Friday, 14 December 2018

For what it's worth...



Top Ten Films at the UK Box Office 
for the weekend of December 7-9, 2018:

1
 (1) Ralph Breaks the Internet (PG)
2 (4) The Grinch (U)
3 (2) Creed II (12A)
4 (3Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (12A)
5 (5Bohemian Rhapsody (12A)
6 (7) Nativity Rocks! (U)
7 (new) The Old Man & The Gun (12A) ***
8 (new) Sorry to Bother You (15) ***
9 (new) The Nutcracker - Royal Opera House (U)
10 (8) Robin Hood (12A)

(source: theguardian.com)

My top five: 
1. Die Hard 

2. Roma
3. It's a Wonderful Life [above]
4. The Wild Pear Tree
5. Sorry to Bother You


Home entertainment Top Ten (DVD/Blu-Ray/Download): 

1 (1) Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (PG)
2 (3) Ant-Man and the Wasp (12)
3 (9) Mission Impossible: Fallout (12) ***
4 (2The Greatest Showman (PG)
5 (17) Hotel Transylvania 3 (U)
6 (new) The Meg (12) ***
7 (6) The Grinch (2000 version, PG) ***
8 (4) Incredibles 2 (PG) ****
9 (8) Elf (PG) **
10 (7) Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (12) ***

(source: officialcharts.com)

My top five: 
1. Leave No Trace

2. First Reformed
3. Incredibles 2
4. Lucky
5. They Shall Not Grow Old


Top five films on terrestrial TV:
1. Point Break (Sunday, BBC1, 11.30pm)
2. Die Hard with a Vengeance (Tuesday, BBC1, 10.45pm)
3. The Empire Strikes Back (Saturday, ITV, 6.40pm)
4. Toy Story 2 (Thursday, BBC1, 3.45pm)
5. Toy Story (Wednesday, BBC1, 4pm)

Beast: "An Elephant Sitting Still"


Here is both an introduction and a final word. An Elephant Sitting Still marks the first feature of Hu Bo, a graduate of the Beijing Film Academy who, in his near-three decades on this planet, somehow also found the time to become a much-admired novelist. Yet the shift in tenses in that sentence is, tragically, no mistake: Bo took his own life in October 2017, leaving us in the unusual (so far as this viewer can recall unprecedented) situation of watching a first film we also know will be its maker's last. A patina of sentiment might have become attached to a project like this, yet the film itself presents to us as resolutely unsentimental. For starters, it runs ten minutes shy of four hours long (as Bo apparently intended); it unfolds in a harsh, metallic-grey rural China, closer to the territory traversed by the generally critical Jia Zhang-ke than the state-sponsored pageantry of a Zhang Yimou; and its characters look to have had all the warmth and compassion panel-beaten out of them by a society being reshaped towards rampant self-interest. As filmed suicide notes go, it is defiant, confrontational, more "fuck you" than "help me" - though there's equally an element of "God help us all" in evidence during its more reflective and despairing passages.

Short Cuts or Magnolia-like structure divides the four hours between four unhappy souls. Two are teenagers: a highschooler who leaves his abusive father behind and heads to a school where the teachers are as bullying as the pupils, and a female contemporary living with her lush of a mother. The third strand involves two twentysomething lovers carrying on an affair; the fourth a grandfather being put into care by a family who've determined they no longer have the time or space for him. It takes the best part of forty-five minutes to establish how these people might be linked, but by then Bo's made it very clear their future interactions are unlikely to be wholly positive. The old man has his dog set upon in a back alley and takes to walking around with a pool cue in his hand; one of the schoolkids reveals he's liberated a handgun from his dad's collection; the woman's husband comes home early one afternoon and, upon discovering he has been cuckolded, leaps to his death from a fourth-floor window. It is, shall we say, unlikely ever to be sold or seen as China's answer to Love, Actually; the film's festive release date in the UK presumably corresponds to the extra time cinemagoers are thought to have on their hands at this time of year.

