D: Jean-Luc Godard
Imperia/Societe Nouvelle de Cinema (Georges de Beauregard)
🇫🇷 1960
89 mins
W: Jean-Luc Godard
DP: Raoul Coutard
Ed: Cécile Decugis
Mus: Martial Solal
Jean-Paul Belmondo (Michel Poiccard / Laszlo Kovacs), Jean Seberg (Patricia Franchini), Daniel Boulanger (Police Inspector), Jean-Pierre Melville (Parvulesco), Liliane Robin (Minouche)
The epitome of cool and one of the trigger movies of the French new wave of filmmaking.
Director Jean-Luc Godard's use of location shooting, jump cuts, hand-held camerawork and homages to other films and filmmakers may seem commonplace in modern practice, but in 1960 this was a revolutionary filmmaking process.
The story follows a young Bogart-obsessed car thief who kills a policeman and flees Paris with his American girlfriend.
The importance of this film may go over the heads of modern day audiences who have only just discovered it and will most likely not be enjoyed by the 'popcorn demographic', but it's influencial values simply cannot be denied.
A hugely important slice of world cinema.

"There is no plan B"
"There is no plan B"
D: Joe Carnahan
20th Century Fox/Dune/Top Cow/Scott Free (Stephen J. Cannell, Tony Scott, Spike Seldin, Jules Daly, Alex Young & Iain Smith)             
🇺🇸 2010
117 mins
W: Joe Carnahan, Brian Bloom & Skip Woods [based on characters from the TV show created by Stephen J. Cannell & Frank Lupo)
DP: Mauro Fiore
Ed: Roger Barton
Mus: Alan Silvestri
Liam Neeson (Hannibal), Bradley Cooper (Face), Jessica Biel (Charissa Sosa), Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson (B.A. Baracus), Sharlto Copley (Murdock), Patrick Wilson (Lynch)
If the original TV series happened to have been created and filmed by Michael Bay, this would have been a highly faithful transition to the big screen.  As is, the only resemblance this bears to the iconic 80's programme are the character names of the gung-ho quartet, although the casting is less than impressive.  Liam Neeson is passable as Hannibal & Sharlto Copley is pretty madcap as Murdoch, but Quinton Jackson & Bradley Cooper don't quite shape up as B.A. and Face, the former arguably the hardest part to cast since nobody would have been successful stepping into Mr. T's shoes for a role which made the TV star a household name. God knows what the casting director was thinking with Jessica Biel. So wooden, trees get jealous!
Even the plot is a pale comparison to the TV show, lacking the cheesy situations the group get themselves in, often escaping from certain death by building something useful from the scrap they find at hand, although in this movie they do fly a tank. Honestly.
Clearly a lot of money was spent on the production, but to the majority of fans of the original show this would be deemed a waste. It simply isn't The A-Team, more like The Zzz-Team.

"The fight for the truth will be the fight for his life."
"The fight for the truth will be the fight for his life."
D: John Singleton
Lionsgate/Vertigo/Quick Six (Doug Davison, Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Lee Stollman, Roy Lee, Dan Lautner & Pat Crowley)
🇺🇸 2011
105 mins


W: Shawn Williamson
DP: Peter Menzies, Jr.
Ed: Bruce Cannon
Mus: Edward Shearmur

Taylor Lautner (Nathan Harper/Steven Price), Lily Collins (Karen Murphy), Alfred Molina (Frank Burton), Jason Isaacs (Kevin Harper), Maria Bello (Mara Harper), Sigourney Weaver (Dr. Geraldine Bennett), Michael Nykvist (Nikola Kozlow)

A teeny-bopper Bourne Identity, moderately enjoyable if you ignore how ridiculous it all is.
High school bad boy Taylor Lautner discovers he is adopted the same night his adoptive parents are murdered and goes on the run with girl-next-door Lily Collins as two rival groups are pursuing him, one being the CIA and another far more sinister. Not to worry though, because Lautner is a secret Jedi, or whatever.
As a brainless action thriller it passes the time, but it's clear to see that this was a rushed effort, squeezed into production in-between two Twilight instalments to capitalise on the fame of its lead. There's some glaring gaffes, including bad continuity and many of the potentially interesting characters aren't developed enough while the principal focus isn't particularly likeable, but this is simply due to a poor performance from someone who has muscular tone, but the tough guy act is merely laughable.
The worst thing is that there's no actual abduction. A more fitting title would have been 'Adoption'.

D: Paul Weitz & Chris Weitz
Universal/Tribeca/Working Title/Studio Canal (Jane Rosenthal, Robert DeNiro, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner & Brad Epstein)         
🇬🇧🇺🇸 2002
97 mins


W: Peter Hedges, Chris Weitz & Paul Weitz [based on the novel by Nick Hornby]
DP: Remi Adefarasin
Ed: Nick Moore
Mus: Badly Drawn Boy
PD: Jim Clay
Cos: Joanna Johnston

Hugh Grant (Will), Toni Collette (Fiona), Rachel Weisz (Rachel), Nicholas Hoult (Marcus), Isabel Brook (Angie), Sharon Small (Christine), Victoria Smurfit (Suzie), Augustus Prew (Ali)

Will Freeman (Hugh Grant) is a bachelor living off royalties from a song his father wrote. He enjoys driving fast cars, casual sex and at 38 years old he has rid his life of all responsibility... until he meets Marcus, a quirky 12-year-old boy who turns Wills life upside down.
Based on Nick Hornby's excellent novel, the humour carries over well. Hugh Grant's performance punctuates the dry wit of the script and Nicholas Hoult provides him with an excellent double act as Marcus, the young boy of the title.
The soundtrack with songs by Badly Drawn Boy is worth a listen to on its own merits.


D: Edward Zwick

Tristar (Jason Brett & Stuart Oken)

🇺🇸 1986

113 mins


W: Tim Kazursky & Denise DeClue [based on the play "Sexual Perversity In Chicago" by David Mamet]

DP: Andrew Dintenfass

Ed: Harry Keramidas

Mus: Miles Goodman

Rob Lowe (Danny), Demi Moore (Debbie), James Belushi (Bernie), Elizabeth Perkins (Joan), George DiSenzo (Mr. Favio)

David Mamet's astute stage play Sexual Perversity in Chicago suffers a name change due to distribution fears for this big screen adaptation, which focuses on the ups-and-downs in the relationship of a twentysomething couple after they meet amongst the casual sex scene of 1980's suburbia.

Rob Lowe and Demi Moore provide some of their best work as the couple of principal focus, as the film penetrates the conflicts which emerge between the romantic partners during their relationship.

The film is quite brutal with its dissection of the relationship, but a much better job was done with 2004's Closer (qv). 

A remake was released in 2014.


"Schmidt Happens"
"Schmidt Happens"
D: Alexander Payne
New Line (Michael Gittes & Harry Besman)
🇺🇸 2002
125 mins
W: Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor [based on the novel by Louis Begley]
DP: James Glennon
Ed: Kevin Tent
Mus: Rolfe Kent
PD: Jane Ann Stewart
Jack Nicholson (Warren Schmidt), Hope Davis (Jeannie), Dermot Mulroney (Randall Hertzel), Kathy Bates (Roberta Hertzel), June Squibb (Helen Schmidt)
Jack Nicholson delivers one of a great performance once again as Warren Schmidt, a retired widow, who travels across America in his mobile home to attend his estranged daughter's wedding to a man who Schmidt simply cannot stand.
The director and screenwriting partnership of Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor present a quirky variety of comedy rather than belly laughs, but they do it very well, taking a leaf out of Woody Allen's book.
The style certainly isn't to everyone's taste, but it's worth watching for Nicholson's performance alone, plus great support from the ensemble cast, especially Kathy Bates, who almost steals the show in one of the more memorable scenes (albeit for perhaps the wrong reasons).
A quirky and amusing look at a late-life crisis and amongst the best films of 2002.

D: Andrew Davis
Warner Bros. (Steven Seagal & Andrew Davis)
🇺🇸 1988
99 mins
W: Steven Pressfield, Ronald Shusett, Andrew Davis & Steven Seagal
DP: Robert Steadman
Ed: Michael Brown
Mus: David M. Frank
Steven Seagal (Det. Sgt. Nicolo 'Nico' Toscani), Pam Grier (Det. Delores 'Jacks' Jackson), Henry Silva (Kurt Zagon), Daniel Faraldo (Tony Salvano), Sharon Stone (Sara Toscani)
A martial arts expert/cop uncovers corruption in the CIA. That's about the long and short of it.
It's a woodenly acted, preposterously-plotted action vehicle for Steven Seagal during the early days of his film career. It's not the best of his work, but it certainly isn't the worst either.
Quite fun if you're not expecting too much, but not particularly memorable and not really one to watch more than once.

D: Alejandro Amenábar
Redbus/Sogetel/El Escorpion/Alain Sarde/Lucky Red
🇪🇸🇮🇹🇫🇷 1997
119 mins
W: Alejandro Amenábar & Matteo Gil
DP: Hans Burrmann
Ed: Maria Elena Sainz de Rojas
Mus: Alejandro Amenábar & Mariano Marin
Eduardo Noriega (Cesar), Penelope Cruz (Sofia), Chete Lera (Antonio), Fele Martinez (Pelayo), Najwa Nimri (Nuria), Gerard Barray (Duvernois)
A quite excellent psychological thriller about a prisoner who explains to his psychiatrist how he came to be facially disfigured in a car accident and incarcerated for murder, only to discover that his nightmare reality may not be all that it seems.
Superior in every way to the American remake 'Vanilla Sky', this Spanish language original is gripping and intelligent, holding interest throughout without having to make reference to pop culture in order to make the complex, tricksy story easier to follow.
One of the best foreign language movies of the 1990's.

D: James Cameron
20th Century Fox (Gale Anne Hurd)
🇺🇸 1989
140 mins (Director's Cut 163 mins)

Science Fiction

W: James Cameron
DP: Mikael Solomon
Ed: Joel Goodman
Mus: Alan Silvestri
PD: Leslie Dilley
Cos: Deborah Everton

Ed Harris (Bud Brigman), Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (Lindsey Brigman), Michael Beihn (Lt. Coffey), George Robert Klek (Wilhite), John Bedford Lloyd ('Jammer' Willis), Christopher Murphy (Seal Schoenick), Adam Nelson (Ensign Monk), J. C. Quinn ('Sonny' Dawson), Kimberly Scott (Lisa 'One Night' Standing)

This is a rather difficult film to review because it has a decent story, amazing visual effects and is very well made, unfortunately though, it is less than the sum of all of it's parts becoming a bit of a mish-mash which didn't quite reach it's full potential.  That being said, it does feature a scene which can only be described as an absolute modern classic, with Ed Harris & Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio arguing the best decision to escape from a sinking submersible.  It also gave birth to CGI effects and therefore has to be recognised as a milestone for this technical achievement.
The film attempts to inject some Cold War allegories into it, which don't really work, but as a standalone sci-fi/disaster movie it's enjoyable on that level.
A nuclear submarine has it's hull breached and comes to rest on the edge of a deep abyss. A team of Navy Seals then take charge of a deep-sea drilling rig with the mission of salvaging the nuclear warheads aboard the stricken vessel.  Things get dicey when alien life forms are spotted miles beneath the waves and the lieutenant in charge of the operation starts to crack up in the claustrophobic atmosphere and becomes psychotically paranoid.
The build up really deserves a better ending, but a director's cut of the movie gives more insight into the intentions of the extra-terrestrial beings.
The production design, visual effects and stunning underwater photography cannot be faulted, nor can the two lead performances. It could have been better, but also, this could have been much worse considering the standard of other deep sea horror/sci-fi movies released around the same time, especially those attempting to relocate the formula from Alien (qv) to beneath the waves.


D: Joseph Losey

London Independent (Joseph Losey & Norman Priggen)

🇬🇧 1967

105 mins


W: Harold Pinter [based on the novel by Nicholas Mosley]

DP: Gerry Fisher

Ed: Reginald Beck

Mus: John Dankworth

Dirk Bogarde (Stephen), Stanley Baker (Charley), Jacqueline Sassard (Anna), Michael York (William), Vivian Merchant (Rosalind)

Based on a novel by Nicholas Mosley and adapted for the screen by Harold Pinter, Accident is a film that would have had a lot more power when it was originally released in 1967, rather than looking at it from 21st century eyes.

The title is a reference to an opening car accident in which an Oxford undergraduate dies, as well as an affair between his Austrian girlfriend and a staid professor at the university.

The story mostly unfolds under the observance of Stephen, the conservative, rather unemotional professor, who keeps the audience at arms length over his agenda, as the film culminates in a rather passionless, callous way which lets the audience decide whom to empathise with.

Originally released at the peak of the swinging sixties, it uncovers the promiscuous underbelly of society, even at a esteemed place of academia and prestige, but this will mean very little nowadays.



D: Gavin O'Connor

Warner Bros/Electric City/Ratpac (Lynette Howell Taylor & Mark Williams)

🇺🇸 2016

128 mins


W: Bill Dubuque 

DP: Seamus McGarvey

Ed: Richard Pearson

Mus: Mark Isham

Ben Affleck (Christian Wolff), Anna Kendrick (Dana Cummings), J.K. Simmons (Ray King), Jon Bernthal (Braxton), Jeffrey Tambor (Jeffrey Silverberg), John Lithgow (Lamar Blackman)

Ben Affleck is grossly miscast in this crime thriller in which he plays an autistic who uses a small Illinois accountancy practice for his real profession of being an accountant for the mob.

When the United States treasury department close in to investigate his activities, he puts another skill into practice as a master marksman.

The plot is slow to get moving, before eventually subsiding into typical Hollywood guff.

Director Gavin O'Connor's follow up to the quite excellent 2011 sports drama Warrior (qv) is a major disappointment for the up-and-coming filmmaker.


D: Jonathan Kaplan
UIP/Paramount (Stanley R. Jaffe & Sherry Lansing)
🇺🇸 1988
110 mins
W: Tom Topor
DP: Ralf Bode
Ed: Jerry Greenberg & O. Nicholas Brown
Mus: Brad Fiedel
Kelly McGillis (Kathryn Murphy), Jodie Foster (Sarah Tobias), Bernie Coulson (Kenneth Joyce), Ann Hearn (Sally Frazer), Steve Antin (Bob Joiner), Tom O'Brien (Larry)
Courtroom drama about a young woman who is gang raped at a seedy bar, where her attackers maintain that she 'asked for it' for dressing and behaving provocatively.  Her case is taken on by a female DA who presses for charges not only against the accused men who participated in the attack, but also for those who stood by and watched complicitly.
It cannot be denied that this is a powerful film,  and the rape-scene itself is a particularly difficult watch, but unfortunately it really doesn't answer the questions that it raises, it only raises awareness for them. 
Jodie Foster's excellent performance lifts the movie above well above the standard of a TV movie-of-the-week and she rightly won an Oscar for Best Actress for her work. 

