Occasionally, beyond the ad campaigns, the merchandise and the arrogant multiplex, there is almost always something decent lurking quietly in the shadows. It is in these shadows (although, I may occasionally burst into Cineworld) that I have compiled my annual top ten list of the best films of the year. The contenders are based on quality, substance and ingenuity.
I like thrillers that take their time and avoid the obvious cliches. Fast cutting and overly stylistic lighting can detract from the finished movie. Above all I like a cracking tale well told.
The studios' argument is that this creates a better viewing experience by letting the story 'breathe'. Of course. Because audiences just love to watch stories that don't end. We all go to the movies thinking, I really hope this story will have an unsatisfying ending cynically concocted to milk me of my ticket money for the next movie.
The acting is absolutely superb with a stunning central performance from the internet's favourite actor, Benedict Cumberbatch, whose portrayal of the tragic hero is full of depth.
The time is some time in the not-too-distant future; the place, some generic American state. But really it doesn't matter when or where this movie is set, Interstellar is a filmic no man's land.
The 58th London Film Festival brought us a plethora of début gems and world premières, exploring the ebbs and flows of life. Here we take a look at some of the lesser-known highlights, and the fresh perspectives that they offer.
This could be the biggest revelation in Australian horror since... well, ever. One of those rare films that burrows under your skin and leaves an impression for a long time after the credits roll, it has been generating overwhelmingly positive critical reviews since its worldwide debut at the Sundance Film Festival where it won Best Actor, Actress, Screenplay and Feature.
The Imitation Game arrives on these shores with a growing reputation and its status as the festival's opener only heightens expectations further. It tells the story of mathematician genius, Alan Turing (Cumberbatch), who is hired by the British government to crack the coded messages that the German army were supplied with every morning.
There were some funny and indeed touching moments in "The Rewrite". I really enjoyed the character of student and "Star Wars" fanatic Billy Frazier (Andrew Keenan-Bolger) and Keith Michael's fellow colleagues Dr. Lerner (J.K. Simmons) and Mary Waldon (Allison Janney).
Last night I attended the premiere of "Love, Rosie" the film adaptation of Cecelia Ahern's 2004 novel "Where Rainbows End." Fans of her previous novel and film "P.S. I Love You" will not be disappointed.
Before the halfway mark, I considered leaving A Most Wanted Man, Anton Corbijn's tortuous, leaden, almost event-free version of John le Carre's novel. But no, I thought.
The Hundred-Foot Journey is a wonderful film, and a treat for both your tummy and your eyes. Produced by the screen gods that are Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, it was never going to be a disaster.
American filmmaker Josh Evans' new movie Death in the Desert is a classic. I was privileged to get an exclusive preview of this brand new film. The prolonged panoramic and panning landscape shots burn into your mind with the light and the dark and the shadows. The cast and the characters they play are captivating as is the dark and addictive story.
It's 20 years since I've seen a Luc Bessonfilm as enjoyable as Lucy. The French movie mogul created two of my favourite films in Leon and Nikita, but in the years since then his output has been erratic to say the least.
It's a character driven thriller without a lot of dialogue, the tension quietly builds up, Jeff Grace's music score is perfect and Christopher Blauvelt's cinematography perfectly captures night moves as you're led to the inevitable question, 'what or who will bring them down?'
Watching this film is relaxing, exhilarating, fulfilling and wonderfully nostalgic. You're gently nudged round a full spectrum of emotions, but just as is the case with 'real life', of course different moments will resonate with different people.