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MM’s Favourite Films Of 2017 (Darryl Griffiths)



2017. Timothee Chalamet and Tiffany Haddish helped to boost the sales of peaches and grapefruits, as Barry Keoghan staked his claim to be the new face of Heinz Spaghetti.

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone immersed themselves in a City Of Stars, with Zac Efron and Zendaya looking to Rewrite The Stars.

In Ansel Elgort we found a Baby Driver. For Jennifer Lawrence however, she was merely driven up the wall by Javier Bardem.

All jokes aside, Annette Bening also uttered these words of wisdom.

‘Having your heart broken is a tremendous way to learn about the world’.

For me. Cinema has been as much about being entertained and escaping from reality, as it has been a form of catharsis. A wonderful art form that has continued to broaden my horizons. In an exceptionally difficult year, my selections have helped me laugh. To smile. To feel. Most importantly. To heal.

To all the terrific talents who were involved in these films. Thank you. X

Here are my Favourite Films Of 2017:



Thor: Ragnarok (Taika Waititi)

Beach Rats (Eliza Hittman)

Their Finest (Lone Scherfig)

Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool (Paul McGuigan)

Girls Trip (Malcolm D. Lee)

The Levelling (Hope Dickson Leach)

IT (Andres Muschetti)

20 – THE BIG SICK (Michael Showalter)

Inspired by his own real-life romance with screenwriter Emily V. Gordon. Kumail Nanjiani anchored a whip smart culture-clash rom-com, fighting for his big break in stand-up, whilst staving off staunch Muslim traditions through his romance with Zoe Kazan. In a year light on quality offerings within this well-worn genre. A big tick for The Big Sick.

19 – THE LOST CITY OF Z (James Gray)

Assured direction from James Gray coupled with gorgeous cinematography by Darius Khondji. ‘Z was an exquisite exploration of 1920’s Bolivia, as Charlie Hunnam’s renowned British explorer looked to uncover an ancient Amazonian city. A vigorous and absorbing throwback to the adventures we rarely see now in the modern era.

18 – MOTHER! (Darren Aronofsky)

Easily one of the most controversial and divisive offerings of the year. Yet you simply couldn’t take Darren Aronofsky’s latest at face value. The obsessive god-like figure of Javier Bardem’s writer clashing with Jennifer Lawrence’s ‘Mother Nature’, building to an audacious third act that is tough to shake. A compelling journey.


A mere reminder of the majestic motion-capture work of Mr Andy Serkis. This threequel was a soul-stirring conclusion to one of the great franchise revivals of recent years, instilling a desperation often associated with historical war dramas, underpinned by a stunning Michael Giacchino score.

16 – GET OUT (Jordan Peele)

Full of satirical bite about white privilege and the racial tensions that shamefully remains ingrained in the American landscape. Jordan Peele’s hypnotic (quite literally!) directorial debut exposes the horrors of such prejudice, whilst embracing the genre tropes to create an unnerving cinematic experience.


Upgrading from his trustee I Phone (Tangerine) to a sumptuous 35MM aesthetic. Sean Baker provided us with an achingly authentic deconstruction of the childhood fairytale outlook, grounded in the harsh realities of a primary coloured hotel run by a brilliant Willem Dafoe. Sublime.

14 – 20TH CENTURY WOMEN (Mike Mills)

A luscious labour of love of the 1970’s and his own mother, littered with fiercely intelligent performances from Annette Bening, Elle Fanning and Greta Gerwig. Mike Mills’ 20th Century Women was a tender and thoughtful tale of finding common ground within the generational gaps, that evoked vivid nostalgia without constantly pushing the button for cheap thrills.

13 – BABY DRIVER (Edgar Wright)

Inevitably tainted by the scandal of Spacey. But it can’t take away from the crisp choreography and craftsmanship on display by Edgar Wright here, as he navigates us through this exhilarating homage, set to a toe-tapping soundtrack. All the Cornettos to Ansel Elgort please!