D: Billy Wilder
Paramount (Billy Wilder)
🇺🇸 1951
111 mins
W: Billy Wilder, Lesser Samuels & Walter Newman
DP: Charles B. Lang
Ed: Doane Harrison
Mus: Hugo Friedhofer
Kirk Douglas (Chuck Tatum), Jan Sterling (Lorraine), Porter Hall (Boot), Bob Arthur (Herbie), Richard Benedict (Leo), Ray Teal (Sheriff), Frank Cady (Federber)
One of Billy Wilder's more cynically incisive and compelling melodramas about a manipulative journalist (Douglas) who delays the rescue of a man trapped in a cave, in order to prolong the story and sell more newspapers. While the wife of the trapped man gains financially with the event in a small town becoming a popular attraction and a media circus.
The movie raises statements about the darker underbelly of tabloid journalism and human greed, brilliant directed with an excellent screenplay of disenchanted, cynical dialogue. 

"He's the best there is! (Actually, he's the only one there is.)"
"He's the best there is! (Actually, he's the only one there is.)"
D: Tom Shadyac
Warner Bros./Morgan Creek (James G. Robinson)
🇺🇸 1994
93 mins
W: Jack Bernstein, Tom Shadyac & Jim Carrey
DP: Julio Macat
Ed: Don Zimmerman
Mus: Ira Newborn
Jim Carrey (Ace Ventura), Courteney Cox (Melissa), Sean Young (Lt. Lois Einhorn), Dan Marino (himself), Noble Willingham (Riddle), Tone Loc (Emilio), Troy Evans (Podacter), Udo Kier (Camp)
An annoyingly puerile private investigator who specialises in locating missing pets is hired to recover NFL team Miami Dolphins' mascot (a dolphin). Unfortunately for the local police department, Ace Ventura's investigation steps on their own feet, and he's a bit of a jerk about it. It's okay though, because there's corruption in the police force which ties into his own findings.
Despite it being practically 93 minutes of it's lead actor mugging and participating in rather feeble slapstick, the film was a massive hit which made Jim Carrey a star. There are a few funny moments during the running time, but they don't quite outweigh the irritating ones.

"New animals. New adventures. Same hair."
"New animals. New adventures. Same hair."
D: Steve Oedekerk
Warner Bros./Morgan Creek (James G. Robinson)
🇺🇸 1995
92 mins
W: Steve Oedekerk [based on characters created by Jim Bernstein, Tom Shadyac & Jim Carrey]
DP: Donald E. Thorin
Ed: Malcolm Campbell
Mus: Robert Folk
Jim Carrey (Ace Ventura), Ian McNeice (Fulton Greenwall), Simon Callow (Vincent Cadby), Maynard Eziashi (Ouda), Bob Gunton (Burton Quinn), Sophie Okenedo (Wachati Princess)
The 'pet detective' goes to Africa to find a sacred white bat and restore peace to two warring tribes. Honestly, this is the plot they served up for this rushed sequel which only really serves as a cash-grab, the formula is practically the same as the first film, with Jim Carrey pulling as many faces as he can throughout the running time and this time he's LOUDER!!!
There are one or two moments which are funny, but it's mostly puerile nonsense. Nevertheless, it was an absolute monster hit at the 1995 box office, making even more money than its predecessor, despite being a lot less enjoyable.

"All You Need Is Love"
"All You Need Is Love"


D: Julie Taymor

Columbia/Revolution (Matthew Gross, Jennifer Todd & Suzanne Todd)

🇬🇧 🇺🇸 2007

133 mins


W: Julie Taymor, Ian La Frenais & Dick Clement [inspired by songs written by John Lennon & Paul McCartney]

DP: Bruno Delbonnel

Ed: Françoise Bonnot

Mus: Elliot Goldenthal

PD: Mark Friedberg

Cos: Albert Wolsky

Evan Rachel Wood (Lucy), Jim Sturgess (Jude), Joe Anderson (Max), Dana Fuchs (Sadie), Martin Luther McCoy (Jo Jo), T.V. Carpio (Prudence)

Across The Universe uses a vast selection of Beatles' songs for its narrative framework, plot and musical interludes. 

The story itself is rather basic, focusing on a relationship between an American student and a poor Liverpudlian artist throughout the 1960's, as well as the Vietnam War and other significant events of the decade coming into play for some of the musical vignettes.

If you're a fan of musicals or even the music of The Beatles, you're very likely to enjoy this. The performances, especially from the lead couple, are good, and Julie Taymor directs with a great deal of style and vibrant colour. 

A huge step up from what was attempted with 1978's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band


"It's time for action."
"It's time for action."
D: Craig R. Baxley
Guild/Lorimar (Joel Silver)
🇺🇸 1988
96 mins
W: Robert Reneau
DP: Matthew F. Leonetti
Ed: Mark Helfrich
Mus: Herbie Hancock & Michael Kamen
Carl Weathers (Sgt. Jericho 'Action' Jackson), Vanity (Sydney Ash), Craig T. Nelson (Peter Dellaplane), Sharon Stone (Patrice Dellaplane), Bill Duke (Capt. Armbruster), Robert Davi (Tony Moretti), Thomas F. Wilson (Officer Kornblau)
A maverick cop is framed for murder while investigating murders of union officials.
A ridiculous and formulaic action thriller with some highly questionable performances and a villain right out of a pantomime.
Carl Weathers was a decent supporting player in films such as Predator and the Rocky films, but he simply doesn't have enough charisma or screen presence to carry a film himself, even in an action vehicle as formulaic as this. It's not completely terrible, but you wouldn't remember too much about it after a couple of weeks.

D: Spike Jonze
Columbia/Intermedia/Magnet/Clinica Estetico (Edward Saxon, Vincent Landay & Jonathan Demme)
🇺🇸 2002
115 mins


W: Charlie Kaufman (& Donald Kaufman) [based on the book "The Orchid Thief" by Susan Orlean]
DP: Lance Acord
Ed: Eric Zumbrunnen
Mus: Carter Burwell
PD: K. K. Barrett
Cos: Ann Roth

Nicolas Cage (Charlie Kaufman/Donald Kaufman), Meryl Streep (Susan Orlean), Chris Cooper (John Laroche), Tilda Swinton (Valerie), Cara Seymour (Amelia), Brian Cox (Robert McGee)

A neurotic Hollywood screenwriter is struggling to adapt a non-fiction book about a Florida orchid breeder into a screenplay, and regularly meets the books subject and author for inspiration, all to little avail.
Meanwhile, his energetic twin brother is happily churning out a cliche-riddled script about a serial killer.
This film is an absolute work of genius by it's quirky writer Charlie Kaufman.  It's very self-referential and may go over the heads of non-movie buffs, but it's worth watching alone for the great performances of it's three main stars, especially Nicolas Cage in the dual role of the two twins.
It's much funnier and smarter than it sounds, you just need to be in the mood for it.

D: Barry Sonnenfeld
Columbia Tristar/Paramount/Orion (Scott Rudin)
🇺🇸 1991
99 mins


W: Caroline Thompson & Larry Wilson [based on the characters created by Charles Addams]
DP: Owen Roizman
Ed: Dede Allen & Jim Miller
Mus: Marc Shaiman
PD: Richard MacDonald
Cos: Ruth Myers

Anjelica Huston (Morticia Addams), Raul Julia (Gomez Addams), Christopher Lloyd (Uncle Fester/Gordon Craven), Dan Hedaya (Tully Alford), Elizabeth Wilson (Abigail Craven), Judith Malina (Granny), Jimmy Workman (Pugsley), Christina Ricci (Wednesday), Carel Struycken (Lurch)

An imposter claiming to be Uncle Fester turns up at the Addams family mansion.
While this big screen update of the 1960's TV show hits the proverbial nail on the head in terms of production design, costumes and makeup, the script and story simply aren't engaging or particularly funny, concentrating more on being campy and macabre rather than generating any real laughs.  The performances can't be faulted either, in fact, the casting choices were excellent, all of which are near doubles for the TV show counterparts, the actors just needed something better to work with. Fortunately, they got a better script for the sequel Addams Family Values (qv).

D: Barry Sonnenfeld
UIP/Paramount (Scott Rudin)
🇺🇸 1993
94 mins


W: Paul Rudnick [based on the characters created by Charles Addams]
DP: Donald Peterman
Ed: Arthur Schmidt & Jim Miller
Mus: Marc Shaiman
PD: Ken Adam
Cos: Theoni V. Aldredge

Anjelica Huston (Morticia Addams), Raul Julia (Gomez Addams), Christopher Lloyd (Uncle Fester), Joan Cusack (Debbie Jellinsky), Jimmy Workman (Pugsley), Christina Ricci (Wednesday), Carol Kane (Granny Addams), Carel Struycken (Lurch)

The Addams children try to kill their new baby brother and are subsequently sent to a summer camp.  Meanwhile, Uncle Fester falls in love with the baby's new nanny who turns out to be a gold-digging serial killer.
This is a sequel which betters the first movie for many reasons, the first being that it's funny and well scripted, with an engaging storyline. 
There's a lot more for the characters to do as well and the Addams children steal the show, especially Christina Ricci, who absolutely nails Wednesday Addams. The makeup, production design and costumes are also fantastic. 

"They stole his future. Now he's taking it back."
"They stole his future. Now he's taking it back."
D: George Nolfi
Universal/Media Rights Capital (George Nolfi, Chris Moore, Michael Hackett, Bill Carraro, Isa Dick Hackett & Joel Viertel)
🇺🇸 2011
99 mins
Science Fiction/Thriller/Romance
W: George Nolfi [based on the story "Adjustment Team" by Philip K. Dick]
DP: John Toll
Ed: Jay Rabinowitz 
Mus: Thomas Newman
Matt Damon (David Norris), Emily Blunt (Elise Sellas), Anthony Mackie (Harry Mitchell), John Slattery (Richardson), Michael Kelly (Charlie Traynor), Terence Stamp (Thompson)
Personally, I think the writing of Philip K. Dick is conceptually excellent. He's the mind behind the inspiration of several movies, including Total Recall, Blade Runner & Minority Report, science fiction with an intellectual twist, lifting it above the mundanity of laser guns and spaceships alone. 
From the advertising of this movie, I'd be forgiven to expect a political thriller dipped in sci-fi gloss. Unfortunately, the advertising flat out LIED TO ME!
I've not read the short story upon which this was based, so can only review the movie on it's own basis. It centres around a New York senator who, by chance, meets a beautiful woman who he develops feelings for, but 'the adjustment bureau' (a loose allegory for God/faith/destiny/whatever) cannot allow their relationship to blossom for the good of mankind and use increasingly desperate measures to intervene whenever their paths cross, but the human spirit always finds a way to overcome such endeavours. Ugh! Total dross!
Firstly, I couldn't care less about American politics, so automatically I can't connect with Matt Damon's characters as easily as though he were playing the average Joe Bloggs.
Secondly, the movie contradicts itself on a suicidally stupid level. Basing it's logic that two people are destined to be together (or not) the movie then cops out with a mixed message which doesn't have any real resolution at all.
The third factor is that, upon his initial meeting with Emily Blunt's character, she's undoubtedly beautiful, but also very much a bit of a promiscuous nutcase. Their meeting place is, after all, a men's room which she happens to burst into, simply for shit and giggles. Nevertheless, this doesn't stop Damon's character pining over her for years despite not determining whether she has the slightest touch of class to go with her ditziness. Sure, she's a good looking girl, but it's not like Damon's lumbered with the facial features of Quasimodo to prevent him from meeting, well ANYONE with similar interests or personality traits in the period over the movie is set, which just happens to be several years (This point kind of ties in with my second).
Easily the most annoying thing about this film is that it advertises itself as "Bourne meets Inception". Promotional lies irritate more than all the potential that the idea lacked.

D: Albert Pyun
Columbia Tristar/Largo/Toga (Tom Karnowski & Gary Schmoeller)
🇺🇸🇸🇰 1996
77 mins


W: Albert Pyun
DP: George Mooradian
Ed: Ken Morrisey
Mus: Tony Riparetti
PD: Nenad Pecur

Christophe Lambert (Officer Lemieux), Natasha Henstridge (Officer Delon), Norbert Weisser (Cuzo), Elizabeth Barondes (Wocek)

A short review for a short, shit film:
Set in 2007 (& therefore already dated) two cops try to track down a mad killer who has escaped from quarantine carrying a deadly plague which depopulated Europe.
Cheap, straight to video sci-fi hokum which was filmed in Bratislava, Slovakia to cut costs. It explains why police cars are marked 'policia'


D: Baltasar Kormàkur

STX/Lakeshore/Ingenious/Hauyi Brothers/RVK (Baltasar Kormàkur, Aaron Kandell, Jordan Kandell, Ralph Winter & Shailene Woodley)

🇺🇸 2018

96 mins


W: Aaron Kandell, Jordan Kandell & David Branson Smith [based on the book "Red Sky In Mourning: A True Story of Love, Loss & Survival At Sea" by Tami Oldham Ashcraft & Susea McGearhart]

DP: Robert Richardson

Ed: John Gilbert

Mus: Volker Bertelmann 

Shailene Woodley (Tami Oldham), Sam Claflin (Richard Sharp)

Adrift is the true story of Tami Oldham & Richard Sharp, a couple whose yacht was left irreparably damaged by a hurricane whilst sailing from Tahiti to California. With the boat stricken and the radio failing to reach anyone, the only hope for survival was to drift towards Hawaii, with only a sextant to use as a navigation aid.

Despite a convincing lead performance from Shailene Woodley and some picturesque cinematography, the film does have some flaws, particularly in the non-linear narrative which serves as a gimmick and to hide the twist (which won't come as a surprise to anyone who reads the opening credits), as it cuts from scenes which mount tension to flashbacks of how the couple met and fell in love. Set in 1983, there really isn't anything shown during the film to suggest this, so you'd be forgiven for thinking this is just Life Of Pi with a pair of hipsters instead of a shipwrecked boy and a tiger.

With better execution, this could have been a better film, but it's still worth watching for some beautiful shots and the central performance.

