D: Frank Capra

United Artists/Franton (Frank Capra)

US 1961

136 mins




W: Hal Kanter & Harry Tugend [based on the screenplay "Lady For A Day" by Robert Riskin]

DP: Robert Bronner

Ed: Frank P. Keller

Mus: Walter Scharf

PD: Hal Pereira & Roland Anderson

Cos: Edith Head & Walter Plunkett


Bette Davis (Apple Annie / Mrs. E. Worthington Manville), Glenn Ford (Dave 'The Dude' Conway), Hope Lange (Elizabeth 'Queenie' Martin), Arthur O'Connell (Count Alfonso Romero), Peter Falk (Joy Boy)


Frank Capra remakes his own 1933 film 'Lady For A Day' for a 1960's audience.  A gangster, feeling that his luck is taking a downward slide, assists in the creation of an illusion that a penniless apple seller is a lady of wealth for the visit of her long-lost daughter, engaged to a Spanish nobleman. 

The opening act of this remake does tend to drag, leading to the film to feel overlong, but the technical aspects such as cinematography, art direction, costumes and makeup are very good. The performances are also great, though it's Peter Falk who steals the show as a gangster henchman, providing some welcome comic relief.  The story itself is typical of the self-indulgent fantasies that Frank Capra built his name on, and though it does seem whimsical and old-fashioned by modern standards, this was pure guilty-pleasure escapism for the time of original release.



"A story of losing your fear and finding your way."
"A story of losing your fear and finding your way."
D: John Singleton
Columbia Tristar (Steve Nicolaides & John Singleton)
US 1993
109 mins
W: John Singleton
DP: Peter Lyons Collister
Ed: Bruce Cannon
Mus: Stanley Clarke
Janet Jackson (Justice), Tupac Shakur (Lucky), Regina King (Iesha), Joe Torry (Chicago), Tyra Ferrell (Jessie), Roger Guenveur Smith (Heywood), Maya Angelou (Aunt June), Billy Zane (Brad), Lori Petty (Penelope)
Janet Jackson's big screen debut sees her play Justice, a South Central hairdresser who copes with depression following the death of her boyfriend by writing poetry, but learns to love again when she accompanies a bad boy from the 'hood on a road trip.
John Singleton's "urban romance" is an incredibly disappointing follow up to 1991's Boyz N The Hood (qv), merely serving as a vehicle to pair the pop singer with rap artist Tupac Shakur, despite the fact that there's little chemistry to be seen between their characters.
The appreciation of Janet's acting depends wholly on what side of the tracks you're on. She won an MTV movie award for Best Female Performance but was also nominated for a Razzie for Worst Actress, as well as an Oscar. Although the latter was a nomination for Best Original Song for the love theme "Again", which is actually a beautifully-penned ballad that could have easily found itself in a much better movie.
"27 banks in three years - anything to catch the perfect wave!"
"27 banks in three years - anything to catch the perfect wave!"
D: Kathryn Bigelow
20th Century Fox/Largo/Tapestry (Peter Abrams & Robert L. Levy)
US 1991
122 mins
W: Rick King & W. Peter Iliff
DP: Donald Peterman
Ed: Howard Smith, Scott Conrad & Burt Lovitt
Mus: Mark Isham
Patrick Swayze (Bodhi), Keanu Reeves (Johnny Utah), Gary Busey (Angelo Pappas), Lori Petty (Tyler Endicott), John C. McGinley (Ben Harp), James LeGros (Roach), John Philbin (Nathaniel), Lee Tergesen (Rosie)
A series of bank robberies by men in masks of former presidents is traced by undercover FBI agent, Johnny Utah (yes, that really is Keanu Reeves' character's name), to a group of Californian surfers, headed by golden-haired new-age hippy ringleader, Bodhi (yes, that really is Patrick Swayze's character's name).
Kathryn Bigelow's action thriller is above the usual standard for Hollywood action movies, but tends to glamorise the bad guys. The performances are also rather unconvincing, particularly Keanu Reeves, who is much better suited as a surfer dude rather than a suit & tie lawman. 
Criticisms are pointless with this film though, it proved very popular with audiences and is often dubbed a modern classic for the genre. 
A pathetic remake crawled out of Hollywood in 2015, but is not worth watching.
D: Ericson Core
Warner Bros/Alcon/DMG/Studio Babelsberg (Andrew A. Kosove, Broderick Johnson, John Baldecci, David Valdes, Christopher Taylor & Kurt Wimmer)
US/Germany/China 2015
114 mins


W: Kurt Wimmer [based on characters created by Rick King & W. Peter Iliff]
DP: Ericson Core
Ed: Thom Noble, Jerry Greenberg & John Duffy
Mus: Tom Holkenborg

Luke Bracey (Johnny Utah), Edgar Ramirez (Bodhi), Ray Winstone (Angelo Pappas), Delroy Lindo (Hall), Teresa Palmer (Samsara Deitz)

Unsolicited, unnecessary and completely inferior remake of the 1991 film, presumably aimed at enthusiasts of Go Pro photography, extreme sports, hipster culture and shit, lazy remakes.
The "ex-president's" bank robbery angle is even done away with here, probably because the intended audience wouldn't know what an ex-president is. Then again, this film didn't even find an audience, proving a very expensive flop and a lesson to leave things the fuck alone.

"What Ivy wants, Ivy gets."
"What Ivy wants, Ivy gets."
D: Katt Shea Ruben
New Line (Andy Ruben)
US 1992
89 mins
W: Katt Shea Ruben & Andy Ruben
DP: Phedon Papamichael
Ed: Gina Mittleman
Mus: Aaron Davies
Drew Barrymore (Ivy), Sara Gilbert (Sylvie Cooper), Tom Skerritt (Darryl Cooper), Cheryl Ladd (Georgie Cooper), Leonardo DiCaprio (Guy)
Sensationalist softcore thriller which capitalises on Drew Barrymore's bad girl image following her fall from grace as a former child star whose career took a downturn after her involvement with alcohol & drugs.
Her performance in this film is generally very good, as a teenage schoolgirl who seduces her best friend's father and intends to murder his invalid wife.
Despite the performance of Barrymore, the story is quite tawdry and distasteful, with no real motivation to the young girl's character other than pure lust. Perhaps that was the screenwriter's point.
The film gained more success on home video and cable viewings than it did during its cinema run, and a spawn of sequels resulted, none of which were particularly good.
"Call them what you like. Just don't call them when you're in trouble."
"Call them what you like. Just don't call them when you're in trouble."
D: Hugh Wilson
Warner Bros./Ladd (Paul Maslansky)
US 1984
96 mins
W: Neal Israel, Pat Proft & Hugh Wilson
DP: Michael Margulies
Ed: Robert Brown & Zach Staenberg
Mus: Robert Folk
Steve Guttenberg (Carey Mahoney), Kim Cattrall (Karen Thompson), Andrew Rubin (George Martin), G.W. Bailey (Lt. Thaddeus Harris), Bubba Smith (Moses Hightower), David Graf (Eugene Tackleberry), George Gaines (Cmdt. Eric Lassard), Leslie Easterbrook (Callahan), Michael Winslow (Larvell Jones)
By far the best of the Police Academy films, the series is practically the American equivalent of British "Carry On" films, with puerile jokes and silly characters from start to finish.
The low brow plot concerns all restrictions being lifted on entry into the police force, meaning a group of criminals, idiots and sexual deviants enlist.
If you can take the humour, it's very enjoyable in a brainless way. Though, with each sequel, the series got progressively worse.
"They're the worst police force in the universe."
"They're the worst police force in the universe."
D: Jerry Paris 
Warner Bros./Ladd (Paul Maslansky)
US 1985
87 mins
W: Barry Blaustein & David Sheffield
DP: James Crabe
Ed: Bob Wyman
Mus: Robert Folk
Steve Guttenberg (Mahoney), Bubba Smith (Hightower), David Graf (Tackleberry), Michael Winslow (Jones), Art Metrano (Lt. Mauser), Marion Ramsey (Hooks), George Gaynes (Cmdt. Eric Lassard)
The title says it all. The recruits from the first film get their first professional assignment, though a corrupt police lieutenant tries his utmost to discredit them.
A step down from the first film, with even more smut and obvious jokes.
"The original cast is coming to save their school... and it's open season on anyone who gets within range!"
"The original cast is coming to save their school... and it's open season on anyone who gets within range!"
D: Jerry Paris
Warner Bros. (Paul Maslansky)
US 1986
82 mins
W: Gene Quintano 
DP: Robert Saad
Ed: Bud Malin
Mus: Robert Folk
Steve Guttenberg (Mahoney), Bubba Smith (Hightower), David Graf (Tackleberry), Michael Winslow (Jones), Marion Ramsey (Hooks), Leslie Easterbrook (Callahan), George Gaynes (Cmdt. Eric Lassard), Bobcat Goldthwait (Zed)
Pretty much a retread of the first film, introducing new (irritating) characters as a group of criminals are reabilitated by joining the police academy. Unfortunately, the jokes are recycled and nowhere near as much fun the second time around.
D: Jim Drake
Warner Bros. (Paul Maslansky)
US 1987
87 mins
W: Gene Quintano 
DP: Robert Saad
Ed: David Rawlins
Mus: Robert Folk
Steve Guttenberg (Mahoney), Bubba Smith (Hightower), David Graf (Tackleberry), Michael Winslow (Jones), Sharon Stone (Claire Mattson), Leslie Easterbrook (Callahan), Bobcat Goldthwait (Zed), George Gaynes (Lassard)
The commandant of the Police Academy decides to involve ordinary citizens in law enforcement and once again, a corrupt rival attempts to discredit him.
It's the same stuff again, with more annoying moments than funny ones.
At least Steve Guttenberg had the good sense to abandon the series after this film.
D: Alan Myerson
Warner Bros. (Paul Maslansky)
US 1988
90 mins
W: Stephen J. Curwick
DP: Jim Pergola
Ed: Hubert de la Bouillerie
Mus: Robert Folk
Matt McCoy (Sgt. Nick Lassard), Janet Jones (Kate), George Gaines (Cmdt. Eric Lassard), G.W. Bailey (Capt. Harris), Rene Auberjonois (Tony), Bubba Smith (Hightower), David Graf (Tackleberry), Michael Winslow (Jones), Leslie Easterbrook (Callahan)
The police academy gang go on holiday to Miami and foil a gang of jewel thieves.
The series was really running out of steam by this point, with the action not actually taking place on the campus but relocated to a sunny beachside resort.
The jokes are weak and the story is just plain stupid. Steve Guttenberg had the sense to jump ship at this point, but the majority of the remaining cast seemed to really need the work.
"The grads are going undercover in the city to unmask the mastermind of crime."
"The grads are going undercover in the city to unmask the mastermind of crime."
D: Peter Bonerz
Warner Bros. (Paul Maslansky)
US 1989
84 mins
W: Stephen J. Curwick
DP: Charles Rosher, Jr.
Ed: Hubert de la Bouillerie
Mus: Robert Folk
Bubba Smith (Hightower), David Graf (Tackleberry), Michael Winslow (Jones), Leslie Easterbrook (Callahan), Marion Ramsey (Hooks), Lance Kinsey (Proctor), Matt McCoy (Nick Lassard), Bruce Mahler (Fackler), G.W. Bailey (Harris)
The academy graduates attempt to track down a criminal mastermind who's responsible for an increasing crimewave in the city.
Totally bereft of laughs, this really is where the series should have ended. Alas, the producers returned a few years later for another bite of the cherry.
"Just when we thought the Cold War was over... Leave it to these guys to heat it up again."
"Just when we thought the Cold War was over... Leave it to these guys to heat it up again."
D: Alan Metter
Warner Bros. (Paul Maslansky)
US 1994
83 mins
W: Randolph Davis & Michele S. Chodos
DP: Ian Jones
Ed: Denise Hill & Suzanne Hinds
Mus: Robert Folk
George Gaynes (Lassard), Michael Winslow (Jones), David Graf (Tackleberry), Leslie Easterbrook (Callahan), G.W. Bailey (Harris), Christopher Lee (Aleksandr Nikolaevich Rakov), Ron Perlman (Konstantin Konali), Claire Forlani (Katrina)
Scraping the comedy barrel of storylines, the police academy members travel to Moscow to prevent the Russian mafia from world domination.
The series ran out steam long before this seventh film, so it's little surprise that it was utterly dreadful.
The film was a box office flop and failed to amass any video rental success, proving once and for all that enough was enough.
D: David Swift
Disney (George Golitzen)
US 1960
134 mins
W: David Swift [based on the novel by Eleanor Porter]
DP: Russell Harlan
Mus: Paul Smith
Hayley Mills (Pollyanna Whittier), Jane Wyman (Polly Harrington), Karl Malden (Rev. Ford), Kevin Corcoran (Jimmy Bean), Nancy Olson (Nancy Furman), Adolphe Menjou (Mr. Pendergast), Donald Crisp (Mayor Karl Warren), Agnes Moorehead (Mrs. Snow)
Typically twee Disney vehicle for its juvenile star of the day, Hayley Mills, as a happy-go-lucky orphan who cheers up her small town's most miserable resident. 
Much of the film feels dated by modern standards, but it's perfectly adequate family entertainment for a rainy afternoon.
"They're here."
"They're here."
D: Tobe Hooper
MGM (Steven Spielberg)
US 1982
114 mins
W: Steven Spielberg, Michael Grais & Mark Victor
DP: Matthew F. Leonetti
Ed: Michael Kahn
Mus: Jerry Goldsmith
JoBeth Williams (Diane Freeling), Craig T. Nelson (Steven Freeling), Beatrice Straight (Dr. Lesh), Dominique Dunne (Dana Freeling), Oliver Robbins (Robbie Freeling), Heather O'Rourke (Carol Anne Freeling), Zelda Rubinstein (Tangina Barrons)
Tobe Hooper may be the credited director, but suspicions that producer Steven Spielberg had more than his two cents of input are justified. Even so, it remains one of the scariest haunted house movies of recent times, with excellent special effects for its age.
A regular suburban family experience a series of disturbances in their idyllic neighbourhood. Items of furniture move around on their own, a tree in the front garden moves by itself, a toy clown seems to come to life and the family's youngest daughter vanishes without a trace. The family hire a team of paranormal investigators and make some shocking discoveries about their home.
Whether or not you're a fan of ghost stories or horrors in general, Poltergeist is sure to leave you goosebumps and tingles as its stories unfold. If not, then perhaps the occult happenings surrounding the film, both on set and following the filming of the production may be enough to give you the heebie-jeebies. I won't get into the details in this film review, but they're certainly worth an investigation alone.
"What are you afraid of?"
"What are you afraid of?"
D: Gil Kenan
20th Century Fox/MGM/Ghost House (Roy Lee, Robert G. Tapert & Sam Raimi)
US 2015
93 mins (Uncut version: 101 mins)


