Soon I must vote for Oscars and BAFTAs, so I've been having marathon screening sessions. Top of my list so far is ROOM, which is brilliant in every way. The boy actor, Jacob Tremblay, is astounding. But most of all, it's a film that never stoops to the rigged mini-plots so often used to generate viewer excitement: it goes its own way, always surprising, always utterly believable. The writer of both the novel and the screenplay, Emma Donoghue, has produced a perfect work. People seem surprised that a first-time screenwriter can be so good, but the truth is screenwriting's not hard, it's having something strong and real and true to write about that's hard. Emma Donoghue is original and wise: that's rare.
Other recommendations: GRANDMA - sharp, funny, Lily Tomlin unleashed. THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL, with another astonishing performance from a newcomer, Bel Powley. EX MACHINA, Alex Garland's masterly take on the sexy robot - he writes and directs, and for me he's better than Chris Nolan.
Disappointments: THE REVENANT, THE HATEFUL EIGHT, BRIDGE OF SPIES, THE MARTIAN, and oh, so many others. But it's hard, as I know to my cost, to get all the elements that make a great movie to line up at the same time. God knows, I've disappointed myself often enough.
And I really wanted to see ANOMALISA because I so admire Charlie Kaufman, but - maybe this is just me being stupid - it didn't do it for me.