The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (David Fincher, 2008)

 Life is like a box of wrinkles

There’s a genre of film that centers around an outsider for whom the normal rules don’t apply. They’re different, and perhaps a little disconnected. We follow them through many stages of their life, which features wild twists and turns. Love is found and lost, war breaks out, a family reunited. Throughout it all, the wonderful gift or curse this person has pulls them through in a special way. Let’s call this genre ‘Forrest Gump’.

Birdman, Or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance) (Alejandro G. Iñárritu, 2014)

And did you get what you wanted from this life?

How could you go wrong with such a name? Clearly, the people behind Birdman, Or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance) have a sterling sense of making awkward things hip. It's a title that promises the dumb flair of a superhero movie (Ant-Man, Spider-Man, Batman) and then instantly undercuts that by going literary. This strikes at the core of the film's conflict.

What We Do In The Shadows (Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, 2014)

Just leave me to do my dark bidding on the internet

At the intersection of the mockumentary and the vampire craze lies What We Do In The Shadows. You'd be forgiven a bored yawn. Both things are so played out, surely this can't be anything but a lame, tardy attempt to cash in on the last remnants of undead popularity?

La Grande Bellezza ('The Great Beauty', Paolo Sorrentino, 2013)

A tonic for the movie-weary (spoiler alert)

It's easy, in the wash of usual fare, to forget what it feels like when a movie actually has things to say. All too often when visiting the cinema I'm like a dehydrated man dying in the desert, desperate to find but a single interesting idea hidden somewhere to drink in. It's why I started Filmadeus – to describe these moments, the interesting things about a film. I'm often disappointed. Then, suddenly, something like La Grande Bellezza comes along, stuffed to the hilt with ideas and keen observations, to wake me from this bad desert dream.