The Enforcer (1951 USA)

EnforcerThe Enforcer has often played to packed houses in Paris more than fifty years after its original release. More than one French critic has called the film a gem (un joyau) among film noir classics. Indeed, its popularity in France says lots about pure plot lines and straightforward characterizations which make the film accessible to non-English-speaking audiences. Without Bogart though, this would be barely average. He makes this film watchable. [Read more…]

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Barry Lyndon (UK/USA/Ireland 1975)

barrylyndon07Like the sustained cinematic fugue it is, ‘Barry Lyndon”s opening scenes provide a theme that will be treated to increasingly virtuoso variations throughout. Barry’s father is killed in a duel. Barry loses his virginity to a woman playing a role while playing cards. These are the great threads – Fathers, Duels, Mother, Sex, Women, The Unattainable, Masks, Games, Gambling – weaving into the web that will eventually trap Barry Lyndon. Fate, (through Michael Hordern’s sonorous narration) is like a spider picking him off sadistically limb by limb.
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Black Sails (USA) 2014/15/16

black-sails-season-2I’ve watched the first two seasons and have seen no drop off in terms of episode quality; if anything the script, character development, and pacing have gotten stronger with each show. There are thrills, spills and wenching (even a brothel) on display. This series has captured my eye and drawn me into its world. It must be commended for not trying to do too much in terms of the budget. The sets, costumes, and especially the ships transform the screen into a window of 18th century Caribbean life, and the realism is a big plus for the show. [Read more…]

A Warning To The Curious (1972 Britain)

A Warning to the Curious (1972) - 1Similar in essence to Whistle and I’ll Come to You in having a disturbed ancient artifact trigger a supernatural visitation. Genuinely unsettling in places, with director Lawrence Gordon Clarke’s ghost having a more physical presence than M R James’, including a fantastic torchlight scene which lingers long in the memory. In just 50 minutes of viewing you will experience real 10 out of 10 fear. Just what the heck is lurking in those trees behind us? [Read more…]

The Jungle Book (1967 USA)

film 5The combination of cast, roles, and music never worked as well on any Disney film from the classic era as it did, here. The great voices of Disney feature films are all present, and they all define their characters in an unforgettable way. It gets by on charm, which it has a considerable supply of. Sebastian Cabot, Phil Harris, George Sanders, J. Pat O’Malley, Sterling Holloway, and especially Louis Prima make their animated avatars come to brilliant life in this film, well-adapted from Rudyard Kipling’s book. [Read more…]

The City Of The Dead (1960 UK)

cl1960 was a bumper year for horror cinema – “Psycho” “Black Sunday” “Peeping Tom” & “The House of Usher” etc. This very low budget release is the sort of thing just meant for midnight viewing. “The City of the Dead” has a title that is a little of a misnomer, as we’re dealing here with a small town – a village, really – rather than a city. Alternative title “Horror Hotel” may be more apropos. This setting is a back of beyond kind of place, existing in an absolutely fog – drenched dimension of its own. Time seems to stand still here, or it goes backwards. [Read more…]

The Tomb of Ligeia (1964/65 UK)

filmAh, those pesky British tea breaks. They drove director Roger Corman up the wall. Why can’t the Yanks understand the Brits love their cuppa, even if they are a film crew working on a set for an exploitation director from Wherever USA.  Instead of taking 15 days to shoot this tepid horror tale, it took 25. Oh, the humanity! We’re lucky a third Anglo – American War didn’t break out. The second one was over tea as well. Tea is an important theme to this blog. If I believe in anything with a religious fervour, its tea. So Mr Corman can take a running jump! [Read more…]

American Dad (2005 – 2016 USA)

ADTheOneThatGotAwayOne of my favourite TV shows, just slightly behind King Of The Hill when it comes to adult cartoon comedies. The cream on this particular cake is Roger the Alien: he is the most obnoxious, dramatic, and careless character on this show. He’s a drug addict, alcoholic, cross-dresser that loves acting and pretending to be other people. A lovable sociopath. He comes off as more feminine than masculine and literally has to complain and insult others to survive. Let’s have a tiny taste of a few of his many greatest moments…. [Read more…]

Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects (1989 USA)

bronson 1I’m quaking in my boots. Don’t laugh. Talk about kinky…there are scenes here that might just make you’re nose bleed. After Death Wish 6: The Final Solution finished off that elegant series with a body count only Ted Bundy could have dreamed of, Charlie Bronson jetted off to Tokyo. Maybe the Japanese wouldn’t notice old stone face looked 103. Give or take a year. [Read more…]

The Thin Man (Dashiell Hammett)

bookThis book actually is worth reading a couple of times. Read it the first time for fun, but then reread it to see what you missed seeing the first time around. A former private eye has given up on the detective work after his wife has inherited her father’s businesses, and is running her financial affairs for her. On vacation, they run into his former acquaintances and, of course, a mystery develops which he reluctantly is persuaded to investigate. [Read more…]

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