Lock Up (1989 USA)

(Living the dream. Sly’s got a new boyfriend and some cat food. Talk about Mr Hollywood!) Frank Leone (Sylvester Stallone) is a saint. Literally. He has to do time in the big house for avenging the brutal beating of an elderly man. And he’ll only break out of prison if there’s a funeral for a loved one, or the old man that he avenged. Then back to his cell he will go like a good ‘un. Heck, when he has any free time he even spends it with his kids. And not even his blonde girlfriend, looking on approvingly, can stop him. Not a racist bone in his body either, but as an Italian stallion, he can see through those racist Anglo-Saxon types. Like warden Drumgoole and his guards, Manly and Wylie. These are the bad dudes. Lock Up isn’t subtle. [Read more…]

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Dr Terror’s House Of Horrors (1965 Britain)

The first Amicus anthology movie was a sizeable hit on release, and was also liked by the critics. Producer Milton Subotsky dusted off some scripts he’d had knocking around since the late 1940s, but he didn’t make much of an effort to update them for the swinging 60s.  The linking story sees five seemingly ordinary travellers board a train. A sinister sixth traveller boards the train at the last moment. He carries with him a deck of tarot cards. Each traveller taps the cards three times and their fortunes are told. Unlike later entries in the series where everyone would willingly, without objection, subject themselves to such commitments, this opening film shows characters who have doubts or ridicule the whole thing. [Read more…]

The First Great Train Robbery (1979 UK)

first-great-train-robbery-6 During the 1950s, censors in most countries either forbade or strongly discouraged films which glamourized crime, but the relaxation of censorship in the 1960s lead to the emergence of a new genre – the “heist” movie. These were films which told the story of a robbery from the viewpoint of the criminals, and were generally light-hearted in tone. “The Thomas Crown Affair” & “The Italian Job”, both from the late 60s are good examples of this immoral form of story telling. “The First Great Train Robbery” fits into this category, although it was unusual in having a period setting and in being based, albeit loosely, on a real-life event. [Read more…]

DON’T LOOK NOW (1973 Britain)

Editors-Pick-Dont-Look-NowThis is probably the most classy and sad supernatural film of them all. Subtle suggestions, insinuations…all served up through a thick, tense, gloomy fog in an off-peak Venice.  Seeing the cast’s very visible breaths made me want to warm up my hands and wrap a shawl around my shivering shoulders. [Read more…]

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