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  • Love on the Dole

    Love on the Dole

    ★★

    Less than utterly convincing evocation of life in a Salford pit village, with generic ‘northern’ accents, hilariously abrupt changes in mood, and the working-class characters all either rascals or saints. At one point one of them wins £22, which is coincidentally the budget of this film.

    It’s interesting in historical terms, though, as one of the few pro-union movies of its era, and for featuring Deborah Kerr in an early role, as a feisty, shiny-eyed young prole in love with…

  • Young at Heart

    Young at Heart

    ★★★

    A mainstay of charity shop VHS shelves, and one of Terence Davies’ top 10 films – since I love the other nine (he was one of the few people in the last Sight and Sound poll to pick Ambersons), I thought I better finally get around to it.

    It’s a musical remake of Four Daughters, a deceptively revolutionary 1938 film that saw John Garfield’s shambling, nihilistic piano-player invade a picture-perfect middle-class household, and through sheer sexual charisma explode its chintz-curtained…

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  • Ghost World

    Ghost World

    ★★★★★

    You can take your Juno, your Scott Pilgrim, even your Heathers, and chuck them in a skip, because Ghost World just does it all so much better. Well, all of it that's worth doing. I'm beginning to think this melancholy, bitingly hilarious crystallisation of teen ennui might be the only film I'll ever really need.

  • Sideways

    Sideways

    ★★★★★

    Wine is probably the most boring subject on Earth, so how come Payne’s film about a lonely, bitter best man (Paul Giamatti) taking the soon-to-be-groom (Thomas Haden Church) on a week-long tour of vineyards is so bloody good? Perhaps because of Giamatti’s astonishing characterisation, which imbues an arrogant, self-destructive, self-hating pseud with a completely disarming humanity. Or perhaps because it’s not really about wine at all, but love and friendship and the choices that people make that end up deciding…