Meditations (Marcus Aurelius)

marcus aurelius meditations“…because most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you’ll have more time and more tranquillity. Ask yourself at every moment, is this necessary…” Approximately 1,900 years after this was first published, I wonder how the author would feel to know his collection of thoughts are currently at number 2 on the Amazon best seller list for the category Society/History/Philosophy. It would certainly be something for him to ponder. [Read more…]

The Outfit (1973 USA)

FeelKhkJohn Flynn’s The Outfit starts with a weary, somewhat disgruntled guy getting let out of prison. Do these sorts of films start anywhere else? We like to see progression; the rather perverse notion of observing someone climb their way, immorally at that, through life by way of hijinks. I think that notion of bad vs. bad, or immoral vs. immoral is what draws us to these films. In this case, the subject matter is Donald Westlake’s 1963 novel; while the lead character on the verge of undertaking a dangerous journey is Robert Duvall’s Earl Macklin. [Read more…]

Iris (2001 United Kingdom)

IrisIris is a film which straddles a fine line, warming your heart but also breaking your heart. It’s an undeniably heartfelt, touching story. But it’s a story which you know from the beginning can only end in tears. All involved in the making of this film are to be commended for managing to bring this rather difficult story to life. The writers, the director, and the fine cast of actors have done excellent and, most certainly, very challenging work here. [Read more…]

Moby Dick (1956 USA)

moby dick 1956I declare war on all the remakes. To you teenyboppers wondering which version – this is the best. And if anyone is still smirking at the title they can leave this blog now or I will smite thee! (Don’t laugh) Supposedly Herman Melville’s masterpiece was impossible to turn into a film script. Supposedly director John Huston was too tyrannical and stubborn during the filming and spent a lot more time and budget than he was allowed to. Supposedly none of the actors playing the most crucial roles deliver good performances and don’t bring any justice to their characters as described in the book. I say tish and pish to all of these objections! [Read more…]

I Bury The Living (1958 USA)

I Bury The Living 1958The title alone scores points for chutzpah. Through a series of macabre “coincidences”, the newly-elected director of a cemetery, Robert Kraft (Richard Boone) begins to believe that he can cause the deaths of living owners of burial plots by merely changing the push-pin colour from white (living) to black (dead) on a large wall map of the cemetery that notes those plots. So we have a nice simple story line. Not too confusing. Good. What else is here? [Read more…]

Night Shift (Stephen King)

stephenkingnightshiftKing’s flair for the short story is almost unsurpassed. My favourite is “Children of the Corn”, where a bizarre road accident prompts an argumentative couple to seek help. When they begin to explore a strange town, a rather disturbing lack of adults leads them into a sinister ritual. Each story is very cinematic, so its no surprise to learn that 12 of them have been turned into (bad) movies. But there are some crappy ones too, depending on your taste. [Read more…]

No Sex Please, We’re British (1973 UK)

No SPWBThere was an era when British stage comedy was at it’s zenith with plays that became known as Whitehall Farces. So named because they were always staged at the Whitehall theatre, and produced by Brian Rix. Many were later filmed and enjoyed success on the big screen and “No Sex Please” is one of them. Ideal light entertainment if you are stuck in a hotel in North Wales on a very wet weekend. No foul language, no extreme violence, no Americans!  [Read more…]

The Getaway (1972 USA)

getaway72sm-cl1b-jktSick and tired of new releases I can’t get through 45 minutes of, I went back to this classic. What a breath of fresh air this heist/chase film turned out to be. At two hours and three minutes, it’s remarkably well paced and tension filled – it never falters. One of the many things that gives 1972’s The Getaway the edge over its now almost-forgotten 1994 remake is that, unlike Alec Baldwin, Steve McQueen doesn’t act like a movie star – he is a movie star. From the days when cool was what you were, not what you wore or owned. [Read more…]

Spearhead From Space (1970 UK)

spearheadfromspace13Doctor Henderson: “How are you feeling?” The Doctor: “Shoes”. First appearances of Jon Pertwee and Caroline John as Doctor Three and Liz Shaw. First appearance of any colour. First appearance of the Autons… A lot of things depended on the success of this story. After the decline of public interest in the later Troughton era the Doctor Who production team had to find something new and interesting to bring the programme into the 1970s! [Read more…]

The Cincinnanati Kid (1965 USA)

cincigray-cl1-jktcu“To be the man, you got to beat the man.” You can learn so much from this shameless audience pleaser. Like how to make the wrong move at the right time. Poker can be a fascinating ‘holy’ game, and it therefore makes a strong base for a film. How could this not be great entertainment? Particularly with the big guns Hollywood has on display here: Steve McQueen, Ann-Margret, Edward G Robinson, Rip Torn etc. Plus a soulfully tense theme song belted out by Ray Charles. Its a winning hand. You just gotta know how to hold em & fold em. [Read more…]

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