"There are no clean getaways."
"There are no clean getaways."
D: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Paramount Vantage/Miramax (Scott Rudin, Joel Coen & Ethan Coen)
US 2007
117 mins
W: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen [based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy]
DP: Roger Deakins
Ed: Roderick Jaynes
Mus: Carter Burwell
PD: Jess Gonchor 
Josh Brolin (Llewelyn Moss), Tommy Lee Jones (Sheriff Ed Tom Bell), Javier Bardem (Anton Chigurh), Woody Harrelson (Carson Wells), Kelly MacDonald (Carla Jean Moss)

Set in early 1980's Texas, a redneck discovers the aftermath of a drug deal gone wrong while on a hunt. Instead of reporting the occurrence to the police, he takes a case containing $2 million for himself and makes himself a target for a psychopathic assassin who has no problem gunning down anyone who stands in his way in order to reclaim the bounty, all while a veteran local sheriff investigates the trail of crime left in the wake.
This nail-biting thriller is helped with excellent acting from its ensemble cast, especially in the chilling performance from Javier Bardem (a thoroughly deserved winner of the Best Supporting Actor Oscar) and though the director duo do a marvellous job in building the tension throughout the running time, they go completely against the grain in the film's final act, a trick which will more than likely divide audiences, particularly the ambiguous final moments, which will either be deemed intelligent, pretentious, or merely lazy writing (one of the depending factors is whether or not you've read Cormac McCarthy's source novel, which also ends the same way).
Though the film saw the Coen Brothers claim Oscar victory (for Film, Director & Screenplay), it is just a little short of their best work, but wouldn't be an unwelcoming introduction for those not familiar with their movies.
"No guards. No walls."
"No guards. No walls."


D: Martin Campbell
Savoy/Allied/Pacific Western (Gale Anne Hurd)
US 1994
118 mins

Action/Adventure/Science Fiction

W: Michael Gaylin & Joel Gross [based on the novel "The Penal Colony" by Richard Herley]
DP: Phil Meheux
Ed: Terry Rawlings
Mus: Graeme Revell

Ray Liotta (John Robbins), Lance Henriksen (The Father), Stuart Wilson (Marek), Kevin Dillon (Casey), Kevin J. O'Connor (Stephano), Michael Lerner (The Warden), Ernie Hudson (Hawkins)

In the year 2022, a man is wrongfully convicted and imprisoned on a remote island where other inmates vie for supremacy in a land without guards, rules or law & order.
A curious mix of Papillon and Lord Of The Flies which doesn't quite work. Occasional action set pieces satisfy the attention span, but for the most part, a talented cast of actors are left stranded at sea.

"Is it a crime of passion or an act of treason?"
"Is it a crime of passion or an act of treason?"
D: Roger Donaldson
Orion/Neufeld (Laura Ziskin & Robert Garland)
US 1987
116 mins
W: Robert Garland [based on the novel "The Big Clock" by Kenneth Fearing]
DP: John Alcott
Ed: Neil Travis
Mus: Maurice Jarre
Kevin Costner (Lt. Cmmdr. Tom Farrell), Gene Hackman (David Brice), Sean Young (Susan Atwell), Will Patton (Scott Pritchard), George Dzundza (Sam Hesselman)

Fast-paced thriller and amongst Kevin Costner's finest performances as an officer for the US government who embarks on affair with his bosses mistress and becomes involved in a Cold War espionage plot following her murder.
Both Costner & Gene Hackman are excellent, the screenplay is taut and the build up of tension transcends the notion that the whole plot borders upon the ridiculous, complete with a twist which could either be described as a bolt from the blue, or absolute genius. I'm siding with the second option.
NOAH (12)
D: Darren Aronofsky
Paramount/Regency/Protozoa (Scott Franklin, Darren Aronofsky, Arnon Milchan & Mary Parent)
US 2014
138 mins


W: Darren Aronofsky & Ari Handel
DP: Matthew Libatique
Ed: Andrew Weisblum
Mus: Clint Mansell
PD: Mark Freidberg

Russell Crowe (Noah), Jennifer Connelly (Naameh), Ray Winstone (Tubal-Cain), Logan Lerman (Ham), Douglas Booth (Shem), Emma Watson (Ila), Anthony Hopkins (Methuselah)

