Rockies and teaching them survival skills; the classics of literature and philosophy; and to think for themselves. Which all sounds like something Viggo Mortensen would do. Then he hears that his hospitalised wife has died and his father in law, Langella, will call the police if he attempts to attend the funeral: which sounds like a thing Langella would do. So it's time for a road trip in the family bus – because that is how eccentric outsiders resolve things in Hollywood films.
Directed by Martin Scorsese. 1990
Starring Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco and Paul Sorvino. 146 mins. Part of Warner Brothers Iconic Moments Collection.
Seeing Goodfellas for the first time – opening day matinee, Screen on the Green – is one of those cinema trips I'll never forget. It was one of those rare occasions you see a new film and realise that you have seen something monumental, a classic. Usually you work that out a few years later. With this you knew straight off that it was going to change things.
Shining - Extended Edition. (15.)
Directed by Stanley Kubrick.
Starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers, Barry Nelson and Joe Turkel. 144 mins.
At last the Brothers Warner have gotten around to releasing the full length version of Kubrick’s horror classic on Blu-ray, two years after it was put back in cinemas. This 144 minute version which Kubrick cut down to two hours while it was still on release. It is therefore the version that was savaged by American critics who after Barry Lyndon were perhaps predisposed to see Kubrick as a spent force and sensed they could claim their biggest scalp since David Lean and Ryan’s Daughter.
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (18.)
Directed by Milos Forman. 1975
Starring Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, William Redfield, Will Sampson, Brad Dourif, Christopher Lloyd, Scatman Crothers and Danny De Vito. 131 mins. Part of the Warner Brothers Iconic Moments Collection.
Is forty years enough to make something a timeless classic? If so I think this will be the first in the enclosure. It's a film that was absolutely of it time, yet seems almost untouched by the passing of four decades. (It still has its 18 certificate after all these years, though it would have been an X when it was relelased.) It's the Casablanca of the counter culture generation and Nicholson is its Bogart.
Love and Death (PG.)
Directed by Woody Allen. 1975
Starring Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Olga Georges-Picot, Henry Czarnik and Harold Gould. 85 mins. Part of the Arrow Academy Woody Allen: Six Films 1971 – 1978.
We would come in time to despair of Allen's obsession with Ingmar Bergman and the giants of Russian literature - the Dosts and the Cheks, the Ovs and the Skys, Tols and the Oys – but forty years ago he could still see the funny side of them and this glorious send up is not just the last of The Early Funny Films, but also probably the funniest.
When Marnie Was There (15.)
Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi.
Featuring Sara Takatsuki, Kasumi Arimura, Nanako Matsushima, Susumu Terajima, Toshie Negishi and Ryôko Moriyama. 103 mins. Dubbed English/ Japanese with subtitles. Out on Blu-ray from Studiocanal.
Few films that have come out this year have the poignancy of this Japanese animation. The sadness comes less from its story of a lonely young girl finding friendship when she is sent to the country to recover from a bout of ashma, and much more from it being, as things stand, the final film from the legendary Studio Ghibli. The retirements of its two leading directors and co-founders, Isao Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki, (this is the first Ghibli film that neither of them have contributed to) have left a gap that the rest of the company has failed to fill. When Marnie underperformed in Japan on its 2014 release it announced a “temporary” halt to production.
Of course, if you are banking the future of a company on a single film than maybe not go with a downbeat, pre-teen, supernatural, chaste lesbian romance.
The Sacrifice. (15.)
Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. 1986
Starring Erland Josephson, Susan Fleetwood, Valeire Mairesse, Allan Edwall, Gudrun Gisladottir. 145 mins
It’s hard to imagine two more diverse directors than Woody Allen and Tarkovsky. They do though have one thing is common - a debilitating admiration for Ingmar Bergman. For his final film (cancer would claim him soon after it was completed) Tarkovsky, who had defected from the Soviet Union, pitched up in Sweden and prepared for the end of the world, stocked up on Bergman touches.
Woody Allen: six Films 1971 - 1978 (18.)
Bananas (1971), Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex *But Were Afraid to Ask (1972), Sleeper (1973), Love and Death (1975), Annie Hall (1977) and Interiors (1978.) Directed by Woody Allen. 527 mins. Available on Blu-ray
Or The Early Funny Ones. Or more precisely: four of the early funny ones, the indisputable masterpiece and the first serious one. The funny ones that are missing are both pretty funny: Allen's debut Take The Money And Run, a mockumentary about bank robber built around gags and routines from his stand up days that was made by a different company and seems to have come adrift from his other films; Play It Again Sam which, even though it was adapted from his play and featured the first on screen pairing with Diane Keaton, doen't count as a Woody because it was directed by Herbert Ross.
Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Sex * But Were Afraid To Ask (18.)
Directed by Woody Allen. (1972.)
Starring Woody Allen, Gene Wilder, Louise Lasser, Tony Randall, Burt Reynolds, Lynn Redgrave, Anthony Quayle and John Carradine. 88 mins. Available on Blu-ray, seperately or as part of the Woody Allen: Six Films 1971-1978 box set from Arrow Academy.
These days everybody wants to about know Woody Allen's sex life but are afraid of what they might find out. We prefer to forget that in his earlier funny film his slightly seedy preoccupation with sex was actually one of the things we liked about him. To some extent that was down to the times, the era of sexual liberation and discovery, when the bright and articulate fought against the repressed and the square because they were certain that sex could only be a life force for good. It was also because the sexual ambitions of this weedy little guy were rather heroic, and his comic insights into sex and relationships were often the most truthful, and the most funny. He was also adept at balancing out his sexual successes and failures – the chump who is always rejected eventually becomes as dull and predictable as an all conquering stud. On screen he had a healthy balance of both.
Directed by Woody Allen. 1971.
Starring Woody Allen, Louise Lasser. 82mins. Out on Blu-ray from Arrow Academy, separately or as part of the Woody Allen: Six Films 1971 – 1978 boxset.
This is not his first film: in the sixties he'd made Take The Money And Run which was basically a visualisation of his stand up act as well as “directing” What's Up Tiger Lily, a redubbing of a Japanese film. But, when the credits roll it is clear that we are witnessing the start of a cosy, comfortable routine that would roll on, year in, year out for more than four decades with very few changes. United Artists are the company as they would be on all their films until they went under, and the familiar names of Charles H Joffe and Jack Rollins are listed as producers, as they would be on every Allen's project right up until their deaths in 2008 and 2015 respectively.
Warners Brothers Iconic Moments Collection.
This month Warners have launched a list of 22 (mostly) classic titles that are being re-released with new cover artwork built around one of the most memorable lines from the film. Now for some of these the choice is pretty obvious: if you don't know what they have chosen for Dirty Harry, Gone With The Wind, 300 and The Shining then don't stop walking till you reach the back of the class. I was going to include Casablanca in that list but actually “Here's looking at you, kid,” probably only gets in because “Play it again, Sam,” is a misquote, and even then, “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship,” must run it close.
Paths Of Glory (U.)
Directed by Stanley Kubrick. 1957.
Starring Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou, George Macready, Joseph Turkel, Timothy Carey and Richard Anderson. Black and White. 83 mins. Released on blu-ray by Eureka! Part of the Masters of Cinema series.
I don't know when 88 became such a big deal outside of white supremacist circles but there has been a flurry of Stanley Kubrick activity on either side of what would've been his 88th birthday. There was a big screen re-issue of Barry Lyndon, the Criterion collection release of Dr Strangelove, Warners included 2001, The Shining and Full Metal Jacket in their Iconic Moments collection and there was the art exhibition Day Dreaming With Stanley Kubrick. (Day dreaming – with Stanley Kubrick, why would you day dream with Stanley Kubrick? That is dysfunctinal irony.)
The Blue Dahlia (PG.)
Directed by George Marshall. 1946.
Starring Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, William Bendix, Howard Da Silva, Doris Dowling and Tom Powers. Black and white. 97 mins. Out on Blu-ray from Arrow Academy.
The Blue Dahlia is a film noir from the classic era of film noir, but that doesn't make it a classic film noir. In it baby faced tough guy Alan Ladd, a Haircut 100 Robert Mitchum, returns to LA from the war to find his wife (Dowling) is a lush holding wild parties in their home. Later that night she is murdered and Ladd, the chief suspect, has to try and avoid the police while trying to find the real murderer.
The Commitments (15.)
Directed by Alan Parker. 1991
Starring Robert Arkins, Michael Aherne, Angeline Ball, Maria Doyle, Dave Finnegan, Bronagh Gallagher, Felim Gormley, Glen Hansard, Dick Massey, Johnny Murphy, Kenneth McCluskey, Andrew Strong and Colm Meaney. 117 mins.
The worst thing about the collaborative nature of filmmaking is that there are so many different parts and aspects to it and any one of them can derail the process. The best thing is that sometimes, just sometimes, everything comes together and creates something that transcends the abilities of the people involved. Now, many very talented people were involved in making this film – such as future Booker prize winner Roddy Doyle, scriptwriters Ian La Frenais and Dick Clement, director Alan Parker – and probably quite a few not especially talented ones too. But I'd bet almost all of them would look back at what they did here and think that it represented the very best of them. Maybe they’ve gone on to do things as good, but surely not better. So watching this you are literally dropping in on people having the time of their lives.
