The adaptation of Harper Lee's novel tells the story almost entirely from the Finch children's point of view and both young actors portraying Scout & Jem do an excellent job. This is Gregory Peck's movie however, flawless as the embodiment of Southern lawyer Atticus Finch.
Amongst the very best films of the 1960's.
A gritty and cynical thriller about an embittered, arrogant Secret Service agent who wants to put the cuffs on money counterfeiter Willem Dafoe.
William Friedkin's movie doesn't suffer the formulaic clichés most from this genre fall into and is easily his best crime movie since The French Connection.
A hugely underrated, little seen film from the 1980's.
TOM JONES (PG)
D: Tony Richardson
United Artists/Woodfall (Tony Richardson)
W: John Osborne [based on the novel 'The History Of Tom Jones, A Foundling' by Henry Fielding]
DP: Walter Lassally
Ed: Antony Gibbs
Mus: John Addison
PD: Ralph Brinton
Albert Finney (Tom Jones), Susannah York (Sophie Western), Hugh Griffith (Squire Western), Edith Evans (Miss Western), Joan Greenwood (Lady Bellaston), Diane Cilento (Molly Seagrim), Joyce Redman (Mrs. Waters / Jenny Jones)
Mixing the attitudes of the swinging sixties with the prose of Henry Fielding's 1749 novel, Tom Jones is a far cry from the angry young man / kitchen sink dramas which director Tony Richardson was synonymous with at the turn of the 1960's.
Set in 18th century England, the story concerns the title character, an aristocratic philanderer, and his romancing of Sophie Western, but when Sophie's father, a stuffy lord discovers Tom Jones illegitimacy of noble birth, the young rake travels to find his biological parents and had many bawdy adventures on his odyssey.
It's fair to say that the film was definitely released at the right time, but it really hasn't dated badly, mostly due to the excellent performance of Albert Finney and some very strong supporting performances.
It's worth watching for the banquet seduction scene alone, proof that you don't need nudity for an iconic sex scene.
The film was nominated for 10 Oscars, winning 4, including Best Picture, and a (terrible) sequel was released in the 1970's.
TOMB RAIDER (12)
D: Roar Uthaug
Warner Bros/MGM (Graham King)
W: Evan Daugherty, Geneva Robertson-Dworet & Alastair Siddons [based on characters created by Crystal Dynamics]
DP: George Richmond
Ed: Stuart Baird & Michael Tronick
Mus: Tom Holkenberg
Alicia Vikander (Lara Croft), Dominic West (Lord Richard Croft), Walton Goggins (Mathias Vogel), Daniel Wu (Lu Ren), Kristin Scott-Thomas (Ana Miller), Derek Jacobi (Mr. Yaffe), Nick Frost (Max)
The general rule of thumb is that video games do not make a good transition to the big screen, and though that may be true, movies based on computer games do make a nice little earner for the studios, so from a business standpoint, it's good sense that these movies will be regularly produced.
The character of Lara Croat already made a big screen bow in 2001, with Angelina Jolie donning the outfit for some action packed adventure and excitement (see Lara Croft: Tomb Raider). The storyline in this reboot takes its inspiration from the 2004 release of the game series, casting Alicia Vikander as a young Lara for more of an origin tale.
Living a working class life following her father's disappearance many years prior, Lara reluctantly signs the inheritance papers to prevent her family mansion being sold off. Discovering a secret lair harbouring her father's more clandestine work, Lara travels to Hong Kong to further investigate his disappearance, eventually arriving at a mysterious island where a group of henchmen are searching for the sarcophagus of Himiko, a mythical queen who is fabled to hold the key to life.
Though the film is reasonably entertaining, it borrows most of its story from other, much better films, while the characters are very one-dimensional and the plot is simply by-the-numbers. Alicia Vikander does look the part as a young Lara Croft, but she's given too little to do in this, with action sequences being few and far between.
It's Raiders Of The Lost Ark with a female protagonist, but nowhere near as good as it could or should be.
Following the excellent The Lives Of Others, director Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck's first English language film is a huge disappointment.