I really enjoyed director Darren Aronofsky's previous films (Requiem For A Dream, The Wrestler, Black Swan), but can't help but think this was a really bad choice for him. He didn't do himself any favours either, judging by the final product.
Religious epics haven't really been tackled since the 1950's, when Cecil B. DeMille brought The Ten Commandments to the silver screen and Ben-Hur won the Best Picture Oscar.  
This antediluvian tale tries to modernise the biblical text by adding some magic and wonder, but it really doesn't work because it's all one big contradiction.
The story opens with a young Noah watching his father slaughtered and then fast-forwards to the peaceful, ecological-minded vegetarian as a man, teaching his sons to respect the planet and all it's flora and fauna. He receives a message from God (represented by a dream) that a flood is coming and therefore must build an ark to keep his family and all the animals safe.  To do this, Noah gets help from some rock-beasts, fallen angels who had wandered into the film from either the Transformers or Lord Of The Rings set (this is still a mystery).
The ark is built in no time at all, with Noah and his family seemingly there just to sweep up all the bird shit after a flock fly straight into the open doors and go to sleep.
Barbaric king Ray Winstone then turns up to tell Noah what the odds are before the rains begin, then sneaks aboard for a showdown after Noah has some internal conflict over whether or not his adopted daughter's unborn children should live.
One of the main reasons this film fails is because it seems to abandon all the laws of physics, yet still tries to remain 'realistic', it also portrays Noah as some kind of fanatical religious zealot who is willing to kill babies in the name of God.
In my opinion, this film came 60 years too late and rides too closely on the success of Lord Of The Rings and other recent fantasy-adventures.
The production design, costumes and visual effects are technically decent but the sermonic story and pretentious direction led the film well astray.


D: Tom Ford

Focus Features/Fade To Black (Tom Ford & Robert Salerno)

US 2016

116 mins


W: Tom Ford [based on the novel "Tony & Susan" by Austin Wright]

DP: Seamus McGarvey

Ed: Joan Sobel

Mus: Abel Korzeniowski

PD: Tony Valentino

Amy Adams (Susan Morrow), Jake Gyllenhaal (Edward Sheffield / Tony Hastings), Michael Shannon (Bobby Andes), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Ray Marcus), Armie Hammer (Hutton Morrow), Laura Linney (Anne Sutton), Isla Fisher (Laura Hastings)

Nocturnal Animals is a multi-layered thriller clearly modelled on the neo-noir style of David Lynch, which adopts a non-linear thread for its multiple storylines and is most certainly not for those with short attention spans.

Based on the novel 'Tony & Susan' by Austin Wright, the plot opens with art gallery owner Susan Morrow (Amy Adams) aggrieved with her neglectful husband when she receives an unpublished manuscript from her ex-husband, Edward Sheffield, a man who she left 20 years earlier.

As she begins to read the novel, titled Nocturnal Animals, the film within the film unfolds, with mild-mannered husband and father Tony Hastings (Jake Gyllenhaal) driving at night through rural Texas with his wife & daughter when they are driven off the road by an unruly gang, who kidnap Tony's wife and daughter and leave him for dead.

In the morning, it is discovered that Tony's wife and child have been raped and murdered, and a cancer-suffering sheriff takes on the case to bring those guilty to justice.

While Susan reads Edward's novel, she begins to reminisce on their relationship and how they were forced apart by her hard-to-please mother, who had doubts in his writing potential.

The novel takes a dark turn when the case against the guilty men gets thrown out of court and Tony and the sheriff decide to take the law into their own hands.

The multiple strands do become a little complicated to follow around the midway point, where fiction and reality do become a little blurred, but if you pay close attention, it's a very clever piece of work, with ambiguous endings to both stories which will leave you mulling over them as the end credits roll.

It's unfortunate that the film didn't get more attention during its cinema run, as it is amongst the best films of 2016. The Oscars failed to recognise it aside from a deserved nod for Best Supporting Actor (Michael Shannon), although the BAFTA's were a lot more generous, recognising it in 9 categories.


