Review of 'Ae Fond Kiss', director Ken Loach
Ken Loach and screenwriter Paul Laverty's new film, Ae Fond Kiss, opens with a young Muslim woman, Tahara, doing a presentation to her school class. She talks about the increase in Islamophobia since 9/11 and brilliantly challenges the idea that all Muslims are the same. She talks about the many contradictions she faces in her own life and how they affect her. It's a good introduction to the film, as we see how a Muslim family in Glasgow, whose parents emigrated from Pakistan, deal with their own contradictions and problems.
Review of '16 Years of Alcohol', director Richard Jobson
There are many titles that could have provided a banner for this film - the opening narration spells out the other potential one: 'Sometimes, for some people, things don't work out the way they might hope. Hope is a strange thing. Hope is a currency for people who know they are losing. The more familiar you are with hope, the less beautiful it becomes.' So begins the narrator as he bears poetic witness to his own demise, casting his beautiful and battered gaze down into another glass of whisky as he does so.
Review of 'Tupac: Resurrection', director Lauren Lazin
Tupac Shakur is the Janus-faced poster boy for the hip-hop community. He lived the life, walked the walk, and paid bitterly for the myth he promulgated and tried to challenge. Tupac: Resurrection offers a personal, warts and all view of the life of the man who became the biggest selling rap artist of all time. Eerily, it seems as if Tupac is talking from his grave, as his prescient narration guides our interpretation of the abundance of imagery, stills, home videos, TV interviews, and excerpts of pop videos and stage appearances.
Review of 'Troy', director Wolfgang Petersen
The successes of Braveheart, Gladiator and The Lord of the Rings trilogy brought back the epic film and made it commercially viable. Troy, the latest epic, will not be an exception. Inspired by Homer's Iliad and The Odyssey as well as Virgil's Aeneid, director Wolfgang Petersen transforms the ten-year saga into a 163-minute movie.
Review of 'The Day After Tomorrow', director Roland Emmerich
Sam has problems. He can't tell schoolmate Laura about his crush on her, and his dad's never there for him. Oh - and the world's about to be consumed in a succession of devastating cyclones, floods and the onset of an ice age.
Review of 'Bad Education', director Pedro Almodóvar
Pedro Almodóvar began his film-making career as a new Spanish society took shape at the end of dictator Franco's rule. During the 1980s transition period to democracy the politically disenchanted people found a voice in the new cultural movement, movida. Hedonistic and anarchic, it had a strong impact on its followers and Almodóvar's future work. Bad Education is set against the backdrop of the movida in Madrid, where we meet Enrique Goded, a young, successful film director.
Review of 'The Cookie Project', director Stephanie Wynne
This year the 18th Lesbian and Gay Film Festival showpieces one of the still remaining controversial areas of gender identity and sexuality, transsexualism. Black American lesbian film-maker Stephanie Wynne's documentary style film, The Cookie Project, takes up the challenge in a very sensitive but down to earth way.
Review of 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind', director Michel Gondry
This is a dazzling and unique angle on the romantic comedy, penned by one of Hollywood's most original writers, Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation). The rom com of late has been a genre where reality has been sucked out to be replaced by syrupy sentiment and synthetic Mills and Boon cliches. Instead Eternal Sunshine views the romantic comedy through the frame of a wry emotional realism, by looking at the angst, heartbreak and unfulfilled promise of romance, although the film remains tender, uplifting and inspiring.