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  • Toni Erdmann

    Toni Erdmann

    ★★★½

    I'm at a slight loss to know what to say about this film. I enjoyed it throughout, laughed a lot at various places, but it really is profoundly odd.

    I think I had assumed that the British had the monopoly on the 'comedy of cringe', where the comedy arises out of massive social awkwardness, but on the evidence of this (German) film, German directors (in this case, Maren Ade) can be pretty excellent at it too.

    Winfried worries about his…

  • Everlasting Moments

    Everlasting Moments

    ★★★½

    A lovely, reflective film about a woman in 1900s Sweden who finds solace in photography. She wins a camera in a lottery, but doesn't use it for years until curiosity - and perhaps a need to have something for herself that isn't connected to her drunken, abusive husband - leads her to pick it up and learn how to use it. She is an observant person, and has an eye for a moment to capture, eventually making a little money…

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  • The Secret of Kells

    The Secret of Kells

    ★★★★★

    Along with Grave of the Fireflies, I think this has to be the most beautiful animated film I've seen. I was entranced and stunned by the sheer style of it the whole way through. The story is based around the creation of the Book of Kells - an illuminated Gospel produced around 800 AD, but weaves in elements of Celtic mythology. The hero - a young monk called Brendan - lives in the monastery of Kells, where his Uncle is…

  • Venus

    Venus

    ★★★½

    A blackly-comic film centred around three elderly actors, and the infatuation that Maurice (played by Peter O'Toole) develops for a young woman.

    It's such a treat to see a film focussing on older characters, and with such incredible actors, it becomes a privilege. For example, there are some wonderful scenes in which O'Toole, Leslie Phillips and Richard Griffiths sit in a cafe and chat. It's touching, funny, at times gloriously foul-mouthed, and I could watch an entire film in which…