W: David Lindsay-Abaire [based on the 1982 screenplay by Steven Spielberg, Michael Grais & Mark Victor]
DP: Javier Aguirresarobe
Ed: Jeff Betancourt & Bob Murawski
Mus: Marc Streitenfeld

Sam Rockwell (Eric Bowen), Rosemarie DeWitt (Amy Bowen), Jared Harris (Carrigan Burke), Jane Adams (Dr. Brooke Powell)

My rule of thumb is that a film should only be remade if it's either an improvement on the original or another director feels that he can add his own artistic interpretation to the original source, anything else is purely for commercial reasons and generally lazy filmmaking. Poltergeist is lazy filmmaking.
The original wasn't quite perfect, but it has still dated reasonably well and still serves as a family-friendly horror movie with some atmospheric and chilling moments. The remake takes the scary scenes which built up tentatively in the original film and simply crams them into one plot device, updating the bare bones of the story with some 21st century tech and blatant product placement.
The characters here are so poorly written that they might as well not have names and their behaviour and interaction with each other doesn't come off as believable for a second. 
The biggest loss is replacing Jerry Goldsmith's creepy music with a score which doesn't echo with foreboding dread. It's just bargain basement shit for the lowest common denomination of moviegoer.
Watch the original instead, it's far more rewarding.

"They're back."
"They're back."
D: Brian Gibson
MGM/United Artists (Freddie Fields)
US 1986
90 mins
W: Michael Grais & Mark Victor
DP: Andrew Laszlo
Ed: Thom Noble, Bud Smith & M. Scott Smith
Mus: Jerry Goldsmith
JoBeth Williams (Diane Freeling), Craig T. Nelson (Steven Freeling), Oliver Robbins (Robbie Freeling), Heather O'Rourke (Carol Anne Freeling), Zelda Rubinstein (Tangina Barrons), Will Sampson (Taylor), Julian Beck (Rev. Henry Kane)
Special effects dependent sequel to the original 1982 film, with the members of the Freleng family still haunted by evil spirits after moving into a new home.
The fine effects provide a handful of thrilling and scary moments and the main villain of the film is eerily sinister (actor Julian Beck was suffering from terminal cancer at the time of filming, which gave him a truly emaciated appearance), but much of the film feels like a tired retread of the original story, particularly Zelda Rubinstein unnecessarily returning to the fold with her gimmicky character.
D: Gary Shearman
MGM/United Artists (Barry Bernardi)
US 1988
98 mins
W: Gary Shearman & Brian Taggart
DP: Alex Nepomniaschy
Ed: Ross Albert
Mus: Joe Renzetti
Tom Skerritt (Bruce Gardner), Nancy Allen (Pat Gardner), Heather O'Rourke (Carol Anne Freeling), Zelda Rubinstein (Tangina Barrons), Lara Flynn Boyle (Donna Gardner)
Overshadowed by the real-life death of young star Heather O'Rourke, this third film of the series is a very lacklustre sequel, focusing on the young girl who is still haunted by spirits even though she's moved away from her parents and into her aunt & uncle's high rise in Chicago.
The second half of the film feels unfinished and unscripted and there's very little horror or shocking moments to recommend the film to even huge fans of the genre.
D: Peter Richardson
Palace/Miramax/Film Four (Stephen Woolley)
UK 1991
99 mins
W: Peter Richardson & Pete Richens
DP: Frank Gell
Ed: Katherine Wenning
Mus: Anne Dudley & Jeff Beck
Robbie Coltrane (Father Albinizi / Pope David I), Beverly D'Angelo (Veronica Dante), Herbert Lom (Vittorio Corelli), Alex Rocco (Cardinal Rocco)
Farcical attempt at a gangster parody, starring Robbie Coltrane as an inept priest who, via an administrative error, becomes the pope and attempts to clean up a Vatican seized by the mafia. 
Despite the best efforts of Robbie Coltrane, the film fails to deliver more than an occasional chuckle.
The title was slightly altered in more religiously devout countries, to the much less offensive "The Pope Must Diet." 
"The sailor man with a spinach can."
"The sailor man with a spinach can."
D: Robert Altman
Paramount/Disney (Robert Evans)
US 1980
114 mins
W: Jules Feiffer [based on characters created by E. C. Segar]
DP: Giuseppe Rotunno
Ed: Tony Lombardo 
Mus: Harry Nilsson
PD: Wolf Kroeger
Robin Williams (Popeye), Shelley Duvall (Olive Oyl), Paul L. Smith (Bluto), Paul Dooley (J. Wellington Wimpy)
Poorly executed attempt at a live action version of the popular cartoon character and his adventures. 
The feel of the film makes it clear that Robert Altman wasn't the right choice of director and the performances also feel rather miscast, including Robin Williams in his big screen debut. The production design of Sweethaven village, built off the coast of Malta, is reasonably well done, but that's all that can be commended. The acting fails to captivate, the story is dull, the songs are boring and the makeup makes it look as though Popeye is suffering some hideous defect.
A terrible advert for spinach, best watched with one eye shut.


D: Akiva Schaffer & Jorma Taccone

Universal/Perfect World/The Lonely Island (Judd Apatow, Rodney Rothman, Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer & Jorma Taccone)

US 2016

86 mins


W: Akiva Schaffer, Andy Samberg & Jorma Taccone

DP: Brandon Trost

Ed: Jamie Gross, Craig Alpert & Stacey Schroeder 

Mus: Matthew Compton

Andy Samberg (Conner "Conner4Real" Friel), Jorma Taccone (Owen "Kid Contact" Bouchard), Akiva Schaffer (Lawrence "Kid Brain" Dunn), Sarah Silverman (Paula Klein), Tim Meadows (Harry Duggins)

A This Is Spinal Tap mockumentary following the solo tour of a vacuous, egotistical and selfish pop star modelled very much on Justin Bieber.  Originally a member of a three-piece boyband, Conner4Real is promoting his self-penned second album which is tanking in the sales charts, despite all his efforts to make it a gargantuan success, including publicity stunts during his concerts which inevitably go wrong and proposing to his celebrity girlfriend on live TV.

More than being a parody of pop singers and their egos, it pokes fun at the whole media circus, with real life celebrities turning up with cameo appearances which mock themselves.

