Martin Scorsese’s eagerly awaited film was selected as this year’s Closing Night Gala at the recent London Film Festival. It is an epic achievement with Robert De Niro as the eponymous hero in his first role with his old collaborator since CASINO in 1995. Joe Pesci is also lured back from retirement while Al Pacino plays the notorious Jimmy Hoffa.

The story is based on Charles Barndt’s novel “I Heard You Paint Houses” and focuses on the actions of World War II veteran Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro), a hustler and hitman who worked side by side with some of the most notorious figures in organised crime in post-war America. But it is his relationship with the controversial Union President Jimmy Hoffa that provides the core of this amazing film that spans through decades.

The three veteran lead actors who are now in their seventies play their characters from a young age until modern times with the help of clever use of CGI AKA “youthification”. The acting is of the highest order as can be expected from these giants of cinema and their chemistry is simply electric. Scorsese’s bravura direction gives a new lease of life to the gangster genre in one of the best films of the year. See it on the big screen where it belongs!



The time is 1862 and pioneering meteorologist James Glaisher is determined to defy his peers and reach the skies with his balloon, but first he must convince the experienced pilot Amelia Wren to join his daring expedition…

This the best IMAX film I have seen since probably THE WALK and its striking vision will certainly take your breath away. Tom Harper, following his WILD ROSE success, directs with assurance and imagination but it is Felicity Jones’ luminous and feisty performance that will stay long in the memory.



Werner Herzog and Andre Singer’s excellent documentary is not only a fine portrait on the life of a great politician but also an examination on the state of Europe during the eighties and early nineties at the time when there was a glimmer of hope in the air.

“I am German” Herzog proudly says to Gorbachev in the first of three long interviews before he develops an endearing relationship and friendship with his subject. Mikhail Gorbachev, the former General Secretary of the U.S.S.R is now 87 and in fragile condition but he is still as bright as day and remembers proudly his remarkable achievements despite vast opposition from his government. He was in office for only six years but managed to reduce nuclear weapons, bring down the Berlin Wall and put a stop to Soviet control in Eastern Europe. A genuine man of the people in a compelling new film told in Herzog’s distinct style!



Julius Onah brings vividly to the screen J.C. Lee’ powerful play which follows the story of a bright young student called Luce (Kelvin Harrison Jr) originally from Eritrea and adopted at a young age by a white middle class family.

Amy and Peter Edgar (Naomi Watts & Tim Roth) work very hard in order to make sure that their son’s traumatic war experience is now left behind and enjoy fully Luce’s immense popularity at college as an eloquent debater and a strong athlete until Harriet Wilson (Octavia Spencer), one his teachers begins to question the provocative values behind his latest essay…

It is easy to see why Watts and Roth are reunited here since FUNNY GAMES; terrific and intelligent piece of writing that challenges the viewer in the best possible way.



An enjoyable story – so bizarre it could only be based on true events. The action takes place in the seventies in San Diego and follows the story of Jim Hoffman (Jason Sudeikis), a former drug-smuggler turned FBI informant who befriends his famous neighbour John DeLorean (Lee Pace), a motoring engineer and designer. Jim is mesmerised by DeLorean’s charm and innovative designs but is torn between his friendship and loyalty to the FBI.

Nick Hann directs with energy and style; an enjoyable film with careful production designs which evoke the period most effectively.



This violent franchise refuses to lay the ghost and attempts to add glamour to its usual Essex locations by setting the action in Spain. Pat Tate (Craig Fairbrass) is fresh out of prison but his hunger for revenge leads him to Marbella in search for the man who put him there…

The acting is not bad but it is difficult to care about this bunch of loathsome characters, who never miss an opportunity to be brutal and extremely violent against each other. Nasty!



A truly unique documentary – filmmaker Seamus Murphy joins forces with extraordinary recording artist P.J Harvey and travel together to Afghanistan, Kosovo and Washington in search of inspiration. He films and photographs the landscape and its people while she writes down lyrics for her latest album. Their journey is intercut with a recording session at Somerset House which is being observed by an unseen audience as part of an installation.



Kim Soo-yong’s erotic melodrama made in 1965 and in black and white opened the Korean Film Festival which runs until 24th November in London and in other major cities across Britain. The film made during the country’s golden age is specially chosen to celebrate 100 years of Korean cinema. The action takes place in a beautiful fishing village and follows the story of Haespon, a grieving widow following her husband’s disappearance during a fishing trip…

A remarkable film and a real collector’s item!

George Savvides


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