Not to be confused with Open Water 2, whose subtitle was also called Adrift.


D: Greg Mottola
Miramax (Sidney Kimmel, Anne Carey & Ted Hope)
🇺🇸 2009
107 mins
W: Greg Mottola
DP: Terry Stacey
Ed: Anne McCabe
Mus: Yola Tengo
Jesse Eisenberg (James Brennan)  Kristen Stewart (Emily Lewin), Ryan Reynolds (Mike Connell), Martin Starr (Joel), Bill Hader (Bobby), Kristen Wiig (Paulette)
A surprisingly decent watch, set in the summer of 1987 and following a group of teenagers who take up seasonal jobs at an amusement park.
The works incredibly well as a nostalgic throwback to John Hughes-style teen flicks of the 1980's, with a soundtrack choc-a-block with personal favourites.
It's a shame that Kristen Stewart is the female lead, she often struggles to act well enough to walk across a room convincingly, although to her credit, she's less irritating in this than in the majority of the other films in which she's appeared. The rest of the cast are fine, most doing their usual schtick for a script which doesn't require much else. Certainly worth a watch if you grew up during the 80's.

D: Chris Columbus
Touchstone/Silver Screen Partners III (Debra Hill & Linda Obst)
🇺🇸 1987
98 mins
W: David Simkins
DP: Ric Waite
Ed: Fredric Steinkamp & William Steinkamp
Mus: Michael Kamen
Elisabeth Shue (Chris Parker), Keith Coogan (Brad Anderson), Maia Brewton (Sara Anderson), Anthony Rapp (Daryl Coopersmith), Bradley Whitfield (Mike Todwell), Calvin Levels (Joe Gipp), Penelope Ann Miller (Brenda), Vincent D'Onofrio (Dawson)
When a date with her boyfriend is cancelled, a fun-loving teenager plans a quiet evening watching a neighbour's kids, but when her frantic friend, Debra, calls to be rescued from the dingy dangers of a downtown bus station, a dull evening explodes into riotous, hair-raising adventures as they get chased by gangsters, escape the knives & billets of warring subway gangs and sing the blues in a nightclub. A night on the town they'll never forget. 
A rather cheesy screenplay with stereotypical characters doesn't stop this movie being a real hoot, with a few moments of belly laughs and a genuine feelgood air about it. Elisabeth Shue's performance makes it all the more appealing and the 'babysitting blues' scene is just magic.
It's a real shame this didn't get as much attention as other teen-orientated comedies of the 1980's. It deserved better exposure.

D: Terry Gilliam
Columbia Tristar/Prominent Features/Laura Film (Thomas Schühly)
🇺🇸🇩🇪 1989
126 mins


W: Charles McKeown & Terry Gilliam [based on the story by Rudolph Erich Raspe]
DP: Giuseppe Rotunno
Ed: Peter Hollywood
Mus: Michael Kamen
PD: Dante Ferretti
Cos: Gabriella Pescucci

John Neville (Baron Munchausen), Sarah Polley (Sally Salt), Eric Idle (Berthold / Desmond), Oliver Reed (Vulcan), Charles McKeown (Rupert / Adolphus), Winston Dennis (Bill / Albrecht), Jack Purvis (Jeremy / Gustavus), Valentina Cortese (Queen Ariadne / Violet), Jonathan Pryce (The Right Ordinary Horatio Jackson), Uma Thurman (Venus / Rose), Robin Williams (The King of the Moon)

An 18th century German soldier tells exaggerated stories of his escapades, including an on-going feud with The King of the Moon.
This movie was huge box-office flop and it's clear to see that ex-Python Terry Gilliam spared no expense bringing this to the screen.  The sad thing is, it's actually not that bad and the production design, costumes, makeup and visual effects are all top notch.  I can only assume that its place on the worst film of all time lists is purely down to the fact that it couldn't find an audience during its cinema run. Gilliam's imagination is vivid and colourful while the story makes a decent fairytale for older children and young adults, with a sense of humour which should appease fans of Monty Python. Hugely underrated.


D: W.D. Richter

20th Century Fox/Sherwood (W.D. Richter & Neil Canton)

🇺🇸 1984

102 mins

Science Fiction/Adventure/Comedy

W: Earl Mac Rauch

DP: Fred J. Koenecamp

Ed: Richard Marks & George Bowers

Mus: Michael Boddicker

PD: J. Michael Riva

Peter Weller (Buckaroo Banzai), John Lithgow (Dr. Emilio Lizardo / Lord John Whorfin), Ellen Barkin (Penny Priddy), Clancy Brown (Rawhide), Jeff Goldblum (Dr. Sidney Zweibel / New Jersey), Christopher Lloyd (John Bigbooté)

There were plenty of sci-fi movies released at the end of the 1970's and 1980's desperately attempting to cash-in on the success of Star Wars, and though this movie was unfairly considered amongst them, it really doesn't have anything in common with George Lucas' classic saga.

Peter Weller plays title character Buckaroo Banzai, a modern day renaissance man who has brain surgeon, physicist, test pilot and rock musician on his CV. During a test for a supersonic vehicle, he travels through the 8th dimension and unleashes a race of brainwashing aliens only he and his rock band, The Hong Kong Cavaliers, can stop from taking over the planet.

Though the plot is absolute nonsense, the film has a style of its own and has garnered quite an impressive cult following since its original release and is set for its own television series over 30 years later. The film really is a product of the decade it was produced in though, and if you didn't watch it during the decade, it's one to let pass you by.


D: Ron Underwood
Warner Bros./Castle Rock/Village Roadshow/NPV (Martin Bregman, Michael Bregman & Louis A. Stroller)
🇺🇸 🇦🇺 2002
94 mins


W: Neil Cuthbert
DP: Oliver Wood
Ed: Paul Hirsch & Alan Heim
Mus: John Powell
PD: Bill Brzeski

Eddie Murphy (Pluto Nash), Randy Quaid (Bruno), Rosario Dawson (Dina Lake), Joe Pantoliano (Mogan), Jay Mohr (Tony Francis), Luiz Guzman (Felix Laranga), James Rebhorn (Belcher), Peter Boyle (Rowland), Burt Young (Gino), Pam Grier (Flura Nash), John Cleese (James)

Upon it's release, this became the biggest box office bomb of all time, with losses of $96 million+.
I can't say I'm surprised, this movie is absolutely dire. Apparently, the screenplay was stuck in Hollywood limbo for nearly 20 years waiting to be greenlit, perhaps it should have stayed there.
I don't know who it's supposed to appeal too, it's seemingly meant to be a futuristic update/spoof of 30's gangster movies but it's too childish for adults and will probably go over the heads of kids. 
Eddie Murphy plays Pluto Nash, a nightclub owner on the moon who becomes Mafia enemy #1 when he refuses to sell his club so they can build a casino in it's place. He goes on the run with waitress/singer Rosario Dawson & robot bodyguard Randy Quaid.  Many fine talents are also on the cast list but each and every performance is just embarrassing. The effects look cheap and some of the sets look as though they were filmed in someone's garage.
It would be interesting to know how this movie cost $100 million (to think at least 50 better films could have been made with the same amount). Personally, I think most of the money went up one of the producer's nostrils.

D: Stephan Elliott
Rank/Polygram/AFFC/Latent Image/Specific Films (Al Clark & Michael Hamlyn)
🇦🇺 1994
103 mins


W: Stephan Elliott
DP: Brian J. Breheny
Ed: Sue Blainey
Mus: Guy Gross
PD: Owen Paterson
Cos: Lizzy Gardiner & Tim Chappel

Terence Stamp (Bernadette), Guy Pearce (Adam/Felicia), Hugo Weaving (Tick/Mitzi), Bill Hunter (Bob), Sarah Chadwick (Marion), Mark Holmes (Benji), Julia Cortez (Cynthia)

Three drag artists, one a transsexual, drive a bus from Sydney to Alice Springs for a cabaret gig and encounter problems along the way, including the bus breaking down and vitriolic abuse from some mid-country bigots.
An original take on the road movie genre, with  great performances from it's three leading men, especially Terence Stamp.  It's all good, cheery, camp fun with some delightfully bitchy dialogue and moments of genuine warmheartedness. 

D: Michael Curtiz
Warner Bros. (Hal B. Wallis)
🇺🇸 1938
102 mins


W: Seton I. Miller & Norman Reilly Raine [based on the novel 'Ivanhoe' by Sir Walter Scott]
DP: Tony Gaudio & Sol Polito
Ed: Ralph Dawson
Mus: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
PD: Carl Jules Weyl
Cos: Milo Anderson

Error Flynn (Sir Robin of Locksley), Basil Rathbone (Sir Guy of Gisborne), Claude Rains (Prince John), Olivia de Havilland (Maid Marian), Alan Hale (Little John), Patrick Knowles (Will Scarlett), Eugene Pallette (Friar Tuck), Ian Hunter (King Richard), Melville Cooper (Sheriff of Nottingham)

Arguably the finest version of Robin Hood to make it's way to the silver screen, with Errol Flynn delivering one of his all time great performances as the rebel outlaw who robbed the rich to give to the poor.
Some may argue that all aspects of the production are dated by today's standards but this is an absolute classic of the swashbuckler genre and has to be given it's due merit for convincingly recreating Medieval England in California as well as being one of the first films to use three-colour technicolor photography.  There's a few remakes which satisfy the popcorn-munching audience, but this is the definitive version of the age old legend. They don't make them like this anymore.

D: Steven Spielberg
Paramount/Columbia (Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy & Peter Jackson)
🇺🇸 🇬🇧 🇳🇿 2011
107 mins


W: Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright & Joe Cornish [based on the comic book characters created by Hergé]
DP: Janusz Kaminski
Ed: Michael Kahn
Mus: John Williams

voices of: Jamie Bell (Tintin), Andy Serkis (Captain Haddock / Sir Francis Haddock), Daniel Craig (Ivan Sakharine / Red Rackham), Nick Frost (Thompson), Simon Pegg (Thompson)

I can't deny that this film has some incredible animation and is visually very well presented, but it seems filmmakers Steven Spielberg & Peter Jackson were so obsessed with the latest technological methods that they completely forgot to be faithful to the original source, therefore alienating a huge section of the potential audience.
Hergé's selection of comic strip books have gathered a massive fan base over the decades and it's been quite a wait for a feature-length film about the young intrepid reporter and his thrilling adventures, previously brought to TV screens in the format of a series of cartoons, none of which varied in animation style from the comics themselves.
This film, despite the title, is actually a jumble of three of the Tintin adventures; The Crab With The Golden Claws, The Secret Of The Unicorn and Red Rackham's Treasure, but I don't consider the screenplay to be faithful to either one of them, with certain important characters being merged or dropped altogether. Even Tintin himself fails to be portrayed as the intrepid young reporter, but merely a young boy who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. His main sidekick, Captain Haddock is relegated to being an annoying drunk and the villain, well... Read the comic to see for yourselves how they ballsed that one up.
Clearly the studio was trying to indoctrinate a new, juvenile audience rather than the huge fan base which already existed and a sequel is inevitable. 
Personally, a better story to start this franchise would have been 'The Black Island', leaving the introduction of Captain Haddock to a later time. Either way, the film pales in comparison to the original books.

D: Karyn Kusama
Paramount/MTV/Lakeshore/Valhalla (Gale Anne Hurd, David Gale, Gary Lucchesi, Gregory Goodman & Martha Griffin)
🇺🇸 2005
93 mins


W: Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi [based on characters created by Peter Chung]
DP: Stuart Dryburgh
Ed: Peter Honess, Plummy Tucker & Jeff Gullo
Mus: Graeme Revell
PD: Andrew McAlpine
Cos: Beatrix Aruna Pasztor

Charlize Theron (Æon Flux), Marton Csokas (Trevor Goodchild), Jonny Lee Miller (Oren Goodchild), Sophie Okenedo (Sithandra), Pete Posthelwaite (Keeper), Frances McDormand (Handler), Amelia Warner (Una Flux)

All style over content with a very miscast Charlize Theron & her stunt double trying to ape an all-female version of The Matrix, set in a post-apocalyptic walled city which she has to infiltrate to assassinate it's despotic leader. The movie consists mostly of Charlize Theron galavanting around in a catsuit and Pete Posthelthwaite crops up looking like a condom and that's about it.
It may have worked very well as an animated series or a video game, but as a movie it fluxing sucked!

D: John Huston
United Artists/Romulus-Horizon (Sam Spiegel)
🇬🇧 1951
103 mins


W: James Agee [based on the novel by C.S. Forester]
DP: Jack Cardiff
Ed: Ralph Kemplen
Mus: Allan Gray

Humphrey Bogart (Charlie Allnut), Katharine Hepburn (Rose Sayer), Robert Morley (Rev. Samuel Sayer), Peter Bull (Captain), Theodore Bikel (2nd Officer)

Amongst the great adventure films of the 1950's, though it has dated a little clumsily due to the set-bound scenes and real African footage not quite marrying. This can easily be forgiven however considering the strength of the two lead performances.
Humphrey Bogart won his only Oscar for his performance as Charlie Allnut, a gin-drinking trader who takes an odd choice of companion in missionary Rose Sayer, when they escape conflict in an African village by journeying down a dangerous river, culminating in a standoff with a German gunboat.
Though it is a little dated by modern standards, this production was incredibly well done for its time, with particular focus on the characters to drive the story, although the action set-pieces are still thoroughly exciting.

