DAILY FILM DOSE: A Daily Film Appreciation and Review Blog: January 2013

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

They Live

John Carpenter’s late blooming fanboy fave most memorable for its lengthystreet fight scene between wrestler Roddy Piper and Keith David as its wicked story reveal of an alien race living among us only visible through specialized sunglasses, deserves to graduate from ‘cult’ status to a genuine masterpiece of science-fiction.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Point Break

Point Break was a decent action/cop film back in its day, but for some reason it has persisted in the cultural and cinematic zeitgeist, rising above others of its genre as one of the best action films of its time.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Grand Hotel

Once billed as "featuring the greatest cast in stage or screen history," Grand Hotel exemplifies the height of Hollywood allure in the early '30s, when the country was in the midst of the Depression and the institution of cinema supplied the dream factory escapism audiences desired.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Peter Pan

Arguably the worst of the Disney features up until that point, part of the general trend of decreasing returns since the pre-War Golden Age of Animation. Disney’s Peter Pan opens with a deservedy ‘magical’ touch Walt was known for but gradually devolves intp a looney toon-style comedy and rather shameful stereotypical depictions of First Nation peoples.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Taken 2

“Listen to me very carefully” the catchphrase of sorts for Liam Neeson’s immensely successful action film alterego Bryan Mills, the security guard loner and over-protective father who finds himself embroiled in international human trafficking gangsters, serves as Neeson’s call-to-action, jumpstarting each of these pictures into the high octane, truly pleasurable everyman actioners.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Cul de Sac

However inspired and influential Roman Polanski’s remarkable body of work in the '60s was, there are a few duds. Cul de Sac, hot off Polanski’s two previous films (Knife in the Water and Repulsion), the story of an American gangster holding a meek faux-bourgeois couple hostage in northern Britain might suggest another psychological drama of domestic terror. Unfortunately, there’s a strong injection of swinging '60s comedy, a unique haphazard kind of rambunctious madcap tone that doesn’t really translate well to today.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Searching For Sugarman

Looking at the five nominees for Best Documentary Feature Oscar, it's a familiar line up of issue-driven films, War in the Middle East, AIDS, rape in the American military, heavy and important subject matter for sure. Significantly less important is the stunning story of Rodriguez, the lost American folk singer resurrected by it's rapid South African fans and the filmmakers involved in this terrific documentary. I hope the Academy collectively can see beyond the issue to Malik Bendjelloul's superlative storytelling skills in crafting this inspiring story.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Zero Dark Thirty

Kathryn Bigelow’s sprawling Bin Laden hunt picture is a spotty affair, a film sectioned off into often disjointed segments over the course of ten years only finding it’s rhythm in the final 30mins or so. The rivetting climax is a masterwork of military procedural execution, easily smoothing over the rocky 2 hours which came before it. Zero Dark Thirty thus resounds as both a conversation piece and a rip-roaring action film.

Friday, 18 January 2013


Samsara, another the eye-popping cultural visually essay, shot in high gloss 70mm with Fricke's trademark pristine compositions and dizzying time lapse photography, is even more sumptuous and satisfying than 1992's Baraka. With such a huge canvas it's impossible to be subtle with this picture, so critiquing any of it's heavy-handed theme or statement making is an exercise in futility. 

Thursday, 17 January 2013

True Grit

Before the Coen Bros remake, True Grit was known as the film which won John Wayne an Oscar. I’m sure the public consensus back in ’69 was that the win was one of those soft victories recognized more for his body of work than being the best performance of the year. The movie survives surprisingly well with today’s eyes though. Despite having an old studio director (Henry Hathaway) in his 70's directing a film in a time when the Hollywood rules were being broken by its ambitious youth, it doesn’t feel at all old fashioned. And John Wayne fits in perfectly with the times, playing against his diametically opposite in Kim Darby.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Hello I Must Be Going

A finely crafted cinematic character study and treatise on love, a Sundance success from last year, unfortunately flew too far under the radar during it's commercial run. It's a marvelous picture, which, despite the sense of a pending tragedy, doesn't sacrifice its sharp funny bone, a real winner featuring an infectious performance from Melanie Lynsky.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Stranger Than Paradise

Stranger Than Paradise is as weird as Jim Jarmusch looks, an unconventional, sparse, deadpan indie darling which is mostly about ‘nothing’, yet is full of cinematic freshness, it’s easy to see how a film like this poked the fire of the independent film movement of the late 80’s, early 90’s.

Friday, 11 January 2013


Lolita sits as a turning point in Stanley Kubrick’s career. It came after Spartacus, a director-for-hire gig, and thus a film in which he didn’t have his usual meticulous creative control or the stamp of authorship. That said, Spartacus is still a fantastic action epic, one of the best Hollywood has ever produced and a huge success. With Lolita, we see Kubrick working with James B. Harris (Paths of Glory, The Killing) again and outside of Hollywood in England, with the dark comedic and salacious subject matter we would see in his later films.

Thursday, 10 January 2013


While I wouldn’t go as far to say that television today as turned into what Paddy Chayefsky was satirizing back in 1976, 'Network' still seems as relevant and topical today as it was yesteryear, which goes to mean that very little has changed in television then as opposed to now.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Mutiny on the Bounty

High seas adventure cinema par excellence. Three big screen versions of this story have been made and there’s no doubt this version is the best. Five Academy Awards nominations including a winner for best picture doesn't lie, but watching Clark Gable in his prime squaring off against Charles Laughton is undeniably powerful and exciting cinema.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013


Under the guidance of British filmmakers outside of the Hollywood meatgrinder there’s some excitement that the sophistication and intensity of the alterna-comic would translate better to cinema. Unfortunately good intentions go awry here, as Dredd suffers badly from dull heroes, dull villains, and an over confidence in its own cold, detached ultraviolence.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Qatsi Trilogy

Even as much as our brains have been desensitized to the time-lapse cinematography the film pioneered and even after two other entries in the trilogy, not excluding Ron Fricke’s own documentaries Baraka and Samsara, 30 years hence, Godfrey Reggio’s original ‘Koyaanisqatsi’, is still a visual and aural marvel. Reggio images in the first film, as shot and cut by Ron Fricke in time with the grand music compositions of Philip Glass, are as potent and powerful visual essay of sorts, but surmounting the didactic connotations of an experimental ‘essayist’ film.

Friday, 4 January 2013


Despite some glaring plot holes, Rian Johnson's inspired and energetic direction injects the sci-fi action genre with a fresh new vision reminiscent of the Wachowskis' bold ingenuity with 'The Matrix'. Looper is possibly the most inspired American action films in years.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Best of Cinema 2012

There are some familiar and unfamiliar titles on this list. Despite the chosen order, I could easily rearrange these films. The fact is, there wasn’t one film that stood out from the rest. Instead, the commonality between all these pictures is a certain 'boldness', often telling familiar stories in unconventional ways, or in the case of Goon and The Hobbit executing its genre to perfection.

I’ve kept the list only dramatic features as I could have populated this list with a number of superlative documentaries – see my top docs at the end of this list.

I should also say that this list did take into consideration other lauded ventures such as Holy Motors, The Master, Les Miserables, Django Unchained, Lincoln, Life of Pi etc. Unfortunately I have not yet seen Zero Dark Thirty or Amour, so in a couple weeks this top ten list might become a top twelve list. But for now, here’s the most memorable films of 2012 from Daily Film Dose:

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Purple Noon

Rene Clement's adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley is still a daring and delicious examination with a raging psychopath. Clement's dreamy 60's French cinematic flavour is neither inferior nor superior to Anthony Minghella's later remake. Two different but worthy artistic adaptations of a terrific story.