Film critic, novelist and photographer. Likes frites, beer and chocolate. Lives in Brussels.

What makes a Water Cooler Movie? — 1) Genre Thrillers (Gone Girl, Basic Instinct, Fatal Attraction, Jagged Edge) are more likely to attain Water Cooler Movie status than, say, superhero movies or action films. It helps to have at least one strong female character - unless you want the ensuing media debate to be all-male, which, let's face it, isn't nearly as much fun, and cuts out half your potential audience at a stroke.

a ghost story: Anne Billson: Books — The Ex: a ghost story: Anne Billson: Books Anne Billson: Books — Stiff Lips: Anne Billson: Books Anne Billson: Books — Buy Suckers by Anne Billson (ISBN: 9781502547507) from Amazon's Book Store. Free UK delivery on eligible orders.

Hugh Grant: the most undervalued actor of his generation? — Meanwhile, his Hollywood career got off to a dismal start with Chris Columbus's cackhanded Nine Months, in which unplanned pregnancy throws him and Julianne Moore into an unfunny tizzy. Two weeks before its premiere in 1995, Grant was arrested near Sunset Boulevard while being pleasured in his car by a prostitute called Divine Brown.

Taking the lead: why every film is better with a dog — What do you get when you pair Tom Hardy with a dog called Rocco? Screen magic! Only cynophobics and Hardy haters will be able to resist the combination of Brando-esque shambling and puppy-nuzzling that takes centre-stage in The Drop - adapted by Dennis Lehane from his own story, Animal Rescue, and a creditable English language debut for Belgian director Michaël Roskam.

Lindsay Lohan: can the bad girl come good? — Disney signed her to a three picture deal, starting with another remake, the amusing body-swap comedy Freaky Friday, in which she proved to be a precocious comedienne and clever mimic (she has to impersonate her own mother, played by Jamie Lee Curtis).

Toilet roles: great lavatorial moments in film — In Julianne Moore's astonishing performance as an ageing Hollywood actress in David Cronenberg's Maps to the Stars - out now - as an ageing Hollywood actress, amid the astonishing display of naked egotism, neurotic insecurity and brutal close-ups, one scene stands out as even more fearless than the others.

CAT OF THE DAY 009: SLEEPWALKERS — CAT OF THE DAY 009: SLEEPWALKERS (1992) "Sleep'walk'er n. Nomadic shapeshifting creatures with human and feline origins. Vulnerable to the deadly scratch of the cat, the sleepwalker feeds upon the lifeforce of virginal human females. Probable source of the vampire legend." - Chillicoathe Encyclopedia of Arcane Knowledge, 1st edition, 1884.

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, Grand Place, Brussels, review: 'match made in heaven' — Katharine Hepburn once said of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, "he gives her class, and she gives him sex appeal." The same could be said of Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga. He's a living legend, one of the classic American voices and master of the sort of deceptively laid-back delivery that takes a lifetime to pull off.
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Oct 23, 2014

@splinister Me too! Why has no-one invented a repellent that we could, say, drink, instead of having to smear ourselves with evil unguent?

Oct 23, 2014

First major insect bite of the year on Sunday, just when I'd let my guard down. Still have angry red blob on face. Shines through make-up.

Oct 23, 2014

Friend & I did hamster squeaks all the way through a production of Arnold Wesker's Roots, Liverpool 1973. Those actors must have loved us.

Oct 23, 2014

Disconcerted to find can no longer squeak as high-pitchedly as I once could. Lots of changes as you age, but no-one ever told me about that.

Oct 23, 2014

@splinister oh my love, your new name just made me hoot with laughter. Is that your special Halloween monicker? xxx

Oct 23, 2014

@AndrewMaleMojo I haven't seen all of them. But they're definitey scraping the bottom of the barrel with some of those titles.

Oct 23, 2014

Unless of course we don't hold female directors to same standards as male ones. But Jennifer's Body & Carrie 2 are inept by any standards.

Oct 23, 2014

Re those 50 Must-See Horror Films Directed by Women: it would have been better to have limited it to 20, rather than include bad films.

Oct 23, 2014

@splinister @flavorwire I reckon female film-makers would have been better served by limiting the list to, say, 20 films.

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