Noah Baumbach’s superior film arrives fresh from its London Film Festival Gala premiere and it already radiates a lot of Oscar buzz. A moving portrait of a marriage on the verge of a breakdown exquisitely written, directed and performed from the heart.

The touching scenario is probably drawn from Baumach’s own experiences following his divorce from Jennifer Jason Leigh a few years ago – here New York theatre director Charlie (Adam Driver) struggles to keep his family together. However, his wife Nicole (Scarlet Johansson) wants a separation and to return to Los Angeles with their son in order to continue her acting career in films. She used to be successful in Hollywood before she started performing in her husband’s experimental theatre productions…

The plot is deceptively simple but Baumbach’s multi-layered screenplay offers his actors plenty to work with and develop their characters. Like a Greek tragedy the inevitable is about to happen and one identifies with both protagonists’ predicament. Both actors deliver superlative performances while the supporting cast is also on top form – Laura Dern, Alan Alda and Ray Liotta deliver scene stealing performances as the Los Angeles lawyers representing Nicole and Charlie in court as well as struggling to keep everything amicable. One of the best films of the year!



The slow burning, low key beginning of James Mangold’s smart film, where it sets up characters and situation pays dividends, before the thrilling action explodes on the giant IMAX screen. He tells the amazing true story of Ford v Ferrari (its original title) and focuses on the passion of the innovative American car designer Carroll Shelby (matt Damon) and his relationship with British driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale), whose partnership defied expectations especially after they built a revolutionary race car for Ford Motor Company. The film pays great attention to detail with terrific period designs and boasts very effective and understated performances. Damon and Bale share a winning chemistry under Mangold’s masterful direction. The Ferrari clan may verge on the stereotypical kind but overall this is solid entertaining that doesn’t take its audience’s intelligence for granted.



It has been a good year and a change of scene for Adam Driver (see MARRIAGE STORY above). In this solid and powerful political thriller, which is based on true events, he plays Daniel J. Jones, a young man with principles, assigned by Senator Dianne Feinstein (Annette Bening) to lead an investigation of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program created after 9/11.

Driver makes a persuasive hero desperately seeking to uncover the truth behind this inhumane program that gives permission for rendition and torture of foreign suspects of terrorism. Scott Z. Burns writes and directs a tense thriller very much in the league of ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN.



Lupita Nyong’o lights up the screen in this delightful zombie comedy from Australia which was recently premiered at the London Film Festival. She plays Caroline, a kindergarten teacher loved by her class as well as by one of the children’s uncle David (Alexander England), a frustrated musician, who volunteers to accompany them on a day trip in the country…

It begins like SCHOOL OF ROCK before it develops into a bizarre and hysterical zombie adventure. The idea that the children are meant to believe that the zombies are part of a game works well here and brings to mind Roberto Benigni’s LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL.



Emma Thompson and her husband Greg Wise tell an engaging story but sadly the poor execution fails to raise a laugh or even a smile.

Emilia Clarke is Kate, an irresponsible young woman who hates her job in a Christmas shop. However, her chance encounter with an attractive man called Tom (Henry Golding) begins to have an effect on her life…

Clarke tries hard to be funny but her timing is all over the place. She is more successful in her dramatic scenes but they come far too late to save the day.



Damon Gameau is Australia’s answer to Morgan Spurlock and follows his THAT SUGAR FILM with another engaging and caring documentary about our bodies and the environment. He begins a long journey across the world interviewing experts about global warming as well as a group of small children, who talk about their concerns for the future. However, one boy unashamedly declares “When I grow up I want Hot Dog Day to be every day”. Divine!



The Amazing Johnathan is a terrific subject for a documentary – he is a successful comedian, magician and professional prankster, who is diagnosed with a terminal heart problem and is given one year to live.

Ben Berman follows Johnathan almost everywhere but six months later he discovers that another crew is also making a documentary on the life of this amazing man. Berman is torn whether he should abandon the film or find a different angle in telling his story. A compelling film that will keep you hooked until the end!





A disappointing film that lacks pace and suspense about the overfamiliar story of a bullied boy who returns from the dead in order to revenge his tormentors.

WE SUMMON THE DARKNESS: Marc Meyers delivers the goods aplenty in this satanic tale that takes place in 1988. A series of gruesome murders occur following heavy metal concerts – three girls and three guys meet at such a gig and appear to be totally unaffected by the satanic murders…It is well acted and intriguing!

UNCANNY ANNIE: An unimaginative film from Paul Davis about a group of college students stuck on a deadly board game which demands their lives… The whole thing takes place in one location and its repetitive action offers nothing new to the genre. Bring back OUIJA!

George Savvides

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