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

Friday, 29 November 2013

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

Will Ferrell/Adam McKay's touchstone satire of 1970’s broadcast journalism culture still bristles with some of the most absurd mainstream comedy in recent years. Remarkably most of these gags still land successfully and thus will likely continue to do so in years to come, aligning itself with those timeless classics of the Mel Brooks, ZAZ, Blake Edwards, and Monte Python films of the past.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013


We admire the casting of Bruce Dern, the black and white throwback look and the embodiment of the spirit of 70’s mavericks such as Bob Rafelson and Hal Ashby, but the story of a confused old man bonding with his son over a road trip from Montana to Nebraska has Payne pushing well-honed salt-of-the-earth schmaltz a little too much.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Citizen Kane

Even heady proclamations like the ‘Greatest Film Ever Made’ cannot overstate how powerful this picture is. The story of a mercurial newspaper magnate who began his career as an idealistic entrepreneur raised with a silver spoon in his mouth who, over the course of his life, breaks down to an egomaniacal tyrant is like an insatiable addiction. Welles’ tale of American big business and the cult of personality which arises from unabated success has become as fundamental to cinema as The Odyssey is to classical literature.

Friday, 22 November 2013

True Romance

What a collaboration! The muscular cinematic brauniness of Tony Scott, matched up with the idiosyncratic voice of Quentin Tarantino. Tony Scott masterfully pumps up Tarantino’s Godard-influenced lovers-turned-criminals road movie into a (pun not intended) breathless action picture full of wit, pathos and that bold Tony Scott panache.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

A Hijacking

While the subject of Somali pirating is the same, this already-celebrated Danish film produced before 'Captain Phillips' has considerably less flare but admirably inhabits the same space as Paul Greengrass’s Hollywood version. ‘A Hijacking’ lasers in the attrition of the lengthy negotiation process between the stingy corporation and the wily Somali pirates, with a result no less harrowing and intense.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Jurassic Park: The Lost World

Spielberg’s sequel to the thoroughly enjoyable and successful Jurassic Park at times feels like a shamelessly perfunctory and lazy exercise in tent-pole filmmaking using the bare minimum of creative energy to get more dinosaurs onto the screen. But Mr. Spielberg's superb flare for cliff-hanger and action filmmaking overachieves what was on the written page.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Born on the Fourth of July

With the exception of JFK’s stunning cinematic bravura, arguably Born on the Fourth of July is Oliver Stone’s most accomplished film. The remarkably told story of Ron Kovic, all American boy turned war activist, exemplifies Stone’s ability to create American period nostaglia with impeccable tonal accuracy and also eviserate it with bold uncompromising cinematic force. With expert help from other giants of cinema Robert Richardson, John Williams and editors Joe Hutshing/David Brenner Born on the Fourth of July resounds, argubaly, as the foremost film on the subject of Vietnam.

Friday, 8 November 2013

The Uninvited

This moody ghost story resounds as a rich and textured gothic haunted house film containing some of the best ghostly special effects of its time. If made in Germany, Japan or France this film could have been turned into a chilling horror masterpiece, unfortunately it’s bungled by a Hollywood aesthetic of artificial romance and comedy which dulls the effects of its progressive horror concept and as such never really rises to its better contemporaries, Rebecca or the Ghost and Mrs. Muir.

Thursday, 7 November 2013


Bergman's strange psychological headscratcher fits in well with the 60's European trend of loopy existential pictures of Roman Polanski, Antonioni and later David Lynch and even late career of Stanley Kubrick (who famously wrote a fan letter to Bergman in 1960 calling him the greatest filmmaker of the day).

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Escape From Tomorrow

This is the conceptual picture of the year, a monumental logistic achievement to film an independent narrative feature film within the confines of Walt Disney World, undercover of the notoriously watchful eyes of its brand police, and actually have it distributed. While spotty in execution and performance the films hits a bull’s-eye as a parable to the soul sucking sensation of parenting.

Friday, 1 November 2013


The second last of the great 'Golden Age of Animation' Disney films, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, Pinocchio, Bambi and Dumbo sparkle with a kind of cinema magic unlike any other films in history. The incredibly touching story of a ridiculed baby elephant with big ears born into a circus troupe who realizes his ears can make him fly and achieve unrivalled greatness and success resonates so strongly because of its universal message of marginalization and triumph over adversity.