• Mass

    Mass

    ★★★★

    Conversations and thinkpieces about the best performances of a year are obviously arbitrary and subjective, but I'm surprised that Martha Plimpton doesn't feature in more of them. Or even Reed Birney, who has perhaps the hardest role here in that he has to be most emotionally restrained (not to discredit the other two very good performances by Ann Dowd and Jason Isaacs).

    It maybe buckles slightly under the weight of its subject matter (there were moments, for example, where I…

  • Memoria

    Memoria

    ★★★★

    Both times I've seen this there's been one guy who's done his hardest to be as disruptive as possible. Today it was a (possibly drunk?) guy who went to get a drink, then moved seat, then left a further 5-6 times within the last hour. Just... why?

    On first viewing, I spent more energy on trying to work out what was going on. This time I was happy to let it wash over me and I think I enjoyed it…

  • The Lost Daughter

    The Lost Daughter

    ★★★★

    Wasn't sold on the ending, the pacing occasionally drags a touch and personally wanted a bit more from Colman and Johnson's relationship, but its constituent parts are otherwise very impressive and it's ultimately all held together by the brilliant duo of Colman and Buckley.

  • Happy-Go-Lucky

    Happy-Go-Lucky

    ★★★★

    Second part of my impromptu back-to-back Mike Leigh double-bill.

    Seen a few films recently which simply involve characters just Doing Stuff (e.g. Licorice Pizza, Petite Maman). It's a lovely (sub?)genre(?) of film and this is another great example. The last couple of scenes do feel a bit 'right this is where we're ending it now, better wrap this up', but the film has such an empathetic heart and key to that is Sally Hawkins, who is wonderful in this.

  • Career Girls

    Career Girls

    ★★★

    Had an impromptu back-to-back Mike Leigh double-bill and had a lovely time.

    There was something charming about this that ultimately didn't stop me finding it a bit insubstantial on reflection. Steadman and Cartlidge make an engaging pair, even if their performances as their characters' younger selves feel affected rather than wholly lived in. Leigh also tries to get away with a string of credulity-stretching coincidences by having the characters comments on how unbelievable it is, which doesn't really work.

    Perfectly watchable though.

  • Licorice Pizza

    Licorice Pizza

    ★★★★

    I was wrong before.

  • Spider-Man

    Spider-Man

    ★★★★

    If I didn't already have a soft spot for this film I'd probably be harsher on it now. Uncle Ben's death hits different in a way it doesn't when you're seven-years-old, but there are definite weaknesses in the writing and Tobey Maguire's apparent inability to express emotion through his face (in the hospital scene with Kirsten Dunst he's barely even moving his lips) is simultaneously infuriating and exactly why the film is convincing as the story of a melt who…

  • Licorice Pizza

    Licorice Pizza

    ★★★

    I don't think I've ever seen a Paul Thomas Anderson I haven't felt I needed to watch more than once to fully appreciate, so it's possible this will grow on me the next time I see it. The first time I saw Phantom Thread, it felt like a film so without cliché that I couldn't even begin to tell where the story was going. Licorice Pizza is similarly unpredictable but in a way that feels more scattershot and less disciplined.…

  • Spider-Man: Homecoming

    Spider-Man: Homecoming

    ★★★

    Found most of it quite annoying but then found the last half hour very funny. For a number of reasons that I can't be bothered to go into here, the Sam Raimi films will probably always be the best imo (except maybe 3) but I accept that there are kids growing up on these films who will have that same attachment, which is obviously a lovely thing.

  • The Power of the Dog

    The Power of the Dog

    ★★★★

    There Will Be Dog.

  • Mothering Sunday

    Mothering Sunday

    ★★★★

    A lot more interesting than the poster makes it look.

  • Naked

    Naked

    ★★★★★

    May or may not write something more substantial about this when I'm not reeling because my current thinking about it basically boils down to 'fucking hell.'

    It's both harrowing and laugh-out-loud funny, nihilistic and hopeful, tender and brutal.

    The screen can barely contain David Thewlis. Lesley Sharp has one of the most shattering single-tear cries ever. She's amazing in it.

    When it cuts to black it feels like you've woken up from a nightmare.