"If this movie doesn't make your skin crawl... it's on too tight!"
"If this movie doesn't make your skin crawl... it's on too tight!"


D: Bob Clark
Warner Bros/Ambassador (Bob Clark)
🇨🇦 1974
97 mins
W: Roy Moore
DP: Reginald Morris
Ed: Stan Cole
Mus: Carl Zittrer
Olivia Hussey (Jess Bradford), Keir Dullea (Peter Smythe), Margot Kidder (Barbara Coard), Andrea Martin (Phyllis Carlson), John Saxon (Lt. Kenneth Fuller), Marian Waldman (Mrs. MacHenry)
Pre-dating John Carpenter's Halloween by four years, this has virtually the same story. A grizzly story about a creepy serial killer, making obscene phone calls to the girls in a sorority house before offing them one-by-one in a killing spree.
It may not be as iconic as John Carpenter's film and lacks the eerie music score, but it's not a bad watch for fans of the genre. 
An inferior remake came out in 2006.
"Leave No Man Behind"
"Leave No Man Behind"
D: Ridley Scott
Columbia/Revolution/Scott Free (Jerry Bruckheimer)
🇺🇸 🇬🇧 🇲🇦 2001
144 mins
W: Ken Nolan & Steven Zaillian [based on the book by Mark Bowden]
DP: Slawomir Idziak
Ed: Pietro Scalia
Mus: Hans Zimmer
PD: Arthur Max
Josh Hartnett (SSG Matt Eversmann), Ewan McGregor (SPC John Grimes), Tom Sizemore (LTC Danny McKnight), Eric Bana (SFC Norm Gibson), William Fichtner (SFC Jeff Sanderson), Ewan Bremner (SPC Shawn Nelson), Sam Shepard (MG William F. Garrison)

A surprisingly mature offering from producer Jerry Bruckheimer, but that's not to say it's not without the machismo and testosterone-fuelled action scenes which normally accompany his films.
Based on a true story during a conflict in Mogadishu, Somalia, an American black hawk helicopter is shot down and the soldiers face a battle for survival against a horde of Somali rebels.  
Ridley Scott's excellent direction and Idziak's documentary-style photography make this a compelling war movie, which injects just the right amount of patriotism the American people needed following the events of September 11th.
The movie won two Oscars, for Best Sound and Best Film Editing.
"A journey that begins where everything ends."
"A journey that begins where everything ends."
D: Gary Nelson
Disney (Ron Miller)
🇺🇸 1979
98 mins
Science Fiction
W: Jeb Rosebrook & Gerry Day
DP: Frank Phillips
Ed: Gregg McLaughlin
Mus: John Barry
PD: Peter Ellenshaw
Robert Forster (Capt. Dan Holland), Maximilian Schell (Dr. Hans Reinhardt), Anthony Perkins (Dr. Alex Durant), Joseph Bottoms (Lt. Charlie Pizer), Yvette Mimieux (Dr. Kate McCrae), Ernest Borgnine (Harry Booth)
Following the success of Star Wars, Disney produced this sci-fi movie which was incredibly expensive for it's time but has dated incredibly badly. The production values were pretty good for 1979, but considering this is two years younger than George Lucas' classic it looks no better than sci-fi hokum of the 1960's.
The story is pretty thin. A group of astronauts find a ship drifting in space on the edge of a black hole and discover it's occupied by a mad scientist and his cohort of robot servants.
The rest is standard Disney fare and it would probably be best enjoyed if seen through the eyes of a child, otherwise it just seems like another movie in a long list which tries and fails to generate what Star Wars achieved for cinema.

D: Scott Cooper
Warner Bros/Cross Creek/Ratpac-Dune (Scott Cooper, John Lesher, Patrick McCormick, Brian Oliver & Tyler Thompson) 
🇺🇸 2015
122 mins


W: Mark Mallouk & Jez Butterworth [based on the book "Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob" by Dick Lehr & Gerard O'Neill]
DP: Masanobu Takayanagi
Ed: David Rosenbloom
Mus: Tom Holkenborg

Johnny Depp (James 'Whitey' Bulger), Joel Edgerton (John Connolly), Benedict Cumberbatch (William Bulger), Dakota Johnson (Lindsey Cyr), Jesse Plemons (Kevin Weeks), Kevin Bacon (Charles McGuire)

Johnny Depp undergoes a complete transformation in this crime biopic as he takes on the role of James 'Whitey' Bulger, a nefarious gangster who operated out of South Boston during the 1970's and 80's and spent 12 years on the FBI's Most Wanted list after his gang members ratted him out to the Feds.
It's not just the eerie makeup which sees Depp become the murderous Bulger, but the performance itself, completely against type from his usual portrayals, and you'd be forgiven for doubting it was the actor at all.
Favoured by a brother in politics and an ally in the FBI, Bulger utilised these assets to reprimand rivals gangsters, while he coldly murdered anyone who he deemed untrustworthy as he built an empire on drugs and other criminal activity.
Though the performances are strong, the story itself isn't too unlike anything you've seen before. Mix The Departed and The Sopranos together with a sprinkle of true events and that's the movie.
Dakota Johnson certainly gives a better account of her acting talents here than she does in Fifty Shades Of Grey, but that's like saying Kevin Bacon does a better job here than he does in the EE adverts.
Depp is brilliant. The film itself, not so much.


D: Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger

Rank/The Archers (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger)

🇬🇧 1947

100 mins


W: Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger [based on the novel by Rumer Godden]

DP: Jack Cardiff

Ed: Reginald Mills

Mus: Brian Easdale

PD: Alfred Junge

Cos: Hein Heckroth

Deborah Kerr (Sister Clodagh), Sabu (Dilip Rai), David Farrar (Mr. Dean), Flora Robson (Sister Philippa), Jean Simmons (Kanchi), Kathleen Byron (Sister Ruth)

Often considered amongst the greatest British films of all time and the very best films of the 1940's, this drama from the collaborative duo Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger does have some truly impressive moments considering it's age, the storyline however is more of an acquired taste.

Set at a Himalayan convent during the height of the British Empire's occupancy in India, a group of nun's struggle to adapt to their surroundings as they teach the native people the English language, with two of the sisters' developing a rivalry when they both establish a friendship with a cynical but dashing government officer Mr. Dean.

