Once you’ve fought your way through the crowd of train and tube users at Stratford (possibly the least well signposted station in London), arriving at the Stratford East Picturehouse is a pleasant and calming experience http://www.picturehouses.co.uk/cinema/Stratford_London An attractive, purpose built cinema next to the Theatre Royal, it was surprisingly quiet for a Saturday night. The magnetic pull of Westfield (and its multi-screen Vue cinema) might be to blame but, unless you’re desperate to combine your film watching with shopping, you’d be missing out. Tardis-like, the Picturehouse is much bigger on the inside, with a nice bar, decent food and drink selection and friendly staff. Local art displayed on the walls reminds you how nice it is not to be in a shopping mall. Comfortable seats, steeply tiered for the shorter amongst us, a good screen and an excellent film made for a good night out. Though (lady in her 30s alert!) why, oh why, do so many cinemas let themselves down with grotty toilets?

Grotty brings me round to the film, Nightcrawler, but in this context, it’s not meant as an insult. Actually, it was amazing to watch characters so repulsive and a story so unpleasant yet be so gripped and in awe of the performances. Rene Russo and Jake Gyllenhaal’s twisted relationship (as TV news editor and sociopathic wannabe journalist respectively) makes 50 Shades of Grey pale in comparison. We know that this type of degraded journalism exists and that we buy into it via TV and the internet, and this leaves a sour, depressing taste in the mouth that keeps the film lingering long after the latest bonkbuster has been and gone. But films are always a matter of taste and, if Colin were writing this review, he’d be saying how boring this film was!

We did agree that Picturehouse membership was a pretty good deal at £30 top whack, discounts for the retired and students only £10 each. That gets you 3 free tickets, an 12 month discount on other films, money off food and drinks at Picturehouse and a range of restaurant chains, 3 months free online movies and, my personal favourite just for the name, money off membership to Shooting People, the network for independent film. Worthwhile if your local is a Picturehouse, although you might still feel hard done by if you read Patrick Collinson’s blog comparing the cost of going to the cinema around the world http://www.theguardian.com/money/blog/2014/nov/21/cinema-prices-big-hunger-games (central Londoners beware of the green eyed monster)!

Combined scores:

How comfy were the seats? 7/10

How good were the snacks? 8/10

How nice were the staff? 8/10

How sticky were the floors? 5/10

How great was the ambience? 7/10

Average: 7/10

How much did we like the film? 7/10