2021 British Independent Film Awards nominations

Best British Independent Film
After Love – Aleem Khan, Matthieu de Braconier
Ali & Ava – Clio Barnard, Tracy O’Riordan
Boiling Point – Philip Barantini, James Cummings, Bart Ruspoli, Hester Ruoff
The Nest – Sean Durkin, Ed Guiney, Derrin Schlesinger, Rose Garnett, Amy Jackson, Christina Piovesan
The Souvenir Part II – Joanna Hogg, Ed Guiney, Emma Norton, Andrew Lowe, Luke Schiller

Best Director
After Love – Aleem Khan
Ali & Ava – Clio Barnard
Boiling Point – Philip Barantini
The Nest – Sean Durkin
The Souvenir Part II – Joanna Hogg Continue reading “2021 British Independent Film Awards nominations”

Film Review: Ammonite (2020)

Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan deliver committed performances in Francis Lee’s Ammonite but the film rarely excites

“You know you can always ask me for help”

Francis Lee follows up the exceptional God’s Own Country with another story about hard labour in LGBTQ+ lives, this time focusing on the first letter of the acronym. Ammonite follows the life of 18th century fossil hunter Mary Anning, a woman working hard in her chosen field but stifled by Victorian attitudes which resulted in her discoveries being shown without any credit being given to her in her lifetime.

Lee couples this narrative of historical misogyny with a love story of his own making, a speculative romance that sees a growing connection build with Charlotte Murchison. Their ‘meet-cute’ comes at the behest of Murchison’s husband, a geologist wanting to learn from Anning’s practices and when he opts to take a trip away which conveniently coincides with his wife falling into a depression, a period of convalesence under Mary’s care in Lyme Regis is prescribed. Continue reading “Film Review: Ammonite (2020)”

TV Review: Kiri

With a cast including Sarah Lancashire, Lucian Msamati and Lia Williams, how could Kiri be anything but good

“Stick a flake in it before you try and sell it to the tabloids will you”

Airing on Channel 4 at the beginning of the year, Jack Thorne’s Kiri was billed as a continuation of his National Treasure brand  (I managed one episode of that first series…). But any fears I had of not liking it were assuaged by a cast led by Sarah Lancashire, Lucian Msamati and Lia Williams, plus this far down the line, I’d heard enough good things about it to finally get round to watching. 

Set in Bristol, Kiri follows the abduction of a young black girl – Kiri – in the foster care system, as she is allowed a meeting with her birth grandparents in advance of her adoption by a white middle-class family. Her social worker Miriam has arranged this unorthodox meeting and sure enough, the proverbial hits the fan when she gets a phone call to say she has gone missing. Continue reading “TV Review: Kiri”

TV Review: No Offence Series 3

After a brilliantly brutal opening, the third series of No Offence twists into something different as the team face off against the far-right

“We’ve all led each other to each other”

The third series of No Offence started with a real bang as they kept us all on our toes by offing one of its lead characters. And though things calmed down considerably, the ongoing main story of Friday Street’s battle against the rising far-right threat offered an interesting spin for the series.

Paul Abbott’s writing always excels when it puts its characters in the forefront and it’s no different here. Dealing with grief (in their own inimitable way) only added to the portrayals, as Joanna Scanlan, Elaine Cassidy and Will Mellor all rose to the occasion, and it was great to see more of Paul Ritter’s maverick forensics guy. Continue reading “TV Review: No Offence Series 3”

TV Review: No Offence Series 3 Episode 1

The third series of Paul Abbott’s No Offence returns to Channel 4 in brilliantly unsentimental form

“What the f*** just happened?”

No Offence makes a welcome return to our television screens but with a quirk of timing, finds itself occupying some of the same space as Bodyguard. Who knows whether Paul Abbott and Jed Mercurio met in a pub to compare storylines and in any case, when they’re both done as compellingly as this, it really doesn’t matter.

We return to Friday Street police station and the big concern for the Manchester Met is currently local politics, a mayoral race potentially being derailed by the efforts of a far right pressure group. And during a hustings event, things go terribly, tragically wrong in a way that seems set to shape the emotional palette for the entire series to come. Continue reading “TV Review: No Offence Series 3 Episode 1”

TV Review: The Split Series 1 / The Good Fight Series 2

If female-fronted lawyer shows are your bag (and why wouldn’t they be!), the twin joys of The Split and The Good Fight have marvellous to behold

“Kill all the lawyers”

If I’m completely honest, Abi Morgan’s The Split did leave me a tad disappointed as it veered away from its legal beginnings to something considerably more soapy over its six episodes. The personal lives of the Defoe clan well and truly took over at the expense of any of the cases they were looking after and even if that family includes Nicola Walker, Annabel Scholey and Deborah Findlay, it’s still a bit of a shame that it ended up so schlocky. Continue reading “TV Review: The Split Series 1 / The Good Fight Series 2”

Countdown to new Who: Doctor Who Series 2

“Some things are worth getting your heart broken for”

David Tennant’s opening season took the template of the opening series and ran with it, Russell T Davies’ vision finding its ideal mate in the Scottish actor. The typically adventurous sweep was tempered with a more tender vision, which considerably upped our emotional investment (previous companions returning, romantic connections whether past or present).

Bringing back the Cybermen was an interesting move, as was the introduction of the notion of parallel worlds (and how important that became…). And if the series-long motif of Torchwood didn’t really pay off, especially not when one considers what Torchwood the show became, the finale to Doomsday is pretty close to perfection. Continue reading “Countdown to new Who: Doctor Who Series 2”

Review: hang, Royal Court

“You wouldn’t have the course for it. You would have the paperwork for it…you wouldn’t have the words, the stomach, the imagination for it”

A woman – a mother, a wife, but definitely not a victim. Hell no. Marianne Jean-Baptiste’s enigmatically named Three is a quiet presence at first in debbie tucker green’s self-directed hang. Ushered through the institutionally bland corridors of Jon Bausor’s raised set by two nameless employees (well, they’re called One and Two) of a faceless corporation, she’s there to exact the price of an event past. But as the requisite layers of bureaucracy are peeled back for her decision to be authorised, the cold fury and righteous indignation that has fuelled her for the past couple of years erupts with calculated precision in a stunning performance.

We’re in a near-future environment not too different from our own – surveillance has increased and more and more services have been out-sourced, including the punishment system. tucker green initially gives little away but the writing uncoils in unexpected but engaging ways, information slowly drip-dripping from the half-finished sentences like sweat from a politician’s brow on election night. And the rhythm it establishes is astonishing, making detailed use of active silences to speak volumes about the relationships between the characters, the interplay between Jean-Baptiste and Claire Rushbrook’s officer is particularly deliciously charged. Continue reading “Review: hang, Royal Court”

2014 British Academy Television Awards nominations

Best Actor
Jamie Dornan – The Fall as Paul Spector (BBC Two)
Sean Harris – Southcliffe as Stephen Morton (Channel 4)
Luke Newberry – In the Flesh as Kieren Walker (BBC Three)
Dominic West – Burton & Taylor as Richard Burton (BBC Four)

Best Actress
Helena Bonham Carter – Burton & Taylor as Elizabeth Taylor (BBC Four)
Olivia Colman – Broadchurch as DS Ellie Miller (ITV)
Kerrie Hayes – The Mill as Esther Price (Channel 4)
Maxine Peake – The Village as Grace Middleton (BBC One) Continue reading “2014 British Academy Television Awards nominations”