Film

Just How Far Can Hollywood Fall?

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Once Hollywood had something no other creative technology had; it could marry intellectual ideas with their visual realisation. As a result, it was hailed as the major art-form of the 20th century. It reached something of a peak in the 1960s and 1970s, tackling everything from cosmic significance (‘2001’) and revisionist history (‘The Charge Of […]

What’s Your Point?

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There’s a scene in ‘Trains, Planes & Automobiles’ when Steve Martin rounds on John Candy and says, ‘Here’s a good idea; when you tell a story, try to have a point.’ It’s pretty good advice. Watching ‘Wild Tales’ the other night that simple idea was driven home to me six times in a row. Having […]

Cities Shaped By Hollywood

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If history is really just all the things you can remember (cf. ‘1066 And All That’), then our cities reflect an idealised Hollywood version in which the past is merged with fiction. In the 1950s London was still a direct reflection of its books and films (from Dickens to Ealing comedies), but was also shaped […]

A Great Eye & A Tin Ear

Zero-Theorem

This is going to be a column about two Terry Gilliam movies; ‘Brazil’ VS ‘The Zero Theorem’. But don’t let the geekiness put you off – I’m trying to make a point about how we experience things. In my old job I saw a lot of films accompanied by artists. After, we’d compare notes. I’d […]

A Disturbing Tale In Any Language

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When it comes to translating titles, some distributors seem to go out of their way to wreck the films they’ve paid for. ‘The Witches of Zugarramurdi’ was always going to be a problem title, but changing it to ‘Witching & Bitching’ didn’t help. Likewise turned the twisted thriller ‘The Hidden Face’ into ‘The Xxxxxx’ (I […]

Are Clowns Actually Creepy?

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I don’t understand why they terrify Americans. My US friends all seem to have a great fear of clowns when there are surely bigger things to worry about; the guns thing, irrational behaviour (like the woman who just shot up a McDonalds for leaving bacon out of her burger), Fox News, US Customs & Excise […]

White Snow, Black Comedy

Disappearance

What is it that makes snow-set films so appealing? The whited-out spaces that give images a purity of design? The emptiness that conjures the spirit of old westerns? The cinematography that puts figures in vast landscapes? ‘Prize Idiot’ probably wasn’t the best title for a movie, so this new Scandi-noir starring Stellan Skarsgard has been […]

Movies That Mangle The Mind

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For me it started with a screening of ‘Eraserhead’ at the Scala Cinema when it used to be in Scala Street. After, nothing else measured up for a while because it had dream-images that stayed despite their lack of logic. Is there anything worse than a film where you can see every scene telegraphed? ‘The […]

Cool Double-Bills No.1

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An occasional series in which I pair two little-seen films together to make a neat double-bill. It’s an idea I developed years ago, after seeing one of the rarer double bills at my local cinema; ‘The Strange Vengeance Of Rosalie’ and ‘To Kill A Clown’. In the former, psychotic Bonnie Bedelia lured a businessman to […]

Movie Moments 3: The Artist

The Artist

  It’s been too long since we had a film clip. If this isn’t the most uplifting way to end a film since Edward Woodward got deep-fried in the Wicker Man, I don’t know what is. After a movie filled with the pains and pitfalls of rising and falling fame, the couple find their mojo…take […]