The title is in reference to the perfumed clothing of a bejewelled Indian officer who visits the convent to learn English, and he becomes infatuated by a seductive native girl (played by Jean Simmons in a strange, but very memorable role). 

The subject matter does touch on themes which balance between religious duty and emotional restraint, which aren't such an important issue in modern times, but the production is so well made for its age that it still remains an impressive piece of filmmaking for its British auteurs. 


"Long Live The King."
"Long Live The King."


D: Ryan Coogler

Disney/Marvel (Kevin Feige)

🇺🇸 2017

134 mins

Science Fiction/Fantasy

W: Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole [based on characters created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby]

DP: Rachel Morrison

Ed: Michael P. Shawver & Debbie Berman

Mus: Ludwig Göransson

PD: Hannah Beachler

Cos: Ruth E. Carter

Chadwick Boseman (King T'Challa /  Black Panther), Michael B. Jordan (N'Jadaka / Erik 'Killmonger' Stevens), Lupita Nyong'o (Nakia), Letitia Wright (Shuri), Danai Gurira (Okoye), Daniel Kaluuya (W'Kabi), Martin Freeman (Everett K. Ross), Angela Bassett (Ramonda), Forest Whitaker (Zuri), Andy Serkis (Ulysses Klaue)


Superhero Black Panther was initially introduced in 2016's Captain America: Civil War before getting his own solo adventure for Marvel's Cinematic Universe, meeting a divisive response from the audiences, sometimes for the wrong reasons.

I'm not going to entertain political opinion or comment on the cultural benefits that movie alludes to have. It is a comic book adaptation, and that is how it shall be reviewed.

In comparison to some of the stronger MCU films (Thor: Ragnarok, The Avengers, etc.) it doesn't quite cut the mustard, but as a standalone companion piece to the other movies it's perfectly entertaining and does a good job introducing the character's origins.

Prince T'Challa becomes the newly crowned King of Watanga, a fictional African region, following the death of his father in Captain America: Civil War. The African land gets power from a fallen meteorite in prehistoric times which have enriched them with technology and magic, but the truth is kept secret from the outside world in case it falls into the wrong hands, such as the warmongering villains in this movie who seek to bring about a new world order with Watanga's technology.

The plot to the film does seem to draw inspiration from The Lion King, Thor and African folklore, and there is a bit of a slow build up to the handful of action scenes which are quite erratic in their execution, some of which seem to have been following the Michael Bay handbook of filmmaking, which is a huge shame. 

Still, much of the visual element of the film is impressive, though some of the effects could do with another lick of paint. There can't be any complaints with the performances, though some of the jokes feel completely out of place.

One minor irritant (SPOILER ALERT) is that the titular hero is bested fair and square in the challenge to take his crown, but wins it back with the aid of others. Isn't that cheating?? 

All in all, it's well worth the price of a cinema ticket and adds another entertaining chapter to the Marvel franchise.


D: Bruce Beresford
Samuel Goldwyn/Alliance/Samson (Robert Lantos, Stephane Reichel & Sue Milliken)
🇨🇦 🇦🇺 1991
100 mins


W: Brian Moore [based on his novel]
DP: Peter James
Ed: Tim Wellburn
Mus: Georges Delerue

Lothaire Bluteau (LaForgue), Aden Young (Daniel), Sandrine Holt (Annuka), August Schellenberg (Chomina), Tantoo Cardinal (Chomina's Wife), Frank Wilson (Father Jerome)

Canada's answer to Dances With Wolves (qv), starring Lothaire Blutheau as a Jesuit priest who travels through 17th century Quebec to convert the natives to religion.
This historical picture is beautifully filmed and well acted, but takes a very pedestrian approach to its subject matter which will more than likely bore than it would provoke interest.
The comparisons between this and Dances With Wolves are slim to none, while Kevin Costner's 1990 epic is, by far, a more superior film.

D: Jonathan King
Icon (Philippa Campbell)
🇳🇿 2006 (released 2007)
90 mins
W: Jonathan King
DP: Richard Bluck
Ed: Chris Plummer
Mus: Victoria Kelly
Nathan Meister (Henry Oldfield), Peter Feeney (Angus Oldfield), Danielle Mason (Experience), Tammy Davis (Tucker), Glenis Levestam (Mrs. Mac)
"There are 40 million sheep in New Zealand... And they're pissed off!" 
The movie tagline tells you all you need to know about the plot, an incredibly silly but quite fun horror-comedy about mutant zombie sheep in the country turning humans into were-sheep. One moment in particular is incredibly hilarious but it's spoilt by appearing on the film's trailer.
A decent low-budget effort, if you're in the mood for something incredibly silly.

D: Carroll Ballard
United Artists/Omni Zoetrope (Fred Roos & Tom Sternberg)
🇺🇸 1979
117 mins


W: Melissa Mathison, Jeanne Rosenberg & William Witliff [based on the novel by Walter Farley]
DP: Caleb Deschanel
Ed: Robert Dalva
Mus: Carmine Coppola

Kelly Reno (Alec Ramsey), Mickey Rooney (Henry Dailey), Teri Garr (Alec's Mother), Clarence Muse (Snoe), Hoyt Axton (Alec's Father)

Aboard a ship in 1946, a young boy is mesmerised by a temperamental Arabian racehorse called Black.  When a storm causes shipwreck, only the boy and the horse wash ashore and develop a strong bond which continues after the are both rescued and the horse is prepared for the racecourses.
Criticised for being overlong by many, I think it's the perfect length and very much two films with two parts rather than the usual narrative structure of three acts.
Beautifully photographed and brilliantly directed. A real gem from the late 70's         


D: Mario Bava
🇮🇹 1960
83 mins


W: Mario Bava
Mus: Roberto Nicolosi

Barbara Steele (Katia Vajda / Princess Asa Vajda), John Richardson (Dr. Andre Gorobec), Ivo Garrani (Prince Vajda)

A witch rises from the dead to seek vengeance on those who put her to death in an iron maiden.
Old-fashioned horror movie which has the distinction of being the first of a long line of Italian productions. Aside from that, it isn't particularly memorable.
Not to be confused with the 1977 film Black Sunday.