NORTH (12)
D: Rob Reiner
Rank/Columbia/Castle Rock (Rob Reiner & Alan Zweibel)
US 1994
88 mins
W: Alan Zweibel & Andrew Scheinman [based on the novel by Alan Zweibel]
DP: Adam Greenberg
Ed: Robert Leighton
Mus: Marc Shaiman
Elijah Wood (North), Bruce Willis (Easter Bunny / various benevolent advisors), Jon Lovitz (Arthur Belt), Matthew McCurley (Winchell), Alan Arkin (Judge Buckle), Jason Alexander (North's Father), Julia-Louis Dreyfus (North's Mother)

A woefully unfunny flop from Rob Reiner in which an odious child progidy named North (Elijah Wood) gets fed up with his parents and travels around the world to find another mum & dad.
What follows is a journey into a land populated with insulting stereotypical characters (Texans, Eskimos, Amish) while North is followed by a guardian angel (in the form of Bruce Willis) and finally realises that his natural parents are his best bet.
As a children's film, the jokes are inappropriate and unfunny. Even as a parody of the overly-PC fare released around the same time, the jokes fall way short of any sort of mark.
Personally, I see this movie as an excuse for the cast & crew to travel around the world on holiday at the studio's expense.
D: Alfred Hitchcock
MGM (Alfred Hitchcock)
US 1959
136 mins
W: Ernest Lehman
DP: Robert Burks
Ed: George Tomasini
Mus: Bernard Herrmann
PD: William A. Horning, Robert Doyle & Merrill Pye
Cary Grant (Roger Thornhill), Eva Marie Saint (Eve Kendall), James Mason (Phillip Vandamm), Leo G. Carroll (The Professor), Martin Landau (Leonard), Jessie Royce Landis (Clara Thornhill), Adam Williams (Valerian)
One of the classic Hitchcock thrillers as well as one of the best films of the decade, if not all time. 
Cary Grant delivers one of his finest performances as an innocent businessman mistaken as a spy by the police and a target for assassination by enemy agents because he knows too much.
The balance is a perfect mix of an intense chase thriller and tongue-in-cheek humour impeccably directed by the master of suspense. 
Most would remember it for the famous crop-dusting plane scene or the sequence atop Mount Rushmore, but there's plenty more to enjoy. An iconic masterpiece of work.
D: F.W. Murnau
Prana (Enrico Dieckmann & Albin Grau)
Germany 1922
72 mins


W: Henrik Galeen
DP: Fritz Arno Wagner
PD: Albin Grau

Max Schreck (Graf Orlok), Gustav Von Waggenheim (Hutter), Greta Schröder (Ellen), George H. Schnell (Harding)

Nosferatu is an unofficial treatment of the Dracula story, changing the names of the characters but the story is practically the same.
This German silent film has gone down as one of the all-time classics, with a terrifying count played by the incredibly strange-looking Max Schreck.
Considering the age of the film, it has held up really well over time, with some excellent trick photography for its age.
Werner Herzog remade the film in 1979, when Bram Stoker's copyright had passed into the public domain, allowing him to use the original characters names. Overall, the 1922 version is still better.

D: Werner Herzog
Gaumont (Werner Herzog)
West Germany/France 1979 
107 mins


W: Werner Herzog [based on the 1921 screenplay by Henrik Galeen & the novel "Dracula" by Bram Stoker]
DP: Jörgen Schmidt-Reitwein
Mus: Popol Vuh

Klaus Kinski (Count Dracula), Isabelle Adjani (Lucy Harker), Bruno Ganz (Jonathan Harker), Roland Topor (Renfield), Walter Ladengast (Dr. Van Helsing)

With the rights of Bram Stoker's Dracula passing into the public domain, Werner Herzog remade the 1921 German classic with the original names from the novel.
Overall, the film drags a little slowly, but the menacing performance of Klaus Kinski as the title character is very effective, especially with his resemblance of Max Schreck from the original film with the aid of superb prosthetic makeup.
As with all Herzog films, the making of the production has its own interesting story and the film was shot twice, both in English and German languages for distribution on both sides of the pond. The German version appears to have dated better for some reason, with the colour on the English language version appearing flushed of colour.
The 1921 original is far preferable, but this is good enough for those who wouldn't be able to take a silent picture.

