Small Screen Selection: Things to Come

(Curzon Artificial Eye) Parisian philosophy teacher Nathalie (Isabelle Huppert) is at a fairly stable time in her life. She loves her job and her late teenage children, and has the satisfaction of knowing that her teaching work inspires her students. But not everything is plain sailing. Her eccentric, manipulative mother is ageing and demanding; and […]

Small Screen Selection: The Commitments, 25th Anniversary Edition (DVD)

Small Screen Selection: The Commitments, 25th Anniversary Edition (DVD)

(RLJ Entertainments) Some might say that Alan Parker’s The Commitments is just a movie about trying to put together “the world’s hardest working band,” but it is so much more than that. Roddy Doyle’s original story, full of Irish wit, is tremendous entertainment. Self-styled manager Jimmy Rabbitte (Robert Atkins) places an ad in a Dublin […]

Small Screen Selection: Anomalisa

Small Screen Selection: Anomalisa

(cert. 15  Curzon Artificial Eye) There are some telling ironies in this gorgeously animated stop-motion movie, which asks the question, “What does it mean to be human?” Protagonist Michael Stone (David Thewlis) is a motivational speaker who sounds anything but motivated, as his life lurches from relationship crisis to existential angst and back again. But […]

Small Screen Selection: Mia Madre

Small Screen Selection: Mia Madre

(cert. 15. Artificial Eye) At first glance, the plot of Mia Madre (My Mother) might seem a little dour. Independent film producer Margherita (Margherita Buy) is struggling to balance the day job with her home life as her mother Ada (Giulia Lazzarini) goes into hospital and becomes increasingly ill. Adding to these pressures, her film […]

Small Screen Selection: Mr. Turner (DVD)

Small Screen Selection: Mr. Turner (DVD)

Mike Leigh’s biopic of J. M. W. Turner had the middle classes flocking to the cinema earlier in the year, drawn as much by Timothy Spall’s idiosyncratic portrayal of the artist as by the widescreen reconstructions of some of his works. Spall made him a grumpy, harrumphing curmudgeon, who was probably nothing like anyone’s expectation. […]

The Rise of European Crime Drama

The Rise of European Crime Drama

Television crime drama has come a long way since the magnolia simplicity and warmth of Z-Cars and Dixon of Dock Green. Driven forward by popular series such as Wallinger, Scandinavian-made detective shows have even taken on the brand title of ‘Nordic Noir’, as if they are a genre to themselves. While such an image is […]