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February 2017

 - Wednesday, February 15, 2017


Stalker: Dir. Andrei Tarkovsky ($36.95, Region 2)
Deep within the Zone, a bleak and devastated forbidden landscape, lies a mysterious room with the power to grant the deepest wishes of those strong enough to make the hazardous journey there. Desperate to reach it, a scientist and a writer approach the Stalker, one of the few able to navigate the Zone’s menacing terrain, and begin a dangerous trek into the unknown. Andrei Tarkovsky’s second foray into science fiction after Solaris is a surreal and disturbing vision of the future. Hauntingly exploring man’s dreams and desires, and the consequences of realising them, Stalker, adapted from Arkady & Boris Sturgatsky’s novel Roadside Picnic, has been described as one of the greatest science fiction films of all time.

Our Kind Of Traitor: Dir. Susanna White
Bored poetry lecturer Perry (Ewan McGregor) & his high-flying lawyer wife, Gail (Naomie Harris) are holidaying in Marrakesh in an attempt to breathe life into their failing relationship. Here they are persuaded to help Dima (Stellan Skjarsgard), a Russian mobster who wants to defect. In classic John le Carré narrative, they soon find themselves squeezed between the Russian Mafia, the British Secret Service & a maverick British spy, Hector (Damian Lewis), who is obsessed with exposing high-ranking UK politicians who are colluding with Russian criminals ($32.95, Region 2)


The Fall: Series 3 ($39.95, Region 2)
I must admit I wasn’t sure where The Fall was going to go after the bloody cliffhanger that ended season 2. But Metropolitan Police Superintendent Stella Gibson is back, and still in pursuit of serial killer Paul Spector who survives the bullet from season 2 but is now claiming amnesia triggered by the trauma. Stella is not taken in, but there are others ready to fall under his spell. Some people find the pace of this show a problem—but I like the brooding silences, especially when Gillian Anderson’s Stella is doing the brooding. Viki

The Young Pope: Dir Paolo Sorrentino
Jude Law and Diane Keaton star in this drama that was created and directed by Paolo Sorrentino (Youth, The Great Beauty). Lenny Belardo, aka Pius XIII, is the first American Pope in history. Young and charming, his election might seem the result of a simple & effective media strategy by the College of Cardinals. But, as we know, appearances can be deceptive. Especially in the Vatican, among the people who have chosen the great mystery of God as the guiding light of their existence. And the most mysterious and contradictory figure of all turns out to be Pius XIII himself, as he tries to walk the long path of human loneliness to find a God for mankind. And for himself. Something for those who enjoyed Robert Harris’ Conclave. ($59.95, Region 2)


October 2016

 - Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Aferim! Dir.  Radu Jude ($32.95, Region 2)
Radu Jude won the Best Director award at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival for this grim depiction of Romania in the early 19th century. Policeman Costandin and his son Ionita travel the country in search of a fugitive Gypsy slave, revealing along the way a primitive and brutal society ruled by ruthless landowners and petty functionaries. Conditions are harsh and injustice routine in this barbarous world of arbitrary killings and cruel punishments in stark contrast to the picturesque beauty of the countryside through which the pair pass. Aferim! powerfully evokes this nightmare world and the attitudes and prejudices which shaped it. Not to be missed!

Aim High in Creation: Dir Alison Broinowski ($32.95)
A unique, sideways step into one of the most secretive nations on earth: North Korea. With a personal mission to make her own protest film against plans for fracking in her neighbourhood, acclaimed film maker, Anna Broinowski, gains unprecedented access into the notorious communist country to learn the principles of movie making as taught by late ‘Dear Leader’, film fanatic & master propagandist, Kim Jong Il. Her experiences gradually reveal a surprising warmth & shared humanity that transcend political differences.

Putuparri & the Rainmakers ($26.95)
This film spans ten transformative years in the life of Tom ‘Putuparri’ Lawford as he navigates the deep chasm between his Western upbringing and his growing determination to fight for his family’s homeland. Putuparri is a man caught between two worlds: the deeply spiritual universe of his people’s traditional culture and his life in modern society where he struggles with alcoholism and domestic violence. As he reconnects with his ancestral lands and learns about his traditional culture he begins to accept his future as a leader of his people and shoulders his responsibility to pass this knowledge onto the next generation.

Versailles: Series One ($59.95, Region 2)
George Blagden plays French monarch Louis XIV in this 10 episode series. In a bid to strengthen his weakening position among the country’s elite, Louis decides to move the French court from Paris to Versailles. However, with the Parisian nobility deeply opposed to the move, Louis is faced with negotiating a dangerous cycle of lies, deceit and vicious political manoeuvrings as he attempts to exert his authority.