D: Joel Gallen
Columbia/Original Film (Neal H. Moritz)
US 2001
89 mins
W: Michael G. Bender, Adam Jay Bernstein, Andrew Jacobson, Phil Beauman & Buddy Johnson
DP: Reynaldo Villalobos
Ed: Steven Welch
Mus: Theodore Shapiro
Chyler Leigh (Janey Briggs), Chris Evans (Jake Wyler), Jaime Pressly (Priscilla), Eric Christian Olsen (Austin), Mia Kirschner (Catherine Wyler), Deon Richmond (Malik Token)
There's more screenwriters than there are jokes in this parody of American Pie, She's All That & other teen-marketed movies released around the same time, ironic considering the production company who funded it is called Original Film.
Unfortunately, it's not particularly funny, and it doesn't spoof any of the films it intends to as it merely makes references to them. There may as well be winks to the camera every now and then, just to make it even more obvious. Not quite as bad as Epic Movie, Disaster Movie and all the other films of similar ilk, but it's not particularly good either.
"Behind every great love is a great story."
"Behind every great love is a great story."
D: Nick Cassavetes 
New Line (Mark Johnson & Lynn Harris)
US 2004
123 mins
W: Jeremy Leven
DP: Robert Fraisse
Ed: Alan Heim
Mus: Aaron Zigman
PD: Sarah Knowles
Ryan Gosling (Noah Calhoun), Rachel McAdams (Allie Hamilton), James Garner (Old Noah), Gena Rowlands (Old Allie), James Marsden (Lon Hammond), Sam Shepard (Frank Calhoun), Joan Allen (Anne Hamilton)
Any fella who's ever had a girlfriend has more than likely been "Notebooked" by his other half, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, though it will probably be more appreciated if it's watched with an open mind and no prior knowledge of it's story or plot points.
It's a sweet, nostalgic and syrupy love story with the occasional moment of schmaltz and whimsy, but it has a good heart, as an elderly husband tells his Alzheimer's-suffering wife a love story at her hospital bedside of a couple who meet and fall in love during the 1950's.
Some of the plot twists will be glaringly obvious, but it's very well told, with some good production detail, good use of music and some impressive performances, particularly from Rachel McAdams & James Garner.
It goes without saying that a female audience will appreciate this more, but it's not a complete waste of time for lads either.
"One woman's mistake is another's opportunity."
"One woman's mistake is another's opportunity."
D: Richard Eyre
Fox Searchlight/DNA/UK Film Council/BBC (Scott Rudin & Robert Fox)
US 2006
91 mins
W: Patrick Marber [based on the novel by Zoë Heller]
DP: Chris Menges
Ed: John Bloom & Antonia Van Drimmelen
Mus: Philip Glass
Judi Dench (Barbara Covett), Cate Blanchett (Sheba Hart), Bill Nighy (Richard Hart), Andrew Simpson (Steven Connelly), Phil Davis (Brian Bangs), Julia McKenzie (Marjorie)
I think this could be Judi Dench's finest ever performance. She plays a spinsterish, bitter school teacher who forms a friendship with the new art teacher (Cate Blanchett), who is having an immoral (and illegal) affair with one of the students. Upon the discovery of the illicit affair, she uses emotional blackmail to manipulate her colleague.
This movie is two great actresses in their element. I don't think Dench has ever been better and I've yet to see Cate Blanchett deliver a poor performance.
It's more of a filmed stage play or ITV drama than something you might watch at the cinema, but is still an enjoyable piece of work.
D: Rod Lurie
Yari Film Group (Rod Lurie, Bob Yari & Marc Frydman)
US 2008
108 mins
W: Rod Lurie
DP: Alik Sakharov
Ed: Sarah Boyd
Mus: Larry Groupé
Kate Beckinsale (Rachel Armstrong), Matt Dillon (Patton Dubois), Angela Bassett (Bonnie Benjamin), Alan Alda (Albert Burnside), Vera Farmiga (Erica Van Doren)
A decent political thriller, featuring possibly Kate Beckinsale's best acting performance. She plays an ambitious journalist who writes an article which is damaging to national security and, unwilling to name her source for the article, is incarcerated in a penitentiary for contempt of court.
All the performances in the movie are quite excellent. Matt Dillon is a real bastard as a government DA, Alan Alda is great as Beckinsale's attorney, Vera Farmiga delivers a powerhouse performance as a scrutinised CIA agent and even David Schwimmer turns up as Ross Geller, I mean, Kate Beckinsale's husband.
The one major criticism I have of this movie, however, is that the "twist" is so blindingly obvious, that halfway through the movie I was wondering how all the supporting characters could be so thick.
"All they wanted was a little getaway..."
"All they wanted was a little getaway..."
D: Dan Aykroyd
Warner Bros./Applied Action (Robert K. Weiss)
US 1991
94 mins