This international thriller opens in France, with Angelina Jolie doing her usual arse wiggle walk she does in any movie which requires her to be a slutty character. Anyway, it turns out that she's a disgraced British agent. She receives instruction to get a train to Venice and choose a patsy on the journey. She opts the Johnny Depp and lands him in hot water when he's mistaken for an infamous criminal and he ends up on the run from both MI6 and a notorious gangster.
This movie is ridiculously outdated considering Alfred Hitchcock made this same movie in 1935 and called it The 39 Steps.
The 'twist' ending is so blindingly obvious to anyone with half a brain that this movie is actually quite insulting.
TRAIN TO BUSAN (18)
D: Yeon Sang-Ho
Next Entertainment World/Red Peter (Lee Dong-Ha)
South Korea 2016
W: Park Joo-Suk
DP: Lee Hyung-Deok
Ed: Yang Jin-Mo
Mus: Jang Young-Gyu
Gong Yoo (Seok-Woo), Jung Yu-Mi (Syong Kyeong), Kim Su-An (Soo-An), Ma Dong-Seok (Sang-Hwa), Kim Eui-Sung (Yon-Suk)
Train To Busan is a zombie film from South East Asia with unique difference, all the action is set on a public train heading cross-country.
The film is full of bloody gore to keep horror fans biting their nails, but the action set pieces do have a habit of becoming repetitive.
Still, it's a fair sight better than most of the big budget horror flicks churned out by Hollywood over the same year.
TRAINSPOTTING 2 (aka T2: TRAINSPOTTING) (18)
D: Danny Boyle
Tristar/Film4/Creative Scotland/Cloud Eight/DNA (Andrew MacDonald, Christian Colson, Danny Boyle & Bernard Bellew)
W: John Hodge [based on characters created by Irvine Welsh]
DP: Anthony Dod Mantle
Ed: Jon Harris
Ewan McGregor (Mark Renton), Ewen Bremner (Daniel 'Spud' Murphy), Jonny Lee Miller (Simon 'Sick Boy' Williamson), Robert Carlyle (Francis Begbie), Kelly MacDonald (Diane Coulston)
No British film quite captured the 1990's quite like Danny Boyle's Trainspotting, released in 1996 to great success and garnering a massive cult following despite its edgy material. This sequel uses material from Irvine Welsh's novel that didn't make it into the original film, as well as snippets from the novel Porno, the author's own sequel to his work.
20 years on from events in the original film, Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) returns home to Scotland to face the music after robbing his friends of a cut of £16,000.
Spud is still addicted to heroin, while Sick Boy spends his days snorting cocaine and blackmailing rich businessmen. Begbie, having just escaped from prison, is looking out most for revenge having been double-crossed by Renton.
Although it's good to see the characters back, this sequel doesn't have the same magic as the first film and the story is rather aimless.
It has its moments which will make you laugh, feel disgust, and perhaps a mix of both, but it really isn't anywhere near as good as the 1996 film.
Director Danny Boyle titled the film 'T2: Trainspotting' for the cinema release, just to annoy James Cameron.
An ultra low budget mishmash of the plotlines from Blade Runner & The Terminator.
Tim Thomerson plays Jack Deth, a bounty hunter in the future who hunts Trancers, zombie-like creatures whose minds are controlled by bad guy Whistler. Jack is sent back to the 1980's to hunt the ringleader and save the day, all with assistance from a very young and beautiful Helen Hunt.
It's not a bad movie, but it's not very good either. Just a poor man's Blade Runner (qv).
A string of poor sequels followed.
Michael Bay has proved with the first two that he can't make a Transformers movie worthy of what the excellent cartoon series deserved and this third installment follows the same formula... High octane action sequences (only this time in dizzying, semi-focused post-converted 3D), Shia LaBeouf acts like a twat whilst vying for the attention of some tart with blowjob lips and limited acting capability, more irritating incidental characters are introduced for no reason (take a bow John Malkovich & Frances McDormand) and the storyline tries to throw in a milestone of World History, this time the 1969 moon landing as well as an American Landmark being destroyed for shits & giggles (Lincoln Memorial here).
