“This can’t last. This misery can’t last.” A strange epitaph to begin an end of year list, perhaps, but these words – spoken by the aptly-named Celia Johnson in Brief Encounter – neatly summarise a year that for many of us has at once seemed interminable and all too transitory.
★★★★☆ While not quite hitting the highs of the similarly-themed animated offering Into the Spider-Verse, Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: No Way Home is still a thoroughly entertaining, web-slinging adventure.
Although Netflix is primarily viewed as a source of entertainment, you can also learn from it. The platform offers plenty of remarkable educational shows that deliver quality content. Whenever you have some free time to Netflix, why not choose something that will help you get smarter?
★★★★☆ Though it is inhabited by folkloric creatures, Lamb ultimately reveals itself as a human drama that uses generic conventions as a way of examining the destructive nature of trauma.
★★★★★ Winner of the Golden Bear at last year’s Berlin Film Festival and banned in its home country of Iran, Mohammad Rasoulof’s eighth film as director intensely scrutinises Iran’s use of the death penalty through the lens of four separate episodes.
★★★★☆ The tragicomic absurdity of cultural morality is the target of prolific Romanian filmmaker Radu Jude’s latest feature, the bawdy social satire – and 2021 Golden Bear winner – Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn.
★★★★☆ Within the first five minutes of Matthew Heineman’s The First Wave, an elderly man is told “I love you, baby” by his wife via a jittery FaceTime call, goes into arrest, is brought back by a team of medics and then, suddenly, flatlines. It’s March 2020, and this same story will play out with alarming regularity.
Card counting was a great technique for winning big in casinos in the past. While it’s not so common today, it made several players and groups millionaires until they were caught. It’s considered cheating by casinos, although the process is so complex that we’d call it anything but.
★★★★★ Japanese director Ryûsuke Hamaguchi spins out Haruki Murakami’s fable of a theatre director and his chauffeur into an intimately detailed, three-hour study of grief, loss and acceptance.
The largest festival of Irish film outside of Ireland, Irish Film Festival London is taking place across the capital this weekend (Fri 19 – Sun 21 November). If you’re a filmmaker (aspiring or otherwise) and you can get to London this weekend these are three events not to miss.
★★★★★ A rich, autumnal gem of a film, Céline Sciamma’s Petite Maman effortlessly blends reality with fairytale, past with present, to explore notions of loss, grief and acceptance. At just 72 minutes, it is short and sweet, but yet another exquisitely made, deeply moving feature from the French writer-director.
★★★★☆ Adapting American author Thomas Savage’s 1967 novel of the same name for the big screen, Kiwi writer-director Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog is a meditative yet punishing exploration of man’s animal instincts.