Bo's literary background becomes evident in the way these stories knot up (the husband's death sets the lovers against one another, standing up to one bully improves nobody's life) and in his skilful threading of motifs: the titular creature, rumoured to exist in a small town where the residents prod and poke him like King Kong in New York, is but one poor beast in a script spilling over with bleak anecdotes about doomed cats and dogs. That script's sudden revelations are aided by a singular, fascinating camera choice that breaks with most of the conventions we associate with "epic cinema": we get four hours of close-ups on the main characters that relegate others to a fuzzy non-focus in the background, and (until the very last minutes) a steadfast refusal to provide anything that might resemble an establishing shot. It's a bold gambit that meshes with the film's themes and generally pays off: just as these shortsighted characters can't see much beyond their own lives, their own circumstances, so too we onlookers can't entirely see what's coming up around the bend for them. 

If Elephant is never as predictable in its pessimism as it might have been - we keep an eye on it, if only because we worry just how bad things are going to get - it nevertheless goes down as the season's most demanding sit. Even before we notice the intimations of suicide dotted through the film like teardrops (defenestrating hubby is but the start), Elephant asks us to enter and then inhabit at length the imagination of a creative who saw the world as utterly lacking in joy, cheer or colour. Of all the film's demands, the greyness of its palette becomes the most oppressive: it's a concrete car park of a movie, and it takes at least three hours for Bo's camera to find some way out into the wider world. There's an unyielding quality about the film of the type one sometimes observes in self-righteous adolescents, and which might seem admirable, if it weren't also unworkable and to some degree insufferable over the long run. Bo's youthful missteps include the decision to set dog on dog as an entirely too on-the-nose metaphor for capitalism; we're reminded that Alejandro González Iñárritu's Amores Perros set loose a similar trope with far greater authorial verve.

Still, no release this year will have done more to earn the double-jointed adjective "uncompromising" - and it becomes no less uncompromising upon the realisation it can never be compromised, that its maker won't go on to shoot Huawei ads or one of those all-star Chinese Odyssey pantos that emerge each New Year to distract the masses. There is unarguable storytelling promise here - it's a long, bracing haul to an unexpected punchline - but also a sadness that Bo didn't stick around long enough to discover the solaces of this universe, the fact people come together to console one another in the face of systemic misery, the existence of life's safety nets. (In Satantango - and it's a sign of Bo's mountainous achievements here that it reminded me of this film, the K2 of cinema - that enduring miserablist Béla Tarr allowed his characters to drink, screw and dance: they were doomed, as we are, but they had that, at least.) There will be those who sit down over Christmas with The Greatest Showman or the Mamma Mia! sequel, and one can only wish those viewers well with that; perhaps this crushing behemoth of a movie, brought to the surface by a canary in the coalmine of China's regeneration, is the film we finally deserve at the end of 2018.

An Elephant Sitting Still opens in selected cinemas today, and is available to stream via the BFI.

Office politics: "Sorry to Bother You"


What would the movie landscape look like if La La Land had palmed off Moonlight and held onto that Best Picture gong at last year's Oscar ceremony? Pre-existing career momentum would likely have ensured Ava DuVernay and Steve McQueen got to make A Wrinkle in Time and Widows respectively, and Spike Lee would doubtless have found some way of bringing BlacKkKlansman to the screen. Jordan Peele's Get Out might not have received the sustained push for recognition it got, however, and what of those smaller, riskier projects involving comparatively untested POC talent that have emerged over the past 18 months? Some simply wouldn't exist; others would surely have found that distributors and exhibitors were unwilling to take the chances on them they have in our reality. (One suspects the market would also have been swamped with films in which vanilla-white kids trip a very light fantastic.) October's hard-to-synopsise Blindspotting, a lightning bolt loosed from the zeitgeist, was one of those projects. The hellzapoppin' Sorry to Bother You is another roll of the dice entirely, starting out as a loony-toons tale of a lowly telemarketing drone's progress through an exaggerated version of the modern American service industry, then heading to places you couldn't easily pitch and even those of us who've seen the film can't really explain or say. The first of writer-director Boots Riley's achievements here, then, was to get people who might say no to say yes; he ends up smuggling into UK multiplexes the kind of scattershot corporate satire the far better placed Mike Judge failed to with his direct-to-video Office Space twenty years ago. That's something.

