WC Fields and Mae West

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Emil Jannings and Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel

The Blue Angel

    This is the film that made Marlene Dietrich a household scandal back in 1930. It’s the story of how a pompous but respectable schoolteacher is lured on to the rocks by Lola-Lola, the nightclub singer in a Weimar-era club who can’t help “Falling in Love Again” (which Dietrich sings here). Poor Emil Jannings, … Read more

Tom Green suckles from a cow's teat

Freddy Got Fingered

    The ancient Hebrews used to send out a goat into the wilderness, hoping it would take all their sins off with it. Modern Hollywood continues the practice every year with the Razzies, awards handed out to films which supposedly stink but which are in fact often not significantly more terrible than many others. … Read more

Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality

Miss Congeniality

    Call it nominative determinism but the Kirk Douglas-dimpled Sandra Bullock is often the most bullish person in the movies she’s in. This is presumably why somebody thought she’d be ideal playing a tough cop who makes an ugly-duckling transformation in order to go undercover at a beauty pageant. It’s completely unbelievable, of course … Read more

Ray Winstone in Sexy Beast

Sexy Beast

      A simple story from first-time feature director Jonathan Glazer – an advertising hotshot who directed the famous Guinness “surfing horses” advert . It’s all about a retired tealeaf (make sure your dictionary of rhyming slang is beside you) being forced into one last job back in Blighty (as Brits of a certain … Read more

An insect infested cadaver

They Nest

      We’ve had them all – alligators, piranhas, anacondas, killer bees and most famously birds and sharks. So what’s left? Insects, of course. In 2000’s They Nest (aka Creepy Crawlers), the time is the present, the scene is the island of Maine off America’s east coast, and the action kicks off when a … Read more

Warren Beatty and Julie Christie in McCabe & Mrs Miller

McCabe And Mrs Miller

    As Ang Lee now redefines every genre he touches, so did Robert Altman three and more decades ago. Here’s his remodelling of the western, an “anti-western” according to him, though these days what Altman was doing decades ago has mostly been incorporated in the mainstream – the “anti-western” is now just a western. Warren … Read more

Orson Welles in Confidential Report aka Mr Arkadin

Confidential Report

The prevailing wisdom on Orson Welles has changed in recent years. It used to be: “Poor Orson, his masterpieces (such as The Magnificent Ambersons, It’s All True, The Lady from Shanghai ) butchered by the studios”. Now it’s: “Lazy Orson, got most of the way through a film and then lost interest”. Certainly Welles subscribed … Read more

Richard Burton in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

The Spy Who Came In from the Cold

    Based on the breakthrough novel by former spy John Le Carré, shot in black and white to suggest that espionage is unglamorous, dirty work and starring a hollowed out Richard Burton, The Spy Who Came In from the Cold is as far from James Bond as it’s possible to get – further, even … Read more

Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott in Dude, Where's My Car

Dude, Where’s My Car

    Sometimes an utterly mindless comedy really hits the spot. That’s Dude, Where’s My Car. It was written by South Park graduate Philip Stark and stars Seann William Scott, a stalwart of the American Pie genre, and Ashton Kutcher, then a new arrival on Planet Heartthrob. One day our two unlikely lads wake up … Read more

Donald Sutherland in Don't Look Now

Don’t Look Now

        It seems an odd thing to say, but most films aren’t really that cinematic. Most films, you could close your eyes and follow them. Not so with Nicolas Roeg’s “arthouse horror”. Close your eyes and you’re lost. In fact, even with your eyes open, all is not as it appears. Take … Read more

Greed

Greed

    Hollywood’s first wave of film makers were the real deal – egomaniacs, showmen and charlatans. The director of Greed was all of those. Erich Von Stroheim was born plain Erich Oswald Stroheim in Vienna but by the time he got to Hollywood in 1914 he’d become Count Erich Oswald Hans Carl Maria Von … Read more

Anders Berthelsen and Iben Hjejle in Mifune

Mifune

      The title is a reference to Toshiro Mifune, the Japanese director Akira Kurosawa’s favourite actor. He died as the film went into production and director Søren Kragh-Jacobsen and writer Anders Thomas Jensen came up with the title as a way of honouring him. So, no, this isn’t Japanese arthouse; it’s Danish. Which … Read more

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