• Zero Fucks Given

    Zero Fucks Given

    ★★★

    This film is too hard on itself, I’d give it 3 out of 5 fucks.

  • Crime and Passion

    Crime and Passion

    ★★

    I’m sure many fans of the sublime Czech New Wave classic Intimate Lighting or the neo-noir New Hollywood hangover Cutter’s Way end up going down the Ivan Passer rabbit hole only to emerge bruised and befuddled (although I suppose Born to Win is OK). Just when I thought the awkwardly eccentric Silver Bears and Law and Disorder were fascinating misfires I go and check out this completely bizarre, you have to see it to be believe it, “thriller”(?). A true…

  • How I Got Into College

    How I Got Into College

    ★★★

    Are they trying to make Corey Parker look like Michael Richards on that “poster”? Missed this one back in the day even though I liked Savage Steve Holland’s Better Off Dead well enough (maybe because One Crazy Summer was such a step down - though in hindsight even that flop is sort of fun). What struck me about this film is that while Holland has a handle on all the usual teen film tropes in his 80s trifecta - his unique quirk aside, there is a real sweetness, without falling back on the raunch that often pollutes these films. This is not your Dad’s Van Wilder.

  • I Remember Mama

    I Remember Mama

    ★★★★

    High grade nostalgia about an immigrant Norwegian family living in San Francisco in the early 1900s. While the foreignness of the immigrant characters has been diluted in the typical Hollywood fashion (see also director George Stevens' The Diary of Anne Frank), the sincere and sentimental approach results in a charming film that is not half as cloying or dated as I suspected it might be. The characters in the story are broad, but not the characterizations offered by a fine…

  • Charlie Bubbles

    Charlie Bubbles

    ★★★★

    Whereby the angry young man becomes the emotionally numb (borderline catatonic) (slightly older) young man. A downbeat, arty, funny, episodic road movie. A character study that in UK terms is neither an ode to modish swingin’ London nor a study in kitchen sink grit. The post British New Wave bona fides are strong here with a pair from Salford, Lancashire born two years apart - Albert Finney (Saturday Night and Sunday Morning) as star and director and Shelagh Delaney (A…

  • Under Pressure

    Under Pressure

    ★★★½

    There’s something about those “eye-patch directors” Raoul Walsh, Samuel Fuller, André de Toth, Nicholas Ray, and John Ford and aggressively macho material. Walsh might just be the king of all things testosterone given that most of his films have manly men doing manly things, be them sporting spurs or combat fatigues, or gangsters wielding firearms, and swashbucklers wielding sabres. Occasionally, as in this one, the heroes are just blue collar mugs working dangerous jobs backdropped by fierce competition (see another…

  • The Brothers

    The Brothers

    ★★★½

    Defied my expectations. As a mid-forties Patricia Roc vehicle I expected typical Gainsborough Pictures fare (