A one-line spoiler-free review of everything I watched in the cinema in December 2023

I’ve never really been a movies person, they last too long and I always want the bar/toilet after 20 minutes like at a gig, which stresses me out. But I got myself a BFI and a Picturehouse membership and once a week I try to find the weirdest most ‘Martin’ thing to watch somewhere. But I’ve treated it like watching TV/gigs/football rather than a sacred art event. Boring? I’ll leave. Need a wee or a drink? Go do that. Occasionally you miss the vital two minutes of a movie but then so what? There’s another one next week. It’s been brilliant.

Fallen Leaves (2023), Aki Kaurismäki – I knew this was going to be a dry sort of humour, but I found it even a little too dry for me, and although it had some good one-liners I didn’t really warm to either of the main characters. It did have a good dog though.

Alma Pöysti and the dog in Falling Leaves

Doctor Who: The Church on Ruby Road (2023), Mark Tonderai – I got to go to the advanced screening of this as a perk of my job, and I reviewed it for the Guardian here.

Martin Belam and the Tardis at the BFI

The Red Shoes (1948), Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger – I wasn’t expecting to find this quite so affecting, so beautifully filmed and scored and danced, and I definitely would have passed my film studies A-level as I didn’t know how the story ended but I drew a very sharp involuntary intake of breath as soon as I saw the “Sortie” sign near the end.

Moira Shearer’s feet wearing the red shoes

How to Have Sex (2023), Molly Manning Walker – I’ve had very few misses picking new movies this year but I absolutely hated this almost from the get-go and didn’t last more than twenty minutes. Well there you go. You live, you learn, you walk out of a film and never once wonder what happened to any of the characters in it again.