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Christopher Fowler
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Film
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Director Carol Reed has a biography worth checking out on a more specialist site than this; his story is a fascinating one. In 1947 Reed started a hot run, with three hits in three years, beginning with the IRA drama 'Odd Man Out', then 'The Fallen Idol' and finally 'The Third Man', which even Orson Welles's misbehaviour was unable to damage. The middle picture remains the least known, but is in…
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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Books & Film
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The British Film Institute shop continues to be the best destination I know of to find serious works on cinema. Its booklist includes the BFI Screen Guides, the International Screen Industries series and the prestigious BFI Film Classics, in which an academic conducts a study of a single film over 100+ pages. The BFI site lists them all, and they are enlightening reads for writers. A few thoughts…
32 comments
Christopher Fowler
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Film
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Incredibly, the reviews for the trilogy are terrific. If Lockdown brought one good thing for me it was the return of really awful B movies. After scrolling through Netflix's premium listings, all seemingly aimed at children, I dredged the dross at the bottom of their EPG. As a lover of Spanish cinema how could I resist 'The Baztan Trilogy', three classy looking, expensive movies - 'The Invisible…
8 comments
Christopher Fowler
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Books & Film
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It's easy to forget there are actual words inside them Excellent news; book sales are up thanks to Lockdown; no real surprise there. Fiction dipped slightly but general sales are good, probably driven by desperation for something to do that wasn't watching Netflix or cleaning out the composter. But we were already doing well; British publishers generated record revenues of £6.3 billion in 2019, up…
23 comments
Christopher Fowler
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Film
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I'm researching today so let's have a song - it's been far too long. We need a little jazz hands in our lives occasionally, especially since there's no theatre anymore. Don't you often think, why aren't there more film musicals set in a postwar Sovietski Soyuz workers commune? Your prayers are answered. And while I'm researching, here's a puzzler for you: Come up with a single word that has three…
41 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Film
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What a great couple of years it's been for Latin cinema. It feels as if South American, Hispanic and Chicano films have taken a forgotten page from the Hollywood playbook and reapplied it to cinema. Forgetting fancy effects, stars and hype, they've put story back front and central, so much so that the sinister political allegory/ creepfest 'We Are What We Are' could be remade by being moved from…
4 comments
Christopher Fowler
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Film
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Because of my connections to various organisations I've always been able to see a lot of the world cinema that doesn't open in local overseas arthouses. These are the bread-and-butter indigenous movies that fill Saturday night screens and are likely to be regional, certainly not intended for international exhibition. A few years back, 'Welcome To The Sticks', a comedy about two opposing French…
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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Film
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Five parts is enough for any blog article, so let's put this baby to bed. With nowhere to go except Earth (something only audiences expressed a desire to see) the Alien franchise now did what it always did — it shifted gear into an unexpected direction. For the fifth film, out went Sigourney Weaver and her storyline, now as tangled and tortuous as that of the 'Saw' franchise, and back came…
10 comments
Christopher Fowler
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Film
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It should have died, but the studio cattle-prod had been charged and was now attempting to fire life back into a dead franchise. Ripley was definitively gone, but Sigourney Weaver was still up for the role, having moved from ingenue in tighty-whiteys to grieving mother to bald warrior-queen - how could she come back? Molten metal doesn't leave much of a corpse. Alien Resurrection In 1997 the Alien…
8 comments
Christopher Fowler
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Film
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And so the drop ship roars into the problem zone of the third Alien film, in a tangled situation entirely created by Fox's suits. The crowd-pleasing 'Aliens' had proven such a massive success that the franchise was now cursed with too-high expectations. You couldn't go bigger, but could you scale it back? Our company had had no involvement with the second picture even though it was also shot in…
8 comments

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