The songs are purposefully terrible, but the comedy in this film is hilariously funny. It's a surprise that the film itself was a flop at cinemas, especially since one of the producers was Judd Apatow, whose comedy stable has fired out several hits over the years.


PORKY'S (18)
D: Bob Clark
Melvin Simon/Astral Bellevue Pathé (Don Carmody & Bob Clark)
Canada/USA 1982
98 mins


W: Bob Clark 
DP: Reginald H. Morris
Ed: Stan Cole
Mus: Carl Zittrer & Paul Zaza

Dan Monahan (Edward 'Pee-Wee' Morris), Mark Herrier (Billy McCarty), Wyatt Knight (Tommy Turner), Roger Wilson (Mickey Jarvis), Kim Cattrall (Lynn Honeywell)

Canada's answer to National Lampoon's Animal House, this teenage sex comedy is as bad taste as they come, but did incredibly well at the box office, becoming one of the biggest films of 1982.
The simple story of a group of 1950's high school students trying to get into their local brothel is backed up with puerile humour and lewd jokes, and while it's not for everyone, is entertaining enough for those with juvenile sensibilities. 
A string of inferior sequels followed before the subgenre died off mid-eighties, only to be rejuvenated at the end of the 1990's with the American Pie films.
D: Wolfgang Petersen
Warner Bros./Virtual (Wolfgang Petersen, Duncan Henderson, Mike Fleiss & Akiva Goldsman)
US 2006
98 mins


W: Mark Protosevich [based on the novel "The Poseidon Adventure" by Paul Gallico]
DP: John Seale
Ed: Peter Honess
Mus: Klaus Badelt

Kurt Russell (Robert Ramsey), Richard Dreyfuss (Richard Nelson), Josh Lucas (Dylan Johns), Emmy Rossum (Jennifer Ramsey), Jacinda Barrett (Maggie James), Mike Vogel (Christian Sanders), Mia Maestro (Elena Morales)

Inferior remake of the 1972 film (The Poseidon Adventure) with more focus on CGI rather than practical visual effects and shortcomings in the screenplay prevent any emotional connection to the characters making it difficult for the audience to engage with them.
Watch the original instead.
D: Ronald Neame
20th Century Fox (Irwin Allen)
US 1972
117 mins


W: Stirling Silliphant & Wendell Mayes [based on the novel by Paul Gallico]
DP: Harold Stine
Ed: Harold F. Kress
Mus: John Williams
PD: William Creber
Cos: Paul Zastupnevich

Gene Hackman (Rev. Frank Scott), Ernest Borgnine (Mike Rogo), Red Buttons (James Martin), Shelley Winters (Belle Rosen), Carol Lynley (Nonnie Parry), Pamela Sue Martin (Susan Shelby), Roddy McDowall (Acres), Eric Shea (Robin Shelby), Jack Albertson (Manny Rosen), Stella Stevens (Linda Rogo), Leslie Nielsen (Capt. Harrison)

A luxury cruise ship is capsized by a tidal storm and a handful of survivors must traverse into the belly of the upturned vessel in order to escape.
The Poseidon Adventure is amongst the best of the disaster films which flooded the early-to-mid 1970's. A great deal of time during the first act is dedicated to the introduction of the characters before the catastrophe strikes, but once it does, the series of set pieces which pick them off one-by-one are incredibly well executed and visualised, with convincing special effects for the most part (some of the models are less so convincing, but you can forgive them considering the age of the film). Above all else, it's the performances of the talented cast which allow the audience to engage in their journey for survival.
A poor sequel (Beyond The Poseidon Adventure) and remake (Poseidon) followed.


D: Steven Spielberg

Dreamworks/20th Century Fox/Amblin/Participant Media (Steven Spielberg, Amy Pascal & Kristie Macosco Krieger)

US 2017

116 mins 


W: Josh Singer & Liz Hannah

DP: Janusz Kaminsky

Ed: Michael Kahn & Sarah Broshar

Mus: John Williams

PD: Rick Carter

Tom Hanks (Ben Bradlee), Meryl Streep (Kay Graham), Sara Paulson (Antoinette Bradlee), Bob Odenkirk (Ben Bagdikian), Tracy Letts (Fritz Leebe), Bradley Whitford (Arthur Parsons), Bruce Greenwood (Robert McNamara), Carrie Coon (Meg Greenfield)

Presidents lie. That's pretty much the message of Steven Spielberg's political drama. I wonder why that would be of such topical interest in 2017? 

The story almost serves as a companion piece to the 1976 film All The President's Men, set at the offices of the Washington Post, following two journalists as they delve deeper into the Watergate scandal. The Post is more about freedom of speech and freedom of press, when it emerges that government secrets about America's involvement in the Vietnam War are leaked and a power play is put into effect between the newspaper and the US Supreme Court over whether the information can become public knowledge. 

Simultaneously, the film serves as a parable for feminist empowerment, as newspaper owner Kay Graham (Meryl Streep) initially finds herself silenced by the men who surround her to eventually voice her own opinions come the end of the movie.

Aside from a few moments, the film is quite dull, labouring from plodding exposition to plodding exposition, without telling too much about what the government secrets are. 

The period detail, cinematography and music all capture the mid 1970's well, the performances are good and the script does have some witty one-liners, but it does hammer home the point a little too obviously that Hollywood aren't keen on the current presidential administration, as though we weren't aware of it already.

If you have interest in US politics, you're highly likely to enjoy it, but it's no All The President's Men.


"It is 2013. War has crippled the earth. Technology has been erased. Our only hope is an unlikely hero."
"It is 2013. War has crippled the earth. Technology has been erased. Our only hope is an unlikely hero."
D: Kevin Costner
Warner Bros./Tig (Jim Wilson, Steve Tisch & Kevin Costner)
US 1997
177 mins

Science Fiction/Adventure

W: Eric Roth & Brian Helgeland [based on the novel by David Brin]
DP: Stephen Windon
Ed: Peter Boyle
Mus: James Newton Howard
PD: Ida Random

Kevin Costner (The Postman), Will Patton (General Bethlehem), Larenz Tate (Ford Lincoln Mercury), Olivia Williams (Abby), James Russo (Captain Idaho), Tom Petty (Bridge City Mayor)

Considered the film which killed Kevin Costner's career, the star whose name alone could practically guarantee success stars and directs this post-apocalyptic mess, in which he plays a drifter who wanders the wastelands and discovers a postman's uniform and mail sack and decides to don it and deliver hope to people.
The message, though well-intentioned, comes across as ridiculous and cheesy, mostly due to the terrible screenplay full of asinine dialogue. The performances don't do the film any favours either.
A box office and critical bomb, Costner's career never really recovered from the bad reputation of this, one of the biggest financial turkeys in cinema history.
"He's had to fight all his life. Now he's fighting for theirs."
"He's had to fight all his life. Now he's fighting for theirs."
D: John G. Avildsen
Warner Bros. (Arnon Milchan)
US 1992
127 mins


W: Robert Mark Kamen [based on the novel by Bryce Courtenay]
DP: Dean Semler
Ed: John G. Avildsen
Mus: Hans Zimmer & Lebo M
PD: Roger Hall

Stephen Dorff (P.K.), John Gielgud (St. John), Armin Mueller-Stahl (Doc), Morgan Freeman (Geel Piet), Guy Witcher (P.K. - age 7); Simon Fenton (P.K. - age 12); Daniel Craig (Sgt. Jaapie Botha)

In 1930's South Africa, a young boy witnesses the brutality of apartheid and is taught boxing by a black prisoner.
Putting a political spin on the Rocky formula, The Power Of One has its thought-provoking moments, but is tackled in a rather safe way by director John G. Avildsen, who seems to have lost his touch with his return to more serious material following some poor directorial choices.
Generally entertaining and powerful, but this could have been an awful lot better and far more memorable.
"It's Morphin' Time."
"It's Morphin' Time."


D: Dean Israelite

Lionsgate/Temple Hill/SCG/Toei (Haim Saban, Brian Casentini, Marty Bowen & Wyck Godfrey)

US 2017

121 mins

Action/Science Fiction

W: John Gatins [based on characters created by Haim Saban]

DP: Matthew J. Lloyd

Ed: Martin Bernfeld & Dody Dorn

Mus: Brian Tyler

Dacre Montgomery (Jason Scott / Red Ranger), Naomi Scott (Kimberley Hart), R.J. Cyler (Billy Cranston / Blue Ranger), Becky G (Trini / Yellow Ranger), Ludi Lin (Zack / Black Ranger), Bryan Cranston (Zordon), Elizabeth Banks (Rita Repulsa)

In all honesty, you know if you're going to like this film or not before you watch it. 

I was never a viewer of the Mighty Morph'n Power Rangers when it was a hugely popular television series, but I was very much aware of its existence.

This reboot is pretty much more of the same that you'll see in other origin superhero stories and unless you were a fan of the original series, this isn't going to be much to write home about.

A group of five angsty teens happen across an old alien ship and become infused with superpowers and soon learn that an old enemy of the previous generation of Power Rangers has returned for vengeance.

The film makes history in some circles by being the first superhero movie to feature LGBT and autistic characters, but this virtue signalling is only tackled on the periphery and mostly swept under the carpet for the majority of the story.

The young cast do a good job, but neither Bryan Cranston nor Elizabeth Banks belong in a film like this.


D: Lee Daniels
Lions Gate/Smokewood/Harpo (Lee Daniels, Gary Magness & Sarah Siegel-Magness)
US 2009
110 mins


W: Geoffrey Fletcher [based on the novel "Push" by Sapphire]
DP: Andrew Dunn
Ed: Joe Klotz
Mus: Mario Grigorov

Gabourey Sidibe (Claireece 'Precious' Jones), Mo'Nique (Mary Lee Johnston), Paula Patton (Mrs. Rain), Sherri Shepherd (Cornrows), Mariah Carey (Mrs. Weiss), Lenny Kravitz (Nurse John)

A truly emotional & quite remarkable drama about an abused, overweight & pregnant teenager growing up in Harlem during the late 1980's. Gabourey Sidibe is excellent as the title character, trying to further her education after being expelled from school whilst being bullied and beaten by her mum back home in the ghetto.  There are some scenes which literally make you gasp, but the scenes which pull at the heartstrings give the movie a bittersweet balance.
Director Lee Daniels gets the very best out of his cast ensemble, especially the forementioned Sidibe & Mo'Nique, who possibly steals the entire movie as the grotesque, bullying mother. Even Lenny Kravitz & Mariah Carey chip in with a couple of decent performances. Yes, I said that... Mariah Carey can actually act!