W: Dan Aykroyd & Peter Aykroyd
DP: Dean Cundey
Ed: Malcolm Campbell & James Symons
Mus: Michael Kamen

Chevy Chase (Chris Thorne), Demi Moore (Diane Lightson), Dan Aykroyd (Judge J.P. Valkenheiser / Bobo), John Candy (Dennis Valkenheiser / Eldona)

Woefully painful excuse for a comedy, written, directed by and starring Dan Aykroyd as a maniac judge who takes a lost suburban pair (Chevy Chase & Demi Moore) hostage in his creepy mansion where their intended vacation plans go from bad to worse.
There's nothing fun about this film, and it's attempts to be funny fall flat, including the sight of John Candy in drag. Nobody needs to see that.
D: Alfred Hitchcock
RKO (Alfred Hitchcock)
US 1946
101 mins


W: Ben Hecht
DP: Ted Tetzlaff
Ed: Theron Warth
Mus: Roy Webb
PD: Albert D'Agostino & Carroll Clark
Cos: Edith Head

Cary Grant (T.R. Devlin), Ingrid Bergman (Alicia Huberman), Claude Rains (Alexander Sebastian), Louis Calhern (Paul Prescott)

Amongst The Master Of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock's most famous works, Notorious combines thrills, romance and international intrigue, helped by the scintillating pairing of Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman.
Following her father's incarceration for being a nazi spy, a socialite is forced to work for the US government to investigate a Nazi renegade.
The twisted love affair is very much at the centre of the film. Grant's character is untrusting, unsympathetic and passive, while Bergman is excellent as the poisoned candy, though perhaps the best performance of the film belongs to Claude Rains.
Hitchcock fills the film with his usual flair and some superb camera shots, making this one of the finest examples of his work.

"The pin-up sensation that shocked the nation."
"The pin-up sensation that shocked the nation."
D: Mary Harron
Picturehouse/HBO (Pamela Koffler, Katie Roumel & Christine Vachon)
US 2006
105 mins


W: Mary Harron & Guinevere Turner
DP: W. Mott Hupfel III
Ed: Tricia Cooke
Mus: Mark Suozzo

Gretchen Mol (Bettie Page), Lili Taylor (Paula Klaw), Chris Bauer (Irving Klaw), Jared Harris (John Willie), Sarah Paulson (Bunny Yeager), Cara Seymour (Maxie Lee)

Well-handled, art house biopic of 1950's pin-up model Bettie Page, focusing on the point where her career was caught up in political scandal following her highly provocative photographs.
Gretchen Mol delivers a fantastic breakthrough performance as the sexpot icon, but the subject matter won't be for everyone.
"Can the most famous film star in the world fall for just an ordinary guy?"
"Can the most famous film star in the world fall for just an ordinary guy?"
D: Roger Michell
Universal/Working Title (Duncan Kenworthy)
US/UK 1999
123 mins


W: Richard Curtis
DP: Michael Coulter
Ed: Nick Moore
Mus: Trevor Jones

Hugh Grant (Will Thacker), Julia Roberts (Anna Scott), Richard McCabe (Tony), Rhys Ifans (Spike), James Dreyfus (Martin)

A timid bookstore owner in London's affluent Notting Hill finds his life turned upside down after he has a chance meeting with a famous actress, who embarks on a romantic affair with him.
Scripted by Richard Curtis, who also penned Four Weddings & A Funeral (qv), this charming update on Brief Encounter is a real heartwarmer with many amusing moments.
Hugh Grant pretty much plays the same character to which he became accustomed and Julia Roberts is practically playing herself, but the chemistry between the two leads is both delightful and believable. Rhys Ifans probably steals the limelight, as Grant's slobby housemate.
The film probably came out around the right time, becoming such a huge smash that the house in Notting Hill where exteriors were filmed has become a minor tourist attraction, much to the annoyance of the residents. The soundtrack, crammed with pop songs & ballads, was also a bestseller.

