• Riot in Cell Block 11

    Riot in Cell Block 11

    ★★★½

    You want realism in your prison movies? Well here's one shot on location at Folsom Prison with real inmates and guards, produced by a man just released for shooting his wife's lover.

    One of Don Siegel's breakout pictures, Riot in Cell Block 11 is a hard-hitting noir with a social conscience, a film that takes a balanced view of riots without glorifying violence and not depicting either the inmates or the guards as outright villains as it compellingly makes a…

  • Pale Flower

    Pale Flower

    ★★★★

    A haunting and bleak avant-garde noir about a small-time Yakuza lost in the confusion and subjugation of post-war Japan, operating as a metaphor for the country's sudden loss of identity and inability to determine its own fate, a man doomed to wander the streets and make the same mistakes all over again.

    A quintessential work of the New Wave, Masahiro Shinoda's Pale Flower is incredibly stylish, beautifully shot in monochrome shadows and well acted by the very expressive Ryô Ikebe,…

  • Ikarie XB 1

    Ikarie XB 1

    ★★★½

    An obvious influence on Kubrick's 2001, Jindřich Polák's adaptation of Stanislaw Lem's novel The Magellanic Cloud is interesting for taking inspiration from 50s Hollywood sci-fi with its quaint robots and hokey costumes but also for anticipating a new breed of philosophical, cerebral science fiction films that would most notably materialise with Tarkovsky's adaptation of another Lem novel, Solaris.

    It's an unusually structured piece, the first half is almost like a melodramatic space sitcom with the crew of the ship going…

  • The Intruder

    The Intruder

    ★★★½

    Future Bond director Guy Hamilton's The Intruder is a uniformly excellent little thriller that employs dramatic wartime flashbacks to piece together the puzzle of a wayward former soldier, with Jack Hawkins' former tank commander and now successful stockbroker asking the question of how such a good man could go so wrong.

    This had the potential to be run-of-the-mill stuff but it presents an engaging character study with compassion and intelligence, examining how men react differently under stress and how the…

  • Revolution

    Revolution

    ★★½

    Sorry Hugh and Al. I watched the carefully revised Director's Cut, I then watched you both discuss how this new cut redeems the film, I even read the impassioned articles from several critics defending it as a misunderstood masterpiece but still came out unimpressed all the same, I think it's time to face the fact that Revolution just isn't very good.

    Rushed through production incomplete, beset by other on set issues and released in the age of Rambo, Reagan and…

  • The Big Sky

    The Big Sky

    ★★★½

    Extended Cut.

    Another epic old west Hawksian adventure, though unlike Red River which was driven by internal conflict, The Big Sky is alternately driven by the harmony and companionship of its easy-going characters whose perilous journey up the Missouri River to seek trade with the Blackfoot is documented in lackadaisical, episodic fashion.

    For this reason it'll probably never be regarded as among Hawks' best work despite fine performances from the cast headed by Kirk Douglas in peak form and its…

  • New York, New York

    New York, New York

    ★★★½

    Scorsese's La La Land. A fascinating and misunderstood experiment in combining filmmaking techniques, New York, New York is a classic Hollywood musical with the artifice and heavy stylisation of the studio era but occupied by very contemporary, virtuosic New Hollywood performances, Scorsese attempting to vividly convey the more troubling aspects of what he'd subconsciously picked up from the films of his youth, whilst simultaneously paying homage to their distinctive artistry.

    It might seem on the surface like an unusually glossy…

  • Casino Royale

    Casino Royale

    ★★★★

    'Shaken or stirred?'

    'Do I look like I give a damn?'

    It was a long time coming but Casino Royale might be the best 'reboot' in film history, after straying so far from respectability with Die Another Day there really was only way for the series to go though I doubt many fans expected a film that would rocket to the top of their of favourite Bonds list. Daniel Craig is tougher, meaner, younger, blonder and all the better for…

  • Go West Young Man

    Go West Young Man

    ★★½

    Another West vehicle watered down by the code and absent of the star's racier jokes, which makes it a tad tedious in places despite the always entertaining persona that she perfected and maintained throughout her career. Based on a play by Lawrence Riley, West is in a way playing herself here as a successful movie star who gets stranded in a small town and falls for Randolph Scott's hunky mechanic, much to the chagrin of her manager, played by Warren…

  • After the Fox

    After the Fox

    ★★★

    'What's neo-realism?'
    'No money.'

    Peter Sellers is in peak chameleon mode in this wacky heist comedy satire, though as a vehicle for his talents it isn't the best and rather than disappear into the characters it's always painfully obvious that we're watching Sellers perform. After the Fox is also highly emblematic, for better and worse, of the decade in which it was made and that period of time where Italy was the epicentre of moviemaking, it has the tone of…

  • The Boys from Brazil

    The Boys from Brazil

    ★★★

    Would you kill baby Hitler? How about 94 baby Hitlers? Well, WOULD YOU?!

    I had a vague notion for some reason that this was going be an escapist action romp about Nazi hunters tracking down infamous SS doctor Josef Mengele in South America, filled with thrilling set pieces and sensational, not too serious entertainment value. Yeah, turns out it's not that. Whilst that is essentially still the basic plot, The Boys from Brazil is in fact a deadly serious thriller…

  • The Woman in Question

    The Woman in Question

    ★★★½

    Rashomon-by-the-sea. A fine little murder mystery noir from Anthony Asquith in which a series of subjective flashbacks from various unreliable narrators paint very different portraits of the same dead woman, making it a film that's far more interesting in the way it reveals character rather than the actual mechanics of the plot.

    Jean Kent is the murdered widow and it's up to the very distinctive looking Duncan Macrae's police Superintendent to interview potential leads. Each person's relationship to her colours…