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À bout de
A car thief accidentally kills a policeman and needs to
collect on a debt in order to skip town. The setting of
1960's Paris and the down-to-earth dialogue makes this a
bit special, although maybe not as new and exciting as
when it was premiered. Much imitated but never actually
matched this is the best - and most well known - of the
"French New Wave." Avoid the Richard Gere
remake which is an insult.
Abba: The Movie
A journalist tries to understand the huge popularity of
the band Abba while they are on tour in Australia. Rare
chance to see a super group in concert and creating in
their own Swedish studio. Good music, but for Abba fans
African Queen, The
A grizzled sea captain and an old maid team up to fight
the Germans in Africa. First major chalk-and-cheese
action movie and very good entertainment it is. Featuring
first class performances by the two leads Humphrey Bogart
and Katherine Hepburn. Great climax too.
Extra silly goings on at an airport when a plane is found
to have a bomb aboard. Anything-goes visual comedy that
manages to ape many well know films of the time (not only
airport ones) and have a plot too. So many belly laughs
that you need to watch it twice to get them all. Launched
a whole new genre of comedy.
Young London swinger gets to learn some hard lessons
about life and sex. First male lead to talk straight to
camera without seeming false and a morality play
of-sorts. Made very cheaply and turned Michael Caine in
to a world star. Bit dated, but still lots of fun.
All The President's Men
Recreation of the Watergate scandal using the chasing
Washington Post reporters as the central plot device.
Would seem hard to create drama out of events both recent
and well known but this film manages it. Shame the
dialogue seems hard to catch at times. Leads Dustin
Hoffman and Robert Redford will never have such juicy
Single day and night in a "anywhere" small
American town just prior to Vietnam. Nothing more than a
collection of clichés and small jokes, but so well done
that you marvel at it. Looks and sounds so real that you
feel that you are there. Director George "Star
Wars" Lucas before percentage points on lunch boxes
took over his life.
An 1980's stockbroker is also a serial killer by night -
or is he? A wild-at-heart black comedy that surprises,
puzzles, shocks and entertains all at the same time.
Great to see a movie that doesn't want to play by the
rules or fear offending conservatives. Solid gold satire,
but for strong stomachs and open minds only.
A New York professional couple - Woody Allen and Diane
Keaton - have a brief Summer fling. Proof that the best
films are all about nothing. Lots of clever film making
and good performances make this Best Picture Oscar winner
a pure delight from opening shot to last. I doubt very
much Allen will make a better film.
An incompetent man with family problems foils a bank
robbery and gets a new job as its guard. The only really
good film W.C Fields ever made is still short of a
classic, but has plenty of small laughs and manages to
frame a star that should never be forgotten.
An 18th century Irishman sets out on a life of adventure
before falling in to a marriage of financial convenience.
Wonderful cinematography - maybe even the best ever -
make this film so special. Special lenses were even made
to film in low light. Maybe a bit too long for most
tastes and a questionable lead in the cold and enigmatic
Bedsitting Room, The
In the aftermath of a nuclear war survivors mill around
in their half destroyed world trying to hang on to the
vestiges of their former lives. Mad as a hatter comedy,
but strangely effective and haunting. Probably Spike
Milligan's most impressive and profound written work is
brought to the screen. A totally one-of-a-kind movie.
A going nowhere young handyman meets an unhinged young
women who encourages him to be a writer. Touching French
comedy that manages to be funny, sexy and believable.
Probably just a lucky break of a movie, but very
enjoyable and has a message about keeping hold of your
Big Chill, The
Former college friends gather for a funeral and lament
how their ambitions have been compromised by reality.
Funny and down-to-earth little film with good actors that
seems more European than American. Set the tone for quite
a number of quality television series, but maybe a bit
forced at times. The soul soundtrack may help or alienate
depending on taste.
A young North of England funeral clerk is bored with his
life and creates a world of lies to make up for it. One
of the best films of the sixties still rings true: with
the classic book opened up to show our hero in the middle
of his many fantasies. Funny and true. At times a little
bit too true.