"Nothing like it has ever been on Earth before."
"Nothing like it has ever been on Earth before."
D: John McTiernan
20th Century Fox (Lawrence Gordon, Joel Silver & John Davis)
US 1987
107 mins
Action/Adventure/Science Fiction
W: Jim Thomas & John Thomas
DP: Donald McAlpine
Ed: John F. Link & Mark Helfrich
Mus: Alan Silvestri
PD: John Vallone
Arnold Schwarzenegger (Maj. Alan 'Dutch' Schaefer), Carl Weathers (Dillon), Bill Duke (Mac), Elpidia Carrillo (Anna), Jesse Ventura (Sgt. Blain), Sonny Landham (Billy), Richard Chavez (Poncho), Shane Black (Hawkins), Kevin Peter Hall (The Predator)
Considered amongst Arnold Schwarzenegger's best work, this testosterone-fuelled, gung-ho action flick lends a science fiction twist to a plot which has been adapted in various forms since 1932's The Most Dangerous Man.
A team of commandos are sent by the CIA to a mission in the South American jungle. They soon discover that they were double-crossed, sent into the wilderness for an ulterior motive, and worse still, an alien hunter with an invisibility cloaking device and an arsenal of weapons is picking them off one by one.
Considering it's an action film, the strengths lie in its set pieces rather than performances or dialogue, and Predator is a perfect example of a film saved by its post production work, notably the visual effects of Stan Winston, who designed the alien creature after the original plans of a special effects company made the alien hunter look more like a giant chicken (see the "making of" documentary on the DVD extras).
Winston's work has stood the test of time, as has the film itself and is a surefire contender for one of the best action moves ever made.
"He's in town with a few days to kill."
"He's in town with a few days to kill."
D: Stephen Hopkins
20th Century Fox (Lawrence Gordon, Joel Silver & John Davis)
US 1990
108 mins
Action/Science Fiction
W: Jim Thomas & John Thomas
DP: Peter Levy
Ed: Mark Goldblatt 
Mus: Alan Silvestri
PD: Lawrence G. Paull
Danny Glover (Lt. Mike Harrigan), Gary Busey (Agent Peter Keyes), Ruben Blades (Det. Danny Archuleta), Maria Conchita Alonso (Det. Leona Cantrell), Bill Paxton (Det. Jerry Lambert), Kevin Peter Hall (The Predator)
Switching the action from a remote South American jungle to the gritty Los Angeles streets affects the atmosphere of this sequel, making it feel clichéd and formulaic.
Set in 1997 (so therefore already dated), an alien hunter, armed with a new arsenal of deadly weapon, picks off rival members of drug gangs as well as members of the LAPD. Danny Glover goes it alone to beat the creature, setting up a rather smart ending which suggests that the alien species have been battling against mankind for centuries.
The film is entertaining enough for its duration, but lacks the creative flair and pure testosterone of the original.
"Fear is reborn."
"Fear is reborn."
D: Robert Rodriguez
20th Century Fox/Dune (Robert Rodriguez, John Davis & Elizabeth Avellan)
US 2010
107 mins

Action/Science Fiction

W: Alex Litvak & Michael Finch
DP: Gyula Pados
Ed: Dan Zimmerman
Mus: John Debney

Adrien Brody (Royce), Topher Grace (Edwin), Alice Braga (Isabelle), Walton Goggins (Stans), Laurence Fishburne (Noland), Danny Trejo (Cuchillo)

Brainless sequel for the popcorn market. True, the first two films were all-action, gung-ho science fiction fare, but at least they were credible.
Ignoring events from the awful Alien vs Predator spinoffs, this sees a group of criminals abducted and left stranded on an alien planet, which a group of alien creatures use as a hunting reserve.
The key issue is that, in previous films, the predator was a lone hunter. Quantity does not equal quality.
Despite the efforts of director Robert Rodriguez to create atmosphere and tension, it just isn't possible to polish a turd and call it shiny.
A huge improvement on the AVP films, but that isn't a badge of honour.

"The Hunt Has Evolved"
"The Hunt Has Evolved"


D: Shane Black

20th Century Fox (John Davis)

US 2018

107 mins

Action/Science Fiction

W: Shane Black & Fred Dekker [based on characters created by Jim Thomas & John Thomas]

DP: Larry Fong

Ed: Harry B. Miller III & Billy Weber

Mus: Henry Jackman

Boyd Holbrook (Quinn McKenna), Trevante Rhodes (Nebraska Williams), Jacob Tremblay (Rory McKenna), Olivia Munn (Dr. Casey Bracket), Sterling K. Brown (Will Traeger)

Shane Black, who was one of the cast members of the original 1987 movie, takes the directorial reins and shares a writing credit for this 2018 sequel/reboot, but if you're expecting this to tie in more with the testosterone filled Arnold Schwarzenegger film, prepare to be disappointed.

The original Predator isn't exactly blessed with a great screenplay or Oscar worthy acting, but the simple plot- pitting a small platoon of soldiers against an alien who kills for sport, it more than hits the spot for action, thrills and tension, it hits the spot. 

A 1990 sequel wasn't quite as good, but kept a similar premise as it switched from the South American jungle to the urban jungle of Los Angeles' gang wars.

The franchise went tits up from there, tying into Fox's Alien movies for two films before Predators attempted to return to the roots of the original film.

This 2018 reboot sees the alien hunters come to Earth to steal a child's autism.  Yes, you read that right.

It's never a good thing when a release date is postponed for hefty reshoots, but even the bare bones of the plot here are laughably bad. When this is paired with terrible dialogue, choppy editing, shoddy CGI and performances out of the Josh Duhamel school of acting, this was bound to be a terrible experience to witness at the cinema.

This could possibly be the worst film to emerge from 2018.


"Are you watching closely?"
"Are you watching closely?"
D: Christopher Nolan
Touchstone/Newmarket/Syncopy (Emma Thomas, Aaron Ryder & Christopher Nolan)             
US/UK 2006
130 mins


W: Christopher Nolan & Jonathan Nolan
DP: Wally Pfister
Ed: Lee Smith
Mus: David Julyan
PD: Nathan Crowley

Hugh Jackman (Robert Angier 'The Great Danton'), Christian Bale (Alfred Borden 'The Professor'), Michael Caine (John Cutter), Scarlett Johansson (Olivia Wenscombe), Rebecca Hall (Sarah Borden), Piper Perabo (Julia McCullough), David Bowie (Nikola Tesla)

'The Prestige' refers to the third act in a magical illusion, following 'The Pledge' and 'The Turn'.
Christopher Nolan's mystery thriller focuses on the growing rivalry between two illusionists in 19th century London and their constant attempts to usurp each other in performing the greatest ever magic trick.
Driven firstly by revenge, then by obsession, Christian Bale & Hugh Jackman are equally, and quite realistically, antagonistic as the feuding showmen, allowing their private lives to be torn apart by their rivalry.
Christopher Nolan presents a very stylish, clever mystery but allows style to get in the way a little too much, so, for me, the ending was quite obvious.
One of two movies based around magic to be released in 2006, the other being The Illusionist, which arguably had a more surprising plot twist.
"The fashion world laid bare."
"The fashion world laid bare."
D: Robert Altman
Buena Vista/Miramax (Robert Altman)
US 1994
133 mins
W: Robert Altman & Barbara Shulgasser
DP: Pierre Mignot & Jean Lepine
Ed: Geraldine Peroni
Mus: Michel Legrand
PD: Stephen Altman
Marcello Mastroianni (Sergei), Sophia Loren (Isabella de la Fontaine), Anouk Aimée (Simone Lowenthal), Rupert Everett (Jack Lowenthal), Julia Roberts (Anne Eisenhower), Tim Robbins (Joe Flynn), Kim Basinger (Kitty Potter), Stephen Rea (Milo O'Brannigan)
Robert Altman utilises the same format of multiple storylines and big ensemble casts which served him well in his two previous movies (The Player, Short Cuts) for this comedy centred around a fashion week in Paris, where journalists, designers and models swoop to take bites out of each other.
The story isn't quite the cut-throat look at the fashion industry that it was expected to be. In fact, it doesn't have much of a story at all. There's a handful of amusing moments, but not enough to justify the length of the film.
D: Howard Deutch
Paramount (Lauren Shuler-Donner)
US 1986
96 mins
W: John Hughes
DP: Tak Fujimoto
Ed: Richard Marks
Mus: Michael Gore
Molly Ringwald (Andie Walsh), Harry Dean Stanton (Jack Walsh), Jon Cryer (Duckie), Annie Potts (Iona), Andrew McCarthy (Blane), James Spader (Steff)
Writer John Hughes passes the director's reins to Howard Deutsch for this iconic 1980's teen comedy, starring Molly Ringwald as a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who tries to start afresh at a new high school.
The soundtrack of songs is pretty great, but personally, this is one of my least favourite John Hughes-penned movies, nowhere near the standard he laid down with the previous year's The Breakfast Club (qv). 
It seems to put across the completely wrong message to a young, impressionable audience and Molly Ringwald's character comes across as rather prissy, dismissive and conceited. In my opinion, she friend-zones the guy who is right for her and ends up with someone completely unsuitable. Such is life, some might say.
The majority of the female viewers will disagree. It's more their sort of film.
"The devil wears a grey skirt and her name is Kimberly Joyce."
"The devil wears a grey skirt and her name is Kimberly Joyce."
D: Marcos Siega
Roadside Attractions (Todd Dagres, Carl Levin, Marcos Siega & Matthew Weaver)
US 2005 (released 2006)
110 mins


W: Skander Halim
DP: Ramsey Nickell
Ed: Nicholas Erasmnus
Mus: Gilad Benamram

Evan Rachel Wood (Kimberly Joyce), Ron Livingston (Percy Anderson), James Woods (Hank Joyce), Jane Krakowski (Emily Klein), Elisabeth Harnois (Brittany), Adi Schnall (Randa), Selma Blair (Grace Anderson)

Pretty Persuasion is a independent black comedy full of fork-tongued dialogue and some utterly repellent characters, but still manages to be completely engrossing.
Precocious sophomore tramp student Kimberly Joyce, with ambitions of being an actress, sees a chance to have her name in lights when she encourages two of her school friends to make false allegations about a drama teacher's sexual harassment towards them.
The angle has been done before in 1998's Wild Things, but it's even more scathing here, with Evan Rachel Wood delivering a brilliantly grotesque performance as the prefect bitch and James Woods equally excellent as her racist, chauvinistic father. 
As an allegory on the manipulative nature of the media and celebrity, it feels twistedly mean-spirited, and there's not one character who isn't morally abhorrent, but the acting performances shine throughout.