D: M. Night Shyamalan 
Columbia/Overbrook/Blinding Edge/Relativity Media (Caleeb Pinkett, Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith & James Lassiter)
🇺🇸 2013
100 mins

Science Fiction/Adventure

W: Gary Whitta, Will Smith & M. Night Shyamalan
DP: Peter Suschitzky
Ed: Steven Rosenblum
Mus: James Newton Howard
PD: Tom Sanders
Cos: Amy Westcott

Jaden Smith (Kitai Raige), Will Smith (Cypher Raige), Zoe Isabella Kravitz (Senshi Raige), Sophie Okenedo (Faia Raige), Glenn Morshower (Cmmdr. Velan)

After Earth is less of a movie and more Jaden Smith's Christmas present. The movie is, simply put, the most blatant display of nepotism ever put on screen.                      
While most kids may get a new bike or a video games console, Will Smith treated his son to be the main actor (actor, ha ha) in a big budget sci-fi flop.         
The general idea isn't completely terrible, but clearly Will Smith getting involved with it for a vanity project with his son turned it into something absolutely terrible.
Set in the distant future when Earth is an uninhabitable planet with creatures evolved to kill and humans with absolutely ridiculous accents live in a galaxy far, far away. 
Smith Senior is a Ranger named Cypher Raige (honestly, where do they get these terrible names) and Smith Junior is a young cadet Ranger. A rangers job is pretty much intergalactic military, protecting mankind from a race of beasties which can smell fear.
On a routine mission, their spaceship crash lands on the now forbidden Earth, Daddy Smith has broken his legs so his precocious son is given the mission of locating the stern of the ship approximately 100k away so they can radio for help, all under daddy's direction who can see what Jaden sees with all the hi-tech equipment (honestly, all that hi-tech gear and no secondary radio to call for help?????)
The rest of the story is obvious and holds absolutely no surprises, ripping off umpteen movies in the process, including Avatar when Jaden Smith tries to outfly a giant eagle (honestly) and the movie culminates in a battle between boy and terrible CGI. 
This movie could possibly have been better if it didn't have a father-son connection or if it was done as a realistic drama instead of sci-fi hokum.  The main problem however is the acting; Jaden Smith simply doesn't have the charisma to carry this film and his limited acting skills are appalling. His character is also incredibly obnoxious as he spends the entire film acting like a spoilt rich kid or throwing a strop like an infant.
Will Smith must shoulder the blame for this catastrophic movie, clearly so close to it that he couldn't see how terrible it was. His performance is also bad, but nowhere near as bad as his son's.
It's hard not to feel sorry for M. Night Shyamalan for this one, I don't think he had full directorial control over this project and simply took it on to try and resurrect his crumbling career. Some of the visuals are actually quite good, but the cgi effects and acting are just thumbs-down-bad. 
Will Smith's money would be better served if he just paid for Jaden to have some acting lessons instead of forcing him into a vanity project while he still has afterbirth on him.

D: Martin Scorsese
Warner Bros. (Amy Robinson, Griffin Dunne & Robert F. Colesberry)
🇺🇸 1985
93 mins


W: Joseph Minion
DP: Michael Ballhaus
Ed: Thelma Schoonmaker
Mus: Howard Shore
PD: Jeffrey Townsend
Cos: Rita Ryack

Griffin Dunne (Paul Hackett), Rosanna Arquette (Marcy), Verna Bloom (June), Linda Fiorentino (Kiki), Teri Garr (Julie), John Heard (Tom the Bartender), Richard 'Cheech' Marin (Neil), Tommy Chong (Pepe), Catherine O'Hara (Gail)

Fasten your seatbelts for a blackly comic walk on the wild side in the sleazy SoHo district of New York City. 
When office worker Paul Hackett makes a date with a stranger he meets in a coffee shop his whole evening falls apart in an unimaginably awful chain of events including suicide, assorted kooks & lunatics, an angry mob and totally off-the-wall experiences that have to be seen to be believed!
Losing his money and house keys is nothing compared to losing his sanity, and that may just happen on his nightmare night packed with paranoia, ridiculous tragedy and side-splitting laughter.
Black comedy is an unusual choice for director Martin Scorsese, but his low key direction keeps the story gritty and realistic. Joseph Minion's hilarious screenplay keeps the laughs coming and Griffin Dunne delivers a modest, witty performance as an everyday man in extraordinary circumstances.

D: Taylor Hackford
Columbia/Delphi (Jerry Bick)
🇺🇸 1984
121 mins
W: Eric Hughes [based on the screenplay "Out Of The Past" by Geoffrey Homes]
DP: Donald E. Thorin & E. Pershing Flynn
Ed: Fredric Steinkamp & William Steinkamp
Mus: Michel Colombier; Phil Collins
Jeff Bridges (Terry Brogan), Rachel Ward (Jessie Wyler), James Woods (Jake Wise), Richard Widmark (Ben Caxton), Jane Greer (Mrs. Grace Wyler), Alex Karras (Hank Sully), Dorian Harewood (Tommy), Swoosie Kurtz (Ellie)
A retired football player is hired by a seedy bookmaker to find his missing wife. He does, and the two of them fall in love.
This is a long, pointless remake of a 1947 thriller which serves no purpose other than seeing it's two main stars in a lot of sex scenes.
It's notable for Phil Collins' title song, but little else. Everyone involved is capable of much better.

D: Lee Toland Krieger
Lionsgate/Lakeshore (Sidney Kimmel, Gary Lucchesi & Tom Rosenberg)
🇺🇸 2015
112 mins


W: J. Mills Goodloe & Salvador Pascowicz
DP: David Lanzenberg
Ed: Melissa Kent
Mus: Rob Simonsen

Blake Lively (Adaline Bowman / Jenny Larson), Michiel Huisman (Ellis Jones), Harrison Ford (William Jones), Kathy Baker (Kathy Jones), Ellen Burstyn (Flemming Prescott)

The Age of Adaline is a love story with a fantasy twist, its main character Adaline Bowman, is a woman born in the early 20th century but unable to age since a freak accident when she was 29 years old.
In the eight decades which follow the accident, Adaline lives a secretive life where she must change her identity every so often and cannot allow herself to become romantically involved with anyone due to her apparent immortality.
This changes when she meets a man on New Years Eve who turns out to be the son of a man who loved her earlier in her life.
The story does have some flaws, particularly with its non-linear narrative structure and unnecessary butterfly-effect explanations, but it does feature very strong performances, with Harrison Ford delivering his finest work in years and Blake Lively with her best screen performance to date.
The cinematography is also exquisite, perfectly capturing the modern day San Francisco vistas as well as the periods of decades past.

D: Martin Scorsese
Columbia (Barbara DeFina)
🇺🇸 1993
138 mins
W: Jay Cocks & Martin Scorsese [based on the novel by Edith Wharton]
DP: Michael Ballhaus
Ed: Thelma Schoonmaker
Mus: Elmer Bernstein
PD: Dante Ferretti
Cos: Gabriella Pescucci
Daniel Day-Lewis (Newland Archer), Michelle Pfeiffer (Countess Ellen Olenska), Winona Ryder (May Welland), Richard E. Grant (Larry Lefferts), Alec McCowen (Sillerton Jackson), Geraldine Chaplin (Mrs. Welland), Mary Beth Hurt (Regina Beaufort), Miriam Margolyes (Mrs Mingott)
In 1870 New York's high society, a wealthy lawyer of good standing falls in love with his wife's cousin, a woman of ill-repute.
Scorsese isn't best known for directing period drama, but he does an exceptional job here, perfectly capturing a time of repression and staid individuals. The chemistry between Daniel Day-Lewis & Michelle Pfeiffer smoulders, but the use of voiceover detracts from the on-screen drama.

A. I. - ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (12)                          
D: Steven Spielberg
Warner Bros./Dreamworks/Amblin (Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy & Bonnie Curtis)
🇺🇸 2001
145 mins

Science Fiction

W: Steven Spielberg [based on the story 'Supertoys Last All Summer Long' by Brian Aldiss]
DP: Janusz Kaminski
Ed: Michael Kahn
Mus: John Williams
PD: Rick Carter
Cos: Bob Ringwood

Haley Joel Osment (David), Jude Law (Gigolo Joe), Frances O'Connor (Monica Swinton), Brendan Gleeson (Lord Johnson-Johnson), Sam Robards (Henry Swinton), Jake Thomas (Martin Swinton), William Hurt (Professor Hobby)

When their son is put in a life-threatening coma, a married couple adopt David, a robot boy capable of real emotion to cope with their grief. However, when their real son returns back to full health they abandon David, who spends the rest of his existence searching for the mother so that she may love him again.
The movie, in a nutshell, is a hi-tech and ultimately quite bleak respin on Pinocchio, with some spectacular visuals and a brilliant central performance from Haley Joel Osment.  It's a little overlong with a rather dark ending which subsides into Spielberg sentimentality.  It would have been interesting to see what this would have become had Stanley Kubrick's concept been made before Spielberg took over the reins of the project following Kubrick's death. Nevertheless, it does have a huge amount of style, outstanding visual effects, and a rather ardent story for you to chew on long after the credits roll.

D: Wolfgang Petersen
Columbia/Beacon/Radiant (Armyan Bernstein, Wolfgang Petersen, Gail Katz & John Shestack)
🇺🇸 1997
124 mins


W: Andrew W. Marlowe
DP: Michael Ballhaus
Ed: Richard Francis-Bruce
Mus: Jerry Goldsmith
PD: William Sandell

Harrison Ford (US President James Marshall), Glenn Close (US Vice President Kathryn Bennett), Gary Oldman (Ivan Korshunov), Wendy Crewson (First Lady Grace Marshall), Liesel Matthews (Alice Marshall), Dean Stockwell (Walter Dean)

Terrorists hijack the president's plane as ransom for a Soviet comrade to be released from prison. The president, however, is willing to show he is a man of action in order to save his family and staff, for he is no ordinary president of the USA, being a decorated war hero in Vietnam and knows everything about terrorist tactics and flight electronics to thwart them. Go America!! Yeah!!
It's all preposterous Die Hard-on-an-aeroplane action hokum in which the plot is as awful as the accents. This movie could also quite possibly feature one of the worst ever Jerry Goldsmith music scores.
Remove brain before watching.

D: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker & Jerry Zucker
Paramount (Jon Davidson)
🇺🇸 1980
88 mins
W: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker & Jerry Zucker [based on the screenplay "Zero Hour" by Arthur Hailey, John Champion & Hall Bartlett]
DP: Joseph Biroc
Ed: Patrick Kennedy
Mus: Elmer Bernstein
Robert Stack (Kramer), Lloyd Bridges (McCroskey), Robert Hays (Ted Striker), Julie Hagerty (Elaine), Peter Graves (Capt. Oveur), Leslie Nielsen (Dr. Rumack), Lorna Patterson (Randy), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Roger Murdock), Ethel Merman
Spoof remake of a 1950's melodrama in which all passengers and crew abroad a commercial flight develop food poisoning and a former pilot has to regain his nerve and land the plane.
This film is not to be taken seriously, it's all ridiculously silly and some jokes tip the scales of bad taste to the extreme.  It is hilariously funny though... If you can take it.              

D: Ken Finkleman
Paramount (Howard W. Koch)
🇺🇸 1982
85 mins
W: Ken Finkleman
DP: Joseph Biroc
Ed: Tina Hirsch
Mus: Elmer Bernstein
Robert Hays (Ted Striker), Julie Hagerty (Elaine Dickinson), Lloyd Bridges (Steve McCrosky), Peter Graves (Capt. Clarence Oveur), Chad Everett (Simon Kurtz), Rip Torn (Bud Kruger)
Virtually a retread of the first film, with recycled jokes and the exact same formula. The only real difference is that the action takes place on a passenger-carrying space shuttle rather than a commercial flight.
The loss of the writing partnership of Zucker, Abrahams, Zucker and the comedy talents of Leslie Nielsen have a major impact on the comedy value.

D: George Seaton
Universal (Ross Hunter)
🇺🇸 1970
136 mins


W: George Seaton [based on the novel by Arthur Hailey]
DP: Ernest Laszlo
Ed: Stuart Gilmore
Mus: Alfred Newman
PD: Preston Ames & Alexander Golitzen
Cos: Edith Head

Burt Lancaster (Mel Bakersfield), Dean Martin (Vernon Demerest), Jean Seberg (Tanya Livingstone), Jacqueline Bisset (Gwen Meighen), George Kennedy (Joe Patroni), Helen Hayes (Ada Quonsett), Van Heflin (D.O. Guerrero), Maureen Stapleton (Inez Guerrero), Barry Nelson (Lt. Anson Harris), Dana Wynter (Cindy Bakersfield)

Events at an international airport, culminating in drama when a mad bomber is killed and the damaged plane has to be talked down by air traffic control.
This is the movie responsible for giving birth to an entire spawn of 'disaster' movies which saturated the 1970's box office.  It's basically a soap opera with a big event thrown in and save for a couple of good performances, gets bogged down in dialogue which isn't very interesting.  It hasn't dated very well in honesty, but was considered a big deal at the time.

D: Jack Smight
Universal (Jennings Lang & William Frye)
🇺🇸 1974
105 mins
W: Don Ingalls [based on the play "Flight Into Danger" by Arthur Hailey]
DP: Philip Lathrop
Ed: J. Terry Williams
Mus: John Cacavas
Charlton Heston (Capt. Alan Murdoch), Karen Black (Nancy Pryor), George Kennedy (Joe Patroni), Helen Reddy (Sister Ruth), Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. (Capt. Stacy), Susan Clark (Mrs. Patroni), Myrna Loy (Mrs. Devaney), Linda Blair (Janice Abbott), Dana Andrews (Scott Freeman), Gloria Swanson (herself)
Following an airborne event which kills the crew of a private aircraft, a stewardess has to take the controls and safely land the plane.
Aside from one good performance, this is a wishy-washy sequel to the first film (in fact, calling this a sequel is a misnomer. No original cast members return)
It gives a few big names of the 1940's and 1950's a chance to appear on screen for their swansong, but it's a rather formulaic disaster movie trading solely on the success of the 1970 original.
The film was parodied to perfection in 1980's Airplane (qv).

D: Jerry Jameson
Universal (William Frye)
🇺🇸 1977
114 mins
W: Michael Scheff & David Spector [based on a story by H. A. L. Craig & Charles Kuenstle]
DP: Philip Lathrop
Ed: Robert Watts & J. Terry Williams
Mus: John Cacavas
PD: George C. Webb
Cos: Edith Head & F. Burton Miller
Jack Lemmon (Capt. Don Gallagher), James Stewart (Philip Stevens), Brenda Vaccaro (Eve Clayton), Joseph Cotten (Nicholas St. Downs III), Olivia de Havilland (Emily Livingston), Lee Grant (Karen Wallace), Christopher Lee (Martin Wallace), George Kennedy (Joe Patroni)
A private airliner carrying expensive art performs an emergency landing and settles underwater still carrying all passengers and cargo.
The same mixture is used here as prior Airport movies, with a different group of guest performers all going through the same emotions of looking scared and delivering banal, soap opera dialogue. Oscar nominations were received for costumes and production design, but neither are truly remarkable.