Black Hawk Down
A helicopter crash in the third world causes a major
international incident. Clever film making that manages
to convey the nature and horror of modern urban warfare
while having an exciting plot. Cracking film making with
a fantastic Oscar winning soundtrack. A new breed of war
movie - almost like a documentary - for a new breed of
Humanoids and humans get mixed up in this version of the
future, with a throwback private detective having to hunt
the robots down. What a strange (and very wet!) world and
what a strange film, but very haunting. A classic
although it is merely Raymond Chandler set in the future.
The voice-over and happy ending are a mistake though -
and they may have been dumped it from the version you get
Wild comedy about a bigoted town that gets its first
black sheriff. This satire on westerns, racism and movies
generally has plenty of easy laughs - some on the edge of
bad taste. Lots of fun after a hard day at the office,
although the cast look to be having more fun than any
audience ever will.
Bonnie and Clyde
In depression hit Middle America two losers go on a
bloody crime spree that shocks the whole of the country.
Heavily fictionalised, but very involving, true-crime
drama that conveys a sense of time and place. Great
acting all round and a real keeper. One of the best
movies of the 1960's and even started a throwback fashion
True life story of how a couple protect orphan lions in
Africa. The lions steal every scene to the point where we
barely know that the actors are present! A wonderful
family film with a hit soundtrack that seals the effect.
For wild life lovers only.
Boyz in the Hood, The
Life is very rough and tough in modern-day East LA. Not a
perfect film by any means, but very believable vision of
modern life with a plot as well as a message.
Impersonated quite a number of times since, but never
matched. A surprise mainstream hit.
Gangster spoof with all the parts played by children.
Very much one-of-a-kind experience with all the sets
scaled to match. The songs are good, but not great, but I
loved it as a kid because it was a rare movie aimed
purely at my generation. Everyone looks like they are
having the time of their lives. Director Alan Parker
recently said that "Jodie Foster could have directed
the movie no matter starred in it!"
Berlin cabaret is one of the few places where politics
can be mocked. Knock you down dead look at a time and a
place. Also manages to look like a real seedy night-club,
not a Hollywood vision of the same. Musical remake of
"I Am A Camera" - another film worth checking
out. My favourite musical, although heavy handed and
simple minded in its politics. Cold, real and
Rick opens a night-club in Africa, but is haunted by an
old flame. Happy accident of a movie with great actors
and - in Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman - the most
romantic couple in the history of movies. Everything a
movie should be and a classic from opening frame to last.
The only bum note is the obvious cheap sets. At the time
of production seen as just another product from the
Warner Brother's factory production line.
Bio-pic of how the mob won and then lost Las Vegas is far
from perfect and contains far too much violence, but is a
cracking little story with great actors. Interesting
portrait of a man (Robert De Niro as Ace Rothstein)
having to deal with the overworld as well as the
underworld. Director Martin Scorsese near top form, but
not quite at his best. Shame about the need for
voice-over when so much of what is said is superfluous
Cat and the Canary, The
Bob Hope gets trapped in a haunted house. Best of breed
movie with Hope managing to wisecrack while scared. Not
very original, but the lead excels in this type of
production. A black and white gem worth watching over and
Chariots of Fire
Two Britons challenge for gold medals at the 1924
Olympics in Paris. Strange film in that it involves two
lead characters that don't really intertwine and features
events not of any great modern significance, however good
acting and an Oscar winning score bring home the bacon.
The kind of film that grows on you and a wonderful view
of Scotland for those that never go there!
China Syndrome, The
A TV crew just happen to be in a nuclear power station
when an emergency breaks out. Amazing that the film was
released just days before a real life emergency (Long
Island), but that isn't the reason why it is so good.
However, be warned, it wears its politics on its sleeves
and - more strangely - doesn't have a music soundtrack.
Features Jack Lemmon's only on screen death!
Fictionalised life and times of one of the world's first
media magnets (Randolph Hurst). Whole books have been
written about this film and certainly a fantastic piece
of entertainment. However Welles did not write the
screenplay, although claims full credit for it! Still a
classic and a must-see, although you have read that a
hundred times before.
Close Encounters of the
The world prepares for the first encounter between aliens
and humans with music being used to communicate. On the
big screen one of the great experiences in the history of
cinema (like Lawrence of Arabia): on the small one,
merely OK. The plot drifts a bit, but the climax with the
mothership is one of the greatest pieces of cinema ever.