D: Darren Aronofsky
Fox Searchlight/Cross Creek/Prøtøzøa/Phoenix (Mike Medavoy, Arnold W. Messer, Brian Oliver & Scott Franklin)
🇺🇸 2010
103 mins


W: Mark Heyman, Andrés Heinz & John McLaughlin
DP: Matthew Libatique
Ed: Andrew Weisblum
Mus: Clint Mansell
PD: Thérèse DePrez

Natalie Portman (Nina Sayers), Vincent Cassel (Thomas LeRoy), Mila Kunis (Lily), Barbara Hershey (Erica Sayers), Winona Ryder (Elizabeth McIntyre)

Those expecting a nice, sweet ballet movie may be disappointed, although ballet provides an integral part of the plot, the main driving force of the story is obsession. Obsession with beauty, fame and above all else, perfection.
Natalie Porman delivers a brilliant performance as Nina Sayers, a young ballet dancer who gets the role of her lifetime as the dual lead as the virginal white swan and its polar opposite in an upcoming production of Swan Lake.
Ostracised by the other dancers at her academy and pushed too far by her perfectionist director and overprotective mother, Nina begins a descent into madness, allowing the pressure of the part to corrupt her.
Director Darren Aronofsky brings the same twisted visuals and ethereal quality that he used on Requiem For A Dream, whilst still maintaining an arthouse feel to the film.
I can appreciate this film not being for everyone, but if you're a fan of the director's previous work, or just a spot of good acting, it's worth giving it a chance.
Natalie Portman went on to win a much deserved Best Actress Oscar for her performance, without a doubt her finest ever screen performance to date.


D: Spike Lee

Focus Features/Legendary/Blumhouse/Monkeypaw/40 Acres & A Mule (Jason Blum, Spike Lee, Raymond Mansfield, Sean McKittrick, Jordan Peele & Shaun Redick)

🇺🇸 2018

135 mins


W: Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee [based on the book by Ron Stallworth]

DP: Chayse Irvin

Ed: Barry Alexander Brown

Mus: Terence Blanchard

John David Washington (Ron Stallworth), Adam Driver (Flip Zimmerman), Laura Harrier (Patrice Dumas), Topher Grace (David Duke), Jasper Pääkkonen (Felix Kendrickson)

Spike Lee's return to form, BlackkKlansman treads a very peculiar line between biopic, comedy, horrifying drama and political agitprop, but it has to be admitted that this is up there with 2018's best.

Based on a true story, the plot concerns a black police officer in Colorado Springs who is swiftly promoted to the intelligence unit and begins a case where he infiltrates the local organisation of the Ku Klux Klan. Unable to attend meetings himself (for obvious reasons), he sends by proxy a white skinned detective who harbours a Jewish heritage. The investigation gets in deep with the "Grand Wizard of the KKK" David Dukes and also insinuates that other people in high places (such as the FBI) were also members.

The double act between John David Washington and Adam Driver is where the film works best, but there is a subplot involving a romance with a civil rights activist and a bit of throwing the blame at movies such as Gone With The Wind & Birth Of A Nation. Personally, I take exception to this. The art itself cannot be racist, only the person who perceives the said art. It's quite easy to pick apart works of art from the past with political correct lenses of today, but any claim that it was films like these which provided the springboard for racist movements is clutching at straws, as well as being very preachy and a bit hypocritical from Lee.

Despite the director's personal politics obscuring some moments of the film, it's a very well-made piece of work, even achieving the look of Blaxploitation movies of the early 1970's in a way that Quentin Tarantino would.  

It's a film which traipses a line between fierce racial hatred and satirical comedy and doesn't hold back as it delves deeper and deeper into the ugliness. Overall, Mississippi Burning did a better job, but this is still an informative and important film to watch.


BLADE (18)
D: Stephen Norrington
New Line/Amen Ra/Imaginary Forces (Peter Frankfurt, Wesley Snipes & Robert Engleman) 
🇺🇸 1998
121 mins


W: David S. Goyer [based on characters created by Marv Wolfman & Gene Colan]
DP: Theo Van de Sande
Ed: Paul Rubell
Mus: Mark Isham
PD: Kirk M. Petrucelli

Wesley Snipes (Eric Brooks / Blade), Stephen Dorff (Deacon Frost), Kris Kristofferson (Abraham Whistler), N'Bushe Wright (Dr. Karen Jenson), Donal Logue (Quinn), Udo Kier (Gitano Dragonetti)

Based on a series of graphic novels and amassing a respectable cult following, Wesley Snipes plays the title character, a half-man, half-vampire vigilante who slays fully-fledged vampires to prevent them from taking over the world.
I'm not a huge fan of modern vampire movies which twist the legend into something which is almost undead, but this had a bit of uniqueness to it.  I still don't buy the theory that a vampire can go out in daylight so long as they're wearing a bit of sunblock.
Not a huge fan of Wesley Snipes either and certainly not the visual effects which appear in this movie... excruciatingly bad for the late 1990's.

D: Ridley Scott
Warner Bros./The Ladd Company (Michael Deeley & Ridley Scott)
🇺🇸 1982
117 mins (Director's Cut: 112 mins)

Science Fiction

W: Hampton Fancher & David Peoples [based on the novel 'Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?' by Philip K. Dick]
DP: Jordan Cronenweth
Ed: Terry Rawlings
Mus: Vangelis
PD: Lawrence G. Paull
Cos: Charles Knode & Michael Kaplan

Harrison Ford (Rick Deckard), Rutger Hauer (Roy Batty), Sean Young (Rachael), Edward James Olmos (Gaff), M. Emmet Walsh (Bryant), Daryl Hannah (Pris), William Sanderson (J.F. Sebastian), Brion James (Leon), Joseph Turkel (Tyrell)

Seminal science fiction movie which exists in three different edits; the original theatrical version, the director's cut (which does away with most of the voice-over narration) and the final cut.  The preferred version is subjective to the viewer, each to their own preferring one edit or another, though they all generally meet great approval with the majority of film critics.
This gloomy, futuristic film noir takes place in Los Angeles in 2019, an almost industrial looking future with fiery turrets lighting up every horizon. Harrison Ford plays Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter type known as a Blade Runner, whose job is to hunt and destroy rogue cyborgs known as Replicants, almost human in every way except for the way they process emotions.
This film is very much about style, with impressive sets which look both futuristic and also like something out of a 1940's Sam Spade detective film. The visual effects are also top notch, while Ridley Scott's nightmarish vision also deserves kudos.
If you're expecting aliens and spaceships, you may be disappointed. It's not that type of science fiction, but it cannot be denied its classic status.

