The Satisfied Eye International Film Festival

  Epsom isn't exactly steeped in film history. Zulu star Stanley Baker lived here for a number of years, while Norman Wisdom divided his time between his luxury flat on Church Street and a residence on the Isle of Man. Just around the corner from where I'm writing this is the former registry office where Margaret Lockwood and Oliver Reed got married (not to each other). In the local cemetery you can find the neglected grave of striptease artiste Phyllis Dixey, who made a mercifully brief foray into acting as an ersatz femme fatale opposite Herbert Lom in Brit noir Dual Alibi (1947). Other than that the Queen's Stand at Epsom Racecourse implausibly doubled for St Petersburg Airport in Goldeneye (1995) and... well.. that's pretty much it. So, with the greatest respect to those concerned, it's taken me a while to be sold on the idea of Epsom hosting a film festival. Consequently, I didn't pay much attention when the first Satisfied Eye International Film Festiv

Fade Out: The Best Films of 2019

25. Avengers: Endgame (Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, US, 2019) Considering that a decade ago the output of the Marvel Cinematic Universe consisted of a semi-surprise success of Iron Man and the so-so The Incredible Hulk what's followed has been an exceptional achievement, at least in box office terms. For naysayers even the best Marvel offerings are likely to remain infantilised spectacle that threaten the very soul of cinema, but I would argue as a franchise it's shown greater willingness to mix and deviate from its formula than the Star Wars saga that has just limped to a conclusion. Endgame is a bloated monster of a film and while not as satisfying as the very best the studio has managed ( Guardians of the Galaxy , Black Panther ) it's confident enough to take its time and throw in a few curveballs, particularly during its low-key first hour. Quite how much sense all the time travelling hijinks make to those unfamiliar with previous instalments I'm not qualifi

Fade Out: The Best films of 2018

25. Ghost stories (Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman, UK, 2017) I know some didn't like this but I thought it came very close to understanding how horror and comedy derive from the same irrational place. 24. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman, US, 2018) The year's surprise entry, perhaps fittingly given we've lost both Steve Ditko and Stan Lee in recent months. Person ally I'm not a fan of the 'Spider-Verse' comics but the story is told with visual panache. 23. Loveless [Nelyubov] (Andrey Zvyagintsev, Russia, 2017) This tale of a young boy's disappearance from Andrey Zvyagintsev ( Leviathan , et al) is an acerbic allegory about the sorry state of Russia today. 22. Cold War (Pawel Pawilkowski, Poland/UK/France, 2018) There's no doubting it looks absolutely gorgeous although I find Pawel Pawlikowski's perfectly executed formalism, as in previous work such as I da , leaves me a