Man Push Cart (US, 2005)

An American film with a Pakistani as the central character? More of these are needed to offer alternatives to the monologic Hollywood view of the USA. That said, this is grim; if it doesn’t quite make Bicycle Thieves comedic you may get my drift. Worth seeing. (Cubby Broccoli)

Groundhog Day (US. 1993)

Perfect role for Bill Murray as TV weatherman cynic but the conceit is brilliant and brilliantly realised. So it’s great fun but also manages to ruminate on being god. Fabulous romcom (& I don’t say that very often). (DVD, 4)

Pride & Prejudice (UK, 2005)

Not a fan of adaptations of classic literature but this is good. Uses steadicam quite effectively and has one coup de theatre (or should that be coupd de cinema?) where the protagonists are suddenly dancing on their own, reflecting their self-absorption in each other. (OAR).

Gilda (US, 1946)

Classic noir. Homoerotic subtext and Rita Hayworth’s sultry performance make this a must (watch Hayworth’s first appearance). Some great use of silhouettes. (DVD, 2)

A Nous La Liberte (France, 1931)

Interesting the way this mixes ‘silent’ cinema slapstick and music (used unconventionally but there weren’t many conventions for sound in 1931). Overall overstays its welcome (at 70 mins!) but interesting historically. (DVD) (DVD)

The Island (US, 2005)

A Michael Bay box office flop! Updates Coma for the age of cloning and does it very well too. Some satisfying action sequences though it’s a pity to see Johansson being used primarily as eye candy for men to save. (DVD)

Memories (Japan, 1995)

Portmanteau of three SF anime only one of which is about memory. Enjoyed the first the most (lots of Mde Butterfly); some gorgeous visuals and geniunely creepy moments. The last one, a dystopian militarist society, was also good. Interesting to note that subtitles actually irritate more in anime as you’re trying to absorb the visuals rather than focus on performance. (DVD).

Syriana (US, 2005)

Blimey this is a puzzler. A movie that makes you work hard to keep up but is still confusing (and I doubt that those without some knowledge of ‘oil politics’ would have a clue) and makes the situation re the oil and the Middle East clearer. Helluva achievement. It also throws in a convincing explanation for suicide bombers (ie they are created by economic not religious reasons). Cracking performances; edgy (handheld much of the time) direction; the writer of Traffic has created another fabulous political film. (DVD)

Wedding Crashers (US, 2005)

A perfect romantic comedy because any sickliness it antidoted by the crude humour. Vince Vaughan excels as the too-old lad who meets his match. Great Friday night movie. (OAR).