The Big Short ($21.95)
This film follows eccentric financial analyst Michael Burry (Bale) as he uncovers an impending crash in the housing market and puts together a plan to profit from it. As Burry’s predictions are spread by those who believe he is mad, a small number of people, including Jared Vennett (Gosling), Ben Rickert (Pitt) and Mark Baum (Carell), get on board with his idea in the hope of saving their assets. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (Bale), winning for Best Adapted Screenplay, and won the BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Stephen Fry:Today’s Russia—A Literary Landscape
‘I think I was about 14 years old when I first read Alexander Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin & Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. It was the beginning of a life-long love affair with great Russian literature’. Like many youthful infatuations, Stephen Fry moved on to other interests, and lost touch with Russian writing. He was not alone. After the collapse of the USSR in 1990, we in the West stopped reading Russian literature. But that does not mean that the Russians stopped writing. This programme introduces six of the biggest stars of Russian literature—with new works, including original English translations, read by Fry, who is inserted into award-winning original animations of these fictional worlds. ($21.95)

September 2016

 - Wednesday, September 07, 2016
A Bigger Splash: Dir. Luca Guadagnino
Ralph Fiennes delivers a bravura performance as the hyperactive record producer Harry Hawkes in Luca Guadagnino’s excellent third feature The Bigger Splash. Tilda Swinton, who appeared in the director’s stunning debut I Am Love, returns as aging rock star Marianne Lane recovering after a throat operation which has rendered her virtually speechless. Keen to renew his relationship with Lane, his former charge and lover, Hawkes invites himself to the luxurious retreat she is sharing with her current partner Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts) on an exclusive stretch of the Italian coast. He brings along his teenage daughter Penelope (Dakota Johnson) in an ill conceived attempt at bonding or possibly to lure Paul away from an adoring Lane. What follows is a brilliantly tense game of divided loyalties, uncontrollable passions and destructive self-interest—a game which one suspects can only end badly!. ($32.95, region 2)

Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse
Francis Ford Coppola began to film Apocalypse Now in February 1976. After 238 days in the jungle, filming was complete and millions of dollars had been spent (Marlon Brando was on set for three weeks at a million dollars a week). Actors had been replaced (Harvey Keitel by Martin Sheen—who proceeded to have a heart attack). They had all gone a bit insane (according to Coppola) and the whole thing was documented on film by his wife, Eleanor. ($21.95, region 2)

Under Milk Wood: Dir. Pip Broughton ($39.95, region 2)
Michael Sheen, Tom Jones & Ioan Gruffudd star in this BBC adaptation of Dylan Thomas’s radio play. The plot reveals the innermost thoughts of the residents of the little, Welsh fishing village Llareggub as it delves into the dreams of various townspeople including blind sailor Captain Cat (Jones), who is haunted by visions of drowned shipmates, Mog Edwards & Myfanwy Price (Gruffudd & Kimberley Nixon), who dream of each other, and Mrs Ogmore Pritchard (Charlotte Church), who dreams of her former husbands. The cast also includes Matthew Rhys, John Rhys-Davies, Jonathan Pryce, Katherine Jenkins & Siân Phillips.

The Disappearance
Francois-Xavier Demaison plays Bertrand Molina, a detective sent to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a young teenager at a music festival in Lyon. With the grieving family pressing for answers, it’s not long before Molina uncovers a number of shocking secrets which could push them to breaking point. A very highly strung French version of The Missing—this time with a head strong teenage girl as victim. Gripping—I only managed to guess who did it only in 2nd last episode. ($42.95, region 2)




  1. February 2017 Gleebooks Bookshop 15-Feb-2017
  2. October 2016 Gleebooks Bookshop 12-Oct-2016
  3. September 2016 Gleebooks Bookshop 07-Sep-2016
  4. August 2016 Gleebooks Bookshop 03-Aug-2016
  5. July 2016 Gleebooks Bookshop 06-Jul-2016
  6. June 2016 Gleebooks Bookshop 01-Jun-2016
  7. May 2016 Gleebooks Bookshop 27-Apr-2016
  8. April 2016 Gleebooks Bookshop 06-Apr-2016
  9. March 2016 Gleebooks Bookshop 02-Mar-2016
  10. February 2016 Gleebooks Bookshop 03-Feb-2016
  11. October 2015 Gleebooks Bookshop 30-Sep-2015
  12. September 2015 Gleebooks Bookshop 02-Sep-2015