D: John Musker & Ron Clements
Walt Disney (John Musker & Ron Clements)             
🇺🇸 1992
90 mins
W: John Musker, Ron Clements, Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio [based on the story "Aladdin & The Magic Lamp" from "One Thousand & One Nights"]
Mus: Alan Menken
voices of: Scott Weinger (Aladdin), Brad Kane (Aladdin - singing), Robin Williams(The Genie), Linda Larkin (Jasmine), Lea Salonga (Jasmine - singing), Jonathan Freeman (Jafar), Frank Welker (Abu), Gilbert Gottfried (Iago)
Following a decade in the wilderness, Disney animation came back with a boom in the late 80's and early 90's with some of their best work, this being one of them.
The story follows Aladdin, a street urchin, who discovers a magical lamp that contains a genie who will grant Aladdin three wishes. Aladdin's first is to be a prince so he can romance the Sultan's beautiful daughter, Jasmine.  Meanwhile, an evil wizard wants the lamp for himself.
Aladdin was a landmark film for Disney, using innovative computer techniques which led to the birth of a new kind of animation and also demonstrated the power of the voice actor, with Robin Williams exuberant and energetic vocal performance as the Genie being one of the most entertaining and hilarious characters in a Disney film for quite some time, if not ever.

D: Alan Smithee (Arthur Hiller)
Hollywood Pictures/Cinergi (Ben Myron)
🇺🇸 1997
86 mins
W: Joe Eszterhas
DP: Reynaldo Villalobos
Ed: Jim Langlois
Mus: Gary G-Wiz & Chuck D
Eric Idle (Alan Smithee), Ryan O'Neal (James Edmunds), Coolio (Dion Brothers), Richard Jeni (Jerry Glover), Leslie Stefanson (Michelle Rafferty), Sandra Bernhard (Ann Glover), Cheri Lunghi (Myrna Smithee), Harvey Weinstein (Sam Rizzo), Sylvester Stallone (himself), Whoopi Goldberg (herself), Joe Eszterhas (himself), Jackie Chan (himself), Billy Bob Thornton (himself), Robert Evans (himself), Shane Black (himself)
Following unwanted producer involvement, a director steals the negative for his blockbuster movie to prevent it being finished and those involved in the making of the movie try and explain what went wrong.
This movie attempts to be satirical, poking fun at directors who have their name removed from credits to protect their anonymity (Alan Smithee is itself a widely used pseudonym), many cast members play themselves (unconvincingly) and the whole plot is quite lamentable and pathetic.  The worst thing of all is that it simply isn't funny.  It's apt that this was voted the worst film of 1997 at the Golden Raspberry Awards.

D: Oliver Stone
Warner Bros. (Thomas Schühly, Jon Kilik, Iain Smith & Moritz Borman)
🇬🇧 🇫🇷 🇩🇪 🇮🇹 2004
175 mins
W: Oliver Stone, Christopher Kyle & Laeta Kalogridis 
DP: Rodrigo Prieto
Ed: Tom Nordberg, Yann Hervé, Alex Marquez & Gladys Joujou
Mus: Vangelis
PD: Jan Roelfs
Cos: Jenny Beavan

Colin Farrell (Alexander the Great), Angelina Jolie (Queen Olympias), Val Kilmer (King Philip II), Christopher Plummer (Aristotle), Jared Leto (Hephaistion), Rosario Dawson (Roxana), Anthony Hopkins (Ptolemy)
This is an insult to Alexander the Great. An overlong, miscast and boring mess which, considering the source material, should have been an awful lot better. This is just plain awful.
Alexander The Great was Macedonian, but Colin Farrell plays him as if he's just stumbled out of a Dublin bar, Angelina Jolie sounds more like Vlad the Impaler than Queen Olympias and Val Kilmer is also quite terrible, but also quite unrecognisable so he can spare his blushes a lot easier than the forementioned. The best actors in this are probably the horses.
There was enough potential in the history and legend surrounding the character to make this at least a half-decent movie, but it almost sent me to sleep a few times and when I closed my eyes it sounded like a bar fight on St. Patrick's Day.
The fact that Troy is better than this mulch is bad enough. This is a pathetic excuse for a movie. Amongst the worst films of 2004 and possibly the decade.

ALFIE (15)
D: Lewis Gilbert
Paramount/Sheldrake (Lewis Gilbert)
🇬🇧 1966
114 mins
W: Bill Naughton [based on his play]
DP: Otto Heller
Ed: Thelma Connell
Mus: Sonny Rollins; Burt Bacharach
Michael Caine (Alfie), Vivien Merchant (Lily), Shelley Winters (Ruby), Millicent Martin (Siddie), Julia Foster (Gilda), Shirley Ann Field (Carla), Denholm Elliott (Abortionist)
Alfie is a Cockney ladykiller, seemingly proud of his sexual prowess with his commentary and narration.  His lifestyle is changed however when one of his conquests becomes pregnant during a time when the very subject of abortion was still very much taboo.
The movie is a powerful and frank statement on the casual sex lifestyle of the swinging sixties with a performance from it's lead star which made him the great actor he is today.
Remade in 2004 with Jude Law as the title character.

ALFIE (15)
D: Charles Shyer
Paramount (Charles Shyer & Elaine Pope)
🇺🇸 2004
106 mins
W: Charles Shyer & Elaine Pope [based on the play by Bill Naughton]
DP: Ashley Rowe
Ed: Padraic McKinley
Mus: Mick Jagger, David A. Stewart & John Powell
Jude Law (Alfie), Marisa Tomei (Julie), Omar Epps (Marlon), Nia Long (Lonette), Jane Krakowski (Dorie), Sienna Miller (Nikki), Susan Sarandon (Liz), Renee Taylor (Lu Schnitman)
The entire point of the original movie is forgotten in this poor American remake of a British classic.
In the original, Michael Caine plays a misogynistic character who was still appealing sheerly due to his cheek and Jack-the-Lad charm.  Jude Law, however, is so smarmy and sexist, that it is practically impossible to find his character the least bit enchanting, especially in comparison to Caine's portrayal in the 1966 version.
The movie also seemed to be an excuse to release a soundtrack full of Mick Jagger-penned songs (Jagger himself being a 60's ladies man, how clever). Watch the original instead.

ALI (15)
D: Michael Mann
Columbia/Initial/Forward Pass/Picture Entertainment/Overbrook (Jon Peters, James Lassiter, Paul Ardaji, Michael Mann & A. Kitman Ho)
🇺🇸 2001
158 mins


W: Stephen J. Rivele, Christopher Wilkinson, Eric Roth & Michael Mann [based on a story by Gregory Allen Howard]
DP: Emmanuel Lubezki
Ed: William Goldenberg, Lynzee Klingman & Stephen Rivkin
Mus: Lisa Gerrard & Pieter Bourke
PD: John Mhyre

Will Smith (Cassius Clay/Muhammed Ali), Jamie Foxx (Drew 'Bundini' Brown), Jon Voight (Howard Cosell), Mario Van Peebles (Malcolm X), Angelo Dundee (Ron Silver), Jeffrey Wright (Howard Bingham), Mykelti Williamson (Don King), Jada Pinkett Smith (Sonji)

An incredibly long, needless fleshed out biopic which doesn't really focus on the background of one of the most famous sports personalities of the 20th century as much as I personally would have liked, instead if juxtaposes his renowned career moments with significant events in the civil rights movement. Seemingly making the point that he wasn't the only black man in America involved in a fight. 
Nevertheless, Will Smith does a brilliant job as Cassius Clay/Muhammed Ali, carrying the film when the script let's it down. 
The re-enactment of the Rumble In The Jungle fight was also incredibly reconstructed, it's just a shame that the rest of the movie was a bit too pretentious and not a focused biopic many may have expected.

D: Mark Mylod
UIP/Working Title/Universal/Studio Canal/WT2 (Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner & Dan Mazer)
🇬🇧 🇺🇸 🇩🇪 🇫🇷 2002
88 mins
W: Sacha Baron Cohen & Dan Mazer
DP: Ashley Rowe
Ed: Paul Knight
Sacha Baron Cohen (Ali G/Borat), Michael Gambon (Prime Minister), Charles Dance (David Carlton), Kellie Bright (Julie), Martin Freeman (Ricky C), Rhona Mitra (Kate Hedges)
Ali G was one of comedian Sacha Baron Cohen's alter-egos, a racially confused rapper who did (mock) interviews with political and reputable figures, who gained fame on Channel 4's The 11 O'Clock Show and was incredibly funny... In small doses.
This film seems to miss the point of what made Ali G funny and omits the comedy in order to make the character some sort of national hero. 
A satire may have worked, but the character didn't really deserve his own feature film, especially one which has him acting like a total knob for 88 minutes.

"A movie for everyone who has ever dreamed of a second chance."
"A movie for everyone who has ever dreamed of a second chance."


D: Martin Scorsese

Warner Bros (Audrey Mass & David Susskind)

🇺🇸 1974

112 mins


W: Robert Getchell

DP: Kent L. Wakeford

Ed: Marcia Lucas

Mus: Richard LaSalle

Ellen Burstyn (Alice Hyatt), Alfred Lutter (Tommy Hyatt), Kris Kristofferson (David), Billy Green Bush (Donald), Diane Ladd (Flo Castleberry), Valerie Curtin (Vera), Leila Goldoni (Bea)

Strong performances carry this early Martin Scorsese movie, starring Ellen Burstyn as a widow who travels the American Midwest with her young son, eventually settling in Monterrey where she seeks a career as a singer.

Burstyn won an Oscar for her performance, and Diane Ladd and Robert Getchell's script were also nominated. Quite surprisingly, it was named Best Film of 1974 by BAFTA. I'd probably have it in the top 10, but it certainly isn't a better movie than Chinatown or The Godfather part II from the same year. It is quite representative of the year it was released, and Scorsese has proved in years since which stories and themes better suit his directorial style.


D: Clyde Geronimi, Hamilton Luske & Wilfred Jackson
Walt Disney (Walt Disney)
🇺🇸 1951
75 mins
W: Winston Hibler, Bill Peet, Joe Rinaldi, William Cottrell, Joe Grant, Del Connell, Ted Sears, Erdman Penner, Milt Banta, Dick Kelsey, Dick Huemer, Tom Oreb & John Walbridge [based on the stories by Lewis Carroll]
Mus: Oliver Wallace
voices of: Kathryn Beaumont (Alice), Ed Wynn (Mad Hatter), Richard Haydn (Caterpillar), Sterling Holloway (Cheshire Cat), Jerry Colonna (March Hare), Verna Felton (Queen of Hearts), Bill Thompson (White Rabbit/The Dodo)
While nowhere near as dark as Lewis Carroll's original text and characters, Disney does a good job adaptating this as an animated film, although it's been relocated from Victorian England to 1950's America in the non-Wonderland scenes, which certainly robs it of some charm.
Some scenes may be a little too trippy for really young children, but good entertainment for everyone else.

D: Tim Burton
Walt Disney/Roth Films/The Zanuck Company/Team Todd (Joe Roth, Richard D. Zanuck, Suzanne Todd & Jennifer Todd)
🇺🇸 2010
108 mins


W: Linda Woolverton [based on characters from the books 'Alice's Adventures In Wonderland' and 'Alice Through The Looking Glass' by Lewis Carroll]
DP: Dariusz Wolski
Ed: Chris Lebenzon
Mus: Danny Elfman
PD: Robert Stromberg
Cos: Colleen Atwood

Mia Wasikowska (Alice), Johnny Depp (Mad Hatter), Helena Bonham-Carter (Red Queen), Anne Hathaway (White Queen), Crispin Glover (Stayne / Knave of Hearts), Matt Lucas (Tweedledum / Tweedledee), Michael Sheen (voice of White Rabbit), Paul Whitehouse (voice of March Hare), Barbara Windsor (voice of Dormouse), Stephen Fry (voice of Cheshire Cat), Alan Rickman (voice of Blue Caterpillar)

Once upon a time Tim Burton directed great fantasy motion pictures like Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands and the first two Batman movies, then his career hit a huge snag with the downright hideous remake/reimagination of Planet Of The Apes. After a comeback with the hugely underrated Big Fish, a decent remake of Charlie & The Chocolate Factory and the marvellously macabre Sweeney Todd, Tim is back in Apes territory with this dismal remake/quasi-sequel/adaptation/reimagination or whatever spin the producers want to sell to the media/audience.
I can't lay all the blame at Burton's doorstep however, it's clear that during production he had a studio executive barking orders in his ear: "Remember, it's a 3D movie so you must have an object being thrown/thrust towards the camera every 60 seconds, etc."
The majority of blame for this mess has to go to the screenwriter, Linda Woolverton, who carelessly blended elements and characters from Lewis Carroll's original novels and a plot from C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles Of Narnia. 
Bearing in mind that this had a young audience as it's core market, I'd be ashamed for any child of mine to be subjected to this and would happily plonk them down in front of the 1951 animated version or the 1972 panto-lite version... Or give them the original book to read.
Even the acting isn't up to the usual standard from it's talented cast. Johnny Depp usually has a good partnership with Burton but his character is simply annoying here, but not so much as Helena Bonham-Carter whose dialogue purely consists of "Off with his/her/their head(s)!" Anne Hathaway is underused and Mia Wasikowska, the young girl who plays Alice, is very wooden, possibly due to the screenplay lacking any character arc for her. She's the same Alice at the end as she is at the beginning, therefore making her whole journey pointless.
Alice In Narnia: The Chronicles Of Wonderland is not without any merit, however. Visually, the CGI fantasy world looks good, aside from the castles uncanny resemblence to the Cinderella castle in the centre of Disneyland.
Nevertheless, it's clear to see that the production designers, costume designers, makeup artists and visual effects wizards worked hard on this, even though there is far too much emphasis on the 3D, making it more intrusive than immersive.
Hardly one of the worst films I've ever seen, but a disappointment of epic proportions. If I was a big cheese at Disney, I'd be summoning for the producers and crying: "Off with their heads!"

D: James Bobin
Disney (Joe Roth, Suzanne Todd, Jennifer Todd & Tim Burton)
🇺🇸 2016
113 mins


W: Linda Woolverton [based on characters created by Lewis Carroll]
DP: Stuart Dryburgh
Ed: Andrew Weisblum
Mus: Danny Elfman
PD: Dan Hennah
Cos: Colleen Atwood

Mia Wasikowska (Alice Kingsleigh), Johnny Depp (Tarrant Hightopp), Anne Hathaway (The White Queen), Helena Bonham-Carter (The Red Queen), Sacha Baron Cohen (Time), Rhys Ifans (Zanik Hightopp)

Cash-in sequel to a film which was a cash-in on a much-loved fantasy. 
My review of 2010's Alice In Wonderland echoed much disappointment with the way that Lewis Carroll's original source material had been handled. The same goes for Alice Through The Looking Glass, which shares the same title as the author's follow-up, but that is where the similarities end.
Alice Kingsleigh is still the same spoilt brat that she was in the first film, only this time she has her own ship. When it is announced to her that her ship is to be repossessed, she finds herself in Wonderland once again, where she must travel through the history of the fictional world to save The Mad Hatter from sinking further into manic depression. This plotline only serves to give Johnny Depp as much screentime as possible as The Mad Hatter, even though he was only a peripheral character in the original book, but the Hollywood suits have checklist to tick, therefore The Mad Hatter is promoted to a major character.
Though there are some striking visuals, costumes and makeup, the story here is even more boring than Tim Burton's "re-imagination" and it feels like the actors are only in it for the paycheque.
Fans of the 2010 film may see it differently, but I consider this amongst 2016's biggest disappointments.