The Night Of The Shooting Stars (12A.)
Directed by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani. 1982
Starring Omero Antonutti, Margarita Lozano, Claudio Bigagli, Massimo Bonetti, Norma Martelli and Enrica Maria Modugno. Italian subtitles. 103 mins.
There is only one thing worse than living under occupation – the period when that is coming to an end. This is the situation facing the villagers of San Minato in the summer of 1944: the Americans are approaching and the remaining Nazis and Black Shirt collaborators are trigger happy and desperate. Rather than gather in the Cathedral as the Nazis suggest, a group of villagers decide to head off into the countryside and try to make their way to the liberating force.
Three Films By Paolo and Vittorio Taviani (15.)
Padre Padrone (1977)/ The Night of the Shooting Stars (1982)/ Kaos (1984.) A dual format Blu-ray/ DVD boxset from Arrow Academy.
It often happens that a country will become film hotspot, producing a sudden rush of directors and films over a short time span that gets it noticed around the world, or at least around the world of film reviewers. So for a year or two Romania, Iran or South Korea will be under the spotlight, before the glut of “difficult” follow up films comes along to gently shoo away the interest. Which all gives some context to the incredible productivity of Post-War Italian cinema which for the best part of four decades turned out remarkable directors and remarkable films – De Sica, Rossellini, Fellini, Visconti, Antonioni, Pasolini, Rosi, Bertolucci and Leone – and did so year in, year out. Given that pedigree, perhaps it is understandable that the Brothers Taviani have been overlooked and forgotten – understandable, but unforgiveable.
Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. (1983.)
Starring Oleg Yankovskiy, Erland Josephson and Domiziana Giordano. 125 mins
If, like myself, you have Irish heritage, you'll know that whenever ex-pats get together all they want to do is talk about Ireland. After finishing Stalker, the director Andrei Tarkovsky, but not his family, was allowed to leave the Soviet Union to explore the idea of making a film set in Italy. And what did he want to do in this exciting new location? Make a film about missing Russia and the wrench of being estranged from the homeland. And he hadn't even left yet. The terrible thing about the resulting thing is that it validates all his fears and misery about leaving – it is a travesty of his Russian films, and is so mostly because he had become entirely infected by western decadence and self indulgence.
Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. 1979
Starring Aleksandr Kajdanovsky, Anatoli Solonitsyn, Nikolay Grinko and Alisa Freindlikh. 163 mins. Russian with subtitles. Released on Blu-ray and DVD by Curzon Artificial Eye.
There is a point midway through Stalker that is surely the quintessential Tarkovsky moment. The Zone is a guarded, forbidden area, filled with dangers where years earlier an extra terrestrial visitation occurred. Three men, led by a stalker, have entered the Zone in order to visit The Room, a place where your deepest, innermost wishes will be granted. Eventually they make it to the building that encloses The Room, it's a few hundred metres away, over a tame looking stretch of grass. So, do they go straight there? No, of course they bloody don't. The Stalker tells them the only safe way is a lengthy path that takes them well out of their way, through running water and a tunnel of terror. This is Tarkovsky: nothing is simple, nothing is easy and nothing is straightforward and the roundabout route is always the route to be taken.
Sid and Nancy (18.)
Directed by Alex Cox. 1986.
Starring Gary Oldman, Chloe Webb, Andrew Schofield, Xander Berkley and David Hayman. 112 mins. 30th Anniversary re-release.
All actors playing a famous musician have to try and deal with a seemingly insurmountable problem: no matter how hard they try to mimic their subject's abilities, they're not going to be as good. In this biopic of Sid Vicious, Gary Oldman has the opposite problem – he always seems to be a little bit too together in his musical performances. He knows all the lyrics for example, (particularly ridiculous when he's performing the wordy Somethin' Else) and his singing of My Way is a little too tuneful.
The Killing$ of Tony Blair (12A.)
Directed by Sanne van der Bergh, Greg Ward.
Featuring George Galloway, Peter Oborne, Lauren Booth, Seamus Milne, Will Self, Noam Chomsky, Clare Short and Ken Livingstone. 92 mins
This crowd funded documentary presents us with a look at a despicable, self aggrandising, self deluding, hypocritical, traitorous, political opportunist who will suck up to anyone if he feels it is expedient. And that Tony Blair doesn't come out of it too well either.