12 – LOGAN (James Mangold)

Seventeen years as the adamantium-clawed mutant. Back in March, it was finally time for Hugh Jackman to say goodbye to the character Wolverine and what a blistering finale we were provided. Intertwining western motifs with the R-rated blood-soaked thrills fans had been craving. Good luck replacing him Marvel with that new Fox deal…

11 – STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (Rian Johnson)

Recently given the keys to a new trilogy. The pressure was certainly on Rian Johnson to build on the well-received efforts of J.J Abrams (The Force Awakens). Graceful in its tributes (Carrie Fisher’s General Leia). Compelling in its escalating conflict (Daisy Ridley’s Rey/Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren). ‘The Last Jedi was a scintillating and stacked instalment, that refused to play by the rules.

10 – LADY MACBETH (William Oldroyd)

Boasting a formidable performance by leading lady Florence Pugh, who clearly relished toying with the audience’s emotions as the titular character. William Oldroyd’s Lady Macbeth was an immense period drama, that was truly chilling in its calculation and subversion.

9 – GOOD TIME (Benny and Josh Safdie)

If ever there was a film that deserved a wider release in 2017. It was this pulsating offering from the Safdie Brothers, which unearthed an urgent and career-best performance from Robert Pattinson. An intoxicating neon-lit crime thriller, that thrives on chaos.

8 – BLADE RUNNER 2049 (Denis Villeneuve)

From the outset. I suspected the clinical approach of Denis Villeneuve would be a seamless fit for this world, initially built by Ridley Scott and Harrison Ford. So it proved. Serving us an astonishing continuation to its much-loved original from 1982, predominantly through a game Ryan Gosling, without dialling down its mesmerising dystopia and rich themes.

7 – MOONLIGHT (Barry Jenkins)

With an impeccable three-act structure, chronicling the stunning coming-of-age story of Chiron, taking a considered approach to coming out which was raw and resonant. Moonlight was a vital work from director Barry Jenkins and a shining example that less can often be so much more..

6 – DUNKIRK (Christopher Nolan)

Through Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan stripped away the narrative excess of his previous work, to create a lean and immersive ‘race-against-time’ war machine. Filled with nail-biting tension that is accentuated by an unrelenting Hans Zimmer score. Superior in the subtlety of its performances, with Fionn Whitehead, Kenneth Branagh and Mark Rylance worthy mentions. Magnificent.

5 – CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (Luca Guadagnino)

From the sun-kissed beauty of its gorgeous setting to the sizzling chemistry between Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer. All the way to a sublime double musical offering from Sufjan Stevens. Call Me By Your Name was a film that simply overflowed with beauty. If the central romance didn’t break your heart, Michael Stuhlbarg’s beautiful father to son speech likely did.

4 – THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER (Yorgos Lanthimos)

A frightening depiction of familial dysfunction, fused with the peculiar humour we’ve come to expect from its Greek director. Who knew a version of Ellie Goulding’s Burn could be so creepy!? ‘Sacred Deer was sensational, giving us an unforgettable softly-spoken menace in Barry Keoghan, as Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell wrestled with their consciences in riveting fashion.

3 – LA LA LAND (Damien Chazelle)

A feverish debut with ‘Whiplash’. It was a case of the ‘difficult second album’ for Damien Chazelle with La La Land. How he exceeded expectations. An irresistible tribute to the glittering Golden Age of Hollywood musicals, with a golden couple at its core in Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. I could happily watch those ‘A Lovely Night/Planetarium’ dance sequences on repeat. Simply dazzling.

2 – A MONSTER CALLS (J.A Bayona)

An adaptation of the Patrick Ness novel, which i will now forever have a deep personal connection to and draw strength from. A Monster Calls may be a fantastical feast at first glance with its fondness for mythical watercolour tales. But it’s the skilful handling of a boy’s (Lewis MacDougall on outstanding form) struggle to grasp the extent of his mom’s (Felicity Jones) illness, that truly stays with you. Incredible.

1 – GOD’S OWN COUNTRY (Francis Lee)

The 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK, it’s been fitting that there has been many superb LGBTQ cinematic offerings this year.

Yet Francis Lee’s rapturous romance, starring a stellar pairing in Josh O’Connor and Alec Secareanu stood tall above all. Lazily tagged as a ‘British Brokeback’, God’s Own Country was a bracing piece of cinema filled with an unwavering sense of hope and optimism, often found lacking in the queer cinema canon. It may begin in isolation, but how it takes your breath away in its open picturesque spaces. A fitting message for a society that suddenly seems obsessed with building fences and walls. My film of 2017.