All of this takes place on planet Michael Bay where all the laws of physics are ignored, there are no such thing as timezones and no good character with a surname can die.
We should've known better really from what was delivered in the first two films, and we only have ourselves to blame for spending our hard-earned money watching this poor excuse for a summer blockbuster and, in turn, Michael Bay and the studio executives will continue to churn out these films on an assembly line not too dissimilar to the action figures themselves. Once again Hollywood sells out.
A terrible film, but the Burger King chicken nuggets which were marketed as a tie-in promotion were quite tasty, and what they transformed into are a good metaphor for the standard here.
TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT (12)
D: Michael Bay
Paramount/Hasbro/Angry Films (Don Murphy, Tom DeSanto, Lorenzo di Bonaventura & Ian Bryce)
W: Akiva Goldsman, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway & Ken Nolan [based on characters created by Hasbro]
DP: Jonathan Adela
Ed: Mark Sanger, John Refoua, Adam Gerstel, Debra Neil-Fisher, Roger Barton & Calvin Wimmer
Mus: Steve Jablonsky
Mark Wahlberg (Cade Yeager), Josh Duhamel (Col. William Lennox), Stanley Tucci (Merlin), Anthony Hopkins (Sir Edmund Burton), Laura Haddock (Viviane Wembly), Isabella Moner (Isabella), John Turturro (Seymour Simmons)
The fifth (and worst) of the Transformers movies could quite possibly be the worst movie to be released in 2017 (subject to opinion).
With the Earth licking its wounds from the war in the previous films, all Transformers are banned from the planet, but the war between Autobots and Decepticons rages on, and the only way to prevent the Earth from total destruction lies in Arthurian legend.
The plot is a completely garbled mess, opening with a scene involving transformers in England's dark ages with a drunken Merlin summoning his powers from one of the giant robots.
It's probably best that the viewer gets this drunk too, in order to enjoy the rest of the film (or fall asleep. Whatever comes first). The rest of the film is just a mess, which Michael Bay may well understand, but the rest of us are doomed.
THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE (PG)
D: John Huston
Warner Bros (Henry Blanke)
W: John Huston [based on the novel by B. Traven]
DP: Ted McCord
Ed: Owen Marks
Mus: Max Steiner
Humphrey Bogart (Fred C. Dobbs), Walter Huston (Howard), Tim Holt (Bob Curtin), Bruce Bennett (James Cody), Barton MacLane (Pat McCormick)
Highly acclaimed and often imitated, The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre is a western adventure starring Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston & Tim Holt as three gold prospectors on a dangerous expedition in the Mexican outland, plagued by violent bandits.
A classic of its time, the film has dated quite well in many respects, with some of the quotes still referenced in pop culture. Walter Huston steals the movie as a veteran prospector and deservedly won an Oscar for his performance. John Huston also won Oscars for both directing and writing the movie, which was one of the first Hollywood studio films to shoot outside of the United States.
A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN (PG)
D: Elia Kazan
20th Century Fox (Louis D. Lighton)
W: Tess Slesinger & Frank Davis [based on the novel by Betty Smith]
DP: Leon Shamroy
Ed: Dorothy Spencer
Mus: Alfred Newman
Dorothy McGuire (Katie Nolan), Joan Blondell (Aunt Sissy), James Dunn (Johnny Nolan), Lloyd Nolan (McShane), Peggy Ann Garner (Francie Nolan), Ted Donaldson (Neeley Nolan)
Elia Kazan's first directorial assignment was bringing Betty Smith's best-selling novel to the screen.
The story follows a family living in Brooklyn at the turn of the 20th century, with matriarchal figure Katie Nolan struggling to save every penny, while the father of the family, Johnny uncontrollably spends it all on alcohol.
The film is blessed with a collection of excellent performances, particularly Peggy Ann Garner as Francie, the young daughter of the family, and James Dunn, who won a supporting actor Oscar for his work.
The superb detail put into the production is so fine, you'd be forgiven for not realising it was a studio-bound production.
It's a little overlong, and a little old-fashioned, but is still a fine example of a 1940's family melodrama.
For aficionados of arthouse movies only.
