Ray & Liz

Ray & Liz

Bleak and brilliant, Ray & Liz opens with scenes from a fly-infested council-flat bedroom where a man resides – sleeping, smoking, drinking, but never leaving. He passes the time looking out the window and listening to the radio. This is Ray, alcohol-dependant and isolated. These scenes make up one third of Richard Billingham’s Ray & … Continue reading

The Escape.

The Escape.

On the surface, Tara seems to have everything any mother and wife could ever want; two young children, an attentive husband, a beautiful house, two cars and financial security. With her husband earning enough money to support them both, Tara’s days are spent getting the children to and from the local primary school, tending to … Continue reading

Ethel & Ernest.

The cinematic adaptation of Raymond Briggs’ graphic novel, Ethel & Ernest tells the story of the artist’s parents – their marriage, their lives, their triumphs and tragedies. It opens with a brief interview with Briggs where he briefly describes how he remembers his parents and their relatively undramatic relationship. What follows is the tale of … Continue reading

Captain Fantastic.

Peter Bradshaw gave Captain Fantastic one star in the Guardian; describing its protagonist as “essentially a cross between Charles Manson and Captain von Trapp.” Although my reaction to the film completely opposes Bradshaw’s, I adore his description of Ben, the father of 6 children whom he is raising, educating and training in the wild, using … Continue reading

Demolition.

When a young woman dies, her father and husband sit in a hospital waiting room, trying to process the devastation. Now widowed, Davis approaches a vending machine with the aim of scoring some peanut M&Ms. When the machine jams and his money is wasted, he sets about writing a letter of complaint to the vending … Continue reading

The Grump.

Director Dome Karukoski has a personal connection to the subject matter of his latest film. The Grump is about one man’s isolation in a modern world he doesn’t recognise. In this case the grump is an ageing Finnish gentleman who built the house he lives in, eats the potatoes he grows and doesn’t trust anyone as … Continue reading

Ricki and the Flash.

We first meet Ricki (and the Flash) in a Californian bar where they perform Tom Petty’s American Girl to the boozing onlookers. The sequence is alive with the sound of fingers on strings, and convincing echoes and acoustic reactions that one would expect from the surrounding architecture. Meryl Streep’s own vocals fill your ears joyously … Continue reading

Maggie.

Henry Hobson’s debut Maggie is an indie zombie-drama about an unshakeable bond between a father and daughter. We first meet Midwest farmer Wade as he’s searching for his oldest child. Once reunited we quickly learn that he’s been looking for her for a fortnight. His efforts to bring his daughter home pay off, but only temporarily. … Continue reading

The Book of Life.

Now and again, amidst the mounds of garbage that studios churn out for children, films like The Book of Life appear. A film about bravery and love, The Book of Life is rich in aesthetic, witty in dialogue and enchanting in story. The film has layers which it glides back and forth between throughout its hour and a half … Continue reading

The Judge.

When charismatic lawyer Hank Palmer learns of his mother’s passing, he finds himself back in the town in which he grew up. Hank seems haunted by the town’s simplistic nature and its lack of change. He has happy memories of this place but they are overshadowed by his broken relationship with his father. Hank has … Continue reading