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Gael Garcia Bernal in Amores Perros

Amores Perros

The film which announced the rebirth of Mexican cinema in 2000, Amores Perros was adored not just by cinephiles but also those who “don’t do subtitles”. The reasons are many and continue to make it a film worth seeing, or seeing again. Shot on film which has been deliberately processed in the “wrong” chemical to … Read more

In the Mood for Love

In the Mood for Love

    Escape the tyranny of the huge flatscreen TV for an evening and surrender to a slow-moving visual feast best seen on the big screen in a darkened room with lots of people barely breathing. They’re holding their breath for a variety of reasons. The gorgeousness of Christopher Doyle’s cinematography for one, depicting 1960s … Read more

Richard Gere in Dr T and the Women

Dr T and the Women

If, as the old joke has it, gynaecologists are always up to their elbows in work, how much more taxing would that job be if you were Richard Gere? That’s the proposition that Robert Altman lays before us in a film that’s often dismissed, his last of a line of flops that lay between Short … Read more

Nick Nolte in The Thin Red Line

The Thin Red Line

    In the mid-1990s it was more or less universally accepted that Terrence Malick had given up making films. He’d made Badlands in 1973 and Days of Heaven in 1978, both of them the sort of films that have critics coining new superlatives, but that was that. Then, 20 years after Days of Heaven, … Read more

Snow White sings to the bluebird in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

    David Hand? Look at the credits and you’ll see the name down as the director, one among quite a few, depending on where you’re looking. Such is the grip of the “director as auteur” notion on modern thinking that everyone – from the IMDB down – feels obliged to list the director first, as … Read more

Traffic

Traffic

      Traffic started life as Traffik, a 1989 mega-mini-series following the heroin trail from Pakistan through Germany and into the UK. It was brutal, it was gruelling and it was a cracker. The decision to remake it as a leg-knotting 2hr 20 min single film, and transfer the action to Mexico and the … 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

The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz

      Made in 1939, Hollywood’s annus mirabilis – yes, it was a long time ago – The Wizard of Oz is one of the highest achievments of “glorious Technicolor”. A finicky, expensive and slow process, Technicolor’s three-strip system, as the name suggests, used three separate, differently filtered, film negatives in its giant cameras … 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

Le Procès aka The Trial

Le Procès aka The Trial

    An arch bullshitter of the first water, Orson Welles fell on Franz Kafka’s The Trial like he fell on everything – mountainously. Kafka’s is a simple story – about Joseph K, a man arrested for an unspecified crime, who is taken through a legal process, all the way protesting he’s innocent. Is he? … Read more

Standing in the Shadows of Motown

Standing in the Shadows of Motown

    Thanks to the postmodern turn of our retro-fixated culture, even teenagers today have heard of the great Tamla-Motown label. And playing on nearly every one of the 110 top ten hits coming out of Detroit between 1959 and 1972 were a loose collaboration of crack musicians called the Funk Brothers. They played on … Read more

Christine Tremarco and Stuart Sinclair Blyth

Hold Back The Night

    One of the occasional forays behind the camera of Phil Davis, the hugely gifted actor whose face pops up in everything from a Dickens adaptation to a geezer gangster flick. Which is particularly of interest in this film because it’s neither of those. In fact it’s a genre Brits have a fairly low … Read more

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