That progress seems all the greater when you consider that Riley's protagonist, Cassius "Cash" Green (Lakeith Stanfield), is black: his zigzagging career path opens up fresh angles on the theme of clockwatching drudgery. After a succession of busted sales calls, Cash improves his fortunes upon modulating his voice to sound white - the better to connect with his company's largely Caucasian clientele. This new voice is provided by David Cross, and there is something innately and consistently funny about hearing the wheedling tones of Tobias from Arrested Development coming from Stanfield's mouth. (Not even Cross would have chosen this voice.) Just as there's a voice behind Cash's voice, there's always something going on behind the film's jokes. Sometimes, yes, it's a pointed jab at the positions and stances non-white employees are forced to adopt within the unconsciously biased or institutionally racist superstructures that now loom over us all. More often than not, though, it's another joke, like the photocopier we spy malfunctioning behind Cash's workspace, or the gridiron players who appear behind his boss as he lands a carefully calculated promotion, or the TV shows that themselves provide a running commentary on the state of America today. The wacko soundtrack behind all that sounds like faulty plumbing at some moments, an accordion dropped off a fire escape at others; in one or two scenes, it's like listening to a conversation being held at the very limits of your hearing. What is this movie?

Well, on one level, Sorry to Bother You is following a familiar trajectory: it's the old Faustian tale of the naif whose fast-tracking to the top of his profession sees him jettisoning everything he once loved and stood for, then realising what's really of value. We soon twig scarf-wearing smoothie Armie Hammer, metabolising Messrs. Zuckerberg and Musk as the company's CEO, is up to no particular good, and we fear for Stanfield, who has a zonked, behind-the-beat quality even before he takes a whack on the head from a flying soda can. Yet Riley doodles right over the top of that movie, and in doing so, he obscures all its straight lines. "Stick to the script," Cash is told in his early days as a phone jockey, but a nonconformist like Riley can't and won't; he's one of those bored highschooler directors, taking felt pens to those dully yellowing texts passed down to him by the older boys. There isn't a scene that hasn't been accessorised in some way (in a just world, it would be a head-to-head between this and Black Panther for the Best Costume Oscar): everything and everyone gets dressed up, and either warped or weirded out. In the conventional, whitebread telling of these cautionary corporate tales, the love interest would be a sweet Helen Slater/Ginnifer Goodwin type waiting at home being constant and true; in the Rileyverse, the position is filled by Tessa Thompson as a Marina Abramovic-inspired performance artist, challenging her audience to throw junked cellphones and balloons filled with pig's blood at her as a comment on the West's exploitation of Africa. (Again, you chuckle, but there's a point.) That conventional telling certainly wouldn't go anywhere near the benighted creatures Cash uncovers massing in the back of the CEO's quarters, which is a sign - perhaps a warning sign - of how far out Sorry to Bother You gets.

Some may be thrown, but I felt this turn made sense within a world in which you feel anything could happen (or break loose) at any minute. For all that he follows his nose, Riley inserts a thread of story logic amid his erupting chaos: the entire second half could be the nightmare of a man suffering from a severe concussion, or an expressionist extension of a job market where employees are kept in a pen from nine to five and made subject to either the carrot or the stick. Riley is that rare thing: a filmmaker who appears to have actually spent time in the modern workplace - though he probably spent it scribbling over the health and safety guidelines. Looking back over the past two years, the significance of Moonlight winning Best Picture may be not just that it's permitted very different films by black creatives to reach wide audiences, but that it's allowed for the making of films that are radically different beasts on a scene-by-scene, half hour-by-half hour basis. Get Out and Blindspotting absolutely had that quicksilver quality, possibly born of a desire to make three or four films at once in a way minority directors have traditionally never had chance to; in that shifting and reshaping, we might see the genesis of a new identity for black-authored American cinema, at once more fluid and playful than the worthy New Black Cinema of the 1990s. Sorry to Bother You makes a lot of pertinent points about the crazy world we now inhabit, but you don't feel it was conceived as a grand statement, rather a party, a riot or a happening to which you and I happen to have been invited. Some guests may find the occasion too much; even I found myself wondering whether it was spiralling beyond Riley's control in places. Whatever else it is, though, it's alive.

