Boychoir

Review by © Jane Freebury It’s just as well this 12-year-old is a fast learner. For a boy who could be headed for institutional care after his mother, a single mom, dies suddenly, he has to make some massive life changes in the first half hour of this film’s life. Stet (Garrett Wareing) is snatched… Continue reading Boychoir

Focus

Review by © Jane Freebury In this romantic crime caper, Margot Robbie and Will Smith are well cast as a glamorous pair of grifters, Jess and Nicky, who look like they really should be together. They look great together, two beautiful people in exotic locations like New Orleans and Buenos Aires who can work the… Continue reading Focus

Mortdecai

Review by © Jane Freebury An upper-class twit played by Johnny Depp? Why not. As Lord Mortdecai, mortgaged to the hilt to maintain his magnificent pile in the counties, he has handy expertise in the visual arts and can recognise a forgery when Russian hitmen, Syrian terrorists and English coppers can’t. So he agrees to… Continue reading Mortdecai

Wild

Review by © Jane Freebury Wild opens at the top of a rocky outcrop in stunning mountain wilderness. If the lone hiker who has earned herself the view is going to walk on, she’ll have to do something about the pain in her big toe. Out comes the nail but at the same time her… Continue reading Wild

Unbroken

Review by © Jane Freebury One of the ironies of this WWII film whose director’s name precedes it, is that the young American airman at the centre of the things, was an athlete who aspired to take part in the Olympics that were to be held in Japan in 1940. He made it to Tokyo… Continue reading Unbroken

Mr Turner

Review by Jane Freebury Of all the times in an artist’s life to choose from, director Mike Leigh has chosen to portray the great English landscape painter J.M.W. Turner after he turned 50. Albeit Turner was at the top of his game, but he had already made it, was an exalted artist, held an academic… Continue reading Mr Turner

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Review by Jane Freebury The story of a teenage girl fighting to save the world as we no longer know it, instead of worrying which of the handsome guys hovering around her is ‘the one’, has emerged as another compelling 21st movie phenomenon. Move over Twilight, there’s nothing passive or vaguely insipid about this young… Continue reading The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

The Drop

Review by Jane Freebury A smoothly crafted tale of minor redemption that gives James Gandolfini his final bow, has a British and a Swedish actor in the lead roles and is directed by Belgian film academic Michaël K Roskam. The mean streets of NYC on screen belong to everyone now, not just the Chechen overlords… Continue reading The Drop

Pride

Review by Jane Freebury This big-hearted sprawling movie shuttles between a grungy gay and lesbian bookshop in inner London and a mining village nestled in the rolling green hills of south Wales. The two locations and the communities that inhabit them would seem to have a pretty tenuous connection at best, but this feel-good British… Continue reading Pride

The Hundred-Foot Journey

Review by Jane Freebury In bringing the popular novel by Richard C Morais to the screen, Swedish director Lasse Hallström and the enthusiastic producers of The Hundred-Foot Journey have certainly got something right. There’s no better place for a clash of cultures than in the kitchen. Everyone’s a winner. And so it goes with this… Continue reading The Hundred-Foot Journey

Begin Again

Review by Jane Freebury The hauteur that goes with Keira Knightley’s cheekbones in some signature roles has vanished in this fresh and engaging human drama set in the streets and intimate low-rent spaces that New York offers the up and coming. Here as Gretta, the actor shows another side of her persona, the gangly kid,… Continue reading Begin Again

A Most Wanted Man

Review by Jane Freebury It’s a tough ask, separating our response to the Philip Seymour Hoffman character in A Most Wanted Man from the knowledge that this classy political thriller is this great actor’s final curtain call in a lead role. As intelligence operative Günter Bachmann, Seymour Hoffman is as expected, giving his character the… Continue reading A Most Wanted Man

Venus in Fur

Review by Jane Freebury To begin with, there’s a taste of Paris as we track down a boulevard, between rows of wintry trees. We turn off at a theatre that has seen better days and are swallowed up in the gloom of the empty auditorium. It’s a confident start from one of cinema’s masters of… Continue reading Venus in Fur

Jersey Boys

Review by Jane Freebury Movie evergreen Clint Eastwood has recently been showing us other sides to himself besides the swaggering cowboy in buckskins that made him famous. The actor-director has long had a thing for music, however, and been heavily involved in soundtracks of the films he directs, often with son jazz musician Kyle. I… Continue reading Jersey Boys

Frank

Review by Jane Freebury It’s such a short, no-nonsense name for a complete eccentric and it belies the weirdness and whimsy of his story, but what other shorthand is there for a film about a creative spirit who went around wearing a huge fake head? Every waking moment. Oddly enough, Frank is loosely based on… Continue reading Frank

The Rover

Review by Jane Freebury As a vision of a lawless future, David Michôd’s eagerly anticipated new film is about as good as it gets. Set 10 years after ‘the collapse’, a somewhat mysterious but totally imaginable breakdown of economic systems, it takes place in the semi-arid landscapes of the Australian desert. A symbol, if ever… Continue reading The Rover

Ida

Review by Jane Freebury This solemn, spare and beautiful personal journey begins in a house of silence, a convent, where a young woman is preparing herself for the vows that will commit her to a life of chastity and prayer. She is obliged to make a visit to family before she makes the irrevocable life… Continue reading Ida