BLADE RUNNER 2049 (15)

D: Denis Villeneuve

Warner Bros/Sony/Columbia/Alcon/Scott Free (Andrew A. Kosove, Broderick Johnson, Bud Yorkin & Cynthia Yorkin)

🇺🇸 2017

163 mins

Science Fiction

W: Hampton Fancher & Michael Green [based on characters created by Philip K. Dick]

DP: Roger Deakins

Ed: Joe Walker

Mus: Hans Zimmer & Benjamin Wallfisch

PD: Dennis Gassner

Cos: Renee April

Ryan Gosling (Officer K), Harrison Ford (Rick Deckard), Ana de Armas (Joi), Sylvia Hoeks (Luv), Robin Wright (Lt. Joshi), Mackenzie Davis (Mariette), Dave Bautista (Sapper Morton), Jared Leto (Niander Wallace)


35 years after the original comes this highly anticipated sequel, which has a lot to live up to considering the original 1982 film is amongst the greatest science fiction films of all time. 

Simply put, it's impossible to review this new film by dancing around the plot, and this will uncover major spoilers, so if you haven't seen it and wish to... stop reading now.

Firstly, it's absolutely imperative not only to have watched the original Blade Runner, but also to have seen The Final Cut, widely available on both DVD and Bluray, as the plot follows on from the finale of that particular version. Set two decades after the events of the first film, replicants are still considered illegal and Blade Runner officers are still hunting them for "retirement". One of the Blade Runner detectives is K, who makes an astonishing discovery that a replicant has procreated and is given the order to exterminate the child, who will now be an adult. The mission eventually introduces him to Rick Deckard, the protagonist of the original film, now in hiding following the birth of his child with his love interest from the first film, Rachel. 

Another party interested in the replicant child's identity is Niander Wallace, who wishes to create the perfect biological human. 

If the plot sounds like a bit of a mish-mash, you can always just sit back and enjoy the visuals, which are impeccable, but where the first film was a futuristic film noir, this is simply a futuristic detective story. 

There really is a lot to enjoy about this new film, particularly from a technical point of view. The cinematography, production design, sound and visual effects are a cinema experience worth paying for, but if you have a wandering mind or haven't seen the 1982 film (any version of it), this really won't be for you. It does meander, it does have pretensions, and it has a subplot about existentialism which may leave you scratching your head wondering what the big deal is. 

It's a thinking man's sci-fi, and like the first film, it needs time to gestate. Some may consider it style over substance, while others will think it the best thing since sliced bread and there really is a lot to love about it. Just don't expect the normal Hollywood output and lower your expectations if you're expecting this to be as good as the original film. It is a marvel to behold, but at a headache inducing 163 minutes it might have you fidgeting a bit before the end credits. Not recommended if you didn't like the first movie.


D: Daniel Myrick & Eduardo Sanchez
Pathé/Haxan/Artisan (Gregg Hale & Robin Cowie)
🇺🇸 1999
81 mins
W: Daniel Myrick & Eduardo Sanchez
Ed: Daniel Myrick & Eduardo Sanchez
Heather Donahue (Heather), Michael Williams (Michael), Joshua Leonard (Joshua)
As the film begins, a title card informs the audience that following story is true: A ghost story about three students who film a documentary in the woods of a town with a fabled legend about a witch who haunts the area. They document their findings but are never found again following a series of strange, eerie events. The footage they filmed was recovered a year after they disappeared.
Conceptually, The Blair Witch Project has to be heralded as one of the most spectular phenomenons in movie history.  A simple story which doesn't really go anywhere beyond a legend which is completely fictional.  Filmed on a shoestring and forgoeing any expensive makeup effects or creepy bogeyman costumes.  Using a bare minimum of scare tactics, the Blair Witch Project WORKED... At least until it was revealed that the story was not actually true (sorry folks, I did warn you).
Still, you cannot deny it's brilliance that a movie that cost 1/100th the cost of most modern horror pictures managed to put so many bums on seats.
It's a shame it opened the trapdoor for so many also-rans, parodies and wannabes.


D: Stanley Donen
Sherwood (Stanley Donen)
🇺🇸 1983
100 mins
W: Charlie Peters & Larry Gelbart [based on the screenplay 'Un Moment d'Egarement' by Claude Berri]
DP: Reynaldo Villalobos
Ed: George Hively & Richard Marden
Mus: Ken Wannberg
Michael Caine (Matthew Hollis), Joseph Bologna (Victor Lyons), Valerie Harper (Karen Hollis), Michelle Johnson (Jennifer Lyons), Demi Moore (Nikki Hollis)
During the early 1980's, Michael Caine made some poor choices undertaking certain roles, as he has often admitted to, choosing scripts based on the filming location and practically globe-trotting on the studio bucks. 
One of the films he made within this period was this tepid sex farce, based on a 1977 French film (Un Moment d'Egarement), set on the sunny beaches of Brazil where a married, middle-aged businessman begins an affair with his best friend's teenage daughter.
It's all in pretty bad taste and doesn't have much to laugh about, except perhaps Michelle Johnson's attempt at acting.  Insipid rubbish.
D: Mark Herman
Warner Bros./Hollywood (Jennifer Howarth)     
🇬🇧 1992
78 mins
W: Mark Herman
DP: Andrew Dunn
Ed: Mike Ellis
Mus: Guy Dagel
PD: Gemma Jackson
Dudley Moore (Melvyn Orton), Bryan Brown (Mike Lorton), Richard Griffiths (Maurice Horton), Andreas Katsulas (Mr. Scarpa), Patsy Kensit (Caroline Wright), Alison Steadman (Rosemary Horton), Penelope Wilson (Patricia Fulford), Bronson Pinchot (The Bellboy)
Stupid farce about a bellboy who confuses the names of similar named guests at a Venice hotel, one of whom is a hitman.
It's all very silly and only has the one joke which carries the whole movie. It simply isn't enough.  Might have worked better as a 20-30 minute sketch. Blame it on the screenplay.