A group of cons take over a prison flight with the intent
of crashing it over Las Vegas. Best of breed thick-ear
drama that manages to sustain a climax over a long period
of time. Great knockabout fun, although not really a
classic and Nic Cage's role is only one of running and
Day At The Races, A
The Marx Brothers get up to their usual high-jinx at the
track. Not perfect by any means, but when the Marx's get
going you have to laugh. On set Chico bet on a horse that
was in the script to lose because "the odds were
just too good." We will remember them always.
Day In The
A French family have a day out in the country, but one of
their number sees something she likes. Perfect films are
often about nothing and this is a good example; capturing
a time and place without anything earth shattering
happening. Often called the best film ever made, it
really isn't, but a magic carpet ride to anther time and
Days of Heaven
A small tale of adventures in the American Midwest didn't
capture an audience, but is a lovely outdoor film.
Richard Gere has never been better and there is just
enough story to keep you involved and watching. A real
sleeper of a movie.
Doctor In The House
A young man wants to become a doctor without knowing what
that will involve. The cast are clearly overage and the
situations too pat to really believe them, but this look
at health in the 1950's tells a lot of truths about life
and medicine. Quite charming and resulted in many sequels
and even a TV series.
A military operation goes wrong when a US bomber is sent
to drop a nuclear load over Russia. Probably the best
comedy of all time and certainly the most amazing. Drama
and comedy mixing so readily. Peter Sellers plays
multi-parts for no real reason other than he was the best
character actor of all time!
Dog Day Afternoon
A bank robbery goes wrong and a hostage scenario is
played out. Pacino plays the mad robber with gusto and
everything that happens rings true. While maybe just
short of a classic this tells a lot of truths about
people that are in a crisis and has too much good acting
to be ignored. Based on a true story.
Don't Look Now
A couple lose their daughter to a pond accident and try
to forget all their troubles on a working visit to a
wintry Venice. What an atmosphere and what a film that
sets a tone of horror without a great deal happening to
justify it. Cracking climax that sends shivers down the
spine of anyone with a pulse. Fantastic stuff.
Life and times of Jim Morrison as interpreted by Oliver
Stone. Not a perfect film and maybe a little bit two
dimensional at times, but still the best example of a
rock and roll crash-and-burn lifestyle put on film. The
concert scenes seem so real and Kilmer is fantastic in
the lead - no one could have done better.
The Marx Brothers return as rulers of countries about to
go to war. Silly, very silly, but silly is what the
brother's do best. No one ever directed two Marx Brothers
films and no one claims that their movies are not flawed,
but we have classic set pieces and strong laughs along
Bio-pic of a tenth rate movie maker that manages to be
both funny and literate. Good look at the underbelly of
Hollywood and the world of people that never made it for
reasons all-too-obvious. A very different vision of
tinseltown and more like most people's actual experience
of it. Shot in black and white.
Elephant Man, The
A deformed freak is exploited by a circus sideshow, but
is rescued by a kindly doctor. Based on a true story this
film has very few tricks up its sleeves - and might have
been made as a horror movie - but effects because it is
about human values and human dignity. Almost a perfect
movie in all departments from directing downwards. Shot
in black and white.
English Patient, The
A Hungarian spy and the wife of a diplomat have a fling
in wartime Africa. Fantastic modern epic that looks like
it is directed by the ghost of David Lean. Action,
adventure, music and romance fuse against a colourful and
original set of backdrops. One or two draggy bits and cod
drama prevent it from being perfect but a film that
treats you as a grown up.
Enter The Dragon
A martial arts expert spy goes to a mysterious island for
a karate championship. Bruce Lee exploded on to the
screen like no actor has ever done before or since, what
a wow of a performance he puts in here. The plot is cod
James Bond, but that is not the point. Lee died soon
after making this cementing his legend in the same manner
as James Dean.
An extra terrestrial lands on earth but is rescued and
protected by a little girl and her family. A classic from
the opening moments to the last this wrangles emotions
out of even the hardest hearts. A fantastic production
that might be Spielberg's greatest ever work. The only
real problem is the heavy-handed John Williams soundtrack
- although plenty seem to disagree!
