It’s unusual for the esteemed New York Film Critics Circle to be taking a lead from me. But, happening upon this, my first encounter with Bollywood, on an otherwise quiet Monday cinema outing, I have been championing it ever since, though not always to an appreciative audience. So I was somewhat astonished – and rather … Continue reading “RRR (2022) *****”
A western dream team. Beginning with Winchester ’73 (1950) James Stewart had revived his career post-World War Two with a string of tough westerns and had made seven movies in the genre in the 1960s including The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) and Shenandoah (1965). Starting with Rio Bravo (1959) Dean Martin had made … Continue reading “Behind the Scenes: “Bandolero” (1968)”
Darkest – and possibly the most under-rated – western of the decade featuring a top-class cast playing against type, down-and-dirty in its depiction of the itinerant cowboy, an ending you won’t see coming and if it’s not a heretical notion close cousin to the later The Wild Bunch (1969). Gang of outlaws led by Dee … Continue reading “Bandolero (1968) ****”
Hitchcock would have adored the apocalyptic flavour of this quasi haunted house psychological thriller. Setting aside its intellectual pretensions this is pure pedal-to-the-metal material. You never know what’s going to happen next in a tense environment created by dictatorial celebrity Chef Slowik (Ralph Fiennes) in whose eyes the entitled are likely to get their just … Continue reading “The Menu (2022) ***** – Seen at the Cinema”
Another triumphant entry in the casebook of Benoit Blanc, self-style world’s greatest detective and easily the most flamboyant in the genre since Hercule Poirot. Writer-director Rian Johnson’s invention offered Daniel Craig an immediate opportunity to shed the typecasting curse of James Bond and the actor rises splendidly again to the occasion, some hints of his … Continue reading “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022) **** – Seen at the Cinema”
Until the triumphant arrival of Oliver! (1968), the bar for British musicals was set very low. This just about scrapes through, thanks primarily to the enthusiastic cast and a rare opportunity to hear Sid James warble, though that may well be a detrimental factor. At this point the British movie musical was kept aloft by … Continue reading “Three Hats for Lisa (1965) ***”
Director Burt Kennedy’s record with westerns was very much hit or miss. This revisionist effort is one of the former though it could as easily tipped into the latter, beginning with a shrill soundtrack that telegraphs every incident and the no-name villain. And you might also wonder if irony had taken such a hold of … Continue reading “Welcome to Hard Times (1967) ****”
Politics don’t usually play a part in war films of the 1960s but’s it’s an essential ingredient to Rene Clement’s underrated documentary-style picture. Paris has no strategic importance and after the Normandy landings in 1944 the Allies intend to bypass the German-occupied French capital and head straight for Berlin. Meanwhile, Hitler, in particular vengeful mood … Continue reading “Is Paris Burning (1965) ****”
Just to be clear. Nobody is stealing a golden bull, though the annual running of the bulls in Pamplona in Spain is a plot element. No, this gang, led by former bank-robber Churchman (Stephen Boyd) is only going to break into an impregnable bank (par for the course) and steal priceless royal jewels. There’s an … Continue reading “The Caper of the Golden Bulls / Carnival of Thieves (1967) ***”
The 70mm roadshow didn’t rule for long, in reality just over a decade. Beginning with Ben-Hur in the final month of 1959, the peak came six years later with the double whammy of The Sound of Music and Doctor Zhivago. But towards the end of the 1960s flops outweighed hits and the youthquake of Easy … Continue reading “When Roadshow Ruled”
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