Blog / 2020

Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Film
Image
We may well look back on 2020 as the year cinema died. The battle between exhibitors and studios reached a head in the pandemic, especially in America where the cinemas remained closed, and ended with Warners shutting theatrical windows and leading the charge to its loss-leader streaming platform. The major studios decided to bottle up their wares and leave them on the shelf rather than accept…
10 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Film
Image
I have never seen 'It's A Wonderful Life'. It wasn't a Christmas perennial in our house and I only became aware of it long after I'd grown up. I still haven't seen it but intend to this year, although I'm allergic to schmaltz. When I was growing up, in the wonderful world of two TV channels, it was a choice of 'tom thumb' or 'The Wizard of Oz'. We tend to forget that despite the dominance of…
29 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Film
Image
Unbehagen is the German word for discomfort or unease. Horror films shock but the best supernatural films are suffused with the melancholy of loss ('The Others', 'The Orphanage', 'The Innocents'). Then there are the films that go to uncomfortable places. 'Goodfellas' made good on the ever-present threat in gangster films to explode into violence, and even a musical proved it could be uncomfortable…
23 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Film
Image
No Spoilers There couldn't be because I have no clue as to what I just saw. Christopher Nolan's blockbusting head-scratcher is meant to bail out cinemas and bring audiences flooding back. It won't. Not because it isn't a great night out - it is - but because it's going to really annoy a lot of people. This is the first geek film in a long time, the kind of film girls on hot dates will be wise to…
14 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Film
Image
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…
16 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Books & Film
Image
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
Posted in
Film
Image
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
Posted in
Books & Film
Image
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
Posted in
Film
Image
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
Image
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

Years