A sickly young man takes comfort from self-help groups
but learns of a mysterious club for people just like
himself. Silly plot, but yet such a good and exciting
film that builds to a ground breaking and (historically)
extra frightening climax. Yes it is unbelievable
nonsense, but good entertainment while it lasts.
Fourty Eight Hours
A cop gets a con out of the pen to help him track down a
killer. Good acting from Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte as
the mismatched couple that shout, argue and fight their
way through their allotted two days; but finally work
together to crack the case. Yes it is Hollywood nonsense,
but well done Hollywood nonsense. Avoid the sequel which
is more a remake than a new movie.
A mad doctor makes a monster out of spare body parts, but
quickly regrets it. A well regarded book but one of these
products that works even better as a film. Very scary
indeed and at times almost too scary to bare. Must have
been hell on earth to witness in the cinema when it first
came out. You can just imagine women passing out in the
French Connection, The
Popeye Doyle is on the case of a heroin shipment in the
real back streets of NY. Dirty, gritty and non too
flattering look at police and thieves on the streets of
the Big Apple. Features a car chase that will be
remembered forever. The sequel is totally lame and
pointless. Gene Hackman's greatest role and he is still
referred to as Popeye in the street today!
A professor is secretly a gambling addict playing one
bookie against the other. The best self-destruction film
ever made and a must for all those that like to gamble
themselves. If you don't then what goes on might leave
you cold. Fantastic performance by James Caan, maybe the
best of his whole career and a great support cast.
Buster Keaton steals a train and saves the day in this
American Civil War drama. A master of images at work and
some of the best gags ever put on film. Should be shown
at film schools to indicate how good visual comedy can
be. A comedy masterpiece.
Two friends have a bet on who can get to Brighton the
quickest travelling only by vintage car. Oh so very
British and oh so very friendly and polite. Merely
spending a short time with some lovely people and having
some quiet laughs along the road to the coast and back. I
wish they made films like this today. Timeless and
A mob enforcer returns to his native North East to sort
out the suspicious death of his brother. Michael Caine
has never been better and England has never look grittier
than portrayed here: A real treat for gangster film
lovers and a movie that doesn't play nice or fair. The
American remake isn't in this movies' class.
Life story of a lawyer whose simple ideas united the
whole Indian nation. What a life and what a film to
capture it. While a bit "armchair liberal" this
manages to be both entertaining as well as educational.
Not the kind of stuff you want to sit down to in the
wrong mood, but a first class product with a fantastic
Tricky-dicky salesmen start to come under pressure to
sell-sell-sell in this modern urban tragedy. Acting
master class with every part played by a star and with
all emotions, characters and actions a hundred percent
believable. Lemmon has the best part of his whole career
and rips the screen apart - four letter words an' all...
A poor 18th century schoolboy is sent to the country and
becomes a message passer between a well-to-do young lady
and a rough farmer that is her secret lover. A dip in to
another world and a very welcome one at that. Nothing
very important happens, but the scene and acting are a
treat to behold. Works on so many levels.
Godfather Part One, The
A young Turk has to learn to be a ruthless killer in this
much discussed Best Picture Oscar winner. Yes this is a
bit slow and yes it is very immoral - in not being
totally honest about the violence that built the power
base - but what a product and what acting. You wish you
could see a film as good as this every week of the year.
Godfather Part Two, The
The only sequel ever to be as good as the original and
maybe even better! Look at the early life of the old Don
and how power was taken and not given: Making it more
honest than Part One. A bit confusing on first viewing,
but still a great film to be enjoyed over and over again.
Part three was a huge let down, but you can't expect to
strike gold three times in a row.
Gone With The Wind
A young girl has to overcome the American Civil War and
an on-off romance. What a film this is. This was the
first product to show what cinema could be when it got it
all right and it remains, today, quite frightening in its
achievements. One of the golden greats although it is a
bit of a soap opera at times.
A boy grows up in a bad neighbourhood and gets dragged in
to the world of crime and easy money. One of the my
"desert island movies" this plays like a street
level Godfather and tells more truths about modern living
than any film I know. Dynamite from start to finish.
A college boy returns home from his graduation and takes
up with an older woman AND her daughter. Uneven and
features an over-age star in Dustin Hoffman, but a
landmark in cinema history. Great music helps us through
the more draggy parts of the film.