"The closer you look, the less you'll see."
"The closer you look, the less you'll see."
D: Louis Leterrier
Summit (Bobby Cohen, Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci)
US 2013
115 mins
W: Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin & Edward Ricourt
DP: Mitchell Amundsen & Larry Wong
Ed: Robert Leighton & Vincent Tabaillon
Mus: Brian Tyler
Jesse Eisenberg (Danny Atlas), Woody Harrelson (Merritt McKinney), Isla Fisher (Henley Reeves), Dave Franco (Jack Wilder), Mark Ruffalo (Dylan Rhodes-Shrike), Melanie Laurent (Alma Dray), Morgan Freeman (Thaddeus Bradley), Michael Caine (Arthur Tressler)
A quartet of illusionists, known as The Four Horsemen, use their tricks to commit theft and heists, all masterminded by a higher power who will reward them with entry into an elite magicians club if they succeed.
The film uses lots of flashy photography and editing effects, but the story relies on the concept that magic tricks are real, even going full-on Inception (qv) for some scenes as it attempts to convince the audience that hypnotism can be achieved by simple snap of the fingers.
The suspension of disbelief could be upheld however, if it weren't for an incredulous ending, complete with a plot twist which truly is God from the machine. Enjoyable enough if you accept that the film's writer and director are actually mocking your intellect with this nonsense.

"You haven't seen anything yet."
"You haven't seen anything yet."
D: Jon M. Chu
Summit (Alex Kurtzman & Bobby Cohen)
US 2016
129 mins


W: Ed Solomon & Peter Chiarelli [based on characters created by Boaz Yakin & Edward Ricourt]
DP: Peter Deming
Ed: Stan Salfas
Mus: Brian Tyler

Jesse Eisenberg (Daniel Atlas), Mark Ruffalo (Dylan Rhodes), Woody Harrelson (Merritt McKinley / Chase McKinley), Dave Franco (Dave Franco), Lizzy Caplan (Lula May), Daniel Radliffe (Walter Mabry), Jay Chou (Li), Michael Caine (Arthur Tressler), Morgan Freeman (Thaddeus Bradley)

Now You Don't would have been the perfect title if the filmmakers had any intellect, but unfortunately they went for the simple cash grab route and insult the intelligence of their audience once again...
Following the events of the first film, The Four Horsemen are in hiding and one has quit the group altogether (Isla Fisher replaced by Lizzy Caplan), but it doesn't make one iota of difference.
The illuminati group who seemingly control them need them to take the stage once again to unveil an unscrupulous playboy through the use of magic, but their act is sabotaged by a tech wizard who needs them for his own heist.
The first film was far fetched to say the least, but the laws of physics are completely ignored in this sequel, only to lay bare its twists with the simple explanation of "magic".
The performances are slightly more convincing than the tricks, but the majority are simply annoying, particularly Woody Harrelson (playing a dual role for very little reason), while the rest just seem to be in it for the money.

THE NUMBER 23 (15)
D: Joel Schumacher
New Line/Contrafilm/Firm Films (Beau Flynn & Tripp Vinson)
US/Germany 2007
94 mins
W: Fernley Phillips
DP: Matthew Libatique
Ed: Mark Stevens
Mus: Harry Gregson-Williams
Jim Carrey (Walter Sparrow), Virginia Madsen (Agatha Pink-Sparrow), Logan Lerman (Robin Sparrow), Danny Huston (Isaac French)
On his birthday, a man receives a book from his wife which he becomes obsessed with and loses his mind trying to decipher its obscure, ambiguous meaning.
The idea behind this film is intriguing and had it been written by someone like Stephen King, it may have had more weight behind it. As is, it's very poorly executed, mainly due to Joel Schumacher's misguided direction, some major plotholes in the story and a very miscast Jim Carrey in a role that doesn't require his usual rubberface routine.

