Since Sochi was selected as host for the Winter Olympics, there has been a general sense of dismay among the Russian intellectual elites and public figures. Boris Nemtsov, one of the members of the opposition, famously said "You'd have to spend a long time searching the map of this huge country to find someplace with no snow"
This may come as a surprise to you, but did you know that there is an almost secretive, physical effects company hidden behind a bleak, cheeky corner near Perivale tube station in North West London? I recently went there to speak to the CEO and SFX (Special Effects) Supervisor, Mike Kelt, to see what the place is all about...
On this day, 20 years ago, the film-maker, painter, sculptor, gardener, author and queer rights activist Derek Jarman died of HIV. One of Britain's leading post-1945 avant garde artists, he is best remembered for his dazzling array of ground-breaking films. But it was as a HIV and queer rights campaigner that I knew him best.
'The Wolf of Wall Street' is, by many standards, a good film. Sure, it follows all of the predictable plot beats that any given "money and drugs in the Eighties" flick entails, but it makes up for its lack of narrative surprises with its strong central performances and highly stylised depictions of excess.
I doubt Michael Cimino has ever watched a game of cricket in his life - nevertheless the Oscar-winning director who imploded in a fireball of arrogance, sycophancy and self-obsessive control-freakery more than three decades ago is the perfect mentor for England's beleaguered cricket captain, Alistair Cook.
'What Maisie Knew', a must see intelligent, heartfelt and emotional tale of a six year old in the middle of acrimonious divorce - Onata Aprile gives a performance to behold. 'The Taste of Money' the follow up to Im Sang-soo's 'The Housemaid', is a stylised and intriguing bitter and delicious thriller of lust, seduction, decadence and betrayal.
I have compiled my very own top 10 list that's based on quality, quintessence and originality as well of course as entertainment. The following list is not recommended for people who refuse to watch films with subtitles because they 'can't read and watch a film at the same time' or for people who 'don't do' black and white.
I'm going to come right out and say it, Alexander Payne's Nebraska features my favourite performance of 2013 and it's not Bruce Dern as Woody, wonderful though he is. She may only be on screen for around fifteen minutes in total but June Squibb, playing Woody's long suffering wife Kate, steals every scene she's in.