Grapes of Wrath, The
Farmers try and escape the dust bowl and start a new
life. A classic from the moment it was released to the
present day. There is not one single thing wrong with
this great American tragedy. Henry Fonda never did better
work than here.
Great Escape, The
Prisoners plan a mass escape from their WW II prison camp
by digging a tunnel. Boys-own drama based on real events.
Hard to knock it for entertainment or thrills although it
does have a very downbeat ending. A cast to die for and
sure to be in heavy-rotation on any classic movie
Hard Days Night, A
The Beatles travel down to the Capital from Liverpool for
a TV special with their grumpy old granddad in tow. Thank
you Mr Richard Lester for capturing a time and a place in
the story of one the greatest bands of all time. Good
showcase of their personalities; although they were still
a bit rough around the edges and yet to write their
greatest songs. A must-see for music fans.
A tough cop and a hardened robber go head-to-head over a
score. Nothing but one big roller coaster that never
stops and an example of how even old plots can be spiced
up to provide thrilling entertainment. Very enjoyable to
watch, but it all seems a bit farfetched afterwards.
Larry Olivier defies World War II rationing and hardships
to bring us the story of an old English king and his
victory over foreign foes. Works on all levels from
acting to drama to message and opens up an obvious play
to make it an action picture! A triumph for all
A old lady locks herself out of her house and has to ask
the snobbish neighbours for help. We should be grateful
that Mike Leigh brings us great cinema in a style all of
his own. This true-to-life comedy makes you groan as well
as laugh as modern urban types try and come to terms with
A sheriff is due to be gunned down by bandits arriving on
the midday train, but finds back-up hard to find. This
classic one-man-against-the-mob picture is actually a bit
thin in the watching - especially with the near silent
Cooper in the lead role. However one of the great
westerns and one of the great climaxes in cinema history.
A career soldier
is thrown in the "glass house" (military
prison) for not obeying orders but carries on his
defiance even behind bars. Connery's best work and hard
to take if you are not in the mood for sweaty soldiers
shouting at one another. Very real story about human
values and human spirit against a harsh backdrop.
His Girl Friday
Cary Grant plays a newspaperman who needs his
soon-to-be-ex-wife for an important job. No one could do
quick-fire dialogue like Grant and when given the script
he could be fantastic. Here he eats up the screen as a
cynical, and yet funny, media man. Classic stuff and all
the evidence you need as to why the Bristol born actor
stayed at the top so long.
Silly spoof on Top Gun and other US airforce movies. This
might not be a true classic, but it made me laugh out
loud. Yes it is stupid and at times crass, but if you
have seen enough of the original(s) then you know how
much they deserved this treatment. Builds to a climax
that is as crazy as the rest of the film.
Slow, life in a country house, drama that manages to
cross-section a lifestyle as well as give some plot
development. However superb acting right down the cast
list. Companion piece to Remains of the Day.
A young buck lives by pretending to be a pool sucker.
Gives such a sense of time and place that is almost
frightening, as if you are watching a documentary -
although the people involved are dirty, lazy and
dishonest. A happy memory, but doesn't have enough scope
to be a true classic. Sort-of returned to in Scorsese's
Color of Money - for which Paul Newman won the Oscar he
should have been given the first time!
I'm All Right
A middle class air-head gets a job in a factory over
which the union has a strong hand. Classic social comedy
that portrays all sides of the argument as dishonest and
clown-like. Peter Sellers is a knockout as the trade
union boss in love with Russia and Peter Carmicheal is
perfect as the hapless clown that lodges in his house.
I Am A Fugitive From A
A man is wrongly convicted of a crime and escapes from a
chain gang to start a new life. Based on a real story
this as-it-really-is drama shocked America and lead to
criminal reform. A bit dated now, but still packs a punch
as well as telling an intriguing story.
In the Heat of the Night
A black man at a railway station is suspected of a
recently committed crime, but turns out to be a fellow
policeman. Liberal drama that paints its intentions and
colours too brightly, but still produces an OK thriller.
The central character clash is the main feature of the
movie although, sadly, the case they join forces on is
nothing at all special.
In Which We Serve
A British warship is sunk and we go back in time to find
out how and why. One of the great war pictures this
throws away a lot of the obvious drama and tries to get
under the skin of the various ranks that make a warship
function. The final speech by Coward to his men is one of
the greatest moments in British film history. My all-time
favourite war film.
