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Paul Atreides with his mother, Lady Jessica

Dune

“Dreams are messages from the deep,” it says right up at the front of Denis Villeneuve’s 2021 adaptation of Dune, possibly a nod to David Lynch, whose hazy 1984 version crashed and burned in spectacular, almost sci-fi fashion. Other nods – the design of the stillsuits and the sandworms for instance – also hark back … Read more
PJ, intern Jaclyn and Jordan

The Beta Test

There is no test in The Beta Test but there is a Beta – lead character Jordan (Jim Cummings), a would-be Hollywood big wheel who’s not quite got the clout of a producer or agent, because he’s more a “packager” of deals, one of those legends in his own lunchtime who secretly wants to be … Read more
Christina and Nicole

Les Diaboliques

Les Diaboliques is the film that Alfred Hitchcock missed out on making after getting pipped to the post by another master of suspense, Henri-Georges Clouzot. If the story is true, Clouzot stayed up all night reading the original novel, Celle qui n’était plus, and then called writers Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac the next morning, … Read more
Finnie and Kelly

Run

Short, bleak and tense, Run is writer/director Scott Graham’s third feature, his third to have a single syllable title and the third to be about a person bridling against a life of limited opportunity. His previous two, Shell and Iona, were about semi-attached women, Run is about a very-married man. Finnie (Mark Stanley) is a … Read more
Cordier puts a move on Rose Marcaillou

Coup de Torchon

Bertrand Tavernier’s 1981 movie Coup de Torchon is a bizarre adaptation of Jim Thompson’s novel Pop. 1280. Bizarre not because Tavernier and his co-writer Jean Aurenche have moved the action from Texas to West Africa. Nothing wrong with that. It’s the way they’ve excised Thompson’s black humour and inserted French farce in its place, draining … Read more
Karen, Laurie and Allyson

Halloween Kills

The franchise as unkillable as Michael Myers himself returns with Halloween Kills, a direct continuation of 2018’s franchise reboot, Halloween. For those who don’t remember, it finally saw the masked psychopath consigned to an early grave, having been trapped by Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) in … Read more
Dan Stevens and Maren Eggert dance

I’m Your Man

Imagine that, a film called I’m Your Man and no sign of Leonard Cohen on the soundtrack. Or Wham! Partly that’s because this is a German film (originally called Ich bin dein Mensch) but mostly it’s because this funny and clever movie wants to do things its own way. How about a romcom plot involving … Read more
Veronica Lake and Alan Ladd

This Gun for Hire

The gun for hire in This Gun for Hire is Alan Ladd’s, here in the role that made him a star, his blond hair dyed black the better to play a character called Philip Raven, a hitman who’ll do in anyone anytime as long as the money is right. It’s also the film that first … Read more
Kiyohiko Shibukawa and Katsuki Mori in Door Wide Open

Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy

More is sometimes less. Not so with Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy, three separate love stories connected by the fact that the the people in them are a bit fucked up and which together deliver more synergistic bang for your buck than the average single-plot feature. Offbeat associations are something of a theme with the … Read more
The wife and the spy go shopping

Wife of a Spy

There’s a real lack of urgency in many of the films of Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Sometimes it works in his favour, sometimes against. Against, I’m feeling, with Wife of a Spy. Though there are plot bombs dropped towards the end, and fascinating ideas bubbling away in there to, this high-tone mix of lush period drama and … Read more
Max von Sydow, Patrick Stewart, Kyle MacLachlan and Jürgen Prochnow

Dune

Dune. Not Denis Villeneuve’s 2021 behemoth, that pleasure still awaits. But David Lynch’s 1984 version, the only film in his career that he wished he hadn’t made and will not talk about in interviews, except to say he shouldn’t have made it. And not the theatrical version either, but the “extended” one worked up for … Read more
A high priestess

On the Silver Globe

Ready for one of the strangest sci-fi movies ever made? On the Silver Globe (Na srebrnym globie in the original Polish) is as powerful as it is incomprehensible, as if David Lynch’s Dune had been put in a bag and tossed around with Game of Thrones, Tolkien, Tarkovsky and Mad Max. The story behind it … Read more

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