Friday, January 29, 2016

Jan 27th
The Big Chill**    

(US 1983)                    

A group of college friends meet up again to come to terms with the suicide of one of them.
Engaging though hardly penetrating ensemble drama with intelligent handling all round including an accessible soundtrack and smooth direction.

Written by: Lawrence Kasdan, Barbara Benedek.
Producer: Michael Shamberg.
Director: Lawrence Kasdan.
Starring (in no particular order): Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, Jeff Goldblum, William Hurt, Kevin Kline, Mary Kay Place, Meg Tilly, JoBeth Williams, Don Galloway.
Photography: John Bailey.
Music: Various.
Editing: Carol Littleton.

+ the deceased friend (in cut scenes from release) was played by Kevin Costner

Friday, January 22, 2016

Jan 21st
The Final Destination
aka: Final Destination 4

(US 2009)

Teenagers escape a speedway stadium disaster after a premonition of it, but Death gets them in the end.
Unpleasant Twilight Zone variation on the teenage slasher flick (with Death the unseen murderer), with little time for character development before the next gruesome (or predicted) death. The fourth of a series started in 2000, of more or less identical plot.

Written by: Eric Bress.
Producers: Craig Berry, Warren Zide.
Director: Eric Bress.
Starring: Bobby Campo, Shantel VanSanten, Nick Zano, Haley Webb, Mykelti Williamson, Krista Allen, Justin Welborn.
Photography: Glen MacPherson.
Music: Brian Tyler.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Jan 14th  
The Ghost Goes West***     

(GB 1935)                                  

A disgraced Scottish clansman haunts his castle and travels with it to America to help his ancestor woo the daughter of an American businessman who has bought it.
Pleasing romantic comedy with historical and supernatural asides in its director's best manner, meandering along easily enough but with a fiery climax.

Written by: Geoffrey Kerr, Robert E. Sherwood, Lajos Biro, from a story by Eric Keown.
Producer: Alexander Korda.
Director: Rene Clair.
Starring: Robert Donat, Jean Parker, Eugene Pallette, Everly Gregg, Ralph Bunker, Morton Selten, Elsa Lanchester.
Photography: Harold Rosson.
Music: Mischa Spoliansky.

Preceded by:
The Kiss
(aka. The May Irwin Kiss)
(US 1896. 28secs. bw. silent; Elementary early piece of cinema intimacy, based on a scene from a stage play featuring the two actors, that quickly spawned many imitators, particularly when going through railway tunnels.; ph: Thomas Edison; s: May Irwin, John Rice.)

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Jan 6th
When Worlds Collide*     

(US 1951)                          

Another star heads irrevocably towards Earth's destruction, and only a scientist and a small community of survivors convince the world to escape to new planet nearby.
Ominous but hardly threatening (in the cinematic sense) apocalyptic 50s blockbuster which entertains with some of its special effects and ensemble decoration, and quite good (if theoretically potty) science, although the matte painting other world is a whimsical disappointment.

Written by: Sidney Boehm, based on the novel by Edwin Balmer, Philip Wylie.
Producer: George Pal.
Director: Rudolph Mate.
Starring: Larry Keating, Richard Derr, John Hoyt, Barbara Rush, Peter Hansen, Alden Chase, Stuart Whitman.
Photography: W. Howard Greene, John F. Seitz.
Music: Leith Stevens.
Special Effects: Harry Barndollar, Gordon Jennings.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Jan 2nd  
The Force Awakens*** (12A)
(Century Clacton)

(US 2015)

A renegade stormtrooper deserts the First Order to help Republic forces and an enterprising desert scavenger to search for the missing Luke Skywalker.
Spirited follow-up to the Star Wars saga away from George Lucas, lacking a smooth story flow in a plot that scatters characters and situations around various planets in a stretched-out narrative, but some improvement aesthetically on the recent prequel trilogy.

Written by: Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams, Michael Arndt.
Producers: Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk.
Director: J.J. Abrams.
Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong'o, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, Max Von Sydow, Mark Hamill.
Photography: Don Mindel.
Music: John Williams.
Production Design: Rick Carter, Darren Gilford.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Dec 29th   
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid**    

(US 1969)                    

Two cocky cowboy bank robbers eventually meet their demise after fleeing to Bolivia.
Not vintage but certainly very enjoyable tongue-in-cheek Western, influenced in turn by The Wild Bunch and Bonnie and Clyde, but gentler than either, with as much witty banter between the two stars as there is violent, lively action. A box office bonanza.

Written by: William Goldman.
Producers: Paul Newman, John Foreman.
Director: George Roy Hill.
Starring: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katharine Ross, Strother Martin, Henry Jones, Jeff Corey, Cloris Leachman.
Photography: Conrad Hall.
Music: Burt Bacharach.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Dec 27th  
Knight Without Armour**     

(GB 1937)                        

In revolutionary Russia an Englishman agrees to go undercover among the Bolsheviks, and protects a countess that he has fallen in love with.
Sweeping romantic adventure, far better at conveying the political chaos in Russia than the later, more celebrated film of Doctor Zhivago, with a good international star teaming and lavish presentation - although it proved to be nearly the ruin of Korda's London Studios.

Written by: Lajos Biro, Arthur Wimperis, Frances Marion, from the novel by James Hilton.
Producer: Alexander Korda.
Director: Jacques Feyder.
Starring: Robert Donat, Marlene Dietrich, John Clements, Herbert Lomas, Austin Trevor, Basil Gill, David Tree, Hay Petrie, Peter Bull, Miles Malleson, Raymond Huntley.
Photography: Harry Stradling.
Music: Miklos Rosza.

KNIGHT WITHOUT ARMOUR. Relations on set between Marlene Dietrich and Robert Donat could be frosty at times, but the ice melted on camera.