A one-line spoiler-free review of everything I watched in the cinema in April and May 2024

I’ve never really been a movies person, they last too long and I always want the bar/toilet after 20 mins like at gigs, which stresses me out. But I got myself a BFI and a Picturehouse membership and as often as possible I try to find the weirdest most difficult ‘Martin’ thing to watch. But I’ve treated it like watching TV/gigs/football rather than sacred art. Boring? I’ll leave. Need a wee/drink? Do that. Occasionally you miss the vital two minutes of a movie but then so what? There’s another one along soon. It’s been fantastic. You can find them all here.

Fantastic Machine (2023), Axel Danielson and Maximilien Van Aertryck – A documentary about the social impact of the invention of the camera, it was at times laugh-out-loud funny, and at other times sob-out-loud distressing. I had to apologise to the other four people in the cinema at one point for crying too loudly. I didn’t really buy the narrative it was trying to sell, but it was brilliant to see some of the earliest ever photography and moving images on the big screen, and some incredible archive footage from the 70s and 80s that very much appealed to my sensibilities too. Also some things so weird that I wondered if the filmmakers would later reveal they had dropped in “fake news” to the documentary as part of the point.

Eadweard Muybridge’s The Horse in Motion

Doctor Who: Space Babies (2024), Julie Anne Robinson – I got to go to the premiere of this and met and chatted to Bonnie Langford, Russell T Davies and Brian May, and described it for the Guardian as “What if Doctor Who did Alien but it had incredibly cute babies in it?”

Millie Gibson, Mason McCumskey and Ncuti Gatwa in Doctor Who: Space Babies

Doctor Who: The Devil’s Chord (2024), Ben Chessell – This was bananas, and I wrote for the Guardian that “Jinkx Monsoon was a genuinely fun scenery-chewing turn that 1980s Doctor Who producer John Nathan-Turner would have adored to have in an episode” and described it as “What if Doctor Who did the swinging sixties but nobody was swinging?”

Jinkx Monsoon in Doctor Who: The Devil’s Chord

I do weekly episode recaps of Doctor Who for the Guardian and you can read them all here.

Late Night with the Devil (2023), Cameron Cairnes and Colin Cairnes – I stuck it to the end, but this didn’t really work for me, as I think the “found footage” schtick is hard to pull off if the audience already know what is going to be found in the footage.

Laura Gordon, Ingrid Torelli, David Dastmalchian and Ian Bliss in Late Night with the Devil

Boiling Point (2021), Philip Barantini – Fuck me, this was great but sooooooooo bleak.

Vinette Robinson and Stephen Graham in Boiling Point

Love Lies Bleeding (2024), Rose Glass – There was so much more to this than girl-meets-girl-and-crime-ensues and I thought it was great fun and I am enjoying that people increasingly want to do neon-coloured gay dramas set in the 1980s that could be GTA side-missions.

Katy O’Brian and Kristen Stewart in Love Lies Bleeding

La Chimera (2023), Alice Rohrwacher – This had an abandoned railway station and a donkey in it, plus 1980s Italy, so was ticking all the boxes for me, despite being a bit meandering at times. Lead role Josh O’Connor, acting as a slightly bewildered Englishman abroad, could definitely do a turn as Gareth Southgate if they end up filming/re-staging Dear England and Joseph Fiennes isn’t available.

Josh O’Connor in La Chimera

Tiger Stripes (2023), Amanda Nell Eu – I went into this expecting a social commentary feminist coming-of-age tale set in a very patriarchal society but came out of it mostly thinking “What the fuck did I just watch?” because even as allegory it was unexpectedly off the wall. The trio of girls are the stars but Shaheizy Sam’s turn as Dr Rahim was glorious. It has been censored in Malaysia, where it was made, somewhat proving Amanda Nell Eu’s point in making it.

Zafreen Zairizal in Tiger Stripes

Read more of my one-line reviews of everything I’ve watched in the cinema.