La Strada – Federico Fellini (1954)

Federico Fellini is one of Italy’s greatest and most influential filmmaker with a style and substance rarely matched in European art house film, especially in earlier work.  A number of his pictures have recently made it into the Sight & Sound top 100 poll with his masterpiece 8 ½ even finishing within the top 10.  He’s a director who often portrays the struggles of humanity in the … Continue reading La Strada – Federico Fellini (1954)

The 39 Steps – Alfred Hitchcock (1935)

The wrong man scenario is one that Alfred Hitchcock not only seemed to be obsessed with, but one that he made his own.  When choosing the best of his “wrong man”, there’s no doubt that his 1935 adaptation of John Buchan’s The 39 Steps would at least reside near that top.  The apparent master of suspense is firing here on all cylinders, creating ideas and … Continue reading The 39 Steps – Alfred Hitchcock (1935)

Dracula: Prince of Darkness – Terence Fisher (1966)

Having taken a break for the sequel to 1958’s Dracula, the Count returned to Hammer after having left all the hard work to Baron Meinster in 1960’s Brides of Dracula.  1966’s Dracula Prince of Darkness is missing only one element that would allow it to become the strongest in Hammer’s canon.  Christopher Lee returns as the count but sadly missing from the film is Peter … Continue reading Dracula: Prince of Darkness – Terence Fisher (1966)

Taxi Driver – Martin Scorsese (1976)

New York is a living beast.  Though a sense of cleanliness prevails over many of the affluent inner city districts these days, in the 1970′s it seems a pulsing, writhing mass of people and dirt.  Woody Allen’s Manhattan (1979) seems contrary to this yet the films that revel in this filthy concoction of crime and murder are some of the most addictive of the era. This mix is … Continue reading Taxi Driver – Martin Scorsese (1976)

Sight & Sound Film Poll 2012 In Detail.

Every ten years, the most respected and articulate of film magazines, Sight and Sound, runs a poll voted for by the directors and critics of our time for their ten favourite films.  This coalesces into a poll of fifty films and yesterday these were announced a long with a live tweet countdown of the apparent top ten greatest films of all time (at least for the next … Continue reading Sight & Sound Film Poll 2012 In Detail.

The Devil Rides Out – Terence Fisher (1967)

Satanism and Devil worship has been a popular topic for horror films since the genre’s first exploration of its dark ways in Benjamin Christensen’s 1922 film Haxan.  The genre of occult horror saw a new golden age for itself born in the late 1950s and Hammer’s 1968 film The Devil Rides Out is a product of this re-emerging genre. Based on the classic novel by … Continue reading The Devil Rides Out – Terence Fisher (1967)

Film Scores and the Social Construction of Emotions (Lynch and Kubrick) – Part 2

Playing against our expectations and how music can twist our emotional construction and beliefs on scenarios of reality for its own ends.  “Music is a “mirror” that allows one to “see one’s self”” – Slobada and O’Neill quoting DeNora (1999 p51). I mentioned early about the dark to side to my argument but also how it backs up my initial ideas more effectively then the … Continue reading Film Scores and the Social Construction of Emotions (Lynch and Kubrick) – Part 2

The Quatermass Xperiment – Val Guest (1955)

Still reeling from the massive success of Cold War infused science fiction, Hammer films clearly saw a gap in the market for a British flavoured take on the paranoid happenings around space travel and nuclear weapons.  Adapting Nigel Kneale’s original BBC Quatermass series is an absolute masterstroke by Hammer producer Anthony Hinds and it can be argued that the success of this one film lead … Continue reading The Quatermass Xperiment – Val Guest (1955)

Vertigo – Alfred Hitchcock (1958)

Reviewing a film that almost solely relies on its twists and turns can be a tricky task.  In the case of most Alfred Hitchcock films, the enjoyment comes from the suspense and the relief that flows over the viewer when the narrative twists and the shocks have been revealed.  Hitchcock’s magnum opus, Vertigo is one of these films and so therefore this review comes with … Continue reading Vertigo – Alfred Hitchcock (1958)

If… – Lindsay Anderson (1968)

That natural progression from film critic to filmmaker seems to be a route rarely traversed these days.  The natural opposite of this is often a more comfortable way to explore both the medium and the craft, with many filmmakers writing books specifically after they’ve established a film career.  Along with renowned critic and filmmaker, Francois Truffaut, director and critic Lindsay Anderson is one of the … Continue reading If… – Lindsay Anderson (1968)