All the UK Streaming Goodness Coming in November 2018



Between the increasing number of streaming platforms in our lives, there’s far too much great entertainment being released day after day for any sane person to keep track of. 

There’s streaming giant Netflix, the curated offerings of MUBI, all the latest releases on NOW TV, and online video emporium Amazon Prime. There’s something for everyone, on demand, just waiting to be selected. What a time to be alive!

But that doesn’t help when you’re looking for something to wile away the evening with, so let us lighten the load and make your viewing choice that little bit easier with our weekly updated round-up of everything being added to your favourite platform.

Thursday, November 1st


  • Alvin and the Chipmunks
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked
  • Bride Wars
  • Get Santa
  • Monte Carlo

Friday, November 2nd

  • Homecoming: Season 1
  • The Romanoffs: Season 1 (new episode)
  • You Were Never Really Here

Saturday, November 3rd

  • Blow
  • Jack the Giant Slayer
  • Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
  • The Outlaw Josey Wales
  • Swordfish

Sunday, November 4th

  • Big Momma’s House

Monday, November 5th

  • Note
  • Outlander: Season 4 (new episode)

Wednesday, November 7th

  • The Purge: Season 1 (new episode)

Thursday, November 8th

  • The Girl Next Door

Friday, November 9th

  • Patriot: Season 2
  • The Romanoffs: Season 1 (new episode)

Wednesday, November 14th

  • Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s My Donkey?

Friday, November 16th

  • Coldplay: A Head Full of Dreams
  • The Gymkhana Files: Season 1
  • Mirzapur: Season 1
  • The Romanoffs: Season 1 (new episode)


Monday, November 5th

  • Pyaasa

Tuesday, November 6th

  • Wishing Well

Wednesday, November 7th

  • The Dead Nation

Friday, November 9th

  • 9 Fingers

Sunday, November 11th

  • Blue Black Permanent

Monday, November 12th

  • Kaagaz Ke Phool

Tuesday, November 13th

  • From its Mouth Came a River of High-End Residential Appliances

Wednesday, November 14th

  • The Criminal

Thursday, November 15th

  • The Servant


Thursday, November 1st

  • Angela’s Christmas
  • Calico Critters
  • Calico Critters: A Town of Dreams
  • Calico Critters: The Treasure of Calico Village
  • Children of Men
  • Crusoe
  • Dead Set
  • Deadly Expose
  • Edge of Fear
  • Expatriot
  • Follow This: Part 3
  • Hang ‘Em High
  • The Hooligan Factory
  • In a Valley of Violence
  • The Judgement: Season 1 (new episode)
  • Katt Williams: The Pimp Chronicles: Pt. 1
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  • Malone
  • Our House
  • Robocop (1987)
  • Selma
  • Sleepwalker
  • Thunderbolt and Lightfoot
  • The Tigers of Scotland
  • The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin

Friday, November 2nd

  • Brainchild
  • Daybreakers
  • The Good Place: Season 3 (new episode)
  • The Holiday Calendar
  • House of Cards: Season 6
  • The Other Side of the Wind
  • ReMastered (new episode)
  • They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead
  • Trolls: The Beat Goes On!: Season 4

Saturday, November 3rd

  • Allied
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Season 4 (new episode)
  • Dynasty: Season 2 (new episode)
  • A Taiwanese Tale of Two Cities: Season (new episode)

Sunday, November 4th

Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj

  • 6th November
  • Black Lightning: Season 2 (new episode)
  • The Light Between Oceans
  • Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj (new episode)

Monday, November 5th

  • John Leguizamo’s Latin History for Morons
  • Oh My Ghost: Season 1 (new episode)

Tuesday, November 6th

  • The Late Bloomer

Thursday, November 8th

  • The Judgement: Season 1 (new episode)
  • Neighbors
  • Riverdale: Season 2 (new episode)

Friday, November 9th

  • Ali G Indahouse
  • An American Tail
  • BASEketball
  • Beat Bugs: Season 3
  • The Best of Me
  • The Good Place: Season 3 (new episode)
  • King Kong (2005)
  • Made of Honor: Season 1
  • Outlaw King
  • The Perfect Man
  • La Reina del Flow
  • The Sinner
  • Spirit Riding Free: Season 7
  • Super Drags: Season 1
  • Treehouse Detectives
  • Waterworld
  • Westside: Season 1