D: Hugh Wilson
New Line/Midnight Sun (Renny Harlin & Hugh Wilson)
🇺🇸 1999
111 mins


W: Bill Kelly & Hugh Wilson
DP: Jose Luis Alcaine
Ed: Don Brochu
Mus: Steve Dorff
PD: Robert Ziembicki

Brendan Fraser (Adam Webber), Alicia Silverstone (Eve Rustikoff), Christopher Walken (Calvin Webber), Sissy Spacek (Helen Webber), Dave Foley (Troy), Joey Slotnick (Melcher), Dale Raoul (Mom)

Innocently good, fun comedy which is better than the title would suggest and is a decent twist on other culture clash movies and fish out of water tales.
Brendan Fraser plays Adam, a 35 year old who was born and raised in a nuclear fallout shelter with his parents all his life.  He emerges from the depths into California, 1999 on a quest to find supplies for his parents but also wants to find a girl for himself, and he meets Valley Girl, Eve (Silverstone). 
He asks for Eve's help to show him around town and introduce him to 90's culture, but he's still very much stuck in the 60's with his mannerisms, speech and love of Perry Como music.      
It's a sweet film with a few funny moments but also many silly ones. Brendan Fraser plays a good part, but all the cast are generally good, especially Christopher Walken as Adam's bookish father.

D: Mel Brooks
Warner Bros./Crossbow (Michael Herzberg) 
🇺🇸 1974
93 mins


W: Mel Brooks, Norman Steinberg, Andrew Bergman, Alan Unger & Richard Pryor
DP: Joseph Biroc
Ed: John C. Howard & Danford B. Greene
Mus: John Morris
PD: Peter Wooley
Cos: Vittorio Nino Novarese

Cleavon Little (Bart), Gene Wilder (Jim), Slim Pickens (Taggart), Harvey Korman (Hedley Lamarr), Mel Brooks (Governer Lepetomane/Indian Chief), Madeliene Kahn (Lili Von Shtupp)

Contrary to popular belief, Blazing Saddles isn't just a parody of the western genre, but of Hollywood in general.
The plot sees a crooked politician appoint a black sheriff in a town which stands in the way of his railroad plans, hoping that a man of colour in a position of seniority will drive out the townsfolk and the buildings can be demolished without fuss. With the help of his alcoholic deputy, the sheriff foils the dastardly plan and (quite literally) rides off into the sunset.
1974 was a spectacular year for Mel Brooks, who also poked fun at classic horror genre with Young Frankenstein (qv). Blazing Saddles isn't quite the peak of his talents, but his zany, slapstick style, along with a pinch of surrealism and vulgarity make this an original piece of 1970's comedy with several hilarious and iconic moments. It certainly couldn't be made in the modern era, and some looking back may accuse it of racism... but they'd be completely missing the point of the movie.

D: Blake Edwards
Tristar (Tony Adams)
🇺🇸 1987
93 mins


W: Dale Launer
DP: Harry Stradling, Jr.
Ed: Robert Pergament
Mus: Henry Mancini
PD: Rodger Maus

Bruce Willis (Walter Davis), Kim Basinger (Nadia Gates), John Larroquette (David Bedford), William Daniels (Judge Harold Bedford), Phil Hartman (Ted Davis)

A workaholic executive needs a date for his company function and his brother sets him up with his sister-in-law, who can't handle any alcohol and becomes uncontrollable after drinking just the smallest bit of the syrup.
I'm not ashamed to admit I LOVE this movie... In fact, it has a proud place in my top comedies of all time... Yes, it's Blake Edwards! Yes, it's Bruce Willis pre-Die Hard! Yes, it's Kim Basinger!  Yes, it's slapstick! But it's absolutely hilarious, well-acted, with excellent comic timing, and doesn't outstay its running time.  Bruce & Kim's on-screen chemistry rivals some of the classic partnerships (Bogart/Bacall)... okay I'm slightly exaggerating there... but for a movie made in the mid-80's this film is fantastic!  Phil Hartman & John Larroquette steal the show as Bruce Willis' selfish brother and Kim Basinger's psychotic ex-boyfriend, respectively.

D: Phillip Noyce
Columbia Tristar (Daniel Grodnick & Tim Matheson)
🇺🇸 1989
86 mins


W: Charles Robert Karner [based on the screenplay 'Zatoichi Challenged' by Ryoto Kasahara]
DP: Don Burgess
Ed: David Simmons
Mus: J. Peter Robinson

Rutger Hauer (Nick Parker), Terry O'Quinn (Frank Deveraux), Brandon Call (Billy Deveraux), Noble Willingham (Macready), Lisa Blount (Annie Winchester), Nick Cassavetes (Lyle Pike), Rick Overton (Tector Pike), Randall 'Tex' Cobb (Slag)

An American update on the samurai film, with the film opening with blinded soldier, Nick Parker, lost in the Vietnam jungles and later cared for by some incredibly charitable villagers who teach him some mesmerising (and rather unlikely) swordplay techniques. The reason for them doing this is inconsequential but for the plot. 
Upon returning home to the Florida Everglades, he visits his best friends house at the precise time a hoodlum offs the best buddy's wife, leaving Parker as the guardian of the man's rather annoying son while he goes out for revenge- samurai style.
The plot is absolutely ridiculous but it's still an entertaining action movie, with a very solid performance from Rutger Hauer as the blind swordsman. Remove brain before watching for optimum enjoyment.

D: John Lee Hancock
Warner Bros./Alcon (Gil Netter, Andrew A. Kosove & Broderick Johnson)
🇺🇸 2009
123 mins


W: John Lee Hancock [based on the book 'The Blind Side: Evolution Of A Game' by Michael Lewis]
DP: Alar Kivilo
Ed: Mark Livolsi
Mus: Carter Burwell
PD: Michael Corenblith
Cos: Daniel Orlandi

Sandra Bullock (Leigh Anne Tuohy), Tim McGraw (Sean Tuohy), Quinton Aaron (Michael Oher), Kathy Bates (Miss Sue), Lily Collins (Collins Tuohy)

The Blind Side is a biographical drama about Leigh Anne Tuohy, a tough-as-nails mother who adopted Michael Oher, a homeless black teenager, and inspired him to become a famous American Football player.
The film features a very strong performance from Sandra Bullock, won an Oscar for the performance, but the drama's unsung hero is Quinton Aaron as gentle giant Michael.
Although the American Football scenes and references were lost on me as somebody who has no particular interest in the sport, I still appreciated the inspirational and emotional rags-to-riches story at the heart of the movie.