D: William Sterling
20th Century Fox (Derek Horne)
🇬🇧 1972
101 mins


W: William Sterling [based on the novel by Lewis Carroll]
DP: Geoffrey Unsworth
Ed: Peter Weatherley
Mus: John Barry
PD: Michael Stringer
Cos: Anthony Mendleson

Fiona Fullerton (Alice), Michael Crawford (White Rabbit), Robert Helpmann (Mad Hatter), Dudley Moore (Dormouse), Spike Milligan (Gryphon), Peter Sellers (March Hare), Dennis Price (King of Hearts), Flora Robson (Queen of Hearts), Michael Hordern (Mock Turtle), Ralph Richardson (Caterpillar) 

Story-wise, this is as faithful an adaptation of Lewis Carroll's original novel as you can get, but the execution is that of a filmed pantomime rather than a live action feature which make it rather tedious towards the end and the ensemble cast aren't really fitting for their roles (especially an Alice who is far too old).
Despite it's faults, it has some decent production values for it's age, especially production design, costumes and some of the makeup effects.
It's quite unfortunate that this version will disappear under the radar given the popularity of the animated and Tim Burton versions. This is well worth a watch and is definitely one version which the family could sit round and enjoy over Christmastime.

"In space, no one can hear you scream!"
"In space, no one can hear you scream!"
ALIEN (18)
D: Ridley Scott
20th Century Fox/Brandywine (Walter Hill, Gordon Carroll & David Giler)
🇬🇧 🇺🇸 1979
117 mins
Science Fiction/Horror
W: Dan O'Bannon & Ronald Shusett
DP: Derek Vanlint
Ed: Terry Rawlings & Peter Weatherley
Mus: Jerry Goldsmith
PD: Michael Seymour
Cos: John Mollo; H. R. Giger
Tom Skerritt (Dallas), Sigourney Weaver (Ripley), Veronica Cartwright (Lambert), Harry Dean Stanton (Brett), John Hurt (Kane), Ian Holm (Ash), Yaphet Kotto (Parker)
The terror begins when the crew of the spaceship Nostromo investigate a transmission from a desolate planet and discover a life form that is perfectly evolved to annihilate it's prey.
One by one, it kills each crew member until only one is left, leading to an explosive conclusion.
So often imitated since it's release, Alien remains one of the landmark science fiction/horror movies simply due to Ridley Scott's atmospheric direction, austere production design, notable performance and amazing special visual effects long before computer generated beasties became the norm. 
A subtle theme of rape runs through the entire movie as a subplot and it features one of the all-time classic movie deaths in a moment dubbed 'the chestburster scene'. 
When they say "they don't make them like they used to", they're referring to movies like Alien

"This time it's war!"
"This time it's war!"
D: James Cameron
20th Century Fox/Brandywine (Gale Anne Hurd)
🇺🇸 1986
132 mins (director's cut: 148 mins)
Science Fiction/Action
W: James Cameron [based on a story by Walter Hill & David Giler & characters created by Dan O'Bannon & Ronald Shusett]
DP: Adrian Biddle
Ed: Ray Lovejoy
Mus: James Horner
PD: Peter Lamont
Cos: Emma Porteus
Sigourney Weaver (Ellen Ripley), Carrie Henn (Newt), Michael Biehn (Cpl. Hicks), Paul Reiser (Burke), Lance Henriksen (Bishop), Bill Paxton (Pte. Hudson), William Hope (Lt. Gorman), Jenette Goldstein (Pte. Vasquez), Al Matthews (Sgt. Apone), Mark Rolston (Pte. Drake)
Officer Ellen Ripley, the only remaining survivor from the spaceship Nostromo, is found by a deep salvage operation after floating in space for 57 years. 
Having lost her family and everything she remembers, she joins a team of high-tech marines sent to investigate the disappearance of space colonists in planet LV-426, the very same planet which the crew of the Nostromo visited in the first movie.  What awaits the team of space soldiers however, is not one creature, but thousands!
It's incredibly rare that you find a sequel which equals it's predecessor and even rarer to find one which nearly betters the original movie and James Cameron's Aliens is just that! Sigourney Weaver reprises her role as Ellen Ripley and is rewarded with a character with more back story than in the original installment, thus evoking sympathy and making us really root for her character, one of the strongest female heroines of all time. Sigourney Weaver received a well-deserved Oscar nomination for Best Actress, almost unheard of for a performance from an action or sci-fi genre at the time.
Paul Reiser is also perfectly cast as the slimy Burke, who secret objective is not to obliterate the seemingly endless horde of beasties, but to capture and study a specimen for the 'company' and their weapons programme.
James Cameron reflects Ridley Scott's atmospheric direction and handles the action sequences with flair and suspense, especially in the final scenes with a virtually unstoppable alien queen.
A subplot theme of motherhood runs through the movie, especially in the dramatic scenes concerning Ripley and a young girl, Newt, who survived an alien attack which killed both her parents and younger brother.
One of the best sequels in cinema history.

ALIEN 3 (18)
D: David Fincher
20th Century Fox/Brandywine (Walter Hill, Gordon Carroll & David Giler)
🇺🇸 1992
115 mins

Science Fiction/Horror

W: David Giler, Walter Hill & Larry Ferguson [based on a story by Vincent Ward & characters by Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett & James Cameron]
DP: Alex Thomson
Ed: Terry Rawlings 
Mus: Elliott Goldenthal
PD: Norman Reynolds
Cos: Bob Ringwood

Sigourney Weaver (Ellen Ripley), Charles S. Dutton (Dillon), Charles Dance (Clemens), Paul McCann (Golic), Brian Glover (Warden Andrews), Ralph Brown (Aaron), Danny Webb (Morse), Christopher John Fields (Rains), Lance Henriksen (Bishop)

Upon its original release, Alien 3 was judged to be a huge disappointment and was considered to have made a glaring error with the (off-screen) death of characters Newt & Hicks at the beginning of the movie.  I have to actually agree with this; after the importance of the motherhood subplot in the second movie (Aliens), it really wasn't necessary to kill off such an important character, especially so early on in the proceedings.
It has to be said however, that this third part to the Alien saga, set in an all-male prison, carries with it a subplot of faith and it's not altogether bad, mostly due to David Fincher's dark, gothic vision and the majority of the performances (Weaver reprises the role as Ripley again).
It also carries a few surprises rather like the first film if you're trying to predict which characters will be killed, and in what order.
It's by no means anywhere near as good as the first two films, but the alien effects are just as good (although CGI effects are implemented as well as model and miniture work).
After viewing the travesties of Alien: Resurrection and the diabolical AVP crimes against celluloid, I'm willing to forgive this third movie for being disappointing on its original viewing. For me, this is where the saga really should have stopped.

D: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
20th Century Fox/Brandywine (Bill Badalato, Gordon Carroll, Walter Hill & David Giler)
🇺🇸 1997
108 mins

Science Fiction/Action

W: Joss Whedon
DP: Darius Khondji
Ed: Herve Schneid
Mus: John Frizzell
PD: Nigel Phelps

Sigourney Weaver (Ripley), Winona Ryder (Annalee Call), Ron Perlman (Johner), Dominique Pinon (Vriess), Michael Wincott (Elgyn), Dan Hedaya (General Perez), Gary Dourdan (Christie), J. E. Freeman (Dr. Wren), Brad Dourif (Gediman)

200 years after the events in the third movie, Ripley is brought back to life in a cloning experiment to try and resurrect the alien creatures for Weyland-Yutani's weapons programme and a team of rebels try and stop the experiments, allowing rogue creatures loose on a spacecraft heading back towards Earth.
This third sequel just insults intelligence. The saga should just have been left alone after the third movie but greedy Hollywood executives seem keen on flogging dead horses to the cinema-going public. The worst thing of all is the involvement of French director, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, a hugely talented filmmaker on his own soil, but his wacky style simply doesn't fit with this film, making it feel more like a cartoon than any other genre, particularly with some of the pathetic death scenes.
The terrible performances in this are only just less laughable than the comedy monster which turns up in the film's final moments. 



D: Ridley Scott

20th Century Fox/TSG/Scott Free/Brandywine (Walter Hill, David Giler, Ridley Scott, Mark Huffam & Michael Schaefer)

🇺🇸 🇬🇧 2017

122 mins

Science Fiction/Horror

W: John Logan & Dante Harper [based on characters created by Dan O'Bannon & Ronald Shusett]

DP: Dariusz Wolski

Ed: Pietro Scalia

Mus: Jed Kurzel 

Katherine Waterston (Daniels), Michael Fassbender (David / Walter), Billy Crudup (Chris), Danny McBride (Tennessee), Demian Bichir (Lope), Carmen Ejogo (Karina), Amy Seimetz (Maggie)


Bridging the gap between Prometheus and the very first Alien movie, Ridley Scott's prequel trilogy is not only getting bogged down in evolution and existentialism mumbo jumbo, it's doing a major disservice to the original series of films.

The first Alien film really didn't need a prequel and the discovery of the planet with the alien eggs could have just been a matter of consequence, but Prometheus was released in 2012 to explore more into the expanded universe behind the 'Space Jockey' creatures which feature briefly in the first film. However, Prometheus was met with a lot of criticism by people who expected a direct prequel to Alien, so now we have this movie, which doesn't expand the universe at all. The alien is not a deadly creature from the furthest reaches of the galaxy, it's a science experiment gone wrong by a rogue android with a God complex.

Alien: Covenant begins on a vessel full of colonists and human embryos, destined for an Earth-like planet which can support life. A handful of the crew are woken from their cryosleep by a solar event which consequently kills the ship's captain (James Franco has never made easier money).

Acting captain Billy Crudup alters the flightplan to investigate a nearby planet with an Earth-like atmosphere and the rest of the crew tag along. Because they're stupid.

There's little time invested in character development before some of the crew members become infected and alien creatures start bursting out of their innards, and when their shuttle is blown apart by terrible gunfire aim, the survivors are left stranded. 

They are rescued from an alien ambush by David, the cyborg from Prometheus, who provides exposition before inviting him into his cave to bear his creations.

Though some of the questions left hanging at the end of Prometheus are answered, this film only poses more questions which will be answered in the next film because 20th Century Fox want even more money from this franchise. 

Unfortunately, it appears that Ridley Scott wishes to destroy his legacy with these prequel films, in the same way George Lucas did with his. This series of films really should have ended with part 3, which has been heavily criticised with its handling of the continuation, but it really starts to look a masterpiece with each new movie


"Whoever wins, we lose."
"Whoever wins, we lose."
D: Paul W. S. Anderson
20th Century Fox (John Davis, Gordon Carroll, Walter Hill & David Giler)
🇺🇸 🇬🇧 🇨🇦 🇩🇪 🇨🇿 2004
101 mins

Science Fiction/Horror/Action

W: Paul W. S. Anderson [based on the computer game by Fox Interactive; characters by Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett, Jim Thomas & John Thomas]
DP: David Johnson
Ed: Alexander Berner
Mus: Harald Kloser
PD: Richard Bridgland

Sanaa Lathan (Alexa Woods), Raoul Bova (Sebastian DeRosa), Lance Henriksen (Charles Bishop Weyland), Ewen Bremner, (Graeme Miller)

A prequel to both franchises sees Aliens and Predators fight each other in an abandoned pyramid in Antarctica for absolutely no reason other than that it is the equivalent of a Bar Mitzvah for a Predator to fight Xenomorph creatures there so it can come of age. Seriously, this is the reason.
The main inspiration to this travesty of a film came from a successful video game of the same name, which was actually very good, as a movie it is absolute stool water.              
It can be considered an insult that it casts Lance Henriksen in a pivotal role, attempting to tie it into the original franchise. 
Hollywood producers simply need to grasp the understanding that good computer games make terrible films and attempts to retcon movies which have a huge fanbase is always going to be met with derision. Of course, they don't really care about this because money. Fuck this movie. The original negatives need to be destroyed in a pool of acidic Xenomorph blood.

"On Earth everyone can hear you scream."
"On Earth everyone can hear you scream."
D: Colin Strause & Greg Strause
20th Century Fox (John Davis, Walter Hill & David Giler)
🇺🇸 2007
94 mins
Science Fiction/Horror
W: Shane Salerno [based on characters created by Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett, Jim Thomas & John Thomas]
DP: Daniel C. Pearl
Ed: Dan Zimmermann
Mus: Brian Tyler
PD: Andrew Neskoromny
Steven Pasquale (Dallas Howard), Reiko Aylesworth (Kelly O'Brien), John Ortiz (Eddie Moralez), Ariel Gade (Molly O'Brien)
A hybrid alien-predator creature goes on a murderous rampage, killing its alien enemies before turning its sights on a group of thickos.
This is nothing but a cash-in sequel to a cash-in movie based on a video game. It has nothing to do with either franchise. A putrid excuse for entertainment which only exists because Hollywood producers are lazy pieces of shit who will fuck over any franchise so long as it brings in money.

D: Graham Baker
20th Century Fox (Gale Anne Hurd & Richard Kobritz)
🇺🇸 1988
94 mins
Science Fiction/Crime/Thriller
W: Rockne S. O'Bannon
DP: Adam Greenberg
Ed: Kent Bedya
Mus: Curt Sobel
PD: Jack T. Collis
James Caan (Matthew Sykes) Mandy Patinkin (Sam 'George' Francisco), Terence Stamp (William Harcourt), Kevin Major Howard (Rudyard Kipling), Leslie Bevis (Cassandra), Peter Jason (Fedorchuk)
Mandy Patinkin plays a detective of an alien race who have settled on Earth in the future and is partnered with a bigoted human cop to solve a murder investigation.             
The movie begins as an interesting take on racism issues, but soon becomes a cliche-ridden action vehicle. Setting the action in 1991 practically dated this film straight away. 
A moderately successful TV series followed.