Sorry to Bother You is now playing in selected cinemas.

Thursday, 13 December 2018

The sundown kid: "The Old Man & The Gun"


The Old Man & The Gun proceeds with a simplicity befitting that title, and the insouciant shrug of the subsequent title card that states "This, also, is a true story." That story concerns, yup, an old man with a gun, seen heading into a number of small-to-medium banks across Texas at the end of 1981, and using at least the threat of the gun to deprive them of their ready cash. The man was Forrest Tucker - the subject of local legend, written up by David Grann in a 2003 New Yorker article, and now played by Robert Redford in what has been announced as the actor's final role. Redford's Tucker is, naturally, not some grizzled old reprobate, but an inveterate charmer. He gets the telephone number of Jewel (Sissy Spacek), a woman he meets at the side of the freeway, within minutes of the film beginning, with the cops on his tail; he then makes her swoon over coffee by outlining his serene nobody-gets-hurt philosophy of heisting. In terms of careful image control, the film is right up there with the cancer-stricken John Wayne playing a fading gunfighter in 1976's The Shootist - except that Redford, poster boy of the Hollywood Left, adds a layer of romantic glamour the irascible Duke would have had no truck with: here's an old boy who devoted his final days to the redistribution of wealth. (Though the film is a shade coy about many things, including what Tucker actually did with all that folding money.)

The writer-director is the gifted David Lowery, assuming the title of modern American cinema's foremost atmospherist now that David Gordon Green has been tempted into horror remakes. (His claim was bolstered as much by 2016's Pete's Dragon - the best of Disney's recent live-action remakes, on which he first worked with Redford - as it was by last year's existential pie-eating contest A Ghost Story.) Old Man is the closest Lowery has come to repeating himself: in its basic set-up, it's not unlike a matinee version of Ain't Them Bodies Saints, his breakthrough lovers-on-the-run pic of 2013. (That film's male lead Casey Affleck recurs here as the lawman who gives Tucker and his associates - played here by Danny Glover and Tom Waits - the mocking sobriquet of "The Over-the-Hill Gang".) It's clear the director has left some of his usual art behind him in the move towards the movie centreground, but Old Man nevertheless presents as a film of appealingly brisk craft. In an age of straining auteurist statements - not least a two-and-a-half-hour remake of Suspiria - Lowery is an appreciably straightahead filmmaker: even A Ghost Story, which wound up spanning an entire millennium, clocked in at a mere 92 minutes. Judicious fades and dissolves carry us from one location to the next, connecting pursuer to pursued; Lisa Zeno Churgin's neat clipping rounds this anecdote off at ninety minutes, suggesting some affinity with Tucker's ethos - the movie gets in, gets its job done, and then gets out again.