THE NUN (15)

D: Corin Hardy

Warner Bros/New Line/Atomic Monster (Peter Safran & James Wan)

US 2018

96 mins


W: Gary Dauberman & James Wan

DP: Maxime Alexander

Ed: Michel Aller & Ken Blackwell

Mus: Abel Korzeniowski

Demián Bichir (Father Burke), Taissa Farmiga (Sister Irene), Jonas Bloquet (Maurice 'Frenchie' Theriault), Bonnie Arens (Valak/The Nun)

The Nun is a mess of a horror movie which seemingly ties into The Conjuring series of films (which I had not even seen at the time of review).

Set in the early 1950's, a nun seemingly commits suicide at a desolate, creepy monastery in Romania and is subsequently investigated by Father Burke and his companion Sister Irene, still in her noviciate, are also accompanied by Frenchie, an irritating French-Canadian with a confusing accent.

Unholy goings-on around the Romanian convent can only mean one thing... the building is possessed by evil, explained with endless exposition scenes which lead up to a messy conclusion which is so poorly directed, it's almost impossible to tell what's going on.

The first act of film is quite atmospherically done, but it doesn't take long for the film to resort to jump scares to the point that the film merely becomes three or four quiet moments punctuated by the sudden and abrupt appearance of a heretic nun who looks like Marilyn Manson.  Taissa Farmiga is fine in the lead, but the other performances are far from convincing and the attempts at comedy in the script fall very flat.

Perhaps the film should have been called The Nunjuring, so I would have done appropriate homework prior to watching.


"From now on, it's every nun for himself."
"From now on, it's every nun for himself."
D: Jonathan Lynn
Palace/Handmade (Michael White)
UK 1990
92 mins
W: Jonathan Lynn
DP: Michael Garfath
Ed: David Martin
Mus: George Harrison
Eric Idle (Brian Hope / Sister Euphemia), Robbie Coltrane (Charlie McManus / Sister Inviolata), Camille Coduri (Faith Thomas), Janet Suzman (Sister Liz)
Nuns On The Run is a one-joke movie which takes its central premise and, quite frankly, goes on the run with it. Following a bungled heist, criminal pair Eric Idle & Robbie Coltrane hide from the police in a convent, disguised as a pair of nuns.
It has a few amusing moments, but nothing particularly clever or memorable. 
D: Tom Shadyac
UIP/Universal/Imagine (Brian Grazer & Russell Simmons)
US 1996
95 mins


W: David Sheffield, Barry W. Blaustein, Tom Shadyac & Steve Oedekerk [based on the screenplay by Jerry Lewis & Bill Richmond]
DP: Julio Macat
Ed: Don Zimmerman
Mus: David Newman

Eddie Murphy (Prof. Sherman Klump / Buddy Love), Jada Pinkett (Carla Purty), James Coburn (Harlan Hartley), Larry Miller (Dean Richmond)

While the original 1963 film was pretty much an excuse to showcase the comedy talents of Jerry Lewis, this 1996 remake does pretty much the same for Eddie Murphy, aided by Rick Baker's excellent makeup, which sees the comedy actor playing multiple characters. Mostly, the portly title character, Sherman Klump, who devises a potion which turns him into a slim, (over)confident ladies man. 
The jokes are very hit and miss, mostly consisting of fat and fart jokes, the film should really be called The Fat Professor.  That being said, Murphy's comedy stock had diminished throughout the late 80's and early 90's and this saw a small return to form for him and is possibly considered one of his last decent comedy vehicles.  The film is a load of nonsense, but so was the original. It's just a shame about the rubbish sequel (The Klumps) which was released off the back of this just four years later.
D: Peter Segal
Universal/Imagine (Brian Grazer)
US 2000
106 mins
W: David Sheffield, Barry W. Blaustein, Paul Weitz & Chris Weitz
DP: Dean Semler
Ed: William Kerr
Mus: David Newman
Eddie Murphy (Prof. Sherman Klump / Buddy Love / various members of the Klump family), Janet Jackson (Dennis Gaines), Larry Miller (Dean Richmond)
Poor sequel to the 1996 film, which mostly sees Eddie Murphy playing all the members of The Klump family, making fart jokes and mocking fat people. 
The makeup is great. The jokes are not.
An unmemorable studio cash-in on the popularity and success of the original.