Much as I admired La La Land I never like to see one film sweeping the boards at the Oscar ceremonies – as Damien Chazelle’s film seems set to do this year – any more than I like to see the Lotto being won by one person instead of a syndicate.At the time of writing it’s 1/6 to win Best Film and Chazelle an equally...

‘Good fences make good neighbours’, wrote Robert Frost. The present – heavily symbolic – film re-writes that epithet to read, ‘some people build fences to keep people out and other people build them to keep people in’. Based on August Wilson’s Pulitzer pize-winning play of the same name, it deals with...

There are so many Christological echoes in this blistering World War II tale, by the end you expect messianic doctor Desmond Dos (Andrew Garfield) to say something like, “I am who I am” as he’s being stretchered off the battlefield. A pacifist from the outset, he enlists in the army on an ‘I refuse to bear arms’...

If you get the accent right, the part usually takes care of itself. Natalie Portman does that to an exemplary degree here – right down to Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy’s tendency to pronounce ‘r’ as ‘w’ – and ends up giving a performance of such quality that the film, like its title, truly belongs to her.That...

If there’s a more natural actor than Casey Affleck working in films today I’d like to hear about him. I wait for his films to come out like I once waited for those of Robert de Niro. He’s our new James Dean, our new Montgomery Clift. He understands the conflicts inherent in every scene with an innate intelligence. He seems...

If you told me last year that Ryan Gosling would be playing the romantic lead in a musical, I’d probably have called for the men in the white coats to take you away. On second thoughts, though, this actor has been nothing if not diverse in his career thus far. Why not a song-and-dance man to boot? He even plays the piano and makes a...

SilenceMartin Scorsese, who studied for the priesthood as a young man, has divided his directorial career between mainstream dramas and revisionist religious works like Kundun and  The Last Temptation of Christ. Silence falls into the latter category. It’s been in gestation for many years and chronicles the fortunes of a 17th-...

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