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

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Blood Simple

The confidence and command of the medium with this very first feature film from the Coen Bros is kind of astounding. The loosely documented story behind the making of this film has it that Coen Bros made a short demo, or trailer for the film as a pitch to some family friends to invest in their feature version. With their meticulously detailed story board, the maximized their million and a half budget instantly launching their successful career.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

The Last Stand

Undone by the casting of slow and wobbly Arnold Schwarzenegger, this is simply a very sad Hollywood debut for renowned and wholly inspiring Korean director Kim Je-Woon, of ‘I Saw the Devil’ fame. We only have to look to Chan-wook Park's brilliant Stoker as a superior example of a successful Asia-to-American transplant.

Monday, 27 May 2013


Under the guise of a coming-of-age film, Jeff Nichols’ third feature is a film about kids for adults and continues his string of complex character dramas, reflecting themes of family, revenge and violence in the landscape of the American Midwest.

Thursday, 23 May 2013


Jan de Bont's high concept Die Hard knock-off exemplifies the allure of 90's terrorism mystique in the pre-9/11 world. Charming baddies battling broken-down everyman heroes with high stakes high pressure, high octane Bruckheimer-branded action.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013


The formulaic nature of the multiple sequels of this film might suggest that 'Rocky' itself is a formula film - that is, chronciling the journey of a down and out boxer from the rough streets of Philly to boxing highest stage, a shot at the heavyweight title. Indeed this is how “Rocky” plays out but its honest and truly sincere character-based personal approach as written and performed by Sylvestre Stallone subverts all expectations for the first time viewer.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Soul Power

Like Leon Gast’s great ‘When We Were Kings’ documentary about the Rumble in The Jungle fight, it took 20 years after the event for the film to be completed. Jeffrey Levy-Hinte's 2009 documentary on the accompanying music festival, arrived late as well and like King's was an instant classic as memorable as some of the greats music documentaries of its era, Gimme Shelter, Woodstock, and Monterey Pop.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Something Borrowed

Laziness and complacency in screenwriting were never more apparent than in the latest Ginnifer Goodwin romcom. A potent internal conundrum of conflict for Goodwin’s character is wasted with dumbed down characterizations, diffusing the film of all substance.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Date Night

It’s disposable turnkey Hollywood entertainment, but in terms of the action-comedy genre, Date Night, does not make a wrong turn. Consistently funny and exciting from beginning to end, it was a delight to actually be surprised by a mainstream film these days. As such, Date Night, earns its rather high three and a half star rating.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

El Cid

“El Cid” was made at the height of the epic-period in Hollywood. In the early 60’s with the increasing popularity of TV Hollywood endeavoured to make bigger and longer movies to get audiences out of their homes and back into the theatres for an experience they couldn’t get on the small screen (hmm, things haven’t changed much since then).

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The Disappearance of Alice Creed

With only his first feature film we can immediately sense special things to come from J. Blakeson - an ingenious three-hand kidnapper noir conceived and executed with the same kind of cinematic confidence as a young Christopher Nolan or David Fincher.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Blow Out

By 1981, Brian De Palma was well into his ’Hitchcock period’, a string of films in the late 70s going back to 1973’s Sisters, but really starting with 1976’s Obsession, followed by Carrie that same year and then The Fury (1978) and Dressed to Kill (1980), which mashed together Alfred Hitchcock‘s most famous suspense set pieces with a tone of sleazy exploitation and dreamy cinematic bravura. The success of Carrie notwithstanding, Blow Out was arguably De Palma's most accomplished of these films.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Naked Lunch

With his reputation before him, David Cronenberg’s desire to create an impressionistic statement of William S. Burrough’s novel as a marriage of his improvizational beat writing with the Baron of Blood’s trademarke body horror aesthetic remains one of the most memorable notches on Cronenberg’s impressive filmography.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Clash of the Titans

It's hard to defend this picture other than the personal connection, as vivid cinema experience memory of my childhood. To naked eyes Desmond Davis' Clash of the Titans might looks like a dated adventure romp, dated for now and dated for 1981. That said, the mythological storyline following the Perseus myth is compelling no matter what the medium. And at the very least the participation of the great Ray Harryhausen, special effects master makes this film forever relevant. RIP.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Not Fade Away

David Chase’s overly nostalgic and dull trip down memory lane has us yearning for the acid flashback version of Oliver Stone. Not Fade Away is so dominated by its pop music touchstone it crushes any attention to character and story.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Silver Linings Playbook

This is a unique speciman, a rare ‘comedy’ which garnered significant Oscar consideration, and yet, doesn’t quite feel like any comedy we’ve ever seen before. Such is genius of David O Russell to create a comedy which doesn’t rely on gags but a palpable feeling of energy from the subject matter as heavy as psychological disorders such as bi-polarism.