Bologna discovery: the films of John Stahl

My annual visit to Bologna’s Il Cinema Ritrovato festival – which specialises in rarities, restorations, forgotten fragments and other filmic arcana – usually turns up a few gems, and often provides a welcome opportunity to get better acquainted with the work of a director with whom I was hitherto barely familiar; last year, I especially … Continue reading Bologna discovery: the films of John Stahl

From Baker Street to Loch Ness: Billy Wilder takes a trip with Sherlock Holmes

I am not usually moved to write here about new DVD or BluRay releases, but in the case of a new release, on Eureka’s Masters of Cinema label, of Billy Wilder’s The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, I decided to make an exception. Those who’ve read me on Wilder before will know that I am … Continue reading From Baker Street to Loch Ness: Billy Wilder takes a trip with Sherlock Holmes

My Best Moments of 2017: films, music and other stuff…

What with the depressing political mess we found ourselves in throughout 2017, which tended to privilege prejudice over reason, brazen deceit over factual truths, personal profit over compassion for others, and the short-term gains of the present over the long-term requirements of the future, it could be difficult to find cause for hope. But that … Continue reading My Best Moments of 2017: films, music and other stuff…

Movies for Christmas… or any time

With Christmas imminent, you may be wondering what to buy for your loved ones (or even, let’s face it, for yourself). Movies on DVD or BluRay can be useful, and there have been a fair few very fine films released over the last year. I’m not one of those people particularly bothered about masses of … Continue reading Movies for Christmas… or any time

Now Streaming… The Musical Treasure Trove of ECM

When the news broke a few days ago that ECM, the illustrious and proudly independent Munich-based music label founded by Manfred Eicher in 1969, was making its remarkable back catalogue available to major streaming services, a film critic friend sent me a piece in the New York Times which singled out 21 ‘essential’ ECM albums. Knowing … Continue reading Now Streaming… The Musical Treasure Trove of ECM

A Matter of Death and Life: the Films of Ingmar Bergman

The following piece – an introduction to the work of Ingmar Bergman – was written for the website of the Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle, which last November mounted a brief season of his films. But this slightly amended version might serve equally as a taster for the current, comprehensive Bergman retrospective playing at London's BFI Southbank … Continue reading A Matter of Death and Life: the Films of Ingmar Bergman