Film

Another Childhood Hero Leaves

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When I was a kid I wanted to be Rod Taylor. He had a square jaw, a chin-dimple, twinkling eyes, wide shoulders, an Australian accent and a sense of fun about him, and he was therefore far more interesting than Hollywood heroes, most of whom I had no way of relating to. I score a […]

Re:View – ‘Kajaki’

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There’s a famous Edwardian quote about Afghanistan, that the more you leave the country alone the better things are for everyone. This has been borne out by a number of war films in the last three or four years, and while many were good (I couldn’t say ‘enjoyable’) they still teetered on the gung-ho militaristic […]

Best & Worst Films Of The Year

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It’s a safe bet that no-one will look back on 2014 and regard it as a classic year for Hollywood, which, as always, went where the money was – this time looking to the East, as films inserted locations and stars from China, Japan and India in an effort to increase revenue in those growing […]

The Rich Are Another Country

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There are times when not being American helps you take an outsider’s viewpoint on a true story; I came to ‘Foxcatcher’ knowing nothing about the peculiar life of John ‘Golden Eagle’ du Pont (played here by an unrecognisable Steve Carrell), from one of the richest families in the US, but I imagine a lot of […]

Tim Burton’s Monument To Mediocrity

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Tim Burton’s directorial style has never been very sophisticated or subtle. That’s fine; neither was Ken Russell’s, but he combined sound and imagery brilliantly. Burton started out with the childlike colour explosions of ‘Pee Wee’s Big Adventure’ and ‘Edward Scissorhands’, and only fell down when he reined in his sense of the absurd. ‘Sweeney Todd’ […]

It’s Going To Be A Box-Set Christmas

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It’s been a strange year for film, with mainly weak blockbusters, no decent Hollywood comedies and no strong horror movies. A further retreat into sequels and reboots has set the pattern for the future, and only Universal is doing something fresh, ditching the 30 year-old idea of the tentpole release to concentrate on a smaller, […]

It’s Worth Getting Into The Shadows

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You would think there’s no more fun to be wrung from the vampire genre. Then along comes this New Zealand comedy, an absolute gem of a movie from the ‘Flight of the Conchords’ gang (itself one of the best comedies in recent memory), nailing the horrific/comic possibilities of four vampires sharing a house together. The […]

One Film To End Them All

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Well, it’s over. Farewell, Hobbitses, and thanks for all the fun. Last night I saw Borimir, Chlamydia, Moulinex, Fafnir, Ariel, Moomin, Thorax Oakenfold and Legoland go into battle for the last time, bringing together an end to a thirteen-year film cycle all the more remarkable for its consistency of tone. This time for ‘The Hobbit: […]

Re:View – ‘Birdman’

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You’ll hear much talk of this as we run up to Oscar season, with good reason. Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu, director of ’21 Grams’ and ‘Amores Perros’, has created something so unique in this comedy-drama that it feels he’s pushed the boundaries into a new kind of filmmaking. I ran through his credits on IMDbPro and an […]

Re:View – ‘Nightcrawler’

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Writer/director Dan Gilroy’s debut feature is a stylish LA night-noir that comes on like Scorsese and plays out like a cross between Michael Powell’s ‘Peeping Tom’, ‘Network’ and ‘Taxi Driver’. Films with disturbing lead characters are tricky to pull off – how do you make an audience care? Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a bug-eyed, intense, delusional thief […]