A handsome and classy Disney-sports drama, surprisingly intelligent and detailed about the sport. While mostly free of the schmaltzy sappiness of some of their other efforts of the past 10 years, like 'Remember the Titans', it's missing the dramatic tension and urgency of say, 'Seabiscuit'.
Tuesday, 26 February 2013
A brilliant hybrid of stage theatricality and bold colour anamorphic photography elevate this strange Japanese folk legend of a woman who desperately desires to die honourably in the hallowed heights of a mysterious mountain into a haunting and powerful artifact of Japanese cinema’s golden age.
Monday, 25 February 2013
This film gets me every time. The final moments, when the Chief discovers McMurphy’s been lobotomized, kills him out of pity, then completes Mac's metaphorical task of lifting the water fountain off the ground, plunging it through the window, thus releasing him into the wild to freedom, is as triumphant a climax as their ever was in cinema.
Friday, 22 February 2013
A unique collaboration of future Hollywood ex-pats, Robert Siodmak, Billy Wilder, Fred Zinneman, Curt Siodmak and Edgar Ulmer meets the mark we’d expect from such young and talented filmmakers, a freeform kind of neo-realism combining non-actors in an unsecured real-world setting with only a semblance of a narrative script. And it's intoxicating.
Thursday, 21 February 2013
Wednesday, 20 February 2013
Perhaps the best action scene ever in a Bond film is a remarkable hand-to-hand scrap in a Shanghai high rise, elegantly shot in silhouette with a colourful neon advertisement in the background. It’s short but indicative of director Sam Mendes’ admirable modus operandi – brevity, judiciousness and evocative imagery – which help make Skyfall the most cinematic of all the Bond films.
Tuesday, 19 February 2013
Andrei Tarkovsky's debut is a whilring dervish of cinema, and perhaps the final word on the impact of war on children on film. As an introduction to Tarkovsky, the sometimes inpenetrable cine-poet, the film is also his most accessible. Virtuoso camera flourishs and astonishing B&W lighting and composition brings to mind the midcareer films of Fellini, Welles and Kalatozov, and newer generation masters Miklos Jancsó's and Bela Tarr.
Friday, 15 February 2013
Rethinking the traditional notions of the Hollywood musical, Bob Fosse’s Cabaret still bedazzles us with seemless blend pre-war period melodrama and its the unpolished kitchen-sink musical numbers to arrive at his sublime political musical which discards the razzle-dazzle in favour of the seediness of a two-bit burlesque show.
Thursday, 14 February 2013
Little seen and infrequently discussed, it's easy to forget Ridley Scott made this humble period film, based on Joseph Conrad's short story, The Duel. It's also easy to overpraise this picture because of its obscurity. Spectacularly beautiful, influenced heavily by Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon, the film suffers from Scott's stolid pacing and a palpable disconnect between style and substance, recurring critiques in many of Scott's later work. That said, this movie is essential for any film buff's collection, as it shows the early development of Scott's prevailing visual aesthetic, which, for good and bad, has made him a populist auteur.
Wednesday, 13 February 2013
Tuesday, 12 February 2013
Monday, 11 February 2013
There’s a strong whiff of the Matrix wafting through Tron Legacy for good and bad. The retro action jamboree, the 80’s nostalgic cyberpunk aesthetic of the original film injected with the best of modern special effects, action moviemaking sensibilities as well as some super hot Tron babes in neon latex jumpsuits. But like the Matrix films, familiar and recycled characterizations renders anything other than the non-action scenes mostly struggle to get through.
Friday, 8 February 2013
Wednesday, 6 February 2013
Despite the auspicious pairing of Stephen King and David Cronenberg, The Dead Zone is more cerebral and brooding than the gorefest one might expect. Bloodletting is kept to a minimum, and instead the psychological impact of predicting someone’s own death keeps up the intensity, arguably a significant tonal shift for Cronenberg, in many ways foreshadowing some of his future endeavours.
Tuesday, 5 February 2013
Here Liam Neeson has considerably less fighting to do than in Taken, but he’s still in the same scenario as in Taken – a regular American in a foreign place, with everyone conspiring around him fighting to find his wife and claim his identity. Two-thirds of the film is exciting, but the rest, the ending, fails us. But we still have Liam Neeson's commanding presence, his awesome nose and sideways profile to behold, and a few ass-kickings as well to satisfy our appetite for destruction.