"What brought a nice kid like Sue Ann to a shocking moment like this?"
"What brought a nice kid like Sue Ann to a shocking moment like this?"
D: Noel Black
20th Century Fox (Lawrence Turman, Marshal Blacklar & Noel Black)
US 1968
89 mins


W: Lorenzo Semple, Jr. [based on the novel "She Let Him Continue" by Stephen Geller]
DP: David Quaid
Ed: William Ziegler
Mus: Johnny Mandel

Anthony Perkins (Dennis Pitt), Tuesday Weld (Sue Ann Stepanek), Beverly Garland (Mrs. Stepanek), John Randolph (Morton Azenauer), Dick O'Neill (Bud Munsch), Clarice Blackburn (Mrs. Bronson)

An odd black comedy from the latter part of the 1960's, featuring two strong performances from its leads.
Anthony Perkins is a sociopathic arsonist working at a local chemical factory who convinces a young woman that he's a secret agent, putting them both on a path to murder and mayhem.
Though the black comedy story is decades ahead of its time, certain elements of the production and execution place it firmly in the 1960's, where theatrical audiences might not have been quite ready for it yet considering this is a little more bitter and cynical than similar films which Alfred Hitchcock may have served up.
Certainly worth a watch for the performances of Anthony Perkins and Tuesday Weld, but it isn't really a film which will stick out in the memory.

D: Garry Marshall
Buena Vista/Touchstone (Arnon Milchan & Steven Reuther)
US 1990
119 mins


W: J. F. Lawton
DP: Charles Minsky
Ed: Priscilla Nedd
Mus: James Newton Howard
PD: Albert Brenner
Cos: Marilyn Vance

Richard Gere (Edward Lewis), Julia Roberts (Vivian Ward), Ralph Bellamy (James Morse), Jason Alexander (Philip Stuckey), Laura San Giacomo (Kit De Luca), Hector Elizondo (Barnard Thompson)

Generally speaking, chick flicks usually don't appeal to a male audience, but every once in a while comes a film like Pretty Woman, which can be equally enjoyable to both sides of the gender divide.
A contemporary spin on a Cinderella-esque love story, Pretty Woman stars Richard Gere as a wealthy businessman who invites high class prostitute Julia Roberts to spend the week with him so he can successfully oversee a deal with a merging company. 
It's shameless Hollywood stuff, painting a love story where there is no right to be one, but with the charmingly good performance from Julia Roberts and a knockout soundtrack of popular songs, the story and romance develops rather feasibly.
Richard Gere is quite uncharismatic with his Prince Charming role, but the rest of the cast pick up the pieces, especially Roberts, who received a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her work.
It's certainly for the best that the original screenplay went through major re-writes prior to production, the initial script didn't have a happy ending and was far more bitter in tone. Definitely not the sort of thing you'd come to expect from a Disney production arm.

D: Joe Wright
Focus Features/Working Title/Studio Canal (Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner & Paul Webster)
UK/US/France 2005
127 mins


W: Deborah Moggach [based on the novel by Jane Austen]
DP: Roman Osin
Ed: Paul Tothill
Mus: Dario Marianelli
PD: Sarah Greenwood

Keira Knightley (Elizabeth Bennet), Matthew McFadyen (Fitzwilliam Darcy), Brenda Blethyn (Mrs. Bennet), Donald Sutherland (Mr. Bennet), Tom Hollander (William Collins), Rosamund Pike (Jane Bennet), Jena Malone (Lydia Bennet), Judi Dench (Catherine de Bourgh)

There are some who think Jane Austen adaptations are best suited to a Sunday afternoon, enjoyed with a cup of Rosy Lee while viewing through rose-tinted glasses at the picturesque beauty of yesteryear.
This 2005 serves up a more realistic version of the text, with Keira Knightley playing free-spirited Elizabeth Bennett as she pines for a man to save her from spinsterhood.
The acting is fine in this version, particularly from Knightley in one of her best roles, but the plot is so ridiculously old-fashioned it can be summed up as "high society girl wants high society husband".
These 18th century sensibilities just don't have any relevance to the 21st century. 
Fans of Austen will enjoy it, as will 16-year-old girls, everyone else will find it easy to fall asleep to (preferably after a hearty Sunday dinner).

"Sooner or later, a man who wears two faces forgets which one is real."
"Sooner or later, a man who wears two faces forgets which one is real."
D: Gregory Hoblit
UIP/Paramount/Rysher (Gary Lucchesi)
US 1996
129 mins


W: Steve Shagan & Ann Biderman [based on the novel by William Diehl]
DP: Michael Chapman
Ed: David Rosenbloom
Mus: James Newton Howard
PD: Jeannine Oppewall

Richard Gere (Martin Vail), Laura Linney (Janet Venable), John Mahoney (John Shaughnessy), Alfre Woodard (Judge Shoat), Frances McDormand (Dr. Molly Arrington), Edward Norton (Aaron Stampler), Terry O'Quinn (Bud Yancey), Andre Braugher (Tommy Goodman)

A courtroom drama with a wicked twist, starring Richard Gere as a shrewd, smooth-talking lawyer who represents a schizophrenic accused of murdering the archbishop who molested him as a choirboy.
The question in the film isn't whether or not the defendant is guilty or not, the answer to that is given to us on a plate. The question is which of the defendant's multiple personalities is responsible for the crime.
It's quite ridiculous, typical Hollywood stuff, but is given genuine credence by Edward Norton's star-making supporting performance.
D: Mike Newell
Disney (Jerry Bruckheimer)
US 2010
116 mins


W: Boaz Yakin, Doug Miro & Carlo Bernard [based on "Prince Of Persia", created by Jordan Mechner]
DP: John Seale
Ed: Michael Kahn, Martin Walsh & Mick Audsley
Mus: Harry Gregson-Williams

Jake Gyllenhaal (Dastan), Gemma Arterton (Princess Tamina), Ben Kingsley (Nizam), Alfred Molina (Sheik Amar), Richard Doyle (Prince Tus)

Though this may be based on a computer platform game which made its first appearance at the tail end of the 1980's, the story is more a live action update of the same studio's Aladdin. 
During a time of unrest amongst the Persian people, a street urchin finds a magical artefact, in the shape of a dagger, which allows him to reverse time by a single minute. An evil king also has time-travelling plans, which have the potential to destroy the world.
From producer Jerry Bruckheimer, the colour-by-numbers plotting of this fantasy adventure fail to evoke excitement the same way his Pirates Of The Caribbean movies did, while Jake Gyllenhaal is a very flat lead, despite the actor doing his best with the wafer thin material.
The production, which cost upwards of $150 million definitely leaves the audience short-changed, even though it went on to become the most successful movie at the box office to be adapted from a video game.

D: Barbra Streisand
Columbia/Barwood/Longfellow (Barbra Streisand & Andrew Karsch)
US 1991
132 mins


W: Pat Conroy & Becky Johnston [based on the novel by Pat Conroy]
DP: Stephen Goldblatt
Ed: Don Zimmerman
Mus: James Newton Howard
PD: Paul Sylbert

Nick Nolte (Tom Wingo), Barbra Streisand (Dr. Susan Lowenstein), Blythe Danner (Sallie Wingo), Kate Nelligan (Lila Wingo-Newbury), Jeroen Krabbe (Herbert Woodruff), Melinda Dillon (Savannah Wingo), George Carlin (Eddie Detreville), Jason Gould (Bernard Woodruff), Brad Sullivan (Henry Wingo)

A moving and incredibly well-acted drama which felt in desperate need of a different director.
Nick Nolte gives one of his best ever screen performances as a retired American football player who becomes romantically involved with a psychiatrist helping him through a family tragedy.
Nolte, Kate Nelligan and Blythe Danner are all very good, but the weak link is most certainly Barbra Streisand, not particularly convincing in the female lead, but especially with her self-indulgent direction, focusing more on her appearance and perfectly manicured fingernails rather than the drama in the story. There is an exception to this during the film's flashback scenes, which are particularly well handled and photographed.
D: Rob Reiner 
Act III (Rob Reiner & Andrew Scheinman)
US 1987
98 mins


W: William Goldman [based on his novel]
DP: Adrian Biddle
Ed: Robert Leighton
Mus: Mark Knopfler
PD: Norman Garwood

Cary Elwes (Westley), Robin Wright (Princess Buttercup), Mandy Patinkin (Inigo Montoya), Chris Sarandon (Prince Humperdinck), Christopher Guest (Count Rugen), Andre The Giant (Fezzik), Wallace Shawn (Vizzini), Peter Falk (The Grandfather), Fred Savage (The Grandson)

The Princess Bride is one of the most quotable fairytale fantasies of all time with a vast array of classic characters and fine actors.
The story is bookended with a grandfather reading a fairytale to a bed-ridden child, the story of The Man In Black, Westley (Cary Elwes) and his quest to rescue Princess Buttercup (Robin Wright) from the clutches of the evil Prince Humperdinck (Christopher Guest).
Along the way he is both hindered and helped by Andre The Giant and Mandy Patinkin's Spanish swordsman, Inigo Montoya, who himself wants his own revenge, seeking the six-fingered man who killed his father.
It's arguably Patinkin's performance which steals the entire film as he seems to get all the more memorable lines of dialogue ("I am Inigo Montoya, you killed my father. Prepare to die.")
It's a unique twist on fairytale movies, with the typical princess in distress, dashing princely rescuers, evil monarchs, monsters, sword fights and the usual ilk, but it also makes an insightful commentary on the conventions of the genre with an anachronistic, dark humour.
Just one viewing will leave most of the more famous scenes with you for life, especially the "battle of wits" scene between Westley and Vizzini.


D: Hayao Miyazaki

Toho/Studio Ghibli (Toshio Suzuki)

Japan 1997

134 mins


W: Hayao Miyazaki

Mus: Joe Hisashi

Yôji Matsuda / Billy Crudup (Ashitaka), Yuriko Ishida / Tara Strong (San), Yuko Tanaka / Minnie Driver (Lady Eboshi), Kaoro Kobayashi / Billy Bob Thornton (Jiko-Bō)

Princess Mononoke is among Studio Ghibli's most popular selection of anime features, directed by Hayao Miyazaki in his usual style.

The word Mononoke is not a name, but rather a reference to a spirit or monster in Japanese folklore, where the story takes its inspiration. 

Set in 16th century Japan, the story follows a young prince, who becomes mortally wounded protecting a village from a demonic creature and on his journey to find medicine that can heal him he becomes involved in a war between the gods of the forest and the humans who consume its resources.

