Mr Holmes (2015)

The framing of Bill Condon’s Mr Holmes is, on the face of it, rather peculiar. Adapted from Mitch Cullin’s “A Slight Trick of the Mind”, it tells a fictional tale about a fictional character – Sherlock Holmes (Ian McKellen) – yet it’s presented as though it were a biopic about the final years of a…

Timothy Spall in Mr Turner (2014)

Mr Turner (2014)

Biopics are a much maligned category of film … with good reason. Despite the preponderance of such films – only, ultimately, connected by being about ‘someone dead and famous’ – there are surprisingly few great biographical films. There are a lot of ‘entirely fine’ ones, but I can only think of handful that could be…

Timothy Spall in Mr Turner (2014)

British Film Festival 2014

November last year introduced the inaugural British Film Festival, a breath of fresh air in an increasingly stale slate of nation-centric film festivals. It’s not that I don’t have a lot of respect for local festivals like the Italian, Israeli, French etc festivals – I only saw one of my favourite films of the year…

Secrets & Lies

Secrets & Lies (1996)

The observational mode of Mike Leigh’s storytelling in Secrets & Lies did not initially impress me. Leigh tends to stand back from his characters; his camera maintains a close proximity to working-class mother Cynthia (Oscar-nominated Brenda Blethyn), her brother Maurice (Timothy Spall) and Hortense (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), the daughter Cynthia gave away decades ago …but generally…