D: John Schultz
20th Century Fox/Regency/Dune (Barry Josephson)
🇺🇸 2009
86 mins

Science Fiction/Comedy

W: Mark Burton & Adam F. Goldberg
DP: Don Burgess
Ed: John Pace
Mus: John Debney

Carter Jenkins (Tom Pearson), Austin Butler (Jake Pearson), Ashley Tidsdale (Bethany Pearson), Ashley Boetticher (Hannah Pearson) Thomas Haden Church (voice of Tazer), J.K. Simmons (voice of Skips)

Aliens In The Attic is perfectly adequate entertainment for its core demographic of children between 8 and 13 years old, for everyone else it's the sort of thing Joe Dante would have directed in the 1980's.
A group of kids battle a group of aliens at their summer home and their parents won't believe them.
The comedy is cheesy, the plot lacks imagination and the visual effects are poorly done, but the intended audience won't care.

"They were ordinary men driven to the very limits of human endurance."
"They were ordinary men driven to the very limits of human endurance."
ALIVE (15)
D: Frank Marshall
Paramount/Touchstone (Robert Watts & Kathleen Kennedy)
🇺🇸 1992
121 mins
W: John Patrick Shanley [based on the book by Piers Paul Reid]
DP: Peter James
Ed: Michael Kahn
Mus: James Newton Howard
PD: Norman Reynolds
Ethan Hawke (Nando Parrado), Josh Hamilton (Roberto Canessa), Bruce Ramsay (Carlitos Perez), John Haymes Newton (Antonio Vizintin), David Kriegel (Gustavo Zerbino), Vincent Spano (Antonio Balbi), John Malkovich (narrator)
Based on a true story. On the afternoon of Friday, October 13th 1972, one of the most controversial and inspirational tales of survival began when an aeroplane carrying a team of young Uruguayan rugby players and their families crashed into the Andes Mountains.
Several of the passengers died instantly, but most survived.  For a week, they say and waited for rescue to arrive, but help never came and they learn from a salvaged radio receiver that the search party had been abandoned. Soon after, all their food has been deplenished.
Forced to exist in subzero weather for ten weeks, the survivors endured the unimaginable by doing the unthinkable and eating their dead.  Meanwhile, a team of three leave the makeshift camp in an heroic attempt to trek out of the mountains for help.
Unfortunately, the high-octane, adrenalous plane crash in the first ten minutes let's the rest of the film drag due to a very overclimactic beginning.  The opening and supporting visual effects over the course of the movie aren't enough to carry the drama without any real focus on the characters, who are merely supporting roles to the special effects and set pieces. Nevertheless, it gave a promising start to Frank Marshall's directorial career (following 1990's Arachnophobia) which he never really did much better with after serving as Steven Spielberg's producer over the course of the 1980's.
The film does ask an important question however, but doesn't really answer it in any volumes.

D: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
20th Century Fox (Darryl F. Zanuck)
🇺🇸 1950
138 mins


W: Joseph L. Mankiewicz [based on the story "The Wisdom Of Eve" by Mary Orr]
DP: Milton Krasner
Ed: Barbara McLean
Mus: Alfred Newman
PD: Lyle Wheeler & George W. Davis
Cos: Edith Head

Bette Davis (Margo Channing), Anne Baxter (Eve Harrington), George Sanders (Addison DeWitt), Celeste Holm (Karen Richards), Gary Merrill (Bill Simpson), Hugh Marlowe (Lloyd Richards), Thelma Ritter (Birdie Coonan), Marilyn Monroe (Miss Casswell)

The first film to amass a record 14 Oscar nominations which is still the most bestowed on any film (1997's Titanic also shares the record).
All About Eve focuses on what happens behind the theatrical stage and the growing rivalry between a waspish veteran actress and a young, self-effacing ingénue. 
The rather basic story is transformed by a screenplay full of bitchy one-liners and a collection of excellent performances.
Personally, I don't rate this as the best film of 1950 as the Oscars did, especially when the far superior Sunset Boulevard (qv) was released the same year, but it makes sense that Hollywood would honour a film that heralds acting rather than one that attacked it.

D: Pedro Almodóvar
Pathé/El Deseo/France2/Via Digital (Agustin Almodóvar)
🇪🇸 🇫🇷 1999
101 mins
W: Pedro Almodóvar 
DP: Affonso Beato
Ed: Jose Salcedo
Mus: Alberto Iglesias
PD: Antxon Gomez
Cecilia Roth (Manuela), Eloy Azorin (Esteban), Marisa Paredes (Huma Rojo), Penelope Cruz (Sister Rosa), Candela Pena (Nina), Antonia San Juan (La Agrado), Rosa Maria Sarda (Rosa's Mother)
Following the death of her teenage son, an actress and single mother goes in search of the boys father, a transsexual prostitute.
Pedro Almodovar's movies are always well reviewed by the critics and this movie was quite a big success, winning the Oscar for best foreign language film and a Bafta award for best director. Personally, I thought it was okay- but nothing too spectacular. I doubt it will have any lasting effect.
Most certainly a film you need to be in the mood for.

D: Dan Kuenster & Gary Goldman
Rank/Sullivan Bluth/Goldcrest (Don Bluth, Gary Goldman & John Pomeroy)
🇮🇪 1989
85 mins


W: David N. Weiss
Mus: Ralph Burns; Charles Strouse, T. J. Kuenster, Al Kasha, Joel Hirschhorn & Michael Lloyd

voices of: Burt Reynolds (Charlie B. Barkin), Dom DeLuise (Itchy Itchiford), Judith Barsi (Anne-Marie), Vic Tayback (Carface Caruthers)

A dead dog returns to Earth to seek revenge on the vicious gangster dog who had him killed.
Don Bluth's animated films were always on a much smaller budget than the Disney counterparts and it usually showed in the quality of the animation.  The narrative is a little too confusing for the very young, but a decent family movie for older kids.

D: Paul Sabella & Larry Leker
MGM (Paul Sabella, Jonathan Dern, Kelly Ward & Mark Young)
🇺🇸 1996
82 mins
W: Arne Olson, Kelly Ward & Mark Young
Mus: Mark Watters; Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil
voices of: Charlie Sheen (Charlie B. Barkin), Dom DeLuise (Itchy Itchiford), Sheena Easton (Sasha LaFleur)

Straight to video sequel cashing in on the modest success of the original film.
Two heavenly dogs are sent to Earth to retrieve the angel Gabriel's trumpet.
Lame animation with twee songs. It sits up, wags it's tail and begs to be liked, but won't get much attention from anyone over the age of 8. 

D: J. C. Chandor
Lions Gate/Filmnation/Before The Door/Washington Square (Justin Nappi, Teddy Schwarzman, Neal Dodson & Anna Gerb)
🇨🇦 🇺🇸 2013
105 mins
W: J. C. Chandor
DP: Frank G. DeMarco
Ed: Pete Beaudreau
Mus: Alex Ebert
Robert Redford ("Our Man")
Like 2000's Cast Away with Tom Hanks, All Is Lost is a story of a man adrift at sea using his resources and ingenuity to battle the elements for his own survival.
The movie opens immediately with wily yachtsman Robert Redford waking in his ship's cabin to discover water gushing in due to the hull of his vessel punctured by a drifting steel container in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
With his radio and electronic equipment damaged by floodwater, he is left to his own devices to save himself as his boat drifts aimlessly in the water, battling thunderstorms and trying in vain to catch the attention of passing cargo vessels in the distance.  He is finally pushed to breaking point when his yacht finally does sink and he is left to drift on a floating dinghy with a diminishing food supply and stagnant drinking water before a final scene which is cleverly ambiguous.
The film is mostly dialogue-free, with the majority of Robert Redford's performance being conveyed by gestures and grimaces, with great cinematography and music adding the power of the story, directed with realism by J. C. Chandor (who also wrote the script).
It's a great screen return for the veteran actor, who has mostly concentrated on his directorial and producing career over the past few decades. He is the only cast member and is only known as "our man" in the closing credits and he carries the film brilliantly as his plight goes from hazardous to sheer desperation.
With dialogue at an absolute minimum, this isn't a film which everyone would enjoy and would probably be best suited to those who enjoy survivalist programmes and documentaries such as Bear Grylls' work, but it's a very well produced work for which Redford ought to have received a Best Actor Oscar nomination. At least the Golden Globes recognised him, also winning an award for Alex Ebert's evocative music score.
Personally, I think this is amongst the best films released in 2013.

ALL OF ME (15)
D: Carl Reiner
Universal/Thorn-EMI/Kings Road (Stephen Friedman)
🇺🇸 1984
91 mins
W: Phil Alden Robinson [based on the novel 'Me, Two' by Ed Davis]
DP: Richard H. Kline
Ed: Bud Molin
Mus: Patrick Williams
PD: Edward Carfango
Steve Martin (Roger Cobb), Lily Tomlin (Edwina Cutwater), Victoria Tennant (Terry Hoskins), Madolyn Smith (Peggy Schuyler), Richard Libertini (Prahka Lasa), Dana Elcar (Burton Schuyler), Jason Bernard (Tyrone)
A guru accidentally transfers a woman's soul into her lawyer's body allowing her to control one side of his body, whilst he still maintains control of the other.
The story is complete nonsense, but the film is hilarious simply due to Steve Martin's brilliant comedy performance. They say slapstick died with Charlie Chaplin, but this proves them wrong.  Steve Martin went on to become a big comedy star during the 1980's, but none of his performances quite better this.

D: Lewis Milestone
Universal (Carl Laemmle, Jr.)
🇺🇸 1930
130 mins


W: Del Andrews, Maxwell Anderson & George Abbott [based on the novel by Erich Maria Remarque]
DP: Arthur Edeson
Ed: Edgar Adams & Milton Carruth
Mus: David Broekman

Louis Wolhelm (Katczinsky), Lew Ayres (Paul Baumer), John Wray (Himmelstoss), Slim Summerville (Tjaden), Russell Gleason (Muller)

Only the third film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, Lewis Milestone's adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque's pacifist novel is a remarkable anti-war film, with some incredibly well executed scenes of conflict, especially considering that the film was produced in 1930.
Set in 1914, the story follows a group of German teenagers who volunteer for action, only to become disillusioned with the political stance behind the war and accepting the slim chances of their own survival.
Though the film itself is dated in many aspects, the message it conveys is still a powerful one.

D: Bob Fosse
Columbia/20th Century Fox (Robert Alan Aurthur)
🇺🇸 1979
123 mins
W: Robert Alan Aurthur & Bob Fosse
DP: Giuseppe Rotunno
Ed: Alan Heim
Mus: Ralph Burns
PD: Philip Rosenberg & Tony Walton
Cos: Albert Wolsky
Roy Scheider (Joe Gideon), Jessica Lange (Angelique), Ann Reinking (Kate Jagger), Leland Palmer (Audrey Paris), Cliff Gorman (David Newman), Ben Vereen (O'Connor Flood), Erzebet Foldi (Michelle)
A semi-autobiographical musical from Bob Fosse which juxtaposes choreographed dance sequences with dramatic moments charting a life of excess.
It's very self-indulgent and if you've not seen a Bob Fosse movie before the whole point will be lost. The whole movie is good to look at, but isn't particularly easy to watch, especially in it's more morbid moments (the near-explicit open heart surgery scene, a prime example).
Not for everyone, but a must watch for Fosse fans.

D: Robert Rossen
Columbia (Robert Rossen)
🇺🇸 1949
109 mins
W: Robert Rossen [based on the novel by Robert Penn Warren]
DP: Burnett Guffey
Ed: Robert Parrish & Al Clark
Mus: Louis Gruenberg
PD: Sturges Carne
Broderick Crawford (Willie Stark), John Ireland (Jack Burden), Joanne Dru (Anne Stanton). John Derek (Tom Stark), Mercedes McCambridge (Sadie Burke), Sheppard Strudwick (Adam Stanton), Ralph Dumke (Tiny Duffy)
Broderick Crawford delivers an absolute tour de force performance in this political drama about the rise & fall of a rotten politician, who becomes corrupted by power, based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Robert Penn Warren.
The movie was a pet project for writer/director/producer Robert Rossen and it shows in the dialogue and performances from an excellent cast. The movie went on to win 3 Oscars, including Best Picture.

D: Steven Zaillian
Columbia/Relativity Media/Phoenix (Mike Medavoy, Arnold W. Messer, Ken Lemberger & Steven Zaillian)
🇺🇸 2006
123 mins
W: Steven Zaillian [based on the novel by Robert Penn Warren]
DP: Pawel Edelman
Ed: Wayne Wahrman
Mus: James Horner
PD: Patrizia Von Brandenstein
Cos: Marit Allen
Sean Penn (Willie Stark), Jude Law (Jack Burden), Kate Winslet (Anne Stanton), James Gandolfini (Tiny Duffy), Mark Ruffalo (Adam Stanton), Patricia Clarkson (Sadie Burke), Anthony Hopkins (Judge Irwin)
Remake of the above with more colourful language. It's unclear whether this was made to appease those with aversion to black & white movies or merely as Oscar bait (I'd say the latter considering the talent involved). Either way, it doesn't really work, perhaps because Sean Penn is miscast in the lead performance which James Gandolfini (supporting) would have been absolutely perfect for.
Watch the original instead.

"J. Paul Getty had a fortune. Everybody else paid the price."
"J. Paul Getty had a fortune. Everybody else paid the price."


D: Ridley Scott

Tristar/Imperative/Scott Free (Chris Clark, Quentin Curtis, Dan Friedkin, Mark Huffam, Ridley Scott, Bradley Thomas & Kevin J. Walsh)

🇺🇸 🇬🇧 2017

133 mins


W: David Scarpa [based on the book "Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortunes & Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty" by John Pearson]

DP: Dariusz Wolski

Ed: Claire Simpson

Mus: Daniel Pemberton

PD: Arthur Max

Michelle Williams (Gail Harris), Christopher Plummer (John Paul Getty), Mark Wahlberg (Fletcher Chase), Charlie Plummer (John Paul "Paolo" Getty III), Romain Duris (Cinquanta), Timothy Hutton (Oswald Hinge)

All The Money In The World was the subject of much publicity following a celebrity scandal involving Kevin Spacey, the original performer of the John Paul Getty role. 

Hasty reshoots a month before the scheduled release put Christopher Plummer in the part, and the film met its anticipated premiere date.

Inspired by true events, this crime thriller focuses on the abduction of Paolo Getty, grandson of John Paul Getty, the world's richest man.

