Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sep 20th      

(US 1995)        

A professional bank robber leads one daring last raid from a Los Angeles bank under the watch of the hardened detective following him.
Mean, moody and slick cops and robbers game of cat-and-mouse, the sort of drama now (sadly) more comfortable on television than in the cinema, with all the cliches, violent action and foul language firmly in place, and plenty of good dramatic moments among a starry supporting cast, with two leading men who easily slip in to characteristic material.

Written and Directed by: Michael Mann.
Producers: Michael Mann, Art Linson.
Starring: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Jon Voight, Diane Venora, Tom Sizemore, Amy Brennerman, Ashley Judd, Dennis Haysbert, Wes Studi, Mykelti Williamson, Natalie Portman, Tom Noonan.
Photography: Dante Spinotti.
Music: Elliot Goldenthal.

HEAT. An epic Warner Brothers 3-hour contextualizing of the sort of gangster picture that used to take half the length, but no less rewarding here, with two of the meanest looking actors of the modern era: instead of Cagney and Bogart, we have Pacino and De Niro.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Sep 15th  
Captain Clegg**  

(GB 1962)        

An infamous smuggler is hiding incognito as a village parson on the Romney Marshes under cover of ghostly horse riders.
Hammer hokum, more dagger than cloak but entertaining for all that, with cast and crew working well withing their means in typically well crafted Hammer fashion.

Written by: John Elder (Anthony Hines), Barbara S. Harper, based on "Dr. Syn" by Russell Thorndike.
Producer: John Temple-Smith.
Director: Peter Graham Scott.                      
Starring: Peter Cushing, Patrick Allen, Yvonne Romain, Oliver Reed, Martin Benson, Michael Ripper, Derek Francis, David Lodge, Milton Reid, Jack MacGowran, Daphne Anderson.
Photography: Arthur Grant.
Music: Don Banks.
Special Effects: Les Bowie.

CAPRAIN CLEGG (aka. Night Creatures . The Marsh Phantoms!  Somewhat of a cheat cinematically, but entertaining to look at. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Sep 12th   
The Wipers Times*     

(GB TVM 2013)                                    

Two officers discover a printing press on the Western Front and use it to write a semi-satirical magazine to keep the soldiers' spirits up in the latter stages of WWI.
Wordy true story, a kindred spirit for the creators of Private Eye, on a strained budget with a lack of action or clear drama, but with nice moments and echoes of Journey's End in its wartime camaraderie.

Written by: Ian Hislop, Nick Newman.
Producer: David Parfitt.
Director: Andy De Emmony.
Starring: Ben Chaplin, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Michael Palin, Ben Daniels, Steve Oram, Hugh Skinner, Emilia Fox.
Photography: Mark Garrett.
Music: Nick Green.
Production Design: Ashleigh Jeffers.

Preceded by:
The Bond*
(US 1918. 10m. bw. silent; Propaganda comedy fund raiser by Chaplin, a series of sketches not without subtle moments, despite the obvious but historic image of him clubbing the Kaiser with a Liberty Bonds mallet.; w, d: Charles Chaplin; s: Charlie Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Albert Austin, Syd Chaplin.)

THE BOND (1918). Charlie puts the kibosch on the Kaiser.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Sep 10th  

(US 2012)                            

Alfred Hitchcock proceeds to make his most successful suspense film, in spite of its subject matter and his own sexual jealousies with his devoted wife Alma.
Selective history of the making of Psycho which plays on long established Hitch stereotypes with some notable figures (such as Bernard Herrmann or Hitchcock's daughter) marginalised or completely missing from the film, but with some enjoyable speculative fantasy sequences (much of it Hitchcock pastiche), and stars who variably resemble their famous (or almost as famous) counterparts.

Written by: John J. McLoughlin, based on the book "Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho" by Stephen Rebello.
Producers: Ivan Reitman, Tom Pollock, Joe Medjuck, Tom Thayer, Alan Barnette.
Director: Sacha Gervasi.
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Toni Collette, Danny Huston, Scarlett Johansson (as Janet Leigh), Jessica Biel, James D'Arcy (as Anthony Perkins), Michael Stuhlbarg, Michael Wincott (as Ed Gein), Kurtwood Smith, Ralph Macchio.
Photography: Jeff Cronenweth.
Music: Danny Elfman.
Editing: Pamela Martin.

+ see also The Girl

Monday, September 05, 2016

Sep 5th
Barefoot in the Park**      

(US 1967)                                              

Manhattan newlyweds have a chaotic time trying to settle in to their shambling new apartment.
Engaging romantic comedy based on Simon's own early marriage, with sexy leads who lack the necessary comic timing, with average production, but there are plenty of pleasures elsewhere.

Written by: Neil Simon, from his play.
Producer: Hal B. Wallis.
Director: Gene Saks.
Starring: Robert Redford, Jane Fonda, Mildred Natwick, Charles Boyer, Herb Edelman, Mabel Albertson, Fritz Feld, James Stone.
Photography: Joseph La Shelle.
Music: Neil Hefti.

Preceded by:
Max Wants a Divorce*
(US 1917. Mutual. 22m. bw. silent; A newlywed tries to arrange a divorce for the sake of an inheritance.; w, d: Max Linder; s: Max Linder, Martha Mansfield, Helen Ferguson.)

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Aug 29th  

(US 1916)                              

In a fictionalised European state, a submarine commander is persuaded by his fiancee not to use it to destroy a passenger liner, and then at his death bed is imbued with the spirit of Christ to convince the nation's leader to end warfare.
Audacious pacifist epic with some grand production values, on a par with Intolerance made that same year but lacking Griffith's complexity, its one essential, doubtlessly honourable moral (but alas, ineffective), rammed home constantly with any questioning of it.

Written by: C. Gardner Sullivan.
Producer: Thomas H. Ince.
Directors: Thomas H. Ince, Reginald Barker, Raymond B. West.
Starring: Howard C. Hickman, Herschel Mayall, George Fisher (as Christ), Enid Markey, J. Frank Burke.
Photography: Irvin Willat, Joseph August, Clyde de Vinna.

Music:Victor L. Schertzinger.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Aug 26th  

(US 1992)                          

Aladdin fulfills his destiny to rub the lamp and overcome an evil Caliph.
Manically energetic Disney animated pantomime with lively if cloying musical numbers, the centrepiece being Robin Williams's delirious rendition of the Genie; taking a lot of its inspiration from Thief of Bagdad, although with considerably less subtlety.

Written by: Ron Clements, John Musker, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio.
Producers: John Musker, Ron Clements, Donald W. Ernst.
Directors: John Musker, Ron Clements.
Voices of: Robin Williams, Scott Weinger, Jonathan Freeman, Linda Larkin, Gilbert Gottfried, Douglas Seale.
Music/Lyrics: Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, Tim Rice.