I've probably mentioned the blog.
My Neighbour Totoro (1988) Dakota Fanning, Elle Fanning, Tim Daly, Lea Salonga, Frank Welker. Dir: Hayao Miyazaki.
Two girls move to the country to be near their hospitalised mother and discover world of incredible creatures. Big warm hug of a movie; celebreates the pleasures and comforts of childhood imagination. Mostly plotless, it creates a feeling of wonder and enchantment and features some of cinema's most adorable creatures.
Much Ado About Nothing (2012) Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Reed Diamond, Nathan Fillion, Clark Gregg, Fran Kranz, Sean Maher, Jillian Morgese. Dir: Joss Whedon.
Beatrice and Benedick are constantly at odds, but can they be made to love each other? Many of Whedon’s favourite performers are given a chance to shine centre-stage in this smart, intimate adaptation that sells both the comedy and the drama, making the story seem remarkably fresh and enduring.
The Great Gatsby (2013) Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher, Jason Clarke, Elizabeth Debicki. Dir: Baz Luhrmann.
An eccentric millionaire throws extravagant parties in the hope of ensnaring a lost love. On a basic level, Gatsby isn’t a complicated story, and while Lurhman’s razzle-dazzle bravura maintains a dream-like aura through first half, by the second it’s very much just the sum of its parts, and so long.
Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex But Were Afraid To Ask (1972) Woody Allen, Louise Lasser, John Carradine, Tony Randall, Burt Reynolds, Gene Wilder, Jack Barry, Erin Fleming, Lynn Redgrave, Regis Philbin, Heather MacRae. Dir: Woody Allen.
A series of sketches built around sexual taboos. Amongst the weaker of Allen’s early knock-abouts. Though significantly superior to your average sex comedy, is still very patchy with some very tired material. Certain sequences standout – the Italian segment and Wilder’s Sheep affair – others are less funny than their conception.
The Haunted House of Horror (1969) Frankie Avalon, Jill Haworth, Dennis Price, Mark Wynter, George Sewell. Dir: Michael Armstrong.
Bored suspiciously old swinging-London teens visit a haunted house and one of them is murdered. The teenagers are so tediously samey it’s hard to know who’s dead and who isn’t, which is unfortunate because all you want is for irritating bunch to get slaughtered. Alas, hardly anything bloody happens!
The Iceman (2012) Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, Chris Evans, Ray Liotta, David Schwimmer. Dir: Ariel Vromen.
The story of John Kuklinski: a family man who was also a prolific mafia hitman. Shannon could pretty much read the phonebook and make it sound frightening. His intensity adds a lot to film that has a nice Scandi-esque cold sheen but is also undeveloped and hard to follow.
Populaire (2012) Romain Duris, Déborah François, Bérénice Bejo, Shaun Benson. Dir: Régis Roinsard.
A manager’s secretary is only good at typing, so he enters her in a competition. Easily overlooked as fluff, this is endearingly old-fashioned, not just in look, but in character-focus and uncynical romanticism. Predictable maybe, and faltering when looking deeper, its wit and charm make it worth ten-dozen bland romcoms.