Cineville

This is the story of my life in Amsterdam, told in film reviews, and in cinema trip reviews, and courtesy of a truly amazing thing called Cineville.

In my view, Holland has a great many things going for it, Amsterdam even more, and one of the very greatest of those things is Cineville. It's not an exaggeration to say that it has changed my life. And I am very, very grateful. 

Sign up below for notifications of new posts and you may even get them, just as soon as I can figure out how to use MailChimp.


Logan :: Melancholy, Poignancy, Repugnant Violence, Jokes…
Logan is the story of a depressed, loveless alcoholic with a relatively tidy beard and eight foot-long flick-knives hidden in his knuckles. It's funny and moving and shocked-laugh-inducingly violent...
A Monster Calls :: Lessons in Coping with Death…
A Monster Calls is the story is of a 13-year-old boy named Conor who is visited by a talking tree voiced by Liam Neeson. It is about death...
Life, Animated :: When Storytelling Saves Lives…
From the very first moments of Life, Animated — as long as you're not a sociopath — you start to ache with empathy for the Suskinds, the family at the heart of the story...
T2 Trainspotting :: Looking Up Old Flames and Loving Them, Despite Everything…
An unhinged, anarchic and morally moribund film that may also make you cry...
Lion :: Will Leave You With a Wet Neck…
Ultimately, Lion is an astonishing, life-affirming, love-affirming story, and it has a reunion scene to rival the reunion scene in It's a Wonderful Life...
The Lego Batman Movie :: Like Being Pelted With Midget Gems…
The Trumpification of Batman is not quite enough to stop this film from outstaying its welcome. I found it rather wearing...
The Handmaiden :: The Opposite of Pornography…
The Handmaiden is a gorgeous, glorious, consistently surprising story of women and men and love and betrayal and sex and storytelling and love again...
Paterson :: A Film About Poetry, Which Is Everywhere…
Paterson is a film about a poet called Paterson who lives in a city called Paterson. If that's the kind of thing you find annoying, maybe don't go see Paterson...
Split :: Predictable, Silly, Gratuitous Shit
Split is mostly predictable, and wholly very silly. It also features a lot of totally gratuitous scenes featuring teenage girls in their underwear...
Manchester By the Sea :: A Totally Unsentimental Five-Tear Film…
Manchester By the Sea is an incredibly moving film about grief and loss and guilt. After I, Daniel Blake, it's the most I've cried in public for years...
Moonlight :: Uncommonly Beautiful Film About Love and Identity…
Considering it's set in a world of poverty, crack addiction and bullying, Moonlight is a breathtakingly beautiful and achingly poetic film...
Allied :: Might Just Have Managed Mediocrity If It Weren’t For Brad…
As he's getting older, Brad Pitt's face is filling out more and his ability to use it to express emotions — or, if you will, to act — is becoming more limited. In this film, he seems very wooden, and also rather hammy. As in literally, he looks like a giant ham...
Jackie :: Outrageously Good Performance, Relatively Uninvolving Film…
Nathalie Portman does an eerie impression of Jackie Kennedy, and she has that sleepy, almost-spooky, lugubrious ASMR monotone down pat...
The Founder :: What a Kroc … The Story of Capitalism…
Ray Kroc is a crass man and although he's not the brightest bun in the burger bar, he's almost certainly the pushiest and the most aggressive. His life is a symphony of rapaciousness and ultimately, his story is the story of Capitalism.
A Quiet Passion :: Quiet to the Point of Non-Existent…
A Quiet Passion is very painterly and literate, and never less than convincing. I just found it so painfully slow and I'm afraid to say, dull, that I was rather willing it to end after about an hour...
La La Land :: Spectacular and Beautiful, But Really, Let’s Not Get Carried Away…
A very satisfying, many-pleasured film. But let's not get carried away here. It's still quite a boringly safe film with a wholly hackneyed plot...
A Street Cat Named Bob :: An Insult to the Homeless, An Insult to Cats…
I can think of no other film based on a true story that's so totally, utterly, unutterably false. From the very opening scene of A Street Cat Named Bob, it's massively apparent how horribly fake and totally contrived it is...
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story :: I Am Bored With the Force…
Rogue One is an ocean of clichés and ultimately pretty uninspiring. Plus, far too much fighting and nowhere near enough wit.
Collateral Beauty :: Terrible Film About Horrible People…
Collateral Beauty = farcical plot + unbelievable characters + ropey acting + very, very, very bad writing.
Ninotchka :: A Funny and Fascinating Fossil of a Film…
Ninotchka has a mostly cracking, breakneck screenplay (co-written by Billy Wilder) and is still very funny in places, and thoroughly charming throughout...
De Kinderen van Juf Kiet :: All Human Life Is Here, and It’s Delightful…
A heart-breaking documentary about refugee children in a small village school...
Waterboys :: Nowhere Near As Charming As It Thinks It Is…
Waterboys is a production line of clichés and with a central character who isn't anywhere near as charming as he would need to be to get away with being as much of an arsehole as he is.
Toni Erdmann :: A Wonderfully Unpredictable Shambles of a Man…
Toni Erdmann is wholly captivating, a dynamic but distinctly dishevelled clown, a wonderfully unpredictable shambles of a man whose mission is clearly to somehow bring a little joy into his daughter's world...
Nocturnal Animals :: A Devastating Study of Lost Love and Fear…
At one point in Nocturnal Animals, Susan describes the novel she's reading as ‘devastating’. As so often is the case in this highly literary film, it is the perfect word. The whole film is devastating.