Originally released in Japan in 1997, it took a couple of years to be internationally distributed, by which time it had become one of the highest grossing films in Japanese cinema.

It's understandable but this kind of animation isn't for everyone, and probably wouldn't be fully embraced by the Disney crowd, but for those wishing to immerse themselves in Japanese anime films, this is a great starting point.


"The army was no laughing matter, until Judy Benjamin joined it."
"The army was no laughing matter, until Judy Benjamin joined it."
D: Howard Zieff
Warner Bros. (Nancy Meyers, Charles Shyer & Harvey Miller)
US 1980
110 mins
W: Nancy Meyers, Charles Shyer & Harvey Miller
DP: David M. Walsh
Ed: Sheldon Kahn
Mus: Bill Conti
Goldie Hawn (Judy Benjamin), Eileen Brennan (Capt. Doreen Lewis), Armand Assante (Henri Tremont), Robert Webber (Col. Clay Thornbush), Sam Wanamaker (Teddy Benjamin), Barbara Barrie (Harriet Benjamin), Harry Dean Stanton (Sgt. Jim Ballard)
Amongst Goldie Hawn's finest performances, she stars as a well-to-do widow who, during a crossroads in her life, enlists in the army, where a superior officer makes sexual advances towards her.
The plot feels like something straight out of a sitcom, though the standard of humour doesn't maintain throughout.
Goldie Hawn's performance is very good, but she's constantly upstaged by drill-instructor-from-hell Eileen Brennan.
"Hired killers by day. Devoted lovers by night. Until they found out there next assignment was each other."
"Hired killers by day. Devoted lovers by night. Until they found out there next assignment was each other."
D: John Huston
ABC (John Foreman)
US 1985
129 mins


W: Richard Condon & Janet Roach [based on the novel by Richard Condon]
DP: Andrzej Bartkowiak
Ed: Rudi Fehr & Kaja Fehr
Mus: Alex North
PD: Dennis Washington 
Cos: Donfeld

Jack Nicholson (Charley Partanna), Kathleen Turner (Irene Walker), Robert Loggia (Eduardo Prizzi), William Hickey (Don Corrado Prizzi), John Randolph (Angelo Partanna), Anjelica Huston (Maerose Prizzi)

Jack Nicholson & Kathleen Turner star as hired killers for rival Mafia family's who fall in love when meeting at a wedding, only later to be assigned to assassinate each other.
Critically lauded on its original release, the film is frankly, incredibly slow to get going with a needlessly puzzling presentation with a large cast of characters. For a black comedy, it could have done with a more focused narrative with sharper jokes. The performances are fine, especially Anjelica Huston who won an Oscar for her work, but this amongst the most overrated films of the 1980's. 
"Attila the Hun, Ivan the Terrible, Al Capone. They were all seven once."
"Attila the Hun, Ivan the Terrible, Al Capone. They were all seven once."
D: Dennis Dugan
UIP/Universal/Imagine (Robert Simonds)
US 1990
81 mins
W: Scott Alexander & Larry Karazewski
DP: Peter Lyons Collister
Ed: Daniel Hanley & Michael Hill
Mus: Miles Goodman
John Ritter (Ben Healy), Michael Oliver (Junior), Jack Warden (Ben Healy, Sr.), Amy Yasbeck (Flo Healy), Michael Richards (Martin Beck), Gilbert Gottfried (Igor Peabody)
Unpleasant, mean-spirited slapstick about a married couple from a small town who adopt a mischievious boy whose mayhem tears their family apart.
The polar opposite to the same year's Home Alone (qv), the young boy in this comedy is all mayhem with no redeeming qualities.
Only John Ritter makes it through the film as a likeable character.
Little devils might enjoy it, but for adults, it's as low-brow as the depths of hell.
"This summer, Junior has a brand new friend."
"This summer, Junior has a brand new friend."
D: Brian Levant
UIP/Universal/Imagine (Robert Simonds)
US 1991
91 mins
W: Scott Alexander & Larry Karazewski
DP: Peter Smokler
Ed: Lois Freeman Cox & Robert P. Seppey
Mus: David Kitay
John Ritter (Ben Healy), Michael Oliver (Junior), Jack Warden (Ben Healy, Sr.), Laraine Newman (LaWanda Dumore), Amy Yasbeck (Annie Young), Ivyann Schwan (Trixie Young), Gilbert Gottfried (Ivor Peabody)
If it were ever possible, a sequel more mean-spirited than the first film. 
Junior, still as mischievious as ever, manipulates his adoptive dad into a relationship with a woman with an even more mischievious girl, but not all goes to plan.
Rushed sequel with recycled jokes and unpleasant characters. Like the first film, little kids might find the chaos hilarious, but others will be watching through gritted teeth.
D: Mel Brooks
Avco/Springtime/Crossbow (Sidney Glazier)
US 1968
88 mins
W: Mel Brooks
DP: Joseph Coffey
Ed: Ralph Rosenblum
Mus: John Morris
Zero Mostel (Max Bialystock), Gene Wilder (Leo Bloom), Kenneth Mars (Franz Liebkind), Christopher Hewitt (Roger DeBris), Andreas Voutsinas (Carmen Giya), Dick Shawn (Lorenzo St. DuBois)
Mel Brooks' first film is still very much amongst his best work, winning the writer-director an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
Starring Zero Mostel as a womanising, unscrupulous theatre producer who, with the assistance of his timid accountant hatch a plan to purposefully stage a theatrical flop and make money for themselves when there's nothing to pay back to the investors.
The musical they choose is "Springtime For Hitler", practically a love letter to the infamous despot, written by a militant Nazi. However, the worst script, the worst director and the worst cast somehow make the show a broadway hit.
Outrageously camp, with hilarious performances (especially from Gene Wilder), the film received a huge cult following, inspiring a stage musical (which itself became a 2005 movie).
D: Susan Stroman
Universal (Mel Brooks & Jonathan Sanger)
US 2005
134 mins
W: Mel Brooks & Thomas Meehan
DP: John Bailey & Charles Minsky
Ed: Steven Weisberg
Mus: Glen Kelly
PD: Mark Friedberg
Nathan Lane (Max Bialystock), Matthew Broderick (Leo Bloom), Uma Thurman (Ulla Inga Hansen Benson Yansen Tallen Hallen Svaden Swanson), Will Ferrell (Franz Liebkin), Gary Beach (Roger de Bris), Roger Bart (Carmen Ghia)
A film version of the stage musical rather than a remake of the 1968 film, with focus on song and dance rather than comedy.
The plot doesn't deviate too much and the performances are generally good, but compared to the original film, it's more about the "Springtime For Hitler" show rather than a pair of shady theatre producers.
Despite being based on both a movie with a cult following and a highly successful Broadway musical, the film failed to recoup its production budget during its theatrical run. Some might call this irony.
D: Richard Brooks
Columbia/Pax (Richard Brooks)
US 1966
123 mins


W: Richard Brooks [based on the novel "A Mule For The Marquesa" by Frank O'Rourke]
DP: Conrad Hall
Ed: Peter Zinner
Mus: Maurice Jarre


Burt Lancaster (Bill Dolworth), Lee Marvin (Henry 'Rico' Fardan), Robert Ryan (Hans Ehrengard), Jack Palance (Jesus Raza), Ralph Bellamy (Joe Grant), Claudia Cardinale (Maria Grant), Woody Strode (Jake Sharp)

The Wild Bunch before the The Wild Bunch (qv), Richard Brooks' classic Western may not be as brutally violent as Sam Peckinpah's seminal movie, but it does have quality where it counts, especially in the powerhouse performances and handsome cinematography.
The story concerns a group of vigilante cowboys who are hired by a ranch owner to rescue his wife, kidnapped by a Mexican revolutionary.
For fans of the genre, this is up there with the best, but, like the genre itself, has dated a little badly since its original release, but it's clear to see that this film had a huge influential impact on other films and TV series'.

"Together they fought the US Air Force."
"Together they fought the US Air Force."
D: Jonathan Kaplan
20th Century Fox (Walter F. Parkes & Lawrence Lasker)
US 1987
108 mins
W: Stanley Weiser
DP: Dean Cundey
Ed: O. Nicholas Brown
Mus: James Horner
Matthew Broderick (Jimmy Garrett), Helen Hunt (Teri MacDonald), Bill Sadler (Dr. Carroll), Johnny Ray McGhee (Robertson), Jonathan Stark (Sgt. Krieger)        
A young Air Force cadet rebels against his superiors when he realises that his mission of training chimpanzees to fly flight simulators has an ulterior motive.
A well-intentioned stab at a thriller with a zoological theme, though it might have been more powerful had it not been aimed at a juvenile audience.
With Matthew Broderick in the lead, it strikes similarities with 1983's War Games (qv), but not quite as good.

"The search for our beginning could lead to our end."
"The search for our beginning could lead to our end."
D: Ridley Scott
20th Century Fox/Scott Free/Brandywine (Ridley Scott, David Giler & Walter Hill)
US 2012
118 mins

Science Fiction/Horror

W: Jon Spaihts & Damon Lindelof
DP: Dariusz Wolski
Ed: Pietro Scalia
Mus: Marc Streitenfeld
PD: Arthur Max
Cos: Janty Yates

Noomi Rapace (Elizabeth Shaw), Michael Fassbender (David), Charline Theron (Meredith Vickers), Idris Elba (Janek), Logan Marshall-Green (Charlie Holloway), Guy Pearce (Peter Weyland)