Director/Writer/Producer Terrence Malick abandons a conventional narrative and goes for a visual poetry on life, the universe and everything. The little story it does have revolves around a suburban family, where the mother lives her life by a spiritual code whereas the father teaches the children that if they want something, they must earn it. It's all rather cryptic though, as the story is mostly told without dialogue, rather with beautifully captured imagery.
The visuals are capitivating, including a "creation of the universe" scene akin to the space ballet from 2001: A Space Odyssey (qv), but aside from moments like this the movie is overlong, rather pretentious and a criminal waste of Sean Penn.
THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY (PG)
D: Alfred Hitchcock
Paramount (Alfred Hitchcock)
W: John Michael Hayes [based on the novel by Jack Trevor Story]
DP: Robert Burks
Ed: Alma McCrorie
Mus: Bernard Herrmann
Edmund Gwenn (Capt. Albert Wiles), John Forsythe (Sam Marlowe), Shirley MacLaine (Jennifer Rogers), Mildred Natwick (Ivy Gravely), Mildred Dunnock (Mrs. Wiggs), Jerry Mathers (Arnie Rogers)
Alfred Hitchcock turns his hand to black comedy for this shaggy dog story / murder mystery, a corpse providing the McGuffin as various characters discover it and can't decide between themselves the best course of action concerning the dead body and each of them being potentially responsible for a murder as their secrets unfurl.
A small film for Hitchcock, who used a lesser known cast as an experiment to see if a film could be successful without a big name on the bill (the answer was moderately).
It's a fun film for its age, but it could have been quite awful if it wasn't for the Master Of Suspense at the helm.
Above average courtroom thriller which becomes quite formulaic in its later stages.
James Woods (with a stupid ponytail) is a maverick civil rights lawyer who takes on the cases others don't. Partnered with rookie Robert Downey Jr, he tries to clear a convict's name after he has already been serving 8 years for murder.
Though the two leads keep the film ticking over nicely, there's far too many clichés which prevent the film from being memorable, making it little more than a TV movie of the week and wasting an incredibly talented cast.
TRUE CONFESSIONS (15)
D: Ulu Grosbard
United Artists/MGM (Robert Chartoff & Irwin Winkler)
W: Joan Didion & John Gregory Dunne [based on the novel by John Gregory Dunne]
DP: Owen Roizman
Ed: Lynzee Klingman
Mus: Georges Delerue
Robert DeNiro (Msgr. Desmond Spellacy), Robert Duvall (Det. Tom Spellacy), Charles Durning (Jack Amsterdam), Cyril Cusack (The Cardinal), Burgess Meredith (Msgr. Fargo)
From a novel which was itself based on a true murder case from the 1940's (The Black Dahlia), this fictionalised version stars Robert DeNiro and Robert Duvall as two brothers who become involved in the case from two differing sides, Robert Duvall playing a detective investigating the crime, whilst Robert DeNiro plays a Monsignor who is unwittingly involved.
Despite a pair of excellent performances, the film itself is quite dull, lumbered down with a lot of talking heads conversation and religious mumbo-jumbo. Perhaps it's the case itself which isn't particularly cinematic, a more literal version came to the screen in 2006 (simply named The Black Dahlia), but that was even duller than this film.
TWELVE O'CLOCK HIGH (U)
D: Henry King
20th Century Fox (Darryl F. Zanuck)
W: Sy Bartlett & Beirne Lay, Jr.
DP: Leon Shamroy
Ed: Barbara McLean
Mus: Alfred Newman
Gregory Peck (Brig. Gen. Frank Savage), Hugh Marlowe (Lt. Col. Ben Gately), Gary Merrill (Col. Keith Davenport), Millard Mitchell (Maj. Gen. Pritchard), Dean Jagger (Maj. Harvey Stovall), Robert Arthur (Sgt. McIllhenny)
Gregory Peck stars as a hard-as-nails Air Force general who takes command of a bomber unit whose members are suffering from low morale and bad attitudes. He soon whips them into shape with his strict disciplinary measures and they ultimately become a proud military force who contribute considerably in an air battle against the German Luftwaffe.