Saturday, November 10th

  • Almost Christmas
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Season 4 (new episode)
  • Dynasty: Season 2 (new episode)
  • Limitless
  • P.S. I Love You
  • A Taiwanese Tale of Two Cities: Season (new episode)

Sunday, November 11th

  • Arrival
  • Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj (new episode)
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Monday, November 12th

  • Oh My Ghost: Season 1 (new episode)

Tuesday, November 13th

  • Black Lightning: Season 2 (new episode)
  • Loudon Wainwright III: Surviving Twin
  • Warrior

Thursday, November 15th

  • Coach Carter
  • The Crew
  • The Judgement: Season 1 (new episode)
  • May the Devil take You
  • Red Riding Hood
  • Riverdale: Season 2 (new episode)
  • The Windsors

Friday, November 16th

  • 2 Guns
  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
  • Cam
  • Dogs: Season 1
  • The Good Place: Season 3 (new episode)
  • The Kominsky Method
  • Narcos: Mexico
  • Ponysitters Club: Season 2
  • Prince of Peoria
  • The Princess Switch
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Season 1

Saturday, November 17th

  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Season 4 (new episode)
  • Dynasty: Season 2 (new episode)
  • A Taiwanese Tale of Two Cities: Season (new episode)

Sunday, November 18th

  • Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj (new episode)



Friday, November 2nd

Three Billboards Day 04_118.dng

  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Saturday, November 3rd

  • Mary and the Witch’s Flower

Sunday, November 4th

  • Honey: Rise Up and Dance

Monday, November 5th

  • Black Butterfly

Tuesday, November 6th

  • A Christmas Cruise

Wednesday, November 7th

  • The Nile Hilton Incident

Thursday, November 8th

  • Waiting for You

Friday, November 9th

  • Darkest Hour

Saturday, November 10th

  • Better Watch Out

Sunday, November 11th

  • Spinning Man

Monday, November 12th

  • Dark Crimes

Tuesday, November 13th

  • A Bramble House Christmas

Wednesday, November 14th

  • Let the Sunshine In

Thursday, November 15th

  • Stephanie

Friday, November 16th

  • Game Night

Saturday, November 17th

  • Mom and Dad

That’s it for this week, but don’t forget to check back each week for a fresh round of new releases for the UK on streaming platforms Amazon Prime, MUBI, NOW TV, and Netflix.

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The Four Most Underrated Casino Movies of all Time



When it comes to cinematic representation, there’s little room for the casino industry to complain. With built-in glamour and drama and no shortage of cash on the line, casinos are ideal locations to base critical moments and, indeed, entire movies. 

From Casino Royale’s nail-biting poker scene to Ocean’s Eleven’s daring casino heist and Casino’s, well, casino, there are dozens of amazing movies utilising casinos as central plot devices. 

But what about those casino movies which never seem to quite get the recognition they deserve? We’re talking about the less high-profile pictures that deserve your time just as much as the big boys. 

In this guide, we’re going to share with you some of our very favourite underrated casino movies. Let’s go. 


Las Vegas, today a gambling haven, was not long ago a deserted wasteland in the middle of one of America’s least habitable areas. Bugsy (1991), directed by Barry Levinson (Rain Man, Good Morning Vietnam), tackles that very subject and boasts a 80% overall score at  

The film reveals how gangster Ben “Bugsy” Siegel effectively built the industry in Nevada by starting large-scale development in the Las Vegas Valley. It’s a beautifully acted, stylish and fascinating picture which features the talents of Warren Beatty, Harvey Keitel, Annette Bening and Ben Kingsley. 

[Source: Pixabay] 

The Cincinnati Kid 

Steve McQueen, that cinematic icon, lent his talents to over 40 movies and TV shows during his tragically short life, but few roles are as underrated as his turn as The Cincinnati Kid (1965). 

Starring as Eric Stoner, he was the Cincinnati Kid, a young poker player out to build a name for himself as the best around. How do you do that? Well, you beat the best player around – Lancey “The Man” Howard (Edward G. Robinson). 

What follows is pure drama, and shouldn’t be missed. 

Ocean’s 11 (1960) 

Overshadowed by its more recent remake, the original Ocean’s 11 deserves a critical reappraisal and is well worth a revisit. Originally thought of as little more than a vehicle for five members of the Rat Pack (Peter Lawford, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Joey Bishop), it remains a rollicking heist movie about big risks and big rewards. 