"Living the dream, one heist at a time."
"Living the dream, one heist at a time."
D: Sofia Coppola
A24/NALA/American Zoetrope (Roman Coppola, Sofia Coppola & Youree Henley)
🇺🇸 2013
90 mins


W: Sofia Coppola [based on the Vanity Fair article "The Suspects Wore Louboutins" by Nancy Jo Sales]
DP: Harris Savides & Christopher Blauvelt
Ed: Sarah Flack
Mus: Brian Reitzell & Daniel Lopatin

Katie Chang (Rebecca Ahn), Israel Broussard (Mark Hall), Emma Watson (Nicki Moore), Taissa Farmiga (Sam Moore), Leslie Mann (Laurie Moore)

The fact that this film is based on a Vanity Fair article will immediately tell you whether you'll enjoy watching it or not, and though Sofia Coppola may have aimed for this to be a satire on celebrity culture, it's nothing of the sort.
A group of vapid, superficial, fame-obsessed high school students use the internet to track the whereabouts of various celebrities so they can commit burglary and steal designer gear and cash. Aside from being a bunch of thieving shits, the youngsters have no other personality traits aside from taking drugs and selfies.
This is merely a film to trade on the controversy of Emma Watson playing a bad girl, but it's so boringly told that it's really hard to care.
Francis Ford Coppola's contribution to the crime genre was The Godfather. Aside from Lost In Translation, is this the best Sofia Coppola can churn out? Says it all really.

BLINK (18)
D: Michael Apted
Guild/New Line (David Blocker)
🇺🇸 1994
106 mins
W: Dana Stevens
DP: Dante Spinotti
Ed: Rick Shaine
Mus: Brad Fiedel
Madeliene Stowe (Emma Brody), Aidan Quinn (Det. John Hallstrom), Laurie Metcalf (Candice), Peter Friedman (Dr. Ryan Pierce), James Remar (Det. Thomas Ridgeley)
A blind woman witnesses a murder shortly after an operation which enables her to see again and  the main detective on the case develops feelings for her.
Cliché-ridden thriller with a couple of decent performances, but it brings nothing to an already saturated market.  This has nothing on the similar themed Wait Until Dark (qv) and Madeliene Stowe is no match for Audrey Hepburn.


D: Kay Cannon

Universal/Good Universe/Point Grey/DMG (Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen, James Weaver, Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg & Chris Fenton)

🇺🇸 2018

102 mins


W: Brian Kehoe & Jim Kehoe

DP: Russ Alsobrook

Ed: Stacey Schroeder

Mus: Mateo Messina

John Cena (Mitchell), Ike Barinholtz (Hunter), Leslie Mann (Lisa), Kathryn Newton (Julie), Geraldine Viswanathan (Kayla), Gideon Adlon (Sam)

Marketed as an American Pie sex comedy with a gender flip, Blockers is actually a lot more insightful than it has any right to be.

Three teenage girls make a pact to lose their virginity on prom night and when their parents find out, they follow the girls to various parties and attempt to sabotage their plans.

The performances and humour are pretty much as you'd expect, but the screenplay has an empathetic intelligence and wit which you wouldn't usually associate with a film like this. 


"It will cost you everything."
"It will cost you everything."
D: Edward Zwick
Warner Bros./Virtual/Spring Creek/Bedford Falls (Paula Weinstein, Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz, Graham King & Gillian Gorfil)
🇺🇸 🇿🇦 2006
137 mins


W: Charles Leavitt & C. Gaby Mitchell
DP: Eduardo Serra
Ed: Steven Rosenblum
Mus: James Newton Howard
PD: Dan Weil
Cos: Ngila Dickson

Leonardo DiCaprio (Danny Archer), Jennifer Connelly (Maddy Bowen), Djimon Hounsou (Solomon Vandy), Michael Sheen (Rupert Simmons), Arnold Vosloo (Col. Coetzee), Kagiso Kuypers (Dia Vandy)

Set in Sierra Leone during civil war in 1999 when villagers are forced at gunpoint by rebels to locate diamonds and fund the conflict.
A huge pink diamond is found by humble fisherman, Solomon Vandy (Hounsou), who hides it. When diamond smuggling Zimbabwean Danny Archer (DiCaprio) learns the Vandy has hidden the diamond, he joins forces with him to locate it and in             return promises to reunite Solomon with his son, who had been kidnapped by the rebels and trained to be a soldier.
The film has some rather heavy political messages and some unpleasant scenes involving child soldiers, limb amputations and slavery, but is nevertheless a heart-stopping adventure/war movie with one of Leonardo DiCaprio's finest ever performances, delivering a brilliant Africaan accent as the unscrupulous smuggler.  The film's unsung hero is without a doubt Djimon Hounsou, absolutely brilliant as a father who just wants to be reunited with his family, unjustly torn apart during an unsavoury period of West African history. 

D: Taylor Hackford
Hollywood Pictures/Touchstone (Taylor Hackford & Jerry Gershwin)
🇺🇸 1992 (released 1993)
180 mins


W: Jimmy Santiago Baca, Jeremy Iacone & Floyd Mutrux [based on a story by Ross Thomas]
DP: Gabriel Beristain
Ed: Fredric Steinkamp & Karl E. Steinkamp
Mus: Bill Conti

Jesse Borrego (Cruz Candelaria), Benjamin Bratt (Paco Aquilar), Enrique Castillo (Montana Segura), Damian Chapa (Miklo Velka), Delroy Lindo (Bonafide), Ving Rhames (Ivan)

A lengthy crime drama, but the running time is very much justified, following the stories of two Mexican-American brothers and their half-white cousin over the course of a decade. The lives of the three men go in completely different directions following a gang altercation over territory. One of the brothers goes into a career as a narcotics cop, while the other becomes a heroin addict and their cousin is frequently incarcerated in the brutal San Quentin prison, where he is initiated into an infamous gang whose motto is "blood in, blood out".
The story becomes quite multi-layered in the final act, where the line between law and order & crime becomes blurred. The screenplay is very good, but some of the performances are a little too flaky to convincingly do justice to the dialogue. Still, this is amongst the better crime films from the early part of the 1990's.