It's fair to say that film is very much a product of its time, heralding great acts of bravery in the years following World War II. Technically, the film is very well made for its time, using real life footage in addition to special visual effects for its action-packed climax. A handful of the performances are also very strong, especially from Gregory Peck and Dean Jagger.
'Slavery is a tragedy that should befall none.'
12 Years A Slave is a remarkably harrowing and uncomfortable watch based on the true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man living in pre-Civil War New York, abducted from his wife and family and sold into the diabolical slave trade where he spent each day doing all he could to survive.
Director Steve McQueen (no, not that one) isn't afraid to show all the horrific ordeals of forced slavery, mothers separated from their children, 'inferior' workers flogged, whipped and occasionally hung.
Every single performance in this film is fantastic, Chiwetel Ejiofor appears in virtually every scene, mostly as a passive character who witnesses and experiences all the atrocities, but his performance is nevertheless excellent, especially in the closing stages. Lupita Nyony'o thoroughly deserved her Supporting Actress Oscar as Patsey, whom Solomon befriends on a cotton plantation owned by the seething, dictatorial, cynically evil Epps (Michael Fassbender).
Not all the white people are the bad guy though, and some of them even help Solomon to win back his freedom, but these characters are few and far between and even those who do have redeeming qualities simply don't lessen the impact of Solomon's ordeal.
Unsurprisingly, the film was named Best Picture at the 2013 Oscars.
20TH CENTURY WOMEN (15)
D: Mike Mills
A24/Annapurna (Anne Carey, Megan Ellison & Youree Henley)
W: Mike Mills
DP: Sean Porter
Ed: Leslie Jones
Mus: Roger Neill
Annette Bening (Dorothea Fields), Greta Gerwig (Abbie Porter), Elle Fanning (Julie Hamlin), Lucas Jade Zumann (Jamie Fields), Billy Crudup (William)
Writer-director Mike Mills brings this semi-autobiographical story to the screen, set in 1970's Santa Barbara, starring Annette Bening as a single mother who runs a boarding house, and enlists the help of her tenants to help raise her son in a world she no longer recognises or understands.
The performances of the three principal actresses are fantastic, and their characters are well fleshed out by Mills, but the overall result could have done with being about 20 minutes shorter.
The lives of three people are affected following a hit-and-run traffic accident.
The fragmented narrative might not be to everyone's taste, with the jigsaw of scenes shown in a random order (the director mentions in DVD commentary that they are shown in the order of emotional power), but after you get through the first 20 minutes you get a grasp on what's happening you get to enjoy a dramatic, well-acted thriller. Naomi Watts, Sean Penn & Benicio del Toro all deliver tour de force performances and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu proves that, as a director, he could be a Hollywood heavyweight.
A clever and emotional piece of work.
Based on a 1980's TV show which itself was guilty pleasure nonsense, this is a refreshingly funny reboot to the big screen which doesn't take itself too seriously and even revels in the fact that it's a remake of a TV series with a line early in the film where a character pretty much admits it.
The rest of the movie is delightfully tongue-in-cheek, with two underachieving rookie cops sent undercover in a high school to investigate a drug smuggling operation.
Despite the plot being something straight out of a tacky 80's show, the movie works incredibly well due to the on-screen partnership of Channing Tatum & Jonah Hill.
Tatum often gets criticism for just being a pretty boy cast only for eye candy, but I have to disagree, he's good at what he does- it's not like he's being cast as Hamlet!
Jonah Hill deserves lots of credit here though, an actor who can play comedic and serious roles and also co-wrote the screenplay, proving he truly is an up-and-coming talent in Hollywood.
This film is much better than expected, and delivers many hilarious moments, a couple of great in-jokes and a cameo which borders on genius (yes, that one).
Kristen Stewart is back as vacuous, disingenuous and ungrateful little girl Bella Swan in this sequel to a movie I didn't really like in the first instance.
This one has "Romeo & Juliet" references throughout, probably so author Stephanie Meyer can add plagiarism to her résumé following the romanticisation and bastardisation of vampires in the first book/movie.
