Pepper Potts, in a screengrab from Iron Man 3.
I hate Strong Female Characters
By Sophia McDougall - 15 August 12:57

Sherlock Holmes gets to be brilliant, solitary, abrasive, Bohemian, whimsical, brave, sad, manipulative, neurotic, vain, untidy, fastidious, artistic, courteous, rude, a polymath genius. Female characters get to be Strong.

Alan Partridge.
Alpha Papa: Just enough common sense to save us from the monsters
By Ryan Gilbey - 08 August 12:00

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa develops and deepens a character we know and love - a humble comedy with the right amount of sanity.

Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer in The Lone Ranger.
Johnny Depp characterising critics as all-powerful movie slayers is pure delusion
By Ryan Gilbey - 06 August 12:23

With newspapers laying off arts writers, the suggestion The Lone Ranger has been ruined by dishonest reviewers seems paradoxical. Perhaps there are other reasons behind the blockbuster's US flop?

Mickey Sumner and Greta Gerwig
Frances Ha: Fun but never frothy, light but not lightweight
By Ryan Gilbey - 25 July 15:45

Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig's Manhattan-esque comedy, shot entirely in black and white, brings the force and intimacy of a love story to bear on the relationship between two Brooklyn-based flatmates.

Philip French's review of Vera Drake is worth revisiting.
End credits for Philip French
By Douglas McCabe - 25 July 8:14

French, the Observer’s main film critic since 1978, will retire in August. Douglas McCabe assesses the work of a critic who was determined to see every film in its social, historical, cultural and aesthetic context.

Felicity Jones.
Breathe In: The danger of looking at Felicity Jones’s face
By Philip Maughan - 23 July 13:00

Drake Doremus's pale blue drama stars Guy Pearce as a middle-aged musician looking for a break from his humdrum life. When British exchange student Sophie Williams (Felicity Jones) arrives, he sees a second chance to regain his youth.

Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck.
Roman Holiday: Meeting Audrey Hepburn for the very first time
By Ryan Gilbey - 22 July 11:54

William Wyler's 1953 romantic comedy Roman Holiday introduced Audrey Hepburn to the world. With the film's re-issue, the power of her first leading role hasn't diminished one bit.

The World's End.
The World's End: A comedy of ideas as well as gags
By Ryan Gilbey - 18 July 16:00

Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg return for the final instalment of their "Cornetto" trilogy: a raucous comedy slightly gnarled by its lofty ambitions.

Haifa al-Mansour: "In Saudi Arabia, any woman voicing her opinion will be seen as controversial"
By Steve Yates - 17 July 10:04

Haifa al-Mansour, the first woman ever to direct a feature film in Saudi Arabia, talks to Steve Yates about how her film <em>Wadjda</em> came together.

A cinema doorway.
Last week I walked out of a film - am I a bad person?
By Ryan Gilbey - 16 July 15:30

Is it ever right to leave a film early? After all, going to the cinema is about so much more than what’s on the screen.

Julian Assange.
We Steal Secrets rightly restores Bradley Manning to the centre of the WikiLeaks story
By Ryan Gilbey - 16 July 14:00

Alex Gibney's WikiLeaks documentary rightly celebrates Bradley Manning, while at the same time providing plenty of ammo for Julian Assange's many critics.

Slavoj Žižek on The Act of Killing and the modern trend of “privatising public space”
By Slavoj Zizek - 12 July 8:07

The documentary film The Act of Killing asks Indonesian death-squad leaders to re-enact their crimes for the camera. They boast openly about their massacres as we observe the real effects of living a fiction.

Pacific Rim.
During the 132 minutes of Pacific Rim I failed to have a single thought - not always a bad thing
By Fred Crawley - 09 July 15:35

Director Guillermo del Toro has spoken with open passion about this ludicrous, ludicrous film. In fact, he's right: it's pretty good.

