A Weekend Out

Tokyo Story

The 50s Tokyo = 30s America theme extends to the pastoral music, all strings and harps. I hadn’t thought about the harp as such a classic “domestic bliss” signifier, but that it is.

Lost in Translation

Bill Murray’s character seems resigned to the fact that he’s in his version of hell, but it’s his choice that put him in a position where he’s surrounded by people who have no interest in his interest. Scarlett Johansson is there through not making choices.

American Splendor

A straightforward indie romance, disguised as a biopic. Paul Giamatti sets up a character within five minutes of scowling and slouching, and spends the rest of the time shading the details in. Repeat for the other characters. If you still respect misery, this is a film you will love.


On Paycheck

A Mighty Wind

People talking up Eugene Levy’s eye-popping twitchy role in this amaze me, but Catherine O’Hara will break your heart, and the rest of the film is either funny or touching.

Peter Pan

Maybe not an innovative movie, but an absolutely pitch-perfect one. The shot near the start where the aunt’s comforting hand on Wendy’s shoulder looks like the aged claw of death is worth the price of admission, and the rest of the film lives up to it.

Big Fish

The attitude towards our hero’s romantic rival reveals a very un-Burton lack of imagination, one that fills the movie with lukewarm water, and lets it set out two morals at once: Stories make life interesting, AND Life is pretty interesting. Neither of them are evident in the movie.

Cold Mountain

Giovanni Ribisi and Jack White look like they might have actually paid money to play southern hicks during the Civil War. But eventually the run of wacky guest stars falters, and we have to get back to the unconvincing love.

Love Actually

A triumph of craft over art, but God what a triumph. The dialogue is sharp (and pleasantly sweary), the acting consistently great, and the bits where the knife goes in are the more keenly felt because of the goodwill all around. By the time the ending shots start hammering your buttons like International Track and Field, you might well not mind at all.