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

Thursday, 31 October 2013


The first of Brian De Palma’s ‘Hitchcock-influenced films, Sisters boldly begat a career long obsession with the Master of Suspese, recycling and deconstructing his stories, themes, techniques in a dozen films or so over forty years. Without the slickness of later and bigger budgeted works, Sisters feels like a marriage of the director’s handcrafted underground/avant garde works of the late 60’s and the delirious visual showman of the 70’s/80’s.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Halloween III: Season of the Witch

Though only an effort as producer, the much-maligned, persona-non-grata entry in the Halloween series has all the fingerprints of horrormaster John Carpenter. Featuring one of the most disturbing kill-concepts in the genre Season of the Witch fits in well with the trend of 70’s paranoia filmmaking as well as Carpenter’s career-long obsession with omniscent mental control and thus resounds as one of the most chilling underappreciated horror films of the decade.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Apocalypse Now

Gut, determination and a whole lot of ego from Francis Coppola was the engine which not just got Apocalypse Now made but made it great. Coming off the Godfather films, Francis Coppola was at the height of his creativity, the height of his influence and undoubtedly his confidence. When filmmakers find themselves in this type of position it's wonderful to see filmmakers push themselves creatively.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

12 Years a Slave

Steve McQueen’s already celebrated picture consciously manages to find a medium ground between the intimate and avant-garde roots of his earlier pics and the broad historical canvas of American slavery. As devastating it is to see slavery depicted on screen he never seems to match the level of visceral impact as his debut Hunger. Thus, however powerful and moving there’s a feeling he’s tamed himself for the sake of American and Hollywood acceptability.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Captain Phillips

Paul Greengrass’ docu-realism modus operandi is in full effect in this picture, like Bloody Sunday and United 93, capturing the true-to-facts story of Somali piracy victim Richard Phillips as genre entertainment told with docu-style realism. Despite the wattage of Hanks, Captain Phillips is the lesser of these three pictures, faulted by a murky socio-political theme.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Eyes Without a Face

Before the era of the slasher film, horror films didn’t get any sicker or more twisted than this early 60’s French gem which tracks the devilish attempts of a plastic surgeon to kidnap, drug and steal the faces of innocent women to graft onto his facially-deformed daughter.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Rocky IV

By 1985 with Sylvestor Stallone arguably at the peak of his Hollywood influence he generated this fourth and most audacious entry in the series. While immensely successful it was astonishingly scant of any storytelling bones. But such is the underrated filmmaking skills of Mr. Stallone to make an entertaining film essentially made up of two story beats, two dialogue scenes, two fights and glued together by montage scenes.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013


Alfonso Cuaron’s desire to tell a largely single person survivalist film in space adhering to the laws of real-world physics is inspirational, but his ability to execute the impossibly complex conceptual challenge with perfection and panache makes for a rip-roaring adventure picture for the ages.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Jackie Brown

With immense expectations to meet or top his game-changer Pulp Fiction, back in 1997 QT delivered what now appears to be his most modest film to date, a rich experience in character and minus the cinematic razzle dazzle he’s injected into every film since then. Jackie Brown ages as well as any of his films including the lauded Pulp Fiction.

Friday, 4 October 2013


There have been lots of racing pictures over the years and no one has been able to crack the genre. Ron Howard’s aggressively told history of the 1970’s Nikki Lauda/James Hunt rivalry is arguably the most accessible. Though it’s a robust sports genre film told with maximum 70’s razzle-dazzle, it fails to find the humanness in its two characters beyond the surface of their ying/yang personalities to elevate it to the top of Howard's esteemed filmography.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

A Letter to Three Wives

This minor Mankiewicz post War classic sets up a bit of a contrived situation, three wives/friends who receive a letter from a mutual friend stating that she has run away with one of their husbands, but without telling them who. And while the narrative plays out the scenario of each of the women rethinking the state of their marriages with predictable conventiality, a surprisingly smart examination of marriage, fidelity and career expectations of women in the burgeoning feminist age emerges.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Autumn Sonata

Anchored by the best performance ever by the Hollywood legend Ingrid Bergman, and matched by an equally mesmerizing Liv Ullman, Ingmar Bergman presents to us a visceral unforgettable two–hander of a mother and daughter hashing out latent conflicts with devastating emotional power.