Favorite films

  • Remember the Night
  • Children of Paradise
  • The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
  • Ghost World

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  • So Funny It Hurt: Buster Keaton & MGM

    ★★★

  • Devil Dogs of the Air

    ★½

  • The St. Louis Kid

    ★★★★

  • The Doorway to Hell

    ★★

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  • So Funny It Hurt: Buster Keaton & MGM

    So Funny It Hurt: Buster Keaton & MGM

    ★★★

    A surprisingly shallow doc about Buster’s heartbreaking sojourn at MGM, in which the great historian and filmmaker Kevin Brownlow seems more preoccupied with clever visual segues than emotional truth. There are a few neat observations though, and some extraordinary clips, including a tourist’s home video of Buster shooting The Cameraman on location in New York City, Red Skelton’s subsequent rendering of a now lost scene from that classic film, and footage of Keaton delivering dialogue in Spanish and Italian as his joyless, inert MGM talkies were retooled for foreign audiences.

  • Devil Dogs of the Air

    Devil Dogs of the Air

    ★½

    Basically the same film as Here Comes the Navy, but not as good, and that was hardly In Which We Serve, was it.

    Pat O’Brien is the respected marine whose previously contented life rapidly degenerates when boyhood pal (and circus barnstormer) Jimmy Cagney arrives to train as a flier. Not only is the newcomer an egomaniac, but he’s also after O’Brien’s gal (Margaret Lindsay).

    The script is below-par but the main problem here is that Lloyd Bacon is just an…

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  • Ghost World

    Ghost World

    ★★★★★

    You can take your Juno, your Scott Pilgrim, even your Heathers, and chuck them in a skip, because Ghost World just does it all so much better. Well, all of it that's worth doing. I'm beginning to think this melancholy, bitingly hilarious crystallisation of teen ennui might be the only film I'll ever really need.

  • Sideways

    Sideways

    ★★★★★

    Wine is probably the most boring subject on Earth, so how come Payne’s film about a lonely, bitter best man (Paul Giamatti) taking the soon-to-be-groom (Thomas Haden Church) on a week-long tour of vineyards is so bloody good? Perhaps because of Giamatti’s astonishing characterisation, which imbues an arrogant, self-destructive, self-hating pseud with a completely disarming humanity. Or perhaps because it’s not really about wine at all, but love and friendship and the choices that people make that end up deciding…