D: Joel Coen
Palace/River Road (Ethan Coen)
🇺🇸 1984 (released 1985)
99 mins


W: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
DP: Barry Sonnenfeld
Ed: Roderick Jaynes, Don Wiegmann & Peggy Connolly
Mus: Carter Burwell
PD: Jane Musky

John Getz (Ray), Frances McDormand (Abby), Dan Hedaya (Julian Marty),  M. Emmet Walsh (Visser)

The Coen Brothers' debut movie is still classed as one of their best.
The plot has been done before and since but this is still an excellent delivery of a much copied story; a bar owner hires a sleazy hitman to kill his unfaithful wife and the man she's having an affair with, but the tables are turned on him.
The Coen's demonstrate their usual style here which made them become the top filmmakers they are today with atmospheric photography from Barry Sonnenfeld and their usual dark, unscrupulous and quirky characters.

BLOW-UP (18)

D: Michelangelo Antonioni

Bridge Films (Carlo Ponti)

🇬🇧 🇮🇹 1966

111 mins


W: Michelangelo Antonioni, Tonino Guerra & Edward Bond

DP: Carlo di Palma

Ed: Frank Clarke

Mus: Herbie Hancock

PD: Assheton Gorton

Cos: Jocelyn Richards

David Hemmings (Thomas), Vanessa Redgrave (Jane), Sarah Miles (Patricia), Peter Bowles (Ron)

Not many films capture the swinging sixties of London quite the way Michelangelo Antonioni's 1966 thriller does, though the plot of the film is far from being about the culture of the time, but rather a mysterious drama about the power of perception.

Professional photographer Thomas captures a seemingly innocent romantic moment between a couple in the park and is accosted by the woman (Jane) who demands that he turns the photographs over to her. Later, after developing the pictures, Thomas is convinced that he has captured a crime on film, but events conspire against him as he searches for the truth.

Antonioni's film is full of surrealist touches which make it much more than your standard thriller, including a photoshoot scene which has become an icon of popular culture. The more adult scenes of the film pushed the boundaries of the production code, which existed at the time and was abolished shortly after.

Looking back at it from a modern standpoint, some will wonder what all the fuss was about, but it still can't be denied that this was one of the most commercially successful art films made during the decade and still remains one of the most influential films of the 1960's.


D: Stephen Hopkins
MGM/Trilogy (John Watson, Richard Lewis & Pen Densham)
🇺🇸 1994
121 mins
W: Joe Batteer & John Rice
DP: Peter Levy
Ed: Timothy Wellburn
Mus: Alan Silvestri
Jeff Bridges (Jimmy Dove / Liam McGivney), Tommy Lee Jones (Ryan Gaerity), Lloyd Bridges (Max O'Bannon), Forest Whitaker (Anthony Franklin), Suzy Amis (Kate Dove)
A cliché-ridden, plot hole-filled thriller about a Boston bomb disposal expert trying to foil the maniacal schemes of an IRA bomber.
Tommy Lee Jones' Irish accent is quite laughable and the film has very little to generate interest throughout the duration of its lengthy running time.


D: Woody Allen

Sony Pictures Classics/Gravier (Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum & Edward Walson)

🇺🇸 2013

98 mins


W: Woody Allen

DP: Javier Aguirresarobe

Ed: Alisa Lepselter

Cate Blanchett (Jeanette 'Jasmine' Francis); Sally Hawkins (Ginger), Alec Baldwin (Hal Francis), Peter Sarsgaard (Dwight Westlake), Louis C.K. (Al Munsinger), Bobby Cannavale (Chili), Andrew Dice Clay (Augie), Michael Stuhlbarg (Dr. Flicker)

For me, Woody Allen's movies can be very hit and miss, and with the writer-director making a new film every year (at least since 1982), it's understandable that the quality will fluctuate.

Blue Jasmine is certainly amongst Allen's best films, featuring a brilliant pair of performances from both Cate Blanchett and Sally Hawkins. 

Blanchett plays Jasmine, an entitled socialite who hasn't worked a day in her life, and lived her luxuriant lifestyle out of her husband's pockets. Jasmine moves away from the luxuriant penthouse apartments of Manhattan to her sister Ginger's more modest accommodation on the west coast, where she spares no time getting involved in Ginger's personal life.

The non-linear storyline delves into the past, where it emerges that Jasmine's millionaire husband commit suicide shortly after being sentenced to prison for real estate fraud, which also affected Ginger's marriage to her first husband.

Though Allen's screenplay doesn't quite answer all the issues that it raises, Cate Blanchett gives an excellent portrayal of a deeply troubled woman, who may look complete on the outside but is totally broken within. A performance which was rewarded with an Academy Award for Best Actress.

Sally Hawkins and Woody Allen's screenplay also received well-deserved Oscar nominations.


D: Basil Dearden
GFD/Ealing (Michael Relph)
🇬🇧 1949
84 mins


W: T.E.B. Clarke
DP: Gordon Dines
Ed: Peter Tanner
Mus: Ernest Irving

Jack Warner (PC George Dixon), Jimmy Hanley (PC Andy Mitchell), Dirk Bogarde (Tom Riley), Meredith Edwards (PC Hughes), Robert Flemyng (Sgt. Roberts), Bernard Lee (Inspector Cherry), Patric Doohan (Spud), Peggy Evans (Diana Lewis)

A rarity from Ealing Studios; it isn't a comedy. More in the veins of 1947's Brighton Rock, this pacy crime thriller is an ode to the traditional English bobby on the beat, following a new recruit who is on the hunt for the murderer who kills his senior colleague.     
Though the London geographical and political landscape has changed in the decades since, this is a brilliant throwback to a more nostalgic time with the studio's often heralded message that "crime doesn't pay".
The film provided a huge inspiration to long-running British TV show, The Dixon Of Dock Green.


D: Randal Kleiser
Columbia (Randal Kleiser)
🇺🇸 1980
102 mins
W: Douglas Day Stewart [based on the novel by Henry DeVere Stacpoole]
DP: Nestor Almendros
Ed: Robert Gordon
Mus: Basil Poledouris
Brooke Shields (Emmeline Lestrange), Christopher Atkins (Richard Lestrange), Leo McKern (Paddy Button), William Daniels (Arthur Lestrange)
Beautiful looking but emotionally empty remake of a 1940's British film about a brother and sister who survive a shipwreck together and grow older on a desert island, where a sexual relationship eventually blossoms between them.
As a drama it's not dramatic and as an adventure it's just not very adventurous, it's just two young pretty people sitting on a beach without many clothes on. Neither of whom can act with any credibility. The photography is quite excellent, especially in underwater scenes, but everything else is best forgotten.
A sequel/remake 'Return To The Blue Lagoon' was released in 1991.

