Category Archives: Filmlab

May 25

Filmlab: Best Movies about Writing – Capote

“There is a splinter of ice in the heart of a writer”, wrote Graham Greene. Watch Capote, and it’s hard to disagree. Bennett Miller’s forensic biopic serves up such a chilling portrait of Truman Capote, as he researches and writes In Cold Blood, that it’s never clear whether the title of the groundbreaking ‘non-fiction novel’ […]

April 27

Filmlab: Best Movies about Writing – Barton Fink

The best cure for writer’s block is sometimes just writing. Look at Joel and Ethan Coen. Stuck trying to figure out the complex plot machinations of their convoluted gangster film Miller’s Crossing, the brothers took a break for a month to clear their heads and ended up banging out the script for Barton Fink, their surrealist […]

April 13

Filmlab: Best Movies about Writing – Sideways

Everyone has a novel in them, but not everyone has a novel in them that people want to publish. That’s the hard truth Paul Giamatti’s failing writer Miles is facing in Sideways, Alexander Payne’s delightfully discomfiting 2004 road movie about two middle-aged friends on a week-long tasting trip through California’s wine country. The excursion is […]

February 11

Filmlab: Best Movies about Writing – Before Sunset

Films about writers frequently focus on the thin line dividing reality and fiction. Richard Linklater’s 2004 masterpiece Before Sunset, however, puts a more profound spin on that old chestnut. The middle instalment (for now) of the real-time saga he began with 1995’s Before Sunrise and continued with 2013’s Before Midnight, the film takes the writing-is-autobiography discussion […]

January 19

Filmlab: Best Movies about Writing – American Splendor

Write what you know. It’s good advice for anyone harboring literary ambitions. But what if all you know is the misery of a plebian lifestyle consisted of crap neighbourhoods, crap jobs and terrible marriages? That’s the predicament facing Harvey Pekar at the start of American Splendor, Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini’s meta meditation on […]

December 10

Filmlab: Best Movies about Writing – Sunset Boulevard

The old sexist joke about the stupidity of the actress who sleeps with the writer to get ahead was never funny, but it did contain some tragic truths about the contempt Hollywood has traditionally had for women and screenwriters. Never have these truths been better expressed – or the joke more artfully inverted – than […]

November 13

Filmlab: Best Movies about Writing – Manhattan

In Woody Allen’s prolific career it’d probably be easier to list the films he’s made that haven’t featured writers. From Play it Again, Sam, Annie Hall and Hannah and Her Sisters to Husbands and Wives and Bullets Over Broadway, right up through Deconstructing Harry and Celebrity and on to more recent work, such as Midnight in Paris and Irrational Man, novelists, […]

November 06

Filmlab: Best Movies about Writing – Listen Up Philip

The craft of writing is a tricky one to convey on screen. Hammering away at a typewriter or laptop hardly makes for sexy cinema, while the occupational hazards of the job – isolating oneself for months on end, sweating over the creation of perfect prose that is unlikely to be read by most people – […]

September 12

Filmlab: Best finance movies of all time – 1. Margin Call

The financial industry is so bafflingly complex and rife with moral corruption, it’s small wonder that a lot of the movies attempting to grapple with its intricacies (see most of the other entries in this top ten) do so by fixating on the rampant criminality frequently associated with the profit-promulgating schemes and dreams of its […]

August 22

Filmlab: Best finance movies of all time – 2. Trading Places

Finance is a serious business, although perhaps the most intricate depiction of its complexities is to be found not in a drama, but in one the funniest, bawdiest and most beloved American comedies of the 1980s. Trading Places – John Landis’ yuletide classic about a commodities broker and a vagrant whose lives are switched, The […]