It's A Wonderful Life
A man considers suicide but, through a strange trick of
fate, learns what life would have been without him. What
a little crowd pleaser, but I am part of the crowd too.
Maybe a little too schmaltzy at times but Stewart is a
knockout as the lead and you cannot suppress a tear at
the end. Will be shown on TV every Christmas from now to
Cold blooded and cold eyed look at the famous post WW II
war trials where top Nazi's were put in the dock. In
reality nothing more than a kangaroo court that wasn't
acting on any known laws and besides how can you backdate
laws? Fascinating and historical all the same though.
Great cast give it there all - including, most
surprisingly, Judy Garland!
Jungle Book, The
A "man cub" gets lost in the jungle and is
brought up by animals. The Kipling book is thrown away
(on Uncle Walt's instructions!), apart from the title,
and there is nothing really much of a plot, but a fun
cartoon with catchy songs and a light sprinkling of
adventure. Very short, but also very sweet. Walt Disney's
last hands-on project.
A mad scientist brings back dinosaurs using their DNA.
Nothing more than a rewrite of Frankenstein this only
works by cashing-in on new technology. Followed by
several sequels that simply rehashed what went on here,
but that seemed enough for most people. Very frightening
for a film with such an open age certificate.
A ex-gangster is hold up in a small town waiting
patiently for the people that he has crossed to catch up
with him. Through the film we learn this reasoning and
why he doesn't run. Film noir at its best and an
interesting flashback plot device. Burt Lancaster grabs
the role with both hands.
Kind Hearts And Coronets
A whole family is murdered one-by-one in order for one
man to claim an inheritance. Alec Guinness - in various
roles - has never been better. Moves along at a fair old
clip to disguise its lack of taste, but a classic of
black comedy and oh so very British. Guinness was known
as the "man with a thousand faces" watch this
film to find out why!
Scientists travel to Africa to capture a giant gorilla.
Wooden acting and a beast whose scale changes
dramatically cannot destroy the wonder of this film:
which is perhaps one of the most frightening non horror
film ever. The finale on top of the Empire State Building
has become a legend. The modern remake wasn't up to this
standard so avoid it like the plague.
In the East End of London two twin brothers start to get
control - through strong arm tactics - of the local
underworld. Not perfect by any means, but a fascinating
and quite deep look at two real life villains and their
nemesis. Hard as nails, but still fails to convey the
terror they imparted in real life. Not for the faint of
Fey early Alfred Hitchcock which shows that while the
production values may not have been high (toy train,
etc.) he was even then a master of his trade. A lady
disappears on a moving train, but how? And why? Only a
little time passer, but the work of a master craftsman.
The modern remake isn't as good, but has its charms too.
Last Exit To Brooklyn
Life is rough-and-tough in 1950's Brooklyn and it becomes
even tougher during a factory strike. A real chilling
film that, while violent and sex filled, manages to be
both real and pertinent. Nothing really happens of any
great note, but we observe life as people really live,
not as Hollywood would have us believe they live. Totally
absorbing and climax to remember. Filmed in (West)
Germany - although you would never guess it!
Last Picture Show, The
A small Texas town loses its last cinema due to
television and lack of audience numbers. Cold and
nostalgic vision of life in a windswept nowhere-ville in
the late 1950's. A film like no other with good acting
from an ensemble cast. The sequel, set in the 1980's, is
as bad as this is good. Nostalgia is not what it used to
Lavender Hill Mob, The
A banker comes up with a plan to rob his own bank.
Fun-all-the way Brit comedy that manages to be both funny
and thrilling. A small film but a very memorable one and
very much due for a remake.
Lawrence of Arabia
A low ranking British soldier unites rebel tribes to
expel the Turks from their own unmapped land. Based on a
true story this must be one the most perfectly realised
films of all time. Frightening how well this all works
and fits together. David Lean at the top of his game
producing a movie that the word epic was coined for.
Life Is Sweet
Slice-of-life in a dysfunctional North London family.
Mike Leigh should be treated like a national treasure, he
produces films that are so true-to-life that it is scary.
There are times when you cannot laugh because the joke is
too close to home! Like most of his films, not a great
deal happens, but hundreds of small truths are told.
