This enjoyable comedy works a treat thanks to a terrific female cast whose sheer pleasure in delivering their wicked dialogue is highly infectious. Thea Sharrock began her career as a theatre director before she made the move to television. Her feature film debut was the over sentimental weepie ME BEFORE YOU back in 2016, but now she feels much more at home with this light comedy which is based on true events.
The action takes place in the English seaside town of Littlehampton during the 1920’s – life is peaceful in this quiet town until Edith Swan (Olivia Colman) and some other residents begin to receive outrageously obscene letters full of profanity by an anonymous sender. The prime suspect is Rose Gooding (Jessie Buckley), Edith’s foul-mouthed Irish neighbour…
It is a fun premise centred on poison pen letters, but it is very thin and fluffy compared to the 1943 classic French movie LE CORBEAU (THE RAVEN) superbly directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot. Still, it is very much worth seeing just for the strong British female cast alone. Colman and Buckley are splendidly cast as the antagonistic neighbours – they previously worked in THE LOST DAUGHTER playing the same character in different ages. The eclectic cast also includes Eillen Atkins and Joanna Scanlan as two prominent residents who along with Anjana Vassan’s police officer share their own theories about the poison pen writer’s identity.


It has been a good year for the great German director Wim Wenders – following his tremendous documentary ANSELM, he travels to Japan for his latest character study.
His minimalist film follows the story of Hirayama (Koji Yakusho), a middle-aged man who works as a Tokyo public toilet cleaner. Hirayama is methodical and a perfectionist not only at work but also during his ritualistic daily routine. He is a man of few words, and his almost monosyllabic exchanges are with a young colleague or with his niece who comes to visit him. It is a mesmerising experience and Yakusho’s dignified performance has deservedly won him the Best Actor Award at last year’s Cannes Film Festival.
The spirit of Hasujiro Ozu is alive and well in this perfectly crafted movie.


Michael Winterbottom is the kind of director that changes genre with each one of his projects. Now he heads to Palestine for this true story set in 1930’s Tel Aviv.
As the title suggests the action follows the story of Shoshana (Irina Starshenbaum), a free-spirited Jewish woman, who falls for the British anti-terrorist officer Thomas Wilkin (Douglas Booth). It is basically a love story perfectly executed against the backdrop of extremism and violence. It feels authentic thanks to its hand-held camera, which like a witness follows the action closely behind.
Winterbottom offers a fair view of all perspectives but sadly this is very relevant to what is happening today.


Michel Franco, the Mexican director of the brilliant NEW ORDER, brings to the screen another compelling film – one of the hottest tickets at last October’s London Film Festival. He tells the story of Sylvia (Jessica Chastain), a single mother who works as care worker. She appears to be in control of her life and is regularly attending her AA meetings until one night a man called Saul (Peter Sarsgaard) follows her home after a high school reunion…
Both protagonists deliver phenomenal performances – Sarsgaard won the Best Actor Award at last year’s Venice Film Festival and is a great mystery why his name is not included in this year’s awards season.
It is a tender story sensitively acted and directed focusing on vulnerable people still struggling to heal from past traumas. It is worth seeing for its high-quality acting.


Lisandro Alonso, the Argentinean director of JAUJA, is reunited with his leading man Viggo Mortensen for this highly original piece of filmmaking.
It is difficult to describe the plot without giving too much away but it is safe to say that the film is divided into three sections. The black and white opening plays like a traditional western where a man is seeking revenge. Then the action moves to a Native American reservation in modern day, but it is the metaphysical last section of the movie which travels to South America that will stay long in the memory. The three sections appear to be unconnected at first, but as the action develops it explores themes of resurrection and spirituality in similar fashion to the recent SAMSARA.


Lorna Tucker’s excellent documentary, which centres around the plight of the homeless in London, comes deeply from her heart because as a young teenager Tucker was also one of the unfortunates. She interviews many current as well as former homeless people who talk about their predicament and the challenges they must confront on daily basis.
It is a truly heartbreaking and inspirational film, especially when Tucker opens her heart and talks about her own dark days when everything seemed impossible with no way out. However, she miraculously was able to make the transition thanks to a man she met on the streets of London, whom she now calls her guardian angel. Essential viewing!


Porn star Lalo Santos plays a side of himself in Manuel Abramovich’s daring and highly explicit film about the life of a sex influencer.
32-year-old Lalo lives in Oaxaca, a mountain town in Northern Mexico and works in a factory. He spends most of his time posting naked photos of himself to his increasing number of followers and auditions for a porn movie aspiring to hit the big time. Contrary to this world, Lalo is very much a loner often sinking into deep melancholia…
Lalo Santos is a striking presence, and it is not a surprise he is a huge porn star. It is an enjoyable film but not suitable for the easily offended!


Erik Bloomquist and his brother Carson follow their SHE CAME FROM THE WOODS horror with another slasher movie, which was premiered at last summer’s Frightfest. It takes place in a picturesque New England town on the eve of a mayoral election when a series of murders begin to shake the tranquillity of the place…
The Bloomquist brothers work well together but they need to find their own voice – in SHE CAME FROM THE WOODS they borrowed the premise from FRIDAY THE 13TH and now the masked killer from the SCREAM franchise. It has its moments with some clever twists but overall, it has the feeling of déjà vu!

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