Neglected Films 15: The Night They Raided Minsky’s


A few readers have asked me to revive this column, which I discontinued a couple of years ago. (You’ll find the old columns all stored here if you’re looking for unusual films). In the late 1960s audiences tired of old-fashioned pictures and made ‘Easy Rider’ a hit. The studios were caught out. What were they […]

When Brilliant Filmmakers Play Safe


Looking back from the eighties to the present day, one trend is obvious – the great directors who emerged then have all have all got fat and rich – and dull. Robert Zemeckis, whose every film I loved right from Used Cars to Death Becomes Her and the Back To The Future trilogy has made […]

When Did You Last See A Movie?


I asked a friend this the other day and he admitted that the last film he saw on the big screen was ‘Earthquake’ in Sensurround. Now you’ll have to admit that this is a fairly radical answer, and I wondered if that awful film put him off for life, but no, he said he simply […]

London’s Cinema Museum Is A Hidden Gem


Britain has always had a disparaging attitude to its cinemas and their history. After the collapse of MOMI (Museum of the Moving Image) in London’s Southbank, we were left without a cinema museum.  MOMI was utterly dreadful, a dumbed-down ‘experience’ ineptly run, with very little to enjoy beneath its expensive surface gloss. So it was […]

Everest 3D: A Bit Of A Climb


After watching ‘Everest 3D’ I felt as if I’d dragged myself up that mountain as well, and needed oxygen when it was over. Baltasar Kormákur’s visually stunning film certainly has the sweep and roar of an epic (especially as I was viewing it at Dolby’s own screening room, where the sound is exemplary) but it also […]

Sight & Sound No.1


Why do we love films? For me, one of the earliest and greatest thrills I ever had was discovering the moments in film when visuals and music perfectly match each other to create great moments – we think perhaps of classics like ‘Citizen Kane’ and ‘Psycho’, but this is a new sequence of sight & […]

The Tragedy Of ‘Timbuktu’


In Abderrahmane Sissako’s astonishing new film we get a chance to explore the sheer lunacy of the jihadists’ worldview from both sides. In a heartfelt polemic that uses subtlety and calm (Oliver Stone, please note) it builds a complex picture through the simplest images, via several unfolding story strands. A herder loses a cow and the […]

Those Fabulously Dreadful 1950s Monster Movies Part 2


In 1957 the fear of atom bombs, destruction and mutation reached its peak, and Bert I Gordon was there to capitalise on it. He specialised in films about really big things. In ‘The Amazing Colossal Man’ it’s an ordinary man who’s mutated by errant, uncontrollable atom energy. After the huge success of ‘The Incredible Shrinking Man’ […]

Who Needs Film Critics Anymore?


With winter nights drawing in I’d hoped we would get a bumper crop of horror films – my guilty pleasure – and after the beautiful-looking but cartoonish ‘Crimson Peak’ I’d hoped for something original at the low-budget end. Instead I watched ‘We Are Still Here’, an astoundingly bad, illogically plotted haunted house movie starring former […]

Films Which Have Really Peculiar Moments In Them No.3


Here’s one where the peculiar moment comes in the opening moment of the film. ‘Thank God It’s Friday’ is a now forgotten movie set in a disco-era nightclub that’s stuffed to the gills with soon-to-be big stars including a then-unknown Donna Summer and Jeff Goldblum! But even as the film starts, the disco beat has […]