Holding him to ransom for $17 million, the belligerent billionaire refuses to part with any of his vast fortune and instead requests one of his negotiators to handle things as the boy's helpless mother (Michelle Williams) panics over her son's wellbeing.

From a filmmaking standpoint, Ridley Scott deserves a lot of credit for the seamless way he reshot this movie with a different actor, and Christopher Plummer really is excellent with his approach to the character.

The final moments of the film do become diluted in that special Hollywood stuff which makes it a bit hard to swallow, especially since the build up seems very close to the truth, but even the Hollywood gloss doesn't ruin what is a very good movie, although I can't help but wonder how the film would have turned out if the scenes with Kevin Spacey were included.


D: Alan J. Pakula
Warner Bros. (Walter Coblenz)
🇺🇸 1976
138 mins
W: William Goldman [based on the book by Carl Bernstein & Bob Woodward]
DP: Gordon Willis
Ed: Robert Wolfe
Mus: David Shire
PD: George Jenkins
Dustin Hoffman (Carl Bernstein), Robert Redford (Bob Woodward), Jack Warden (Harry Rosenfeld), Martin Balsam (Howard Simons), Hal Holbrook (Deep Throat), Jason Robards (Ben Bradlee), Jane Alexander (Bookkeeper), Meredith Baxter (Debbie Sloan), Ned Beatty (Dardis), Stephen Collins (Hugh Sloan, Jr.)
An excellent political drama combining aspects of a detective thriller with investigative journalism starring Dustin Hoffman & Robert Redford in their element as Carl Bernstein & Bob Woodward, the two Washington Post reporters who uncovered and blew the whistle on the Watergate scandal. 
All the performances are top-notch, especially the two leads and Jason Robards (who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance). The compelling finale compensates for the movies rather lengthy running time.

"Love is a puzzle. These are the pieces."
"Love is a puzzle. These are the pieces."
D: David Gordon Green
Columbia Tristar (Jean Doumanian & Lisa Muskat)
🇺🇸 2003
108 mins


W: David Gordon Green
DP: Tim Orr
Ed: Zene Baker & Steven Gonzalez
Mus: David Wingo & Michael Linnen

Paul Schneider (Paul), Zooey Deschanel (Noel), Patricia Clarkson (Elvira Fine), Maurice Compte (Bo), Danny McBride (Bust-Ass), Shea Whigham (Tip)

A reverie of a love story which still manages to be realistic though the dreamy cinematography and choppy narrative is unlikely to cater for everybody's taste.
In a small North Carolina town, a caddish lothario develops a relationship with his best friend's sexually-inexperienced sister, who has only just returned home following her years at an all-girls boarding school. It's an astute study of a romantic entanglement which tears apart a circle of friends as well as itself.
The acting performances are good, particularly from Zooey Deschanel, but the director's penchant for cloudscape photography is often a little too pretentious.

D: Michael Chapman
20th Century Fox (Stephen Deutsch)
🇺🇸 1983
91 mins
W: Michael Kane
DP: Jan de Bont
Ed: David Garfield
Mus: David Campbell
Tom Cruise (Stef), Craig T. Nelson (Nickerson), Lea Thompson (Lisa), Charles Cioffi (Pop), Paul Carafotes (Salvucci), Christopher Penn (Brian), Sandy Faison (Suzie), Paige Price (Tracy)
Cliche ridden sports melodrama which cemented Tom Cruise's place as a box office star and gave cinematographer Michael Chapman his directorial debut.                      
Cruise plays a teen growing up in a small Pennsylvania town where male residents either go to work in the factories or get a football scholarship and go to university.  It's kind of obvious what path Tom chooses.
For die hard Tom Cruise fans or American Football lovers only. 

D: Gary Nelson
MGM/Cannon Films (Menahem Golan & Yoram Globus)
🇺🇸 1987
99 mins
W: Gene Quintano [based on characters created by H. Rider Haggard]
DP: Alex Phillips & Frederick Elmes
Ed: Alain Jakubowicz
Mus: Michael Lion
PD: Trevor Williams & Leslie Dilley
Richard Chamberlain (Allan Quatermain), Sharon Stone (Jesse Huston), James Earl Jones (Umslopogaas), Henry Silva (Agon), Robert Donner (Swarma)
Sequel to the equally abysmal 1985 version of King Solomon's Mines.  Both films jettison the story of H. Rider Haggard's novels for the more vainglorious opportunity to try and emulate the adventure and characters of Indiana Jones movies.  It fails miserably, which is hardly a surprise considering it was produced by Cannon Films, whose output during the 1980's was rarely above average.

"The enemy is listening"
"The enemy is listening"


D: Robert Zemeckis

Paramount/GK/Huahua/Imagemovers (Graham King, Steve Starkey & Robert Zemeckis)

🇺🇸 🇬🇧 2016

124 mins


W: Steven Knight

DP: Don Burgess

Ed: Mick Audsley & Jeremiah O'Driscoll

Mus: Alan Silvestri

PD: Gary Freeman

Cos: Joanna Johnston

Brad Pitt (Cmmdr. Max Vatan), Marion Cotillard (Marianne Beausejour), Jared Harris (Col. Frank Heslop), Matthew Goode (Capt. Guy Sangster), Lizzy Caplan (Officer Bridget Vatan), August Diehl (Hobar)

Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard star in Robert Zemeckis' wartime thriller, which had a lot of promise but ultimately fails to deliver. 

Pitt plays a Canadian agent who parachutes into Nazi-occupied Morocco to carry out a secret mission and meets French resistance fighter, Marianne Beausejour (Cotillard), in Morocco with whom they develop a romantic relationship. 

Following the success of the mission, the pair reunite in London and get married, only for it to emerge that she may not be who she appears and may in fact be an enemy spy.

The subject matter would have been truly brought to life in the hands of Alfred Hitchcock, but it's surprisingly flat in the hands of the usually brilliant Zemeckis. The first act drags quite slowly and there's never a real element of tension throughout the running time, certainly not in respect to Brad Pitt's character's safety since Cotillard's character is presented as far too innocent.

The film was unsurprisingly met with mixed reviews when it had its theatrical run, with most of the plaudits going to Joanna Johnston's achievement in costume design, which was deservedly nominated for an Oscar.

A classic example of a marketing trailer being more fun than the actual movie.


D: Lewis Teague
Group 1 (Brandon Chase)
🇺🇸 1980
91 mins
W: John Sayles
DP: Joseph Mangine
Ed: Larry Bock
Mus: Craig Hundley
Robert Forster (David Madison), Robin Riker (Marisa Kendall), Michael V. Gazzo (Chief Clark), Dean Jagger (Slade), Jack Carter (Mayor)
Jaws-style creature feature in which a pet alligator is flushed down the toilet and grows to become a giant mutant in the sewers before going on a murderous rampage.
It's all pretty laughable and can't be taken seriously, but isn't the worst of the spawn of similar movies which reared their heads following the success of Jaws.

D: Tamar Simon Hoffs
Universal/Aurora (Stephen Deutsch)
🇺🇸 1987
94 mins
W: M. I. Kessler & Tamar Simon Hoffs
DP: Joseph Urbanczyk
Ed: Dan M. Rich
Mus: Charles Bernstein
PD: Cynthia Sowder
Susanna Hoffs (Molly), Dedee Pfeiffer (Val), Joan Cusack (Gina), Michael Ontkean (Mickey), Pam Grier (Sgt. McLeesh)
Three teenage girls celebrate the end of college with a party.
This is a pathetic attempt to try and launch Susanna Hoffs' career as an actress, partly because she's a terrible actress and also because the story and screenplay were equally as terrible. Hoffs is gorgeous to look at, but her talents were best spent as a singer with The Bangles.
One of the 1980's teen comedies which is best avoided.

D: John Cornell
UIP/Paramount (John Cornell)
🇺🇸 1990
95 mins
W: Paul Hogan
DP: Russell Boyd
Ed: David Stiven
Mus: Maurice Jarre
Paul Hogan (Terry Dean), Elias Koteas (Steve Garner), Linda Kozlowski (Rose Garner), Doreen Lang (Mrs. Garner)
A petty crook is convinced that he is an angel in a rather lame comedy which failed to progress Paul Hogan's career following the success of the Crocodile Dundee movies.
There's not really much else to say.

"Experience it. Enjoy it. Just don't fall for it."
"Experience it. Enjoy it. Just don't fall for it."
D: Cameron Crowe
Dreamworks/Vinyl (Cameron Crowe & Ian Bryce)
🇺🇸 2000
122 mins
W: Cameron Crowe
DP: John Toll
Ed: Joe Hutsching & Saar Klein
Mus: Nancy WilsonPeter Frampton (uncredited)
PD: Clay A. Griffith
Cos: Betsy Heimann
Billy Crudup (Russell Hammond), Frances McDormand (Elaine Miller), Kate Hudson (Penny Lane), Jason Lee (Jeff Bebe), Patrick Fugit (William Miller), Anna Paquin (Polexia Aphrodisia), Fairuza Balk (Sapphire), Noah Taylor (Dick Roswell), Zooey Deschanel (Anita Miller), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Lester Bangs)
A music-obsessed high school student lies about his age to write an article about a band for a local press release, his work is noticed by Rolling Stone magazine who hire him to follow a rock band on their tour, but he enjoys the experience too much to write a warts & all review of the feuding group, whilst they're reluctant for him to see them behind the scenes and paint them in a negative light with their upcoming album due to be released.
Director/screenwriter Cameron Crowe's semi-autobiographical account of his own youth boasts some great characters, fantastic one-liners and a top-notch cast, particularly Philip Seymour Hoffman, Billy Crudup, Frances McDormand and Kate Hudson, who steals the show as 'Band Aid' Penny Lane. 
Worth watching for the soundtrack alone, full of classic tracks from the seventies and a few original songs, penned by an uncredited Peter Frampton. The fictional band Stillwater at the sole focus of the film are so convincing, you'd be forgiven for thinking that they were a real one (Cameron Crowe based them on the characteristics of members from several real life bands, including Led Zeppelin & Guess Who)

D: Jack Sholder
New Line/Masada (Robert Shaye)
🇺🇸 1982
93 mins
W: Jack Sholder
DP: Joe Mangine
Ed: Arline Garson
Mus: Renato Serio
Jack Palance (Frank Hawkes), Donald Pleasance (Dr. Leo Bain), Martin Landau (Byron 'Preacher' Sutcliff), Dwight Schultz (Dr. Dan Potter)
Maximum security prisoners are freed during a power outage at a mental asylum.
A rather average horror which borrows heavily from the plot of Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound and practically follows the same formula as Halloween, throwing in a villain in a Friday the 13th style hockey mask for good measure.  It's not terrible horror shocker, but not worth going out of your way for.

D: Uwe Boll
Lions Gate/Boll KG/Herold/Brightlight Pictures (Shawn Williamson)
🇨🇦 🇩🇪 🇺🇸 2005
96 mins
W: Élan Mastai, Michael Roesch & Peter Scheerer [based on the video game by Infogrames]
DP: Mathias Neumann
Ed: Richard Schwadel
Mus: Reinhard Basser, Oliver Lieb, Bernd Wendlandt & Peter Zweier
Christian Slater (Edward Carnby), Stephen Dorff (Richard Burke), Tara Reid (Aline Cedrac)
Slater plays a paranormal investigator who is trying to solve a mystery when he unleashes invisible beasties with a vulnerability to light (seriously) into the world.
This is one of those bad movies which leaves no stone of badness unturned, featuring an absolutely pathetic performance from Tara Reid and directed by a man dubbed the German Ed Wood. 
It's astonishing to believe that the special effects budget for this movie was $10m.  Presumably the money was spent on copious amounts of cocaine.

D: Ken Russell
Warner Bros. (Howard Gottfried & Daniel Melnick)
🇺🇸 1980
102 mins
Horror/Science Fiction/Thriller
W: Sidney Aaron [based on the novel by Paddy Chayefsky]
DP: Jordan Cronenweth
Mus: John Corigliano
PD: Richard MacDonald
William Hurt (Dr. Edward Jessup), Blair Brown (Emily Jessup), Bob Balaban (Arthur Rosenberg), Charles Haid (Mason Parrish), Drew Barrymore (Margaret Jessup)
An interesting twist on Jekyll & Hyde style movies with William Hurt making his film debut as a psychologist who uses a sophisticated new use of technology in which he emerges himself in a tank which causes hallucinations of human evolution and he emerges from it as a man poised to kill.
More of a psychological thriller than a conventional horror with good use of special effects and the first movie to use a new format of sound recording and mixing, which might not mean much to the general cinema-goer, but it ensured that it was stood up to be noticed come Oscar night, nominated for two awards in total (Best Sound & Best Original Score).

D: Tim Burstall
Hexagon (Tim Burstall)
🇦🇺 1973
97 mins
W: Alan Hopgood
Graeme Blundell (Alvin Purple), Christine Amor (Peggy), Dina Mann (Shirley)
A young lethario gets a job as a gardener in a convent in this crass sex comedy which was hailed as Australia's answer to Alfie.
It did huge business at the Australian box office but wasn't so well received elsewhere, possibly because it's not very good. 

D: Steven Spielberg
UIP/Amblin (Steven Spielberg, Frank Marshal & Kathleen Kennedy)
🇺🇸 1989
123 mins


W: Jerry Belson & Diane Thomas [based on the screenplay 'A Guy Named Joe' by Dalton Trumbo]
DP: Mikael Salomon
Ed: Michael Kahn
Mus: John Williams
PD: James Bissell

Richard Dreyfuss (Pete Sandich), Holly Hunter (Dorinda Durston), John Goodman (Al Yackey), Brad Johnson (Ted Baker), Audrey Hepburn (Hap), Roberts Blossom (Dave), Keith David (Powerhouse)

A remake of A Guy Named Joe updated for the late 1980's. Richard Dreyfuss plays a pilot who dies in a forest fire and roams the earth as a guardian angel to a rookie flyer who becomes romatically involved with the woman he once loved. 
This sentimental fable was an unusual choice for Steven Spielberg, but is quite entertaining if a little overlong.  John Goodman provides good comic relief and Audrey Hepburn makes a bittersweet cameo appearance as Dreyfuss' own guardian angel in one of her final screen roles.  The biggest let down about the movie is the unconvincing ending.
Not a huge hit for the big director, perhaps suffering for being too similar in plot to Ghost, which was released very soon after and the film suffers a bit from being too unbalanced between adventure, comedy, romance, surrealism and sheer sentimentality.