Prometheus is a film which very much split audiences as well as critics. Sold on the premise that it's a prequel to the Alien movies, with Ridley Scott back in the directors saddle, it is and it isn't in equal measure. At the very least, it's closer to the original 1979 film than the Alien vs Predator shit.
There's a lot of things left unanswered here and has quite a few plotholes which might irritate, but is enjoyable if you watch it on its own merits.
A group of scientists discover the origins of a life form which turns out to be what became known as the "Space Jockey" from the original Alien film and within the vast spaceship, gain entry to a vault that harbours deadly organisms.
A big bone of contention was that, while Alien was set in the distant future, the huge creaking spaceship Nostromo had an austere and bleak atmosphere about it, whereas the Prometheus spaceship in this movie everything is modernised, glitzy, super high tech, well-lit and nothing breaks         down.
I did enjoy this movie though, at its heart it had a very interesting idea and the original Alien movies were paid a respectful homage. The visual effects are very good and the makeup effects are simply phenomenal.
Prometheus as a standalone film doesn't really work, but tied into the original Alien films it could be appreciated as a loose genesis tale. There's much left as an ambiguous mystery, but the film wasn't totally deserving of the hate that it received, though it's perfectly understandable why a lot of people didn't like it.
D: Gus Van Sant
Focus Features/Participant Media/Image Nation (Chris Moore, Matt Damon & John Krasinski)
US 2012
106 mins
W: Matt Damon & John Krasinksi
DP: Linus Sandgren
Ed: Billy Rich
Mus: Danny Elfman
Matt Damon (Steve Butler), John Krasinski (Dustin Noble), Frances McDormand (Sue Thomason), Hal Holbrook (Frank Yates), Rosemarie DeWitt (Alice)
A strange film to review, since the enjoyment factor all depends on where you stand on the shale fracking debate.
Matt Damon plays a PR man for a multi-billion dollar energy conglomerate who is sent to a small town to convince the folk to vote yes on a motion to bring in the drills. 
He faces opposition from a small group of the population and then fuel is poured on the fire in the shape of a young, cocky environmental protestor who turns Damon into public enemy number one.
Unfortunately, this is the problem the film has. The protestor is so abhorrently unlikeable that you find yourself favouring Damon's side, only for an unconvincing ending in which Damon switches sides and presents a moral to the story that we should all appreciate our roots and expel the satanic dollar.
All of the performances from an incredibly talented cast are good, but the ecological sermon needed a lot of tweaking.
D: Jacques Audiard
UGC (Martine Cassinelli & Antonin Dedet)
France/Italy 2009
155 mins


W: Jacques Audiard, Thomas Bidegain, Abdel Raouf Dafri & Nicolas Peufaillit
DP: Stephane Fontaine
Ed: Juliette Welfling
Mus: Alexandre Desplat

Tahar Rahim (Malik El Djabena), Niels Arestrup (Cesar Luciani), Adel Bencharif (Ryad), Reta Kateb (Jordi Le Gitan), Hichem Yacoubi (Reyeb)

This French language prison drama is carried entirely by the excellent performance of Tahar Rahim, who plays Malik El Djabena, a young Muslim who is serving a prison sentence and soon gets taken under the wing of a Corsican mob boss, also serving a lengthy sentence, but once the protégé develops a reputation for himself, he becomes the leader of a gang of his own race.
Though the story doesn't stray too far from American prison movies of the same ilk, the performances here are excellent, even when the narrative drags in the middle act.
A very deserving nominee for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar at the 2010 ceremony.

D: Alfred Hitchcock 
Universal/Paramount (Alfred Hitchcock)
US 1960
109 mins
W: Joseph Stefano [based on the novel by Robert Bloch]
DP: John L. Russell
Ed: George Tomasini
Mus: Bernard Herrmann
PD: Robert Clatworthy & Joseph Hurley
Anthony Perkins (Norman Bates), Janet Leigh (Marion Crane), Vera Miles (Lila Crane), John Gavin (Sam Loomis), Martin Balsam (Milton Arbogast)
Arguably Alfred Hitchcock's most iconic film is amongst the director's best works and a solid example of why he was dubbed the "master of suspense".
Filmed on a modest budget and using a small TV crew, Hitchcock creates an atmosphere of brooding tension and dread, mostly thanks to the creepy performance of lead actor Anthony Perkins as the infamous motel owner Norman Bates.
The story follows Marion Crane, a secretary who steals $40,000 from her company's client and goes on the run, only for heavy rain to force her to take refuge at a remote motel owned by a timid taxidermist who lives in his overpowering mother's shadow.
In the film's pre-release trailer, Hitchcock quite unashamedly gives away much of the major plot points of the film, yet much will still remain a surprise - unless, of course, it's already been ruined for you.
Considered incredibly violent at the time of it's release, the scenes of horror might feel incredibly tame by modern standards, but it cannot be denied that this film changed cinema and the way people watch films, as well as introducing cinema audiences to a brand new subgenre of "slasher" horror films.
"Check in. Unpack. Relax. Take a shower."
"Check in. Unpack. Relax. Take a shower."
D: Gus Van Sant
Universal/Imagine (Brian Grazer & Gus Van Sant)
US 1998
104 mins
W: Joseph Stefano [based on the novel by Robert Bloch]
DP: Chris Doyle
Ed: Amy Duddleston
Mus: Bernard Herrmann & Danny Elfman
PD: Tom Foden
Vince Vaughn (Norman Bates), Anne Heche (Marion Crane), Julianne Moore (Lila Crane), Viggo Mortensen (Sam Loomis), William H. Macy (Milton Arbogast)
One of Hollywood's biggest mistakes. This shot-by-shot remake of the Hitchcock classic uses the same script as the 1960 original, only changing the amount of currency and wedging in a laughably unnecessary masturbation scene.
The performances are all inferior and the film feels more like an insult rather than the homage director Gus Van Sant intended. Simply put, this is a film that has no right to exist.
"It's 22 years later and Norman Bates is coming home."
"It's 22 years later and Norman Bates is coming home."


D: Richard Franklin

Universal (Hilton A. Green & Bernard Schwartz)

US 1983

113 mins


W: Tom Holland [based on characters created by Robert Bloch]

DP: Dean Cundey

Ed: Andrew London

Mus: Jerry Goldsmith

Anthony Perkins (Norman Bates), Meg Tilly (Mary Samuels), Vera Miles (Lila Loomis), Robert Loggia (Dr. Bill Raymond), Dennis Franz (Warren Twomey), Hugh Gillen (Sheriff John Hunt)

It was never going to be an easy task following up with a sequel to Alfred Hitchcock's classic horror movie, but Psycho II does not do a bad job at all, despite being nowhere near the seminal 1960 film. Robert Bloch did, in fact, write a follow up to the original novel, but this film is not based upon that book.

Anthony Perkins reprises his role as Norman Bates, released from a mental institution after 22 years, much to the annoyance of Lila Loomis, the sister of the first film's main victim, Marion Crane. Returning to the ominous family house overlooking his namesake hotel, Bates attempts to move on with his life and away from that which haunts him, in doing so, he allows a young woman to move into his home, only for "mother" to begin another killing spree...

Much of the plot is predictable to anybody who has ever seen a horror movie, or indeed the original film, but there's still some wiggle room in the plot for a couple of interesting twists and turns.

Perkins slips back into his most famous character like it's a glove and Meg Tilly provides an excellent supporting character with her breakthrough performance.

Not as good as the original film by a long shot, but miles ahead of the pathetic remake.


D: Michael Mann
Universal/Relativity Media/Forward Pass (Michael Mann & Kevin Misher)
US 2009
143 mins


W: Michael Mann, Ronan Bennett & Ann Biderman [based on the book "Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave & The Birth Of The FBI, 1933-34" by Bryan Burrough]
DP: Dante Spinotti
Ed: Paul Rubell & Jeffrey Ford
Mus: Elliott Goldenthal
PD: Nathan Crowley
Cos: Colleen Atwood

Johnny Depp (John Dillinger), Christian Bale (Melvin Purvis), Marion Cotillard (Billie Frechette), Billy Crudup (J. Edgar Hoover), Stephen Dorff (Homer Van Meter), Stephen Lang (Charles Winstead)

Biographical crime drama about John Dillinger and the authorities who tried to catch him.

An incredibly slow-build up and some inaudible dialogue mar what could have potentially been a fantastic gangster movie.     

The performances are very good, particularly Johnny Depp and Marion Cotillard, while the period detail, photography and music score are also excellent.

The slow-boiling narrative might make a few minds switch off, but those who stick with it are rewarded with an intelligent cops and robbers thriller with moments of genuine brilliance and inventive style.

It trails in the wake of more seminal classics like The Godfather, but to better Coppola's classic would be a huge ask.


D: Quentin Tarantino
Miramax/A Band Apart/Jersey Films (Lawrence Bender)
US 1994
153 mins
W: Quentin Tarantino & Roger Avary
DP: Andrzej Sekula
Ed: Sally Menke
PD: David Wasco
John Travolta (Vincent Vega), Samuel L. Jackson (Jules Winnfield), Uma Thurman(Mia Wallace), Harvey Keitel (The Wolf), Tim Roth (Pumpkin), Amanda Plummer (Honey Bunny), Ving Rhames (Marsellus Wallace), Bruce Willis (Butch), Maria de Medeiros (Fabienne), Eric Stoltz (Lance), Rosanna Arquette (Jody)
Quentin Tarantino's intricate compendium of crime uses a non-linear narrative that interlinks through the theme that something bad happens whenever John Travolta uses the bathroom (seriously, this is true! Give it another watch!!)
Coincidence aside, the real theme Tarantino's film conveys is "honour amongst thieves" and there's much symbolism and reference to the samurai code within, the Samurai movies of Akira Kurosawa providing a huge inspiration to Quentin Tarantino's screenwriting career.
The first of the three stories sees two gangster hitmen, John Travolta & Samuel L. Jackson, discussing cheeseburgers and Amsterdam before a visit to a seedy apartment to collect their bosses property from a group of young hoodlums. 
Following these events, John Travolta has the task of entertaining his bosses moll for the evening, accompanying her to Jack Rabbit Slim's 1950's style diner where they participate (& subsequently win) the twist contest, the evening takes a turn for the worst however when she OD's on heroin.
The second chapter is about a boxer who is bribed by a mob boss to take a dive in a prizefight but when he ends up winning the bout he has to flee town before the gangsters catch up on him.
The third story brings everything full circle, following on from a pre-credits sequence in which a heist develops in a coffee shop, which so happens to take place shortly after the apartment scene in the first story, but prior to John Travolta & Uma Thurman's $5 milkshakes at Jack Rabbit Slims.
Though the non-linear narrative threw some viewers off, it's easier to piece together than most which use the same structure, and it cannot be denied that almost every single character is richly developed, from John Travolta's cool as ice Vincent Vega to Samuel L. Jackson's bible-quoting, philosophically-minded Jules Winnfield and Uma Thurman's sassy gangster's moll, Mia Wallace.
As well as the great performances, every memorable line of dialogue has gone down in movie folklore and the film must surely be the most quotable of the 1990's.
It really is a modern masterpiece of the crime genre, as classic as The Godfather and as cult as A Clockwork Orange. One of the best films ever made.
D: Allan Moyle
New Line/SC Entertainment (Rupert Harvey & Sandy Stern)
US 1990
105 mins
W: Allan Moyle
DP: Walt Lloyd
Ed: Wendy Bricmont, Ric Keeley & Kurt Hathaway
Mus: Cliff Martinez
Christian Slater (Mark Hunter), Ellen Greene (Jan Emerson), Annie Ross (Loretta Creswood), Samantha Mathis (Nora Diniro), Scott Paulin (Brian Hunter)
Pump Up The Volume is very much a product of its own time and wouldn't be appreciated nowadays unless it's watched through nostalgic eyes.
Christian Slater gives one of his best screen performance as a coy teenage student whose alter-ego turns the airwaves blue as a pirate radio DJ, influencing his peers to rebel against their corrupt high school.
Aside from the main character and Samantha Mathis as the love interest, the rest of the supporting cast are sloppily underwritten, leading to some ropey performances and unconvincing dialogue.
The film's best moments come during Slater's on-air tirades, but it's still very much stuck in the 1990's. Worth a watch now for a little dose of nostalgia, unfortunately some things just don't age well.
D: Stan Winston
United Artists (Howard Smith & Richard C. Weinman)
US 1988
86 mins
W: Mark Patrick Carducci & Gary Gerani
DP: Bojan Bazelli
Ed: Marcus Manton
Mus: Richard Stone
Lance Henriksen (Ed Harley), Jeff East (Chris), John D'Aquino (Joel), Kimberly Ross (Kim), Kerry Remsen (Maggie)
Visual effects designer Stan Winston, better known for his creations for The Terminator & Predator, turns his focus to directing for this revenge tale creature feature.
Following the death of his son, a farmer summons a demon to kill those responsible. An act which has a greater price than he bargained for.
The first-time director creates an effectively chilling atmosphere, whilst the creature design and visual effects are of the standard you'd expect from Winston himself.
A very underrated piece of work.
"Dying's easy. Comedy's hard."
"Dying's easy. Comedy's hard."
D: David Seltzer
Columbia Tristar (Daniel Melnick & Michael Rachmil)
US 1988
122 mins
W: David Seltzer
DP: Reynaldo Villalobos
Ed: Bruce Green
Mus: Charles Gross
Tom Hanks (Steven Gold), Sally Field (Lilah Krytsick), John Goodman (John Krytsick), Mark Rydell (Romeo), Kim Griest (Madeline), Paul Mazursky (Arnold)
A housewife and aspiring stand-up comedienne is mentored by a male comedian with personality problems.
Good performances from Tom Hanks and Sally Field make this watchable, but it's by far, too serious a look at the world of comedy. Something lighter would have made a far more entertaining watch.
"Is there a limit to revenge?"
"Is there a limit to revenge?"
D: Mark Goldblatt
New World/Castle Premier/Marvel (Robert Mark Kamen)
Australia 1989
90 mins


