Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Aug 15th  
Dunkirk** (12A)  
(Empire Ipswich)                                  

(US/GB 2017)

Various young men have a battle to get back home on the Dunkirk beaches.
Grimly suspenseful semi-remake of Leslie Norman's Dunkirk, with the director using sensual immersion (and a typically relentless soundtrack) all in overbearing IMAX 70mm, for those who can take it. Quite effective in places, although the scenes often feel like actors standing on a set (though shot of some of the original locations) rather than wartime history, and the lack of a central character or focus does show.

Written and Directed by: Christopher Nolan.
Producers: Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan.
Starring (in no particular order): Fionn Whitehead, Damien Bonnard, Aneurin Barnard, Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Jack Lowden, James D'Arcy, Harry Styles.
Photography: Hoyte Van Hoytema.
Music: Hans Zimmer.
Editing: Lee Smith.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Aug 5th  
The Maze

(US 1953) (originally 3D)                        

The American heir to a Scottish baronet deserts his fiancee but she pursues him to the mysterious manor to find out the truth.
Stilted and weird 3-D horror variation on Jane Eyre, trying hard not be unintentionally risible (with a giant frog for a monster), also lacking scares for a monster movie.

Written by: Dan Ullman, from a story by Maurice Sandoz.
Producer: Richard Heermance.
Director/Production Design: William Cameron Menzies.
Starring: Richard Carlson, Veronica Hurst, Katherine Emery, Michael Pate, John Dodsworth, Hilary Brooke, Stanley Fraser, Lillian Bond.
Photography: Harry Neumann.
Music: Marlin Skiles.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Aug 3rd   
Steel Magnolias**  

(US 1989)                  

An Alabama diabetic runs the risk of having a baby with the reluctant help of her mother and their supportive friends.
An episodic all-female stage play becomes reasonably opened out along a predictably sentimental route (with the men mostly marginalised but fitting into the narrative), uneven in style with sudden jumps in time periods, but the star female cast provide interesting if unremarkable variety.

Written by: Robert Harling, from his play.
Producer: Ray Stark.
Director: Herbert Ross.
Starring: Sally Field, Shirley MacLaine, Julia Roberts, Dolly Parton, Olympia Dukakis, Daryl Hannah, Tom Skerritt, Sam Shepard, Dylan McDermott, Kevin J. O'Connor.
Photography: John A. Alonzo.
Music: Georges Delerue.

Preceded by:
Our Gang Follies of 1938*
(US 1937. MGM/Hal Roach. 20m. bw; Child musical revue where a crooner unwisely decides to rest his voice for opera. Curiously conceived (but at the time quite popular) spoof of popular genres using children, bearing interesting comparison with the later Bugsy Malone and other Our Gang musical spoofs.; d: Gordon Douglas; s: Carl Switzer, George McFarland, Darla Hood, Henry Brandon.)

Friday, July 28, 2017

Jul 27th  
Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow*  
(Ieri Oggi Domani)                            

(Ita/Fra 1963)

Three stories of amoral women: a pregnant crook, a millionaire's wife, and a prostitute who befriends a seminarian.
Colourfully photographed compendium with one cold-hearted story sandwiches by two engaging and comedic stories, with the stars giving marquee value performances.

Written by: Eduardo De Filippo, Isabella Quarantott, Alberto Moravia, Cesare Zavattini, Bella Billa.
Producer: Carol Ponti.
Director: Vittorio De Sica.
Starring: Sophia Loren, Marcello Mastroianni. Aldo Giuffre, Agostino Salvietti, Gianni Ridolfi, Tina Pica.
Photography: Giuseppe Rotunno.
Music: Armando Trovajoli.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Jul 20th  
I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle*      

(GB 1989)                                                  

Satanists are killed by a rival biker gang but the flood of their leader is infused into his motorbike which wreaks revenge.
Gory and at times revolting horror spoof within the required low budget (shot in Birmingham but pretending to be London), with some interesting cameos and a nice line in morbid puns.

Written by: Mycal Miller, John Wolskel.
Producers: Jim Allan, Mycal Miller, John Wolskel.
Director: Dirk Campbell.
Starring: Neil Morrissey, Amanda Noar, Michael Elphick, Anthony Daniels, Andrew Powell, Burt Kwouk, Daniel Peacock.
Photography: Tom Ingle.
Music: Dean Friedman.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Jul 19th  
Baby Driver** (15)  
(Odeon Colchester)                                      

(US/GB 2017)

A young getaway driver is pressured from friends and foes into giving up the job or doing one more dangerous heist.
Typically stylised and not always easy to follow thriller - patterned after Tarantino but with a unique style of its own - undeniably entertaining, although its director once again compromises characterisation for formula finales.

w, d: Edgar Wright
s: Ansel Elgarf, Lily James, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Eiza Gonzalez, Jon Bernthal, C.J. Jones

BABY DRIVER. Probably deserves some sort of nomination for snazziest posters of the year.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Jul 14th  
Out of Africa**                     
(US 1985)

In 1913 Karen Blixen inherits an African plantation through a marriage of convenience, but falls in love with a handsome ivory hunter.
Colonial travelogue romance tailored as an 80s star vehicle of the rather old fashioned sort, with director and stars trying but failing honourably to make it anything more than a languid stroll through breathtaking African locations.

Written by: Kurt Luedtke, based on books by Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen), Judith Thiram, Errol Trzebinski.
Producers: Sydney Pollack, Terence Clegg.
Director: Sydney Pollack.
Starring: Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Michael Kitchen, Suzanna Hamilton, Michael Gough, Shane Rimmer, Leslie Phillips.
Photography: David Watkin.
Music: John Barry.