Dazed and Confused :: American Graffiti With More Spoiled Kids…
It's the last day of school and for what seems like much longer than an hour and 42 minutes, we follow the exploits of a large number of uniformly good-looking kids as they smoke weed and drink beer and destroy property and hit one another...
Stinking Heaven :: Opens With Crack-Smoking, Then Gets Proper Sordid…
The old man - Kevin - spends much of the film shouting 'cunt' at various women and sneaking out of the house to relapse. This is not a pleasant film...
Complete Unknown :: Clunky and Flimsy and Don’t Waste Your Money…
The story of a woman with extraordinary commitment issues and a man who has no idea how lucky he is...
Singin’ in the Rain :: So Much to Love It’s Ridiculous…
Singin’ in the Rain is quirky and edgy and exuberant and ridiculous and dated and romantic and gorgeous. It's also a fascinating document of cinema history, with insights into both the advent of sound in the 1920s and the studio system of the 1950s...
Sausage Party :: Sex, Racism and a Bubblegum Hawking. What’s Not to Love?
With an irreverence that owes an awful lot to South Park, Sausage Party is delightfully obscene and about as subtle and sensitive as a snuff film...
Citizenfour :: Horrible History in the Making…
Essentially, Citizenfour is eight days in a Hong Kong hotel room with Edward Snowden and a couple of journalists, talking – and typing – about the government. Action-wise, it’s up there with My Dinner With Andre, and yet, it’s never less than breath-holdingly, heart-stoppingly tense...
Shadow World :: Utterly Depressing Essential Viewing
Shadow World is very powerful documentary about the privatisation of war that consolidated my feelings about crony capitalism and sociopathy and made me feel bleak to the point of numbness.
Oasis: Supersonic :: Super-Entertaining Documentary About a Pair of Lucky Idiots…
Supersonic is a really entertaining documentary. It has moments of great excitement, and envy, and exasperation...
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them :: At Best They’re Mediocre Beasts…
I feel like such a grouch, being so indifferent to this perfectly charming family film, with fanciful things flying and sparkling all over the place. I just found it boring.
Weiner :: Not the Worst Sex-Pest to Ever Run for Office…
Weiner contains some of the most excruciating moments I believe I’ve ever seen in a documentary, and it’s totally compelling. Overall, a superb, horrifically intimate study of modern American madness...
Snowden :: A Great, Great Story Told Reasonably Well…
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is excellent and wholly convincing as Edward Snowden, the humble hero who sacrificed his freedom so that we might all know just how little privacy, or if you like, freedom, we actually have...
I, Daniel Blake :: Is This the Most Devastating Film Ever Made?
I, Daniel Blake is one of the most powerful and devastating films I've ever seen. From the very first lines of dialogue, spoken over stark unadorned credits, it got its hooks in me. And it never let go, and I don't think it never will...
Arrival :: Awesome and Entertaining But Ultimately Underwhelming…
Arrival is an enjoyable and at times undoubtedly awesome film, but ultimately I found it a little silly. I understand I may be in a minority.
Hell Or High Water :: Beautiful, Evocative, Poignant, Quite Dull…
Ben Foster is the crazy brother, Chris Pine is the less crazy one, Jeff Bridges is the cop in his last six months before retirement, yadda yadda yadda. Lots of clichés, nothing new or surprising. Good on mood though. Very good on mood...
Café Society :: A Smorgasbord of Classic Allen Tropes…
It took me a while to properly warm to Café Society as I just kept thinking I’d seen it all before, as indeed for the most part I had. There’s really nothing new about this latest Woody Allen film...
The Accountant :: A Gradual Slide Into Nonsense and Cliché…
I really liked the set-up to The Accountant and the first hour at least more or less lived up to that promise. But then things went wrong...
Entertainment :: Basically, the Donald Trump of Comedy…
Entertainment is the story of a clinically depressed misanthrope who tours American desert towns as a stand-up comedian, accompanied by an obnoxious and rather vulgar clown. It's not a comedy.
The Comedy :: Apparently, It’s a Dystopian Fable…
The central character of The Comedy, played by comedian Tim Heidecker, is called Swanson, although - not untypically - you never learn that in the film. Swanson is a bit of a mess. He has let himself go...
The Beatles: Eight Days a Week :: I’ve Never Smiled So Much…
I was probably around 7 or 8 when I first started listening to my sister’s old cassette of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, but it wasn’t until I was 13 or 14 that I properly fell in love with The Beatles...
Lo and Behold :: Invention, Communication, Degradation, Addiction
Lo and Behold is a fascinating, funny and at times rather moving documentary about the history of, and the future of the internet, made by one of the world's greatest living genius clowns...
Captain Fantastic :: Beautifully Subversive, Profoundly Moving…
Captain Fantastic is a beautifully subversive film about a man and his six children living off-grid in America, and their efforts to respect the final wishes of their Buddhist wife and mother...
Florence Foster Jenkins :: Soppy, Big-hearted and Mad as a Vole…
I was surprised by how funny this film was. I laughed an awful lot. Florence Foster Jenkins is very funny. Primarily, she's funny because she's completely delusional. Which isn't funny at all...
L’Économie du Couple :: The Opposite of a Date Movie…
L’Économie du Couple is a pretty standard end-of-love story made special by extraordinary performances. It's not a date movie. It's the opposite, in fact, of a date movie. It's a divorce movie...