After being abandoned by her bloodsucking lover R-Patz, K-Stew is hounded (literally) by creepy werewolf Taylor Swift (or Lautner, whatever) and there's some love triangle bullshit with a beastly twist.
It's all porn for teenage girls. If you're not in the target audience for these movies, it's all pathetically laughable, poorly acted crap where two creepy guys fight for the love of a teenage girl without a personality.
The continuation of THE WORST SAGA IN CINEMA HISTORY continues with the 3rd in the series of Twilight. I'm not a twelve year old girl, I've not read the books, I can only review these movies from my own perspective and not the niche demographic they're aimed at.
As I've already stated, I've not read the books, but they seem like Stephanie Meyer just makes them up as she goes along. It's just more bastardization of vampire/lycanthrope legend for girls too young to read proper literature.
The first two films were cheaply made with poor production values and terrible special effects to fully exploit the cult success of the books. A ploy that worked since the first two movies grossed millions of dollars.
There is no reason for the third movie to look so cheap, as if it were thrown together over a weekend by a bunch of kids.
Personally, I am bewildered as to why any two people/creatures (whatever) would be involved in a love triangle over Bella. She's the most boring, passionless cocktease in the history of cinema.
So... The last in the series of these BAD movies is split into two parts, presumably to extort more money from its fanbase and no other reason whatsoever.
I really don't understand the appeal of these films, or the books. They're just lazily written man-hating diatribes by a loathsome woman author who has no connection with reality whatsoever.
The first three movies were seemingly about a girls choice between necrophilia and bestiality, it's no surprise that this movie has to throw some paedophilia into the mix.
The wussiest vampire in the history of cinema and literature marries his cardboard lover Bella, they have sex, play chess, have sex again, play chess, have sex, play chess and break beds. She gives birth to a CGI baby and shirtless man-wolf Taylor Swift (whatever) falls in love with it.
And so ends the worst series of movies I've ever seen, I'm just glad to get it all over and done with so I can pretend they don't exist and watch some proper vampire movies like Dracula, Near Dark & The Lost Boys.
First of all, I can't believe two guys would spend 4 movies fighting over a girl who is so uninteresting, emotionless & frumpily unattractive, but what this climatic episode to the saga does is simply OUTRAGEOUS!
All the build up from the previous four movies ends with Taylor Swift (whatever) suddenly being cool with Bella being transformed into a lesbian (whatever) because he's destined to get jiggy with her daughter- who's not even one-year-old yet.
The werewolf-vampire battle to end all battles also turns out to be a damp squib, since it doesn't even happen, despite being the main selling point of this movie.
I'm not a teenage girl, I've not read the books, I can only review the movies from a cinematic point of view and I can quite honestly say that they are all amongst the worst movies ever made.
Arguably, the definitive science fiction movie, but also the most misunderstood as it seems to be so ambiguous, it's up to the viewer to take what they want from it. Some may choose to mull over the visual poetry as they may see fit, while others might just time their hallucinatory aids so they can enjoy the trip. Both legally and morally, I would have to recommend the former.
For me, the premise of Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece is that an unknown being (represented in this film by a mysterious black monolith) has been observing life on Earth since the very beginning, and only intervening on rare occasions to evolve human intelligence.
The movie is split into two main sections: the first being 'The Dawn Of Man', where primates are fighting amongst themselves, and after one of the apemen discover the monolith, he happens upon the concept of tools & weapons, using a bone as an implement for battle.
The second section of the film follows a group of astronauts on a mission to Jupiter, while their spaceships central computer, HAL, tries to take control of the mission for unknown reason.
The final half-hour is where you can choose to dissect the meaning of it all/experience the psychedelia (depending on how much you've been smoking), but for me the message is as follows:
The technologies we encounter through human history, from the first rudimentary tool to the super computers that navigate the universe, are based on the same intellectual level- they can be used for good or evil and the choice is up to the user.
Kubrick's masterpiece of science fiction has become hugely influential and much imitated since it's 1968 premiere, and though it's still very much misunderstood, not many would be able to argue that it's a masterpiece of filmmaking excellence.