The life of an Australian outlaw, as narrated to his child. An excellent adaptation of the Peter Carey novel, with vivid performances and a distinctive visual approach. The best movie version of the Ned Kelly story to date, and a strong arty outback Western in its own right. Recommended.
Black ’47 (2018, dir. Lance Daly)
A posse chases a vengeful ex-soldier across famine-torn Ireland. Vivid and evocative revenge drama, using Western genre tropes to support a specific Irish story with contemporary wider relevance. Some unnecessary and iffy CG mattes aside, this is great stuff.
Outlaw/King (AKA Outlaw King) (2018, dir David MacKenzie)
Robert the Bruce rebels against Edward I. Straightforward historical action drama in the Braveheart mould, with plenty of detail, production values aplenty and some gusto in the playing. Blood, mud and a trebuchet/mangonel device.
The Assassin (2015, dir. Hou Hsiao-hsien)
In 9th century Japan, a young female assassin is ordered to kill her cousin; the man she was once betrothed to. Visually-stunning wuxia arthouse (martial arthouse?) flick, more interested in painterly scenes than in traditional action thrills; still, a wonderful thing to behold. Recommended.
Year One (2009, dir. Harold Ramis)
Two neolithic losers stumble into Old Testament-era civilization. Patchy lowbrow comedy ticking off every genitals-related gag in the scrolls. Some funny moments; the always-welcome Oliver Platt steals the show as a lascivious high priest.
Bill (2015, dir. Richard Bracewell)
Young Bill Shakespeare tries to make his fortune as a playwright, only to be involved in a Spanish plot. Splendid Pythonesque romp from the Horrible Histories/Yonderland team, ticking off all the Elizabethan gags in the folio.