Classics, Favourite films, Film festivals, Movies, Reviews, Writers

Television, the drug of the nation: tuning back into Network

Part of the Cinema Rediscovered Festival at Bristol’s Watershed cinema, it was a pleasure to see Sidney Lumet’s 1976 film Network on the big screen for the first time. If you haven’t seen the film some mild spoilers follow… Continue reading

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Classics, exploitation, Favourite films, horror, In Memorium, Movies

Remembering Wes Craven and The People Under the Stairs

The news today (the 31st August 2015) of the death of the director Wes Craven came as something it was hard not to characterise with gallows humour as a ‘Shocker’, of all the directors classed as ‘Masters of Horror’ Craven was the one that had kept a candle burning for the horror genre. Whilst others either fizzled out after initial promise (Hooper), gradually got stuck in a genre rut (Romero), suffered a gradual decline (Carpenter), or left the genre for pastures new (Cronenberg), Craven demonstrated a remarkable resilience.  Continue reading

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Classics, Favourite films, Movies, Reviews

Favourite films – Night of the Hunter

During the great American depression of the nineteen thirties to support his family young father Ben Harper is driven to crime. Arrested for robbery in front of his children, he is sentenced to hang. However, he has secreted the money he has stolen on his property and entrusted its whereabouts only to his children. Waiting for the gallows, Harper is enclosed in a cell with a preacher (Mitchum) incarcerated for automobile theft. Continue reading

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Classics, Favourite films, horror, Movies, Reviews, science fiction

Favourite films – Invasion of the Body Snatchers

It’s a commonly recited refrain that the film industry’s fondness for recycling material is stifling creativity, or more simply ‘remakes suck ass dude’, but Jack Finney’s 1954 science fiction novel Invasion of the Body Snatchers has proved fertile soil for the cultivation of American nightmares. Don Siegel’s 1956 film slyly presented a paranoia that can be read as either fear of communism or McCarthyism. In Philip Kaufman’s 1978 remake this becomes something else, expressing a fear of conformity, urban alienation, the breakdown of community and the social paranoia of being an outsider. Continue reading

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Classics, crime, Favourite films, Movies, Reviews

Favourite films – The Long Goodbye

With the recent release of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice, this seems like as good a time as any to re-post a review I wrote for Chris and Phil Presents last year of Robert Altman’s 1973 neo-noir The Long Goodbye which is a clear influence upon it. Continue reading

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Classics, Favourite films, Movies, Reviews

Favourite films – Zero Dark Thirty

I originally wrote this review in a somewhat shaken state after a press screening just before Zero Dark Thirty’s UK release. The film had already become a lightning rod for political controversy in the US where it was subject to an orchestrated political campaign against it, a campaign that intensified as it emerged as an Oscar contender. Director Kathryn Bigelow was raked over the coals by film critics, some elements of Hollywood’s liberal vanguard, and politicians. The controversy even went so far as to drag in the White House with Republican critics claiming that the CIA and the US Defence Department had leaked classified information to the filmmakers. Curiously most of these claims evaporated into thin air post Academy Awards.  Continue reading

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