Loneliness of the Long
Distance Runner, The
A borstal boy (an English juvenile prison) is only good
at running and finds some escape through it. Kitchen sink
at its very best this slice of life drama has both a plot
and a payoff. Might not work so well if you are not from
the UK and some of the background is heavily dated.
Long Good Friday, The
A London gangster returns home from a short break abroad
and finds that someone has it in for him. Hoskins took
off like Apollo 13 on the back of this crowd-pleasing
British thriller that plays more like a violent whodunit
than a standard gangster film. The only bad thing is the
over-the-top score that damages the atmosphere.
Lust For Life
Life and times of the mad Dutch painter Van Gogh played
with passion by Kirk Douglas. Good drama, good acting and
a fantastic story to tell of a painter who failed in his
own lifetime and yet made billions for others after his
death. A Vincente Minnelli masterpiece.
of King George. The
The last "King of America" starts to lose the
plot which causes the State to ponder what to do with
him. Fascinating (true) story and what great acting from
Hawthorne in the lead, he takes the part with both hands
and goes for it! Funny, historical and made on a low
budget this is cracking stuff. Historical films are often
a drag (to me at least) but this is fun all the way.
Magnificent Seven. The
Seven hired guns come together to save a Mexican village
from banditos. Nothing really new here (remake of the
Seven Samurai, etc.) and nothing that you couldn't have
lived without seeing but an excellent example of why
westerns work and the basic values of life and honour.
For what it is worth, maybe the last film in my 200!
Maltese Falcon, The
Humphrey Bogart is private eye dragged in to the search
for an antique. A classic, but a flawed classic, because
it hasn't enough meat on the bone, and besides, the meat
is far from fresh. Bogart makes the movie and the badies
are just as cardboard as the Warner Brother sets. Needs
to be seen though.
Man on The Moon
Bio-pic of a real comic genius Andy Kaufmann who was
America's most original comic. How good is lead Jim Carey
in this film? Who else has to go from immigrant simpleton
to Elvis Presley and back in an instant? And what a part:
Who else in show biz seemed to fight popularity rather
than court it? We learn little new, but still the ride is
great and maybe the film will get the recognition it
deserves in time?
A TV gag writer quits his job on the spur of the moment
and takes up with a teenager that is far too young for
him. Art and life come together so much in Woody Allen
comedies, and this seems very prophetic given he married
his own adopted daughter later! A look at the way we live
today is all that is on the menu, but done with such
style and panache that we really don't care. Another
"about nothing" classic.
Surgeons in a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) in
Korea keep up their moral by jokes and one-liners. What a
unique approach to war and what a unique film to boot.
The TV series has taken the edge of what we see here, but
this is really "something new and
revolutionary" cinema and it must have seemed a
shock at the time. Still good today and still a footnote
in cinema history.
Matter of Life And Death,
A pilot is about to crash, but has no way of escaping his
plane - or so it seems. He radios in his condition to a
female radio dispatcher who tries to help. Quite how it
all holds together is a mystery, but it is a story of how
love can conquer all and features breathtaking
cinematography. A real treat that too many have never
seen. Called Stairway to Heaven in the USA.
Life as-it-is on the mean streets of New York. A mob
gopher and his non-too-bright pal try and make the best
of NY gutter life. Rough and tough tale of modern life is
not always pleasant on the eye or on the ear; but rings
true and features the star power of Robert De Niro and
Harvey Keitel. Very dated now though and even looks a bit
amateurish at times.
Menace II Society
A double murder occurs in a Korean grocery store all
captured by CCTV. A wonder of the modern world: A film
that manages to be shocking, totally different and
important. This is a cruel look at life, but as we all
know, life can be cruel. Captures something that no one
else has captured and yet remains totally moral about it.
A film that leaves you reeling - so don't make any plans
for just after you have seen it!
A wide-eyed country boy comes to the big city to work as
a male prostitute but finds big city life is not what he
expected. Cruel and heartless look at New York City and
its victims that is only partly enlivened by haunting
music. No one can take away the acting or the sense of
time and place - but not really a movie you can enjoy in
the conventional sense.