That briskness sometimes tips into a casualness that almost certainly derives from having to organise the action around a proven master of the unruffled. Redford-as-Tucker is casual around the bank employees, casual with Spacek, casual even around the cops, which feels like a limitation after a while: there's not one memorable heist or tense getaway, and the script has nothing much to say about this character except "heh, this dude". "He's a guy who's old, who used to be young, and who loves robbing banks," Affleck tells his wife two-thirds of the way through, and that's really all the film has on Tucker. (Did Lowery even read the article?) It makes for a loving final role, because the camera has to keep coming back to Redford and the faraway gleam in his eye, the worldly wisdom Tucker gives out even as he takes away with his pistol. (On the importance of dressing well: "It makes you look like you know what you're doing, even when you don't.") Yet there's no mystery or darkness about the character (photos of the robber in his prime reveal Redford the sandy-haired pin-up), nothing standing between him and the sunset he's bound to walk smilingly towards. This Forrest Tucker is as mythically one-dimensional as the Sundance Kid or the magical pinchhitter Redford embodied in The Natural. Like those films, and many others in the Redford filmography, The Old Man & The Gun serves as genial, pleasant entertainment, a movie seemingly designed to elicit the post-screening comment of "they don't make 'em like that anymore" about both film and leading man. But they sure go easy.

The Old Man & The Gun is now playing in selected cinemas.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

On demand: "Mowgli"


True: in late 2018, another leaf through Kipling's Jungle Book feels barely necessary. In his defence, director Andy Serkis began work on his live-action/motion capture hybrid Mowgli back in 2014 in the wake of his contributions to Fox's successful Planet of the Apes revival; it reportedly took longer than imagined for Serkis's Imaginarium technicians to capture all the vital motion, and the project's cause wasn't helped when Disney rolled out their juggernaut live-action remake of the 1967 Jungle Book, to great acclaim and staggering box-office returns, at Easter 2016. As the makers of 1998's Deep Impact - the end-of-the-world movie left for dust by that year's more muscular Armageddon - could tell you, there is rarely room in the popular imagination for two films on the same subject. (And as those behind the 2018 Robin Hood might add, leaving even a ten- or twenty-five year gap between retellings is no guarantee audiences won't turn their noses up, reasoning they've seen it all before.) Studio Warner Bros. first put the project on hold - freeing Serkis to push through last year's period weepie Breathe - then sold it onto the royally flush Netflix; it now limps out, wounded and a touch bloodied, in time for pre-Christmas matinees, having picked up a marketing subtitle ("Legend of the Jungle") that never appears on screen, and serves to remind us, not that we need a reminder, where this story has sprung from.

The story itself is much the same as it ever was - that of the forest foundling (played here by Rohan Chand) literally raised by wolves, then pursued by a tiger and protected by a bear - yet given a different shading and rhythms. (For one thing, there are no songs.) "Darkness has come to these parts," hisses the snake Kaa (voiced by Cate Blanchett) during a scenesetting montage, and this is very much the straightfaced, post-Nolan reading of Kipling, as if Mowgli were a superhero desperately crying out for his own origin story. (The original shooting title was the not terribly original Jungle Book: Origins.) After the death of the boy's mother (dashed through in the opening seconds, in a manner that instantly flags executive indecision), we're offered a succession of sweeping setpieces, interspersed with shallow pools of subtext about a boy caught between two cultures, everything pointing to a final battle royale in which our boy leads an army of disparate animal factions against a growling Big Bad (the tiger Shere Khan, as voiced by a never-plummier Benedict Cumberbatch). The final shot, which locates Mowgli on a cliff overlooking the jungle he apparently now lords over, explicitly evokes the imagery of a film like The Dark Knight.

It's relative indeed, but this reframing allows Serkis to attain a smidgen more dramatic heft than its synthetic, charmless 2016 predecessor, a confounding hit that succeeded only in underlining how little mass audiences now expect from their blockbusters. (Anything that reminds us of childhood will apparently do.) He had far more time in which to arrive at them, but Serkis makes better choices than Jon Favreau did there, starting with the wide-eyed Chand as a more androgynous and persuasively feral Mowgli than the lab-reared brat Disney thrust into the jungle. It makes sense to cast Freida Pinto as this film's equivalent of the village girl who caused so much heartache at the end of the '67 animation: who wouldn't want to return to civilisation with someone like her waiting for you? And Serkis's experience in the field has resulted in far more sensitive and nuanced voice casting than the celeb-chasing Favreau went in for two years ago. The filmmaker himself makes for a bullish Cockney Baloo, closer to Burt Young in Rocky than Bill Murray's reading, gruffly training up his lightweight charge; Cumberbatch gives a half-decent George Sanders impersonation; and it's a nice touch that Peter Mullan should do all the barking as the leader of the wolfpack. (Though you'll obviously have to make peace with the fact a creature native to the wilds of India is speaking in English with a broad Glaswegian growl.)