Of course, with the likes of offering jackpots of over £300k on games such as slots and roulette, you’d sooner head there than plan the heist of the century these days. Anyone got a time machine? It’d save those boys an awful lot of effort.  

Owning Mahowny 

Based on a true story, Owning Mahowny (2003) discovers what happens when you give a man with a gambling problem access to millions of dollars. Full information about the film can be found at 

Bank employee Dan Mahowny (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) syphons off money from accounts at his bank to feed his habit, spurred on by sleazy casino boss Victor (John Hurt), as his life begins to spiral out of control. It’s a beautifully pitched film with a reliably stunning performance by the dearly missed Phillip Seymour Hoffman. 

And there we have it! Four casino movies which run the emotional gamut. Perhaps that’s the timeless appeal of casinos as a setting, that under one roof you can have thousands of stories, each as fascinating as the next. Think we’ve missed your favourite underrated casino movie? Comment below!  

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6 Great Smartphone Apps for the Film Fan 



While on the set of Apocalypse Now, Francis Ford Coppola once said that the prevalence of video would make it possible for everyone to be a filmmaker. He was almost right. It took a little longer than he anticipated but now, thanks to the digital revolution, everyone with a smartphone is a potential filmmaker ready to make the next big independent hit. 

But smartphones haven’t just allowed film fans to make movies but to enjoy them in more immersive ways, bringing a multimedia environment to the way we experience cinema. Here, we take a look at six must-see apps for the film fan. 

L’Odéon“ (CC BY-SA 2.0) by achassignon 

Trailers (for iPhone) 

For iPhone users who want to keep up to date with the latest movies hitting our cinema screens, there are few apps as useful as Apple’s Trailers. All available in high-definition and searchable in various ways such as genre, box office and user ratings, the app is a perfect place to start planning your future movie viewing. 

Pinnacle Studio Pro (for iPhone) 

Here’s an app for budding Steven Spielbergs. Pinnacle Studio Pro for iPhone is feature-loaded for creating films through your smartphone. You can arrange and rearrange the clips you’ve selected with a simple-to-use interface that includes functionality like titles and transition effects. You can add your choice of music too as well as do fancy stuff like slow-mo. 

DC Legends: Battle For Justice (for Android) 

Video games based on movies give us the chance to immerse ourselves inside the characters we have come to cherish. DC Legends: Battle for Justice is the stand out free game for Android users who love the world of Batman, Superman and DC Comics, as featured on A character collecting game, you can choose to play in story mode or against other players online. Alternatively, LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is the game to have for both Android and Apple users, while popular casino-style entertainment based on these characters such as The Dark Knight Rises digital slot machine from Playtech, which you can play at Betfair at, offers further excitement as you pit your wits against Gotham City’s villains. 

Scene It (iPhone and Android) 

Test your movie knowledge with the smartphone version of the popular board game, Scene It. It is omnipresent – from its DVD and card game beginnings to Xbox and PlayStation versions and even a Facebook-based adaptation – Scene It gives movie buffs the chance to test their knowledge in front of friends and family. 

Movie Vault (for Android and iPhone) 

Available on, Movie Vault is the app for buffs wanting to sample classic and difficult-to-source old films that, in some cases, are available here for the first time in a digital medium. The charming interface – wooden shelves lined with a catalogue of authentic box art – allows you to stream films you’ve probably never seen before. Some are sourced from old VHS tapes and weathered celluloid, so it’s not the same as watching pristine high definition on Netflix. Still, Movie Vault opens up a world of interesting world cinema to fans who want to extend the cinema experience beyond the latest Hollywood blockbuster. 

RunPee (iPhone & Android) 

Okay, for true film buffs, there’s never a good time to take a bathroom break because you’re going to miss some of the drama. But if you’ve really got to go when in the cinema, RunPee tells you when the best moments to take a toilet break are, and fills you in on any plot points you might miss. 


Cinema in South Beach, Miami“ (CC BY 2.0) by hellostanley 

From keeping you entertained with films you might never have seen before, to prepping you for new movies, giving you the opportunity to make your own, and testing your knowledge, for film fans, these are the handy apps to keep on your smartphone. 

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