W: Robert Mark Kamen & Boaz Yakin [based on the comic book character]
DP: Ian Baker
Ed: Tim Wellburn
Mus: Dennis Dreith

Dolph Lundgren (Frank Castle / The Punisher), Louis Gossett, Jr. (Jake Berkowitz), Jeroen Krabbe (Gianni Franco), Kim Miyori (Lady Tanaka), Bryan Marshall (Dino Moretti), Nancy Everhard (Sam Leary) Barry Otto (Shake)

Fans of the Marvel comic book character will be very disappointed, the only connection this film has to series of comics is the title.
Dolph Lundgren plays a former policeman-turned-vagrant, who takes revenge on the gang who killed his family.
The film ticks off all the usual action movie clichés, bringing nothing new to the table and can't even stay true to its original source. Poor.
D: David Schmoeller 
Full Moon (Hope Perello)
US 1989
90 mins
W: Joseph G. Collodi, Charles Band & Kenneth J. Hall
DP: Sergio Salvati
Ed: Tom Meshelski
Mus: Richard Band
Paul LeMat (Alex Whitaker), Irene Miracle (Dana Hadley), Matt Roe (Frank Forrester), Kathryn O'Reilly (Carissa Stamford), Robert Frates (Megan Gallagher), William Hickey (André Toulon)
An 80's twist on the Frankenstein story, also merging elements from haunted house movies and slashers, as a group of psychics investigate eerie events at an isolated hotel, and find themselves attacked by living puppets.
Some of the narrative is quite slow, but the film is kept alive by some creepy visual effects, surprisingly effective considering the film's age and modest budget.
Many sequels followed, but weren't of nearly the same quality.
"One's a detective searching for a missing heiress. The other's an accident waiting to happen."
"One's a detective searching for a missing heiress. The other's an accident waiting to happen."
D: Nadia Tass
Universal/Silver Lion (Lance Hool & Sean Daniel)
US 1991
96 mins
W: Herschel Weingrod & Timothy Harris [based on the screenplay "La Chèvre" by François Veber]
DP: David Parker
Ed: Billy Weber
Mus: Jonathan Sheffer & Danny Elfman
Danny Glover (Raymond Campanella), Martin Short (Eugene Proctor), Sheila Kelley (Valerie Highsmith), Sam Wanamaker (Highsmith), Scott Wilson (Frank Grimes), Harry Shearer (Monosoff)
Slapstick farce remake of a French film, which partners Danny Glover as a detective who enlists the help of an accident-prone moron, hoping that it will help lead him to an equally calamitous heiress. 
The film lacks genuinely funny moments, but is quite easy to watch. The enjoyment heavily depends on whether or not you like seeing Martin Short (in pain). It probably worked better in French.


D: James DeMonaco

Universal/Platinum Dunes/Blumhouse/Why Not (Jason Blum, Michael Bay, Andrew Form, Bradley Fuller & Sebastien Lemercier)

US 2013

85 mins


W: James DeMonaco

DP: Jacques Jouffret

Ed: Peter Gvodras

Mus: Nathan Whitehead

Ethan Hawke (James Sandin), Lena Headey (Mary Sandin), Adelaide Kane (Zoey Sandin), Max Burkholder (Charlie Sandin), Tony Oller (Henry), Edwin Hodge (Bloody Stranger), Rhys Wakefield (Polite Leader)

The Purge is an interesting idea which doesn't quite work as well as it could have, although, by modern horror standards, it certainly isn't a terrible film. 

Set in a dystopian future where unemployment and poverty in the United States are at record lows, much of which is due to The Purge, an annual event where murder is decriminalised for 12 hours during an evening.

James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) has used the event for his and his family's profit, selling home security systems and living in a secure mansion, their reasonably peaceful Purge Night becomes an ordeal for survival when a bloody stranger infiltrates their home, and a bloody mob gather outside and demand his release, or the whole family will become targets.

The plot does have a few holes, but the general premise is an incredibly interesting one, even though the film descends into a standard home invasion thriller halfway through, bringing with it all the usual tropes and cliches you'd expect.

A series of films followed.


"A comedy about life, love, airplanes and other bumpy rides."
"A comedy about life, love, airplanes and other bumpy rides."
D: Mike Newell
20th Century Fox/Fox 2000/Regency (Art Linson)
US 1999
124 mins
W: Glen Charles & Les Charles [based on the article "Something's Got To Give" by Darcy Frey]
DP: Gale Tattersall
Ed: Jon Gregory
Mus: Anne Dudley
John Cusack (Nick Falzone), Billy Bob Thornton (Russell Bell), Cate Blanchett (Connie Falzone), Angelina Jolie (Mary Bell), Jake Weber (Barry Plotkin)
A rivalry develops at an air traffic control centre between a cocksure employee and a mysterious newcomer.
The story is mostly cock-measuring between John Cusack & Billy Bob Thornton's characters. All the performances are fine, and the film is entertaining enough, though it can't quite decide whether it's a comedy, drama or even a thriller, eventually settling for all three with a mix which doesn't quite take off.


D: Chris Miller
Paramount/Dreamworks (Latifah Ouaou & Joe M. Aguilar)
US 2011
90 mins
W: Tom Wheeler, Will Davies & Brian Lynch
Mus: Henry Jackman
voices of: Antonio Banderas (Puss in Boots), Salma Hayek (Kitty Softpaws), Zach Galifianakis (Humpty Dumpty), Billy Bob Thornton (Jack), Amy Sedaris (Jill) 

After winning over hearts in Shrek 2, Puss In Boots gets his own spinoff movie, which, unless you're 8-years-old, may be a little bit disappointing.

Much like Shrek, it's a mishmash which draws off various fairytales, but the story is over-convoluted for no particular reason (especially considering this is supposed to be a kids film), pitting the swashbuckling cat against Humpty Dumpty, who used to be his friend, but is now a rival who aims to grow a giant beanstalk with beans he stole from Jack & Jill, so he can steal the golden goose, etc.

Overall, the animation is very good, but it lacks comedy aside from the occasional "ha ha, he's a Spanish" and "ha ha, he's a cat".

It also seems to tell kids that breaking and entering is an acceptable act of bravery. Okay, but nowhere near as enjoyable as the first couple of Shrek movies.



D: Anthony Asquith

General Film Distributors (Gabriel Pascal)

UK 1938

96 mins


W: George Bernard Shaw, W.P. Lipscomb, Cecil Lewis & Ian Dalrymple [based on the play by George Bernard Shaw]

DP: Harry Stradling

Ed: David Lean

Mus: Arthur Honegger

Leslie Howard (Prof. Henry Higgins), Wendy Hiller (Eliza Doolittle), Wilfred Lawson (Arthur Doolittle), Scott Sunderland (Col. Pickering), Marie Lohr (Mrs. Higgins), David Tree (Freddy Eynsford-Hill)

Slightly old-fashioned with its execution, but this first film adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's sprightly comedy of manners is blessed with some fine performances and brilliantly witty dialogue which make it timeless in its own right.

Professor of dialect Henry Higgins accepts a wager to transform common as muck flower seller Eliza Doolittle into a lady of high-standing by correcting her grammar and diction, and though it appears he has bitten off more than he can chew with the task at hand, a relationship blossoms between the two unlikely companions.

The story was further immortalised in the musical remake, My Fair Lady, as well as a very loose teenage version of a similar story (She's All That). Some may argue that this is the best filmed version of George Bernard Shaw's play, though My Fair Lady is probably the more memorable.


"Theirs was a case of burning love."
"Theirs was a case of burning love."
D: Noah Stern
Rank/Act III/Mixed Breed (Jonathan Furie)
US 1991
95 mins
W: Noah Stern
DP: Janusz Kaminski
Ed: Gib Jaffe
Mus: Peter Himmelman
Kevin Bacon (Ari), Kyra Sedgwick (Sam), Bruce Payne (Liam), Kristin Dattilo (Pia)
Silly rom-com about a couple whose love-making is so incendiary that they literally set things on fire.
Completely unremarkable, except for the fact that it started real-life couple Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, who don't really do much to make the film worthwhile. In fact, it's all rather trashy.