Various events lead to a grand climax at Miller's
Crossing. Old time Irish gangster films are not thick on
the ground and this has a plot that seems to wander
across the board from comedy to drama and then back
again, but all very compelling. Cinema sometimes rises
above its plot (silly or otherwise) to give a lasting
memory. This is one such movie.
Monty Python And The Holly
Low budget "epic" in which various knights go
out on a mission in medieval England - or maybe they
don't! The budget is low and the film uneven but it still
has many great set pieces (the limb-losing fight scene is
an all-time classic!) and jokes so funny you laugh
recalling them later no matter at the time. One of the
best comedy film ever and certainly the best one produced
on a low budget.
Murder On The Orient
Various personages on the famous pan-European train have
reason to have a fellow passenger dead. And guess what?
Great crowd pleasing plot idea and an all-star cast keep
this fresh and exciting. Maybe the outcome is too well
know nowadays to have any kind of mass appeal, but this
is one of the best whodunits of all time - in both print
as well as in film.
Night At The
The Marx Brothers ride again, this time in to save an
opera. Like all MB films a mixed bags of gags and
situations, some of which are a real drag and some of
which are the complete opposite. The usual silly fun.
Night of the Hunter, The
Stylised and haunting story of a family hunted by a mad
"preacher" in search of the family fortune.
Charles Laughton only directed one film (this one) and it
just so happens to be a classic. Not seen that way at the
time, but the passing decades have given it its rightful
place in cinema history. Despite being the bad guy Robert
Mitchum steals the show.
Nil By Mouth
Slice of roughhouse life in South London is not for
everyone, but sheds some light on domestic violence and
the causes of it. First-time director Gary Oldman
dedicates this film to his late father whether as an
insult (he was an alcoholic himself) or in praise only he
can know. Kathy Burke is just so good in her role as the
North By Northwest
Cary Grant is framed for murder and has to go on the run.
Hitchcock was at a point in his career when he could do
no wrong and here he shows that even with a cliché of a
script he can create magic. Maybe too many
all-too-obvious sets and pat situations but this is all
about entertainment and boy is it delivered. The
crop-spraying scene is one of the most famous in movie
Oh Lucky Man!
A coffee salesman learns about life in the UK through his
travels. What a different film this is, bringing in
elements so strange and disturbing that you could almost
call it a forerunner for Pulp Fiction. While very long
and, at times, seemingly pointless this product etches
itself in your head and you can't let it go.
Interestingly lead Malcom McDowell was once a coffee rep
in real life.
On The Waterfront
Expose of corruption and graft on the docks, but sadly
did very little to wipe it out in real life. Brando was
an actor out-on-his-own at the time and seems so real and
vibrant that you can't take your eyes of him. There is
not a lot to this film - beyond the headline facts above
- and the central romance seems strange and forced. A
powerful product all the same.
One Flew Over The Cuckoos
A con tricks his way in to a mental hospital thinking it
will give him an easier life than prison. Nicholson's
performance alone is worth the price of admission. He
encourages the others to rise up against the status quo
and fight for their rights. Comedy and tragedy are hard
to play side-by-side but this movie does it with ease.
One of the all-time greats.
A family is torn apart by tragedy and the young son has
need of a psychiatrist. Hitchcock never won a Best
Director Oscar, Redford won one with this, his
directorial debut. Beat that for irony? While praising
this movie it does seem that it was financed by the
Psychiatrist's Guild. Indeed the answers all seem to come
from this direction. Not a box office hit and not an easy
movie to watch, although ultimately worthwhile.
After World War II a young wife is trapped in an isolated
Jersey (off the coast of England) house with her
photosensitive (they blister if making contact with
sunlight) children. Strange old fashioned horror chiller
that seems slight in the telling, but very effective in
the watching. A classic of the future.
Out Of Africa
A witty Danish adventurer has a romance in old-time
Africa. Nothing that original on the written page, but a
marvellous open-air adventure with two well cast stars
and a sweeping soundtrack. The real stars are the animals
and the background. A memorable and haunting Oscar
A cowardly dentist marries (in ignorance) a brave female
spy and goes on a series of adventures. One of the best
of the Bob Hope vehicles and features the rough and tough
- but sexy as hell - Jane Russell in full cry. Easy
entertainment and easy laughs, but Hope was the best in
the world with this kind of material. RIP.