Archived entries for Cinema

Ally Clow’s March 2012 Film Round-up

The Hunger Games and a BFI re-issue were highlights in a month full of releases.

March is usually an interesting month for cinema patrons looking for a certain kind of film. Awards season has come and gone and spring yields mainstream films that were never in with a chance for your consideration as well as independent films at odds with the summer blockbuster crop to come.

Mainstream March included The Hunger Games and This Means War and had a bit of everything – comedy (21 Jump St), a new Aardman (The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists!), some 3D spectaculars (John Carter and Wrath Of The Titans), horror (Devil Inside), schmaltzy romcoms (Wanderlust, We Bought A Zoo) and even a gross out teen party movie (Project X).

On the independent side of things, Dexter Fletcher released his directorial debut Wild Bill, some arthouse auteurs returned to our screens such as Jafar Panahi (This Is Not a Film), Werner Herzog (Into The Abyss,), the Dardennes Brothers (The Kid With A Bike) and Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Once Upon A Time In Anatolia). Other strong independent fare included Michael, Trishna, Contraband, This Is Not a Film and Tiny Furniture as UK Box Office wise, the influence of 2011’s King’s Speech, Black Swan and Tangled was finally running its course. Continue reading…

Faro Documents

What makes us go and see the films we see?

For me, the answer to this deceptively simple question is we choose the films we see via the film culture of our times and location. I get a thrill when I think of what a film culture is and the potential it has to help passionate moviegoers on their journey of cinematic discovery.  What is a film culture? In a sense, it’s the circus surrounding the freak-show that is cinema, it’s the dust in the beam of light from the projector – not as essential as the movies themselves but a conduit for a richer movie-going experience. It’s the magazines we read, the blogs we skim over, the stars tweets we reply to in the hope they might recognise us mere mortals. It’s also film clubs and societies, pop-ups or otherwise, cinemas, television and now, whether we like it or not, streaming.

I went to a screening of two rare Ingmar Bergman documentaries at the Lexi Cinema on Sunday night in Kensal Rise, a beautiful boutique one-screener which looks like a converted village hall. The night was hosted by the new collective A Nos Amours. And although I could be wrong, I don’t think the two film-makers behind the new collective, Joanna Hogg (Unrelated, Archipelago) and Adam Roberts, like to stream movies much. Continue reading…

Woody Allen Profile of a Film-maker

Woody Allen’s prolific output continues, with his next two films to be set in Rome and Copenhagen respectively. He still says he is yet to make a ‘Great Film’: a questionable and modest claim, when there is no doubt he is a Great Independent Filmmaker.

The film that kicked off the recent Woody Allen Season at the BFI, Hannah and Her Sisters, was a reminder of a great filmmaker at the peak of his powers: it has brilliant moments of slapstick comedy, a wealth of strong characters, wonderful dialogue, beautiful cinematography, a perfect soundtrack and a story that is captivating throughout. And Allen, the perfectionist, famously doesn’t like it. Continue reading…

Ally Clow’s February 2012 Film Round-up

February 2012 was the final countdown to the Oscars held on the 26th at the Hollywood and Highland centre in Los Angeles. The final few Oscar films for our consideration were released in the UK such as The Descendants and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (no Albert Nobbs yet however) and some interesting non-Oscar fodder too.  As was the case with January, the UK Box Office was down considerably against 2011. No releases have matched joint efforts of The King’s Speech, Black Swan, Disney’s Tangled and Gnomeo and Juliet and even Paul and True Grit did respectably well on their run. Indeed War Horse, Woman In Black and The Muppets were the only three films in the second month of 2012 to have grossed over £10M to date in the charts. Continue reading…

Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)

Daniel Craig’s Mikael is our friend in the North of Europe, a journalist headhunted to investigate a disappearance of a girl nearly 40 years ago. Running parallel to Mikael finding his feet in the case we learn about Rooney Mara’s Lisbeth, a girl with a dragon tattoo who did the background checks on Mikael and is an expert research; early impressions are she appears to have the social skills of a member of a Brit-pop band while living on a horrible diet of sugary drinks, fast food and nicotine, all of which are provided by brands whose product placement no doubt helped to fund this lavish production. Continue reading…


Peter Mullen’s Joseph is an angry old man. He spends daytimes sitting at the bar of one of those pubs that as soon as you walk in, you walk straight back out; he goads, antagonises and terrorises local shopkeepers; and, with a can of Red Stripe in his hand, his screams and swears violently in the street outside a bookies. And that’s all just in the first few minutes. Continue reading…

Ally Clow’s January 2012 Film Round-up

“And here’s your starter for 2012, I need your answer before the gongs”

January is usually a golden month for movies yet equally forgotten too. For the critic, January’s Oscar films have been seen at festivals and any December releases that stretch over to January have been reviewed in the previous year. Their end of year lists rarely includes January films for this reason: those films have been included in the previous year’s ‘best of’ lists. For the public, it’s a catch-up month, watching those Oscar films that have been hyped over the previous twelve months and desperately watching the films on others’ best of lists from the previous year they didn’t have the time to watch. Continue reading…

Ally Clow’s Year in Film, 2011

At the start of the year I had a bit of time on my hands. Leaving a job and deciding on what to do wasn’t easy so I made a pact of recording every film I watched over the course of the year. The below is not an exhaustive list but the choice selections of some of my film highlights in the past 12 months, including my top ten films of the year. Continue reading…

Peter Falk

This piece by Ally Clow was originally Published as a Facebook post on Saturday 25 June 2011 

Just One More Thing

Ok, so my favorite actor Peter Falk died yesterday. He actually meant a lot to me and here’s why. My dad did this impression of him when I was young; he’d walk out of the room and come back in with bowed head in his hand, and utter those immortal words ‘just one more thing’. Completely unfunny unless you were the ten year old rolling around on the floor with his brothers knowing that the mimicry was rubbish yet so completely fantastic at the same time.

Continue reading…

Dreams of a Life

Back in the early nineties, when the radio show 6-0-6 was about comedy and stories rather than manufactured debate, co-host Danny Baker quoted something the great footballer, Chris Waddle, once told him: Waddle said he had no friends, only acquaintances. An unexpected sentiment from a popular talent, and one that came to mind when watching the new British film, ‘Dreams of a Life’.

When the skeleton of a woman, thought to be in her thirties, was found in her flat in London three years after she in died, it was headline news. The description of the television blaring out while a body gradually decomposed in front of it, while Christmas presents gathered dust, was powerful imagery. Coupled with the nagging thought that someone’s disappearance could go unnoticed for three years means it is a tale people still recall now when prompted in conversation.

Continue reading…

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