If Mowgli still feels underwhelming, that's again down to how 21st century filmmakers have habitually cut Kipling's tale from its roots and retooled it for meaningless action and spectacle over and above all else. This script, credited to Christa Kloves, devotes almost its entire first hour to finding excuses for the hero to run through the jungle, first for fun, then in competition, then for his life. The VFX artists try to vary these setpieces, but there was never that much variation to be achieved. This may be a problem for Imaginarium to address in the years hence: Mowgli is so specifically engineered to showcase technical wizardry that the human element rather gets left behind; it's so hellbent on canonising its protagonist as a vine-swinging, foe-besting superhero that it forgets, as Kipling and Walt Disney never did, that he is also just a boy. The emphasis placed on movement rather than growth - the wheeling out of green screens, the constant, not unskilful wrangling of pixels - means that nothing about Serkis's telling has a chance to stick in your head: at the end of its breathless ninety minutes, you don't even come away with a tune to whistle on the walk back to the car park. There's fitful distraction here - and a melancholy sense that, had it not been pipped so comprehensively to the post, there might have been more besides - but my line remains the same as it was back in 2016. If you do need a film of The Jungle Book, dial up the '67 version, and if you need a back-up, go seek out Sabu.

Mowgli is now streaming on Netflix.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Stealing home: "Shoplifters"


For close to two decades now, the Japanese writer-director Hirokazu Kore-eda has brought a new film to Cannes every year, working subtle, skilful variations on his signature theme of lopsided families. In most of these years, Kore-eda has had to be content with critical acclaim, a healthy smattering of sales to international distributors eyeing classy matinee fare, and perhaps the occasional consolation prize; in 2018, amid a reportedly competitive field, he went and won the Palme d'Or. So what's changed? For one, the family unit at the centre of Shoplifters is stragglier (and thus more relatable?) than the serenely elegant salarymen and women who've come before. The Shibatas are a loose-knit working-class collective who supplement their daily labours with a variety of side hustles, including - as that title flatly notes - claiming five-finger discounts from the food and toy stores of their quiet Tokyo neighbourhood. As we join them, roguish middle-aged patriarch Osamu (Lily Franky) has finessed this dubious skill into a properly Dickensian operation, running son Shota (Jyo Kairi) through drills to improve efficiency. The clan soon has a new acquisition, however, in Yuri (Miyu Sasaki), a grubby preschooler father and son find hiding behind some bins, having ducked out of another of her parents' arguments. She, too, becomes a willing apprentice, only for news to break that those parents are being investigated over her disappearance. Slowly, Kore-eda circles back to one recurring concern (how families are composed) while opening a file on another: whether taking something that isn't yours, be that a child or a bag of crisps, can ever be fully justified.

In terms of direction, nothing much has altered: again, Kore-eda proceeds with that reflective, self-effacing style that unfailingly puts story and character first. True, the living quarters we peer in at through Ozu-esque screen doors are rather more cluttered with the spoils of the Shibatas' swiping; and the family's proximity to the poverty line ensures Shoplifters rubs up against some unusually adult material. (One character turns towards sex work to help make ends meet, and it's the first Kore-eda I can recall to feature male and female nudity, thus arguably more in line with European tastes.) Yet even when positioning this clan as a ragbag of oddballs and outcasts, the direction never extends beyond a very familiar naturalism: it's just Kore-eda happens to be observing some especially vivid personalities, that's all. It has long been established that Kore-eda is one of the great directors of children: here, he casts entirely adorable creatures in young Kairi and Sasaki, then allows them the creative freedom to play something close to themselves, rather than forcing them into the brattishly precocious poses we'd be stuck watching in any American remake. Yet he also sketches brisk portraits of everybody else under this roof: the loping, giggling father figure, both amused and surprised by his own prowess, the fact he's been allowed to get away with this lifestyle so long; his lusty, sweaty partner-in-crime Nobuyo (Sakura Ando), in whom the new arrival stirs previously unfelt maternal feelings; the eccentric grandmother (Kirin Kiki, in one of her final roles before her death this September) insistently screwing up her features and trailing nail clippings in her wake.

