Big, ambitious and absorbing portrait of a genius who helped change the world
This 2018 film directed by Yorgos Lanthimos is a glorious tragi-comedy about the lives of three women – Queen Anne, Sarah Churchill and Abigail Hill. It travels the full spectrum from barking mad to genuinely moving. It is a blast.
Released in 1963 The Great Escape has got to be one of the definitive tales of derring-do, the ultimate escapism, in the ‘film is fun’ genre. What role would you have had if you had been there?
I remember back in 1981 this film was a sensation; we were all running around on beaches in slo-mo. Has it stood the test of time, though, and is it any more than a bit of fluff?
Jane Campion’s Bright Star was released in 2009 and featured on the lives of Fanny Browne and John Keats in the last years of Keat’s life. Abbie Cornish and Ben Wishaw do a brilliant job of recreating their lives
Ridley Scott’s classic – is it, and were you entertained or did it unleash hell? Has it stood the test of time? And how well does the revenge format work? This and much more – and a discussion of the ubiquitous agricultural yield ratios.
The Lost King follows the remarkable story of Ricardian Phillipa Langley, whose steely determination and persistence led to the discovery of the body of Richard III and paints the academic community as determined to write out of the story.
The evil British oppressor Captain Russell – twiddly ‘tache and all – forces the poor hapless (and stonkingly rich) Raja to impose the traditional tax, Lagaan threefold on the villagers unless they beat the English overlord at their weird game – Cricket (pre IPL days, obs). Find out what happens.
The 1967 film noir adaptation of Truman Capote’s famous book, In Cold Blood tells of the gruesome story of the murders of the Clutter family. It used a quasi document style, and is not only strikingly filmed, but makes you ask why these people died. It won multiple nominations for Academy Awards.
Cromwell was a 1970 film starring Richard Harris as the eponymous, and Alec Guiness as Charles I. Massive in scale and ambition, in its attempt to present Oliver as a democratic hero of the people. Does it manage it?
Marie Antoinette is the 2006 film directed by Sophia Coppola. It took a highly stylised and sumptuous approach, with modern music – though nailing the cake thing. Reception was quiteRead More
The Duellists is Ridley Scott’s first feature film, in 1977. It describes a vicious feud of honour between two officers over the course of the Napoleonic wars
Ridley Scott’s 2005 historical epic came soon after the massive success of Gladiator, and consciously aimed to repeat it’s success. It didn’t manage it, but the Director’s Cut was better received,Read More
Monty Python produced two deeply researched dramas analysing the reign of the great British Hero King Arthur, and the religious leader, Brian. How accurate are they, and are we still aRead More
The 1995 film about the Spanish Civil war, directed by Ken Loach and heavily influenced by Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia. The film sees the war through the eyes of anRead More
A 1941 Powell and Pressburger film designed to persuade the American people of the need to join the war against the Nazis. “Goebbels considered himself an expert on propaganda, butRead More
The massacre at St Peters Field in 1819 was a key date in the story of the development of democracy in Britain. Mike Leigh’s film sets out to restore that sense ofRead More
The stunning 2013 Japanese animated historical drama by the master, Hayao Miyazaki. The Wind Rises is a biographical film of Jiro Horikoshi (1903–1982), designer of the Mitsubishi A5M fighter aircraft andRead More
The 2013 film directed by Amma Asante tells the story of the daughter of an enslaved African woman and Captain Lindsey, against the background of the Zhong slave shipRead More
The 1933 classic from Alexander Korda which certainly convinced my mother that Henry VIII threw chicken bones around. It was a major international success, in particular for Charles Laughton,
2013 film about the ‘Godfather of Punk’ Terri Hooley set against the Troubles of the 1970 in Northern Ireland. And described by Mark Kermode as the best film ofRead More
The 1992 film staring Daniel Day Lewis in the adaptation of James Cooper’s novel, set in early colonial America
A very English drama about the dig on the eve of WWII which reveal one of the most dramatic discoveries in English archaeology – the 7th Century burial ship ofRead More
An Indian epic of epic proportions – colour, drama,. music, dancing, big stars, big budget – on the story of Maratha Peshwa Bajirao I (1700–1740 AD) and his second wife,Read More
Samuel Bronston’s whopping epic, directed by Anthony Mann, failed to win audiences and was a financial disaster for Bronston. But it presents a well worked view of why Rome fell,Read More
The story of Beethoven’s life and music, through the lens of the mystery he left behind – who was the ‘Immortal Beloved?’ The Music is great, by the way.
