Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Mar 24th  
Kingsman: The Secret Service* (15)      

(Odeon Colchester)

(GB 2015)

Adventures of an ultra-secret service agency under the cover of a guild of tailors who try to foil an American entrepreneur who is planning to cure the world of global warming by turning human beings onto themselves.
Straight-faced James Bond spoof with a brilliant cast, rather heavy on exposition and dragging along after the first hour, indulging itself with too much violent action and bad language, but undeniably entertaining.

w: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn, based on the comic book "The Secret Service" by Mark Millar, Dave Gibbons
d: Matthew Vaughn
s: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Caine, Mark Strong, Sofia Boutella, Jack Davenport, Mark Hamill, Samantha Womack, Sophie Cookson, Hanna Alstrom

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Mar 23rd  
The War of the Worlds**         

(US 1952)

Martian meteorites land on Earth spawning tripod machines that proceed to destroy most of the world's cities.
Given the proliferation of invaders from outer space films of the 1950s, it's perhaps disappointing that its most famous original story is rather a B-Movie effort, heavily Americanised, but the special effects are where it counts, in a forcefully efficient 85 minute adaptation of the novel, working up to a fine apocalyptic sense of destruction come the finale.

Written by: Barre Lyndon, based on the novel by H.G.Wells.
Producer: George Pal.
Director: Byron Haskin.
Starring: Gene Barry, Ann Robinson, Les Tremayne, Bob Cornthwaite, Lewis Martin, Henry Brandon, Jack Kruschen, Ned Glass, Charles Gamora (as a Martian).
Narrator: Cedric Hardwicke.
Photography: George Barnes.
Music: Leith Stevens.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Mar 18th 

(US 1975)                  

Various political and personal melodramas one weekend at the Nashville country and western music festival.
A postscript to last year's 70s collection, with this splendid rambling multi-character comedy drama, smarter than MASH, made as a microcosm of the state of America, perhaps overreaching itself but full of memorable scenes and cameos, with the director at his most astute.

Written by: Joan Tewkesbury.
Producer/Director: Robert Altman.
Starring: Ned Beatty, Karen Black, Ronee Blakley, Keith Carradine, Geraldine Chaplin, Shelly Duvall, Allen Garfield, Henry Gibson, Scott Glenn, Jeff Goldblum, Barbara Harris, David Hayward, Michael Murphy, Christina Raines, Bert Remsen, Lily Tomlin, Gwen Welles, Keenan Wynn, Elliott Gould, Julie Christie, and others.
Music: Richard Baskin, various country and western songs.
Editing: Dennis Hill, Sidney Levin.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Mar 9th   

(GB/Ire 2012)

A centuries old teenage vampire and her nymphomaniac mother find refuge in a sleazy seaside guesthouse.
Stylish, characteristic Jordan vampire thriller which could have been subtler, slightly lazily blending elements of his previous films (Mona Lisa and Interview with the Vampire among them), and even the likes of Twilight and Let the Right One In thrown into the commercial mixture, but the main performances help to keep it fresh.

w: Moira Buffini, from her play
p: Sam Englebardt, William D. Johnson, Elizabeth Karlsen, Alan Moloney, Stephen Woolley
d: Neil Jordan
s: Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Arterton, Sam Riley, Johnny Lee Miller, Caleb Landry Jones, Daniel Mays, Tom Hollander, Uri Gavriel, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Barry Cassin
ph: Sean Babbitt
m: Javier Navarette
pd: Simon Elliott

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Mar 4th  
The Crimson Pirate**       

(GB 1952)                                      

A buccaneering pirate falls for the daughter of a fellow outlaw and helps liberate an island from tyranny.
Utterly contrived and highly entertaining pirate caper, providing Lancaster with an excellent showcase for his acrobatic talents.

Written by: Roland Kibbee, Waldo Salt.
Producers: Norman Deming, Harold Hecht, Burt Lancaster.
Director: Robert Siodmak.
Starring: Burt Lancaster, Nick Cravat, Eva Bartok, Leslie Bradley, Torin Thatcher, James Hayter, Frederick Leister, Noel Purcell, Christopher Lee, Eliot Makeham, Dana Wynter.
Photography: Otto Heller.
Music: William Alwyn.
Costume: Margaret Furse.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Feb 27th  

(US 2013)                                      

In the semi-future a divorced computer nerd falls in love with a computer operating system who helps him improve himself.
Oddly touching and quite absorbing (for its 2-hour length) modern romance for the Internet generation, done with complete sympathy for its central characters.

Written and Directed by: Spike Jonze.
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson (voice only), Amy Adams, Olivia Wilde, Rooney Mara, Chris Pratt, Brian Cox (voice only).
Photography: Hoyte van Hoytema.
Music: Arcade Fire, Owen Pallett.
Production Design: K.K. Barrett.

+ Samantha Morton was originally the voice of 'Samantha', but was replaced in post-production by Scarlett Johansson

Monday, February 23, 2015

Feb 20th   
The Epic of Everest*       

(GB 1924)                          
Explorers' Films. 90m. bw. silent    

The filmed record of Mallory's noble attempt at climbing Mount Everest, done as a home movie by the explorers with heavy subtitle exposition but fascinating early used of zoom cameras at high altitudes, although big screens are required to see the tiny dots in the distance that were Mallory and Irvine, with of course added poignancy given the ultimate outcome.

Produced/Photography by: J.B. Noel.

Music (2013): Simon Fisher Turner.