Such portraiture takes time, and again you may be confounded by the way a Kore-eda film creeps up on you. Shoplifters refuses to push through the missing-kid plot in the way a commercial drama or thriller would - the police are barely to be seen - and it remains oddly blithe about the shoplifting: it's just something these folk do to get by, though dad comes up with a noble-sounding philosophy in pointing out it's better to steal from stores (when these items are nobody's property) than when they've been bought and paid for. For an hour at the movie's centre, there is next to no narrative development to report: we simply hang out chez Shibata, note the floating of certain motifs (hugging, which takes; fishing, which doesn't really), watch the youngsters grow up a little, and overhear an unexpectedly charming birds-and-bees talk. Only in the final half-hour is the situation advanced, with a sudden flurry of revelations that usher us into a very different film and a very different understanding of the main characters. Here, I sensed Kore-eda relying heavily on the skill of his performers (Ando especially) and our affection for these people to smooth the film's progress from slightly under-complicated to vaguely over-complicated; he's not wrong to do that, but overall I think I preferred Our Little Sister's slow and steady drip of information. Such risky scripting strategies may be what ultimately differentiates Shoplifters from the back catalogue, though I wondered whether that Palme wasn't the result of the same kind of accumulation we witness going on within this director's work - that just as Kore-eda has habitually provided us with small, quiet gestures that somehow add up to cinema, he's now made enough small, quiet films founded on those gestures to tip a jury in his favour. Reservations aside, no-one else in the upper echelons of world cinema is making these kinds of movies - and certainly no-one else is making them this well.

Shoplifters is now playing in selected cinemas.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

For what it's worth...



Top Ten Films at the UK Box Office 
for the weekend of November 30-December 2, 2018:

1
 (new) Ralph Breaks the Internet (PG)
2 (new) Creed II (12A)
3 (1) Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (12A)
4 (2) The Grinch (U)
5 (3Bohemian Rhapsody (12A)
6 (new) 2.0 (12A)
7 (5) Nativity Rocks! (U)
8 (4) Robin Hood (12A)
9 (7) Widows (15) ****
10 (8) A Star is Born (15) ***

(source: theguardian.com)

My top five: 
1. Die Hard [above]

2. Roma
3. It's a Wonderful Life
4. The Wild Pear Tree
5. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid


Home entertainment Top Ten (DVD/Blu-Ray/Download): 

1 (7) Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (PG)
2 (2) The Greatest Showman (PG)
3 (new) Ant-Man and the Wasp (12)
4 (1) Incredibles 2 (PG) ****
5 (new) Mamma Mia! Double Pack (PG)
6 (8) The Grinch (2000 version, PG) ***
7 (5) Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (12) ***
8 (15) Elf (PG) **
9 (3) Mission Impossible: Fallout (12) ***
10 (4) Skyscraper (12)

(source: officialcharts.com)

My top five: 
1. Leave No Trace

2. First Reformed
3. Incredibles 2
4. Lucky
5. They Shall Not Grow Old


Top five films on terrestrial TV:
1. Flushed Away (Saturday, BBC2, 8.40am)
2. Apollo 13 (Saturday, ITV, 1.20pm)
3. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (Saturday, ITV, 5.55pm)
4. Edge of Tomorrow (Sunday, five, 9pm and Thursday, five, 10pm)
5. Tropic Thunder (Friday, BBC1, 12.10am)