Writer/director Warwick Thornton follows his remarkable SAMSON & DELILAH and SWEET COUNTRY with another powerful film centred on the indigenous people of Australia.
This was one of the most unexpected delights from last October’s London Film Festival – its action takes place in a remote monastery in 1940’s Australia run by Sister Eileen (Cate Blanchett), whose mission along with Sister Mum (Deborah Mailman) is to provide refuge to many indigenous children. And as the title suggests, a new boy (Aswan Reid), arrives in the middle of the night, who is soon revealed to have special powers. The new boy hardly says a word to anyone and is immediately captivated by the arrival of a large carving of Christ on the cross. He is transfixed by the presence of this precious relic even though his own spiritual life is leaning towards a totally different path than that of Christianity…
It is a terrific film superbly photographed and directed by Thornton, whose splendid cinematography captures the magnificent landscape most gloriously. His immaculate direction coaches a remarkable performance from newcomer Aswan Reid – a luminous, strong presence who provides the story’s heart and soul.
Blanchett fresh from her TAR glory delivers another spellbinding performance as the free spirited nun who takes under her wing the new boy. This intelligent film is told with grace and humour and is brilliantly scored by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.


Hirokazu Kore-eda, the celebrated Japanese director of SHOPLIFTERS and BROKER, brings another compelling story to the screen via the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Queer Palm and The Best Screenplay Award. It was also one of the highlights from last year’s London Film Festival – he tells the story of Minato (Soya Kurokawa), a young boy, whose strange behaviour makes his single mother Saori (Sakura Ando) begin to suspect that one of his teachers is responsible.
At first the story seems to be quite simple and straightforward, but once the same story is seen through different perspectives, its RASHOMON kind of development reveals deep secrets that affect the lives of all involved.
Newcomer Kurokawa, along with Hinata Hiiragi as his school friend Yori, deliver mature, intelligent performances. The intriguing plot and clever twists will keep you hooked until the shocking finale.


Ridley Scott’s eagerly awaited epic divided the critics when it was first released late last year. Scott is a great visionary, but David Scarpa’s uneven screenplay on the rise and fall of the notorious French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte (Joaquin Phoenix) and Phoenix’s interpretation of the eponymous hero, come as a major disappointment.
The film focuses on Napoleon’s tempestuous love affair with Josephine (Vanessa Kirby) as well as the endless wars across Europe. Scott’s only excuse for such a muddled film was that his original director’s cut was reduced from over four hours running time into less than three hours. His successful partnership with his leading actor, with whom he previously worked on GLADIATOR, fails to catch fire and Phoenix’s eccentric interpretation of the French Emperor feels as if it belongs to a different film altogether. (Apple TV+)


This original 8 part television series is based on Si Spencer’s imaginative graphic novel, which takes place in London’s East End in 1890, 1941, 2023 and 2053.
A body is found and a detective from each period must piece the jigsaw together and find the truth. It is the same body and the only connection across the decades is the mysterious political leader Elias Mannix (Stephen Graham)…
It is an ambitious project with strong production values but the confusing plot is as preposterous as it sounds and by the end (if you last that long) hopefully everything will begin to make sense. (Netflix)


The title of Oliver Guy-Watkins’ engaging documentary sets up the tone most adequately. WHO IS JAMES PAYTON you may well ask – well Payton is a jobbing actor and Guy Watkins’ camera follows his subject closely behind over the course of a year as he attends conventions and auditions seeking his next role.
Payton’s credits include Frank Longbottom in HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX and Adolf Hitler in CAPTAIN AMERICA. During the course of the making of this documentary, Payton is cast as Tony Blair in Nick Moran’s CREATION STORIES. At first it is difficult to get involved in the story of a man attending those boring conventions, but once the emphasis leans towards the actor’s daily struggle to make ends meet, the whole project becomes much more relatable.
It is not earth shattering but a fine document on an actor’s life.

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