D: Kathryn Bigelow
MGM/Vestron/Lightning/Precision (Edward R. Pressman & Oliver Stone)
🇺🇸 1990
102 mins
W: Kathryn Bigelow & Eric Red
DP: Amit Mokri
Ed: Hal Levinsohn
Mus: Brad Fiedel
Jamie Lee Curtis (Megan Turner), Ron Silver (Eugene Hunt), Clancy Brown (Nick Mann), Elizabeth Pena (Tracy Perez), Louise Fletcher (Shirley Turner), Philip Bosco (Frank Turner)
A conventional thriller with a twist on gender. Jamie Lee Curtis playing a novice cop who falls in love with the chief suspect during a murder investigation.
It's all quite predictable and not particularly memorable, but is worth a watch for an exceptionally good Jamie Lee Curtis performance.

D: John Badham
Columbia/Rastar (Gordon Carroll, Phil Feldman & Andrew Fogelson)
🇺🇸 1983
110 mins


W: Dan O'Bannon & Don Jakoby
DP: John A. Alonzo (& Frank Holgate)
Ed: Frank Morriss & Edward Abroms
Mus: Arthur Rubinstein

Roy Scheider (Officer Frank Murphy), Warren Oates (Capt. Jack Braddock), Candy Clark (Kate), Daniel Stern (Officer Richard Lymangood), Malcolm McDowell (Col. F.E. Cochrane)

Impressive for the 1980's, but dated very badly now, Blue Thunder is an action thriller about a prototype armed helicopter, to be used for law enforcement, but on one of its maiden flights, a cop helicopter pilot and his partner uncover the true reason for its creation.
For 1983, the special effects, stunt work, editing and aerial photography are hugely impressive, but the story is still full of clichés and if you were to remove the helicopter from the scenario, it's the same cops & villains face off you've seen in countless movies before and since.
A short-lived television series followed a year later, before the formula was improved for a longer-running TV series (Airwolf).

D: Derek Cianfrance
TWC/Hunting Lane/Silverwood (Lynette Howell, Alex Orlovsky & Jamie Patricof)
🇺🇸 2010
112 mins


W: Derek Cianfrance, Cami Delavigne & Joey Curtis
DP: Andrij Parekh 
Ed: Jim Helton & Ron Patane
Mus: Grizzly Bear

Ryan Gosling (Dean Pereira), Michelle Williams (Cindy Heller)

Like the previous year's '(500) Days Of Summer' (qv), Blue Valentine is a non-linear story of a doomed relationship, but where the former had comedy undertones, this is a far more serious study.
Switching between the past and present, it's a well-observed, realistic love story, focusing entirely on the breakdown of a marriage, but intersecting the depressing end of a relationship with it's bittersweet, romantic origins.
The performances of both Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams are excellent, and the soundtrack unearthed a gem with a previously unreleased 1960's soul hit entitled "You & Me", which becomes the young couples' 'song'.
There isn't really much point to the film, aside from the theory that you only hurt the one you love. Bleak and depressing, but also captivating, it's a film you certainly need to be in the mood for, but really ought to be avoided if you're personally going through heartbreak.

D: David Lynch
DEG (Fred Caruso)
🇺🇸 1986
120 mins
W: David Lynch
DP: Frederick Elmes
Ed: Duwayne Dunham
Mus: Angelo Badalamenti
PD: Patricia Norris
Kyle MacLachlan (Jeffrey Beaumont), Isabella Rossellini (Dorothy Vallens), Dennis Hopper (Frank Booth), Laura Dern (Sandy Williams), Hope Lange (Mrs. Williams), George Dickerson (Detective Williams), Dean Stockwell (Ben)
David Lynch's surreal cult classic, introducing the movie-going public to his trademark that 'all is not well behind the picket fences of an idyllic community'.
After visiting his father in hospital, Jeffrey Beaumont discovers a human ear in the field by his home. He notifies the police, but decides to do some detective work of his own, snooping on lounge-singing neighbour Dorothy Vallens, whose husband and child have been kidnapped by unsavoury gangster Frank Booth so he can demand sexual favours from her (which include raping her while asphyxiating himself with blue velvet from her robe).  It's a seedy, unpleasant thriller of unpleasant people in an otherwise peaceful town. David Lynch's direction is intended to unsettle his audience and it does just that, punctuated by Dennis Hopper's menacing performance as Frank Booth, whose character is amongst the greatest cinema villains of all time. A man with absolutely no redeeming qualities and has a strange trademark of inhaling an unidentifed gas from a canister.
David Lynch must sure eat a feast of cheeses before he goes to bed. 

"They're on a mission from God."
"They're on a mission from God."
D: John Landis
Universal (Robert K. Weiss)
🇺🇸 1980
133 mins
W: John Landis
DP: Stephen Katz
Ed: George Folsey, Jr.
Mus: Elmer Bernstein
Cos: Deborah Nadoolman
John Belushi (Jake), Dan Aykroyd (Elwood), James Brown (Rev. James), Cab Calloway (Curtis), Ray Charles (Ray), Carrie Fisher (Mystery Woman), Aretha Franklin (Soul Food Cafe Owner), Henry Gibson (Nazi Leader), John Candy (Burton Mercer), Murphy Dunne (Murph)
Shortly after release from prison, one of two musician brothers gets a religious epiphany to reform their old blues band and put on a show to raise proceeds to save the nunnery where they were raised.
Derided at the time for being an exercise in profligacy, it wasn't until it's VHS release 10 years later that it was hailed as a cult classic.
It is shamefully over-the-top, particularly in the chase scenes and has very little going for it by way of subplot, but there are some brilliantly funny moments, a fantastic blues & soul soundtrack and inspiring cameos from musical legends including Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, John Lee Hooker, Cab Calloway and many others.
A sequel (Blues Brothers 2000) followed, nearly 20 years later, but without the late John Belushi, it wasn't met with appreciation from the original film's fanbase.