Paths of Glory is an anti war movie released in 1957, directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Kirk Douglas. Who does take his shirt off. It’s based a novel butRead More
A romp, ladies and gentlemen. Chaucer walking naked after betting his shirt, peasants jousting as knights, rock music at medieval jousts. A bit of fun or hideous tosh?
The 1989 film’s trip through time started by being received heinously by critics, and yet it’s journey has been most unprecedented until now it is remembered excellently. Though probably notRead More
The 2010 movie depicts the fight for women’s rights at the Ford Dagenham site in 1968. Loads of fun and laughter all mixed up with serious issues produces a really goodRead More
The historical drama directed by Ava DuVernay is about personal bravery, about moving, dramatic – and controversial events. Did it tell the story fairly? And did it convey the drama and engageRead More
In celebration of St George’s Day, we watched Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V. Was it a triumph of the order of Agincourt’s, or worse than the Duke of Bedford’s haircut?
It’s an adventure, exploration yarn! Good solid honest stuff – British explorer Percy Fawcett journeys into the Amazon, where he discovers evidence of a previously unknown, advanced civilization. ButRead More
Glen Longwell joins Wolf and I to compare and contrast 3 Robin Hood movies. Plus we had some questions so hie thee to the Facebook group to pitch in. WeRead More
When I was at school we constantly discussed the book; we were fascinated by it, including where they kept their money (really? Ewe). So what about the film? How did theRead More
We discuss the intricate and fascinating story of Mary Queen of Scots and the new 2018 movie – along with the 1971 movie too. A chance to see how the ourRead More
Such a classic – Katherine Hepburn and Peter O’Toole giving it large, plus the world’s most appalling article of clothing (see if you can spot which). Was it accurate? WasRead More
Made in 1966 by Italian neo-realist director Gillo Pontecorvo, the film is based the actions of rebels and French government during the Algerian War of 1954–62. So realistic was it,Read More
Lady Jane was the first leading role for a very young Helena Bonham Carter, and a film debut for the renowned theatre director Trevor Nunn. Plus its an amazing story. So,Read More
This is one of the two movies my father picked out for me when I was nobbut a lad. It won 5 Oscars, was voted 3 on the BFI’sRead More
The story of PuYi the Last Emperor of China is the MOST sumptuous of films, beautifully shot, it’s an extraordinary story, and the history it passes through is fascinating. WasRead More
The 1993 film which tries to present a balanced picture of Geronimo and his armed resistance – through the eyes of a young US army officer. Geronimo: An American Legend covers justRead More
The 1998 film ‘Elizabeth’ covers the reign of Queen Mary, and Elizabeth’s early years – and her arrival at a critical decision. Wolf and David talk about film, and its historical accuracy.Read More
High drama, a man dying for his beliefs, a roll call of brilliant actors – and presented with best picture at the Oscars by Aud herself. Who ask for more (haRead More
Amadeus combined music, drama, hagiography and a spot of crime mystery. It won 8 awards. Has it stood the test of time, and how faithful to history was it in itsRead More
Master and Commander is a tale of community and belonging, friendship and the ‘failure of fellowship’ on board the good ship surprise. There’s a bit of war, derring do andRead More
Zodiac is a 2007 true crime film directed by David Fincher, and starring Jake Gyllenhall, Mark Ruffalo, and Robert Downey, Jr. It tells the story of the search for the ZodiacRead More