Film Review: Cook Off (Zimbabwe) – on Netflix

Cook Off – a romantic comedy from Zimbabwe

I had no idea what to expect from this film other than what the title suggested, and its location.

What a treat! No politics, no bloodshed – just a happy reminder of Zimbabwe’s everyday decency.

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Film Review: Klaus

Screening of ‘Klaus’ in the Soho House in London

I was invited to a screening of Klaus by the Writers’ Guild on a wet and windy election night in London.

The evening began with an introduction by director, Sergio Pablos. He praised the talents of the animators from around the world who worked on the film; he spoke of the skill of the stars who brought the characters to life – J K Simmons, Jason Schwarzman, and Rashida Jones; and he mentioned in particular the innovative way light had been painted into each scene.

Then we were whisked away to Smeerensburg to meet Mr Klaus and his neighbours, all in magical 2D animation.

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Film Review: The Boy who Harnessed the Wind

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

This is the story of a young Malawian boy, William Kamkwamba, who makes a windmill out of scraps to bring water to his father’s fields. William is at the heart of the film, surrounded by family, in a country approaching chaos.

The cast is excellent … and so is the windmill.

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Film Review: Angels’ Share – rich with real laughter

Do you remember this film? I found this review back in the early pages of The Phraser so I’ve dusted it off, and am showing it again. The film made me smile so much the first time.

The Phraser

Angels' Share - a film directed by Ken Loach Angels’ Share – a film directed by Ken Loach

Angels’ Share introduces us to a group of Glasgow’s young offenders as they spiral down into nowhere…and then it adds hope, urgent, illogical hope.

It’s a ninety minute diamond of a film, with an age-restriction of 15, some on-your-nose violence, and great publicity for whisky and Irn-Bru. It also shows the meaning of useful compassion, and it feels real.

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James Bond, Skyfall and…lenses

Skyfall was released in 2012 – a Bond box office best, as dramatic as they come…and with strange side effects.

The Phraser

Skyfall smashed British box office history and set the tills ringing.

We were there. We popcorned in for bombs and bashings; for smouldering moods; for shriek-screetching music; for back-stabbing; for ‘British is best’; and for villains who should have been locked away for life.

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Review: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Last night I sank into my cinema seat prepared to be bored.  I had been told I would be.  Reviewers had said so on the radio and in the papers.  The great machinery of publicity had come to its verdict – I was doomed.

Turned out I wasn’t. I enjoyed a world-shifting three hours of adventure.

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Madagascar 3…or Argo?

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It is an autumn evening with a few hours before my young charge has to return to his school. Can we fit in Madagascar 3? Yes…of course.

We race down the steep hill into the town. Lights flick on in the buildings around us as we park and run the square to the cinema entrance.

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