Status Quo with their guitars in a tropical sea.
Status Quo have ensured the demise of the pop star feature film forever more - and it's a shame
By Ryan Gilbey - 03 July 16:15

Bula Quo! might be tired, naive and desperately middle-of-the-road, but spare the pop-film genre! I can't be the only one who looks at Rizzle Kicks or Dizzee Rascal and thinks: give those kids a movie.

A Field in England: A film swathed in mist and murk
By Ryan Gilbey - 03 July 10:53

Director Ben Wheatley - "a Guy Ritchie for hipsters" - has attracted something of a devoted following. But surely it's time for him to start making movies that reach beyond his fan base?

Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) in Despicable Me 2.
Can't we just ban sequels for a few months?
By Ryan Gilbey - 27 June 11:29

Ryan Gilbey wonders why <em>Despicable Me 2</em> had to be made.

Members of the Russian feminist collective Pussy Riot on film.
Gangsters’ paradise
By Ryan Gilbey - 27 June 11:08

Ryan Gilbey reviews three documentaries: <em>The Act of Killing, Pussy Riot: a Punk Prayer</em> and <em>Stories We Tell.</em>

Rin Takanashi
It's not a mainstream film, but Like Someone in Love tells us no more about the realities of prostitution than Pretty Woman
By Ryan Gilbey - 20 June 17:15

Like Someone in Love by the Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami uses prostitution as a means to pursue its own ends: an analysis of identity and everyday role playing, without the slightest hint of smut.

Martin Lawrence and Will Smith in Bad Boys II.
Cinema's two perfect sequels: Bad Boys II and Before Sunset
By Bim Adewunmi - 20 June 12:25

Viewers often admit to wanting to “know what happened when the cameras stopped rolling” and in their purest form sequels answer those questions.

New Statesman
Because he's a Stone Roses superfan, Shane Meadows's chronicle of the band's comeback feels like a dereliction of duty
By Ryan Gilbey - 18 June 11:34

The Stone Roses are back, whether you like it or not. Two new films, Spike Island by Mat Whitecross and Shane Meadow's Made of Stone, boast of the band's greatness, without offering much of a reason for it.

Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke in Before Midnight
Every time we say goodbye
By Ryan Gilbey - 14 June 8:27

Richard Linklater’s remarkable 20-year, three-film journey, from sunrise to midnight.

New Statesman
I owe everything I know about Shakespeare to Baz Lurhmann
By Agatha Elliott - 13 June 14:34

I’m only seventeen. The continued popularity of Shakespearean adaptations is a great thing for young people.

Can pornography be art?
By Tabatha Leggett - 07 June 17:24

Can only when we stop confusing artistic merit with ethical deformity can we start having interesting conversations about what constitutes “artistic” pornography and whether there’s a market for it, says Tabatha Leggett.

Glenn Close.
All may, none must, some should: Is it right for an actor to apologise for their work?
By Ryan Gilbey - 07 June 14:44

Daniel Craig apologised for Quantum of Solace in 2011, and this week, Glenn Close has expressed regret publicly for her portrayal of a woman with mental illness in Fatal Attraction. But was it necessary?

Michael Douglas as Liberace playing the piano.
Behind the Candelabra and The Comedian: The end of the affair
By Ryan Gilbey - 07 June 12:26

How to describe Liberace? Imagine a French Fancy at a grand piano, decked out in jewellery that would make the average hip-hop performer look frugal, and you're in the right ballroom. I mean, ballpark.

Audrey Tautou and Gilles Lellouche in Miller's new adaptation
Thérèse Desqueyroux strives after a significance that it can’t corroborate
By Ryan Gilbey - 06 June 10:27

Claude Miller's new adaptation of Thérèse Desqueyroux has some neat acting from Audrey Tautou, but the film fails to catch fire.

Remembering Anthony Asquith’s Underground
By Juliet Jacques - 03 June 15:06

Juliet Jacques returns to one of Britain’s best silent films.

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