The Good The Bad And The Ugly (1966 Italy)

Proof that the simplest ideas are the best ones. The plot is fairly simple: three men try to reach a buried fortune of Army gold coins while the American Civil War erupts around them. The story is even simpler and yet the audience gets wrapped around in it and those 180 minutes just seem to whip by so fast that when it does end, we’re craving for more. The film is also evidence that the Western cannot be a dying genre, for this landmark film from Italian director Sergio Leone has aged like wine. Time has done nothing to varnish its style and authority. Spaghetti Westerns, which are low in budget and oftentimes flamboyant and over-the-top, can be art too. I urge women to give this a watch too. It will put hairs on their chest. Its hypnotic. It’s operatic. It’s sad. It’s funny. It’s gritty. Its the Psycho of Westerns. [Read more…]

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The Hit (1984 UK)

It’s hard to put my finger on just what it is, exactly, that makes this film so impressive. One can hardly point to substantial character development, because the characters (with one exception) never really become true flesh and blood to us. The director knew how to combine simple, pure elements–strong, bold colours, bright sunlight, stark images, and exactly the right sounds–in ways that seem to speak of things larger than themselves. So what is it? Certainly the locations and the music, the general ambiance, add a lot to The Hit. [Read more…]

Troy (2004 USA)

movieTroy is film-making as good as it gets when it comes to complex and difficult subject matter compressed into a movie less than 3 hours long. Wolfgang Petersen doesn’t have the sumptuous and warm visual aesthetic of Ridley Scott, but stages the fight scenes and battles beautifully and gives us locations and buildings and uniforms we’ve not seen before. Troy has a much more you-are-there feel about it than any other film about the Classical Age. [Read more…]

The Warriors (1979 USA)

a film posterThey look a bit like the Village People. Little did they know they would end up as an Xbox video game. Or that people in the future would view the savage brawl in the public toilet as not The Warriors against a rival gang of young thugs, but what appears to be some kids’ TV presenters (one of whom chooses to fight in roller-skates). You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a man dressed as a toddler hurled, upside down, through a wooden toilet door. But to give credit, this was a spot–on portrayal of New York in the 70s. The city was a mess, on the verge of bankruptcy. Many neighborhoods that are now full of $5 million apartments were war zones. One did not ride the subway at night and the gangs ruled most of the city’s turf.
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The Mummy (Hollywood 1999)

the-mummy-1999-the-mummy-movies-4379715-960-536(What a hair do for an alpha male – NOT!)
During the 1990’s a stream of remakes came out using the old Universal horror films with the monsters: Dracula (Bram Stoker’s Dracula), Frankenstein (Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein), The Wolf Man (Wolf) and this Raiders Of The Lost Ark version of our favourite Egyptian monster. This Stephen Sommers – directed effort has librarian and aspiring archaeologist Evelyn (Rachel Wiesz), accompanied by her brother Jonathan (John Hannah), enlisting the help of French Foreign Legion soldier Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) to find a lost Egyptian city. In other words, “kill the bad guy, rescue damsel in distress (not that dress) and save the world.” Has anyone ever asked the world if it wants to be saved? Thought not… [Read more…]

Jurassic Park III (USA 2001)

jurassic_park_3_3“Jurassic Park III”, is essentially different from the first two. “Jurassic Park III” is a B-movie that has essentially dropped the dreadful exposition that we knew all too well in the first and even the second one. (Those precocious kids that Hollywood loves to include in so many flicks drove me up the wall, thus reducing my enjoyment) This time around it draws on old-fashioned suspense with our troubled heroes on the run. Plus it introduces new creatures. But it does fail in the department of character development, and the ending is too abrupt. However, among the highlights are some nifty parasailing scenes thrown in to the mix.
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Black Rain (1989 USA)

black-rain-3Made for 30 million bucks back when that sum would get you a seat at the top table. A place where the big machers compare the size of their mother’s mikvahs. This urban noir, photographed by Jan De Bont (director of “Speed”) makes Osaka look like the futuristic city in Ridley Scott’s other film, “Blade Runner.”  Same traffic and congestion of heavily populated streets, steam and people. Through De Bont’s lens the city is dark even during the day. Michael Douglas even dresses like another actor did in “Blade Runner.” [Read more…]

Bridget Jones Baby (2016)

bridget-tMy landlady ordered me to accompany her to this lovefest playing at our local fleapit. Twenty dollars later and I’m still coming to terms with what exactly happened. The laughter from the audience, mostly females, and of a type (middle class, white, not exactly poor, never to see their 38th birthday again…you know the ones) caused me to cringe at their un-coolness. They were the type who laugh at anything that is slightly different, in action or intention, to what is a social norm’ expectation. I didn’t think people like that existed anymore. [Read more…]

Confessions From A Holiday Camp (1977 UK)

confessions from a holiday campTwas the first day of August, a Monday I believe, when a momentous event in the annals of cinematic history took place. The Confessions film series bid a fond farewell to the public. Knickers down, trousers unzipped, so tawdry and gleefully smutty, on display for one final glorious outpouring. This was a franchise with a bigger box office than James Bond in England. Surely it had to give something worthwhile to the viewer? Apart from VD. [Read more…]

Deep Blue Sea (1999 USA)

saffron burrows“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil. For thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. Because I carry a big stick and I’m the meanest m****r f****r in the valley! Two sharks down, Lord! One demon fish to go! Can I get an Amen?” Thus spake L.L. Cool J. With so many shark films out there, there needs to be something that sets a flick apart from the rest. For as many good points that Deep Blue Sea achieves, its mediocrities end up sinking a lot of good will. Director Renny Harlin knew that audiences wanted several things: 1) good-looking sharks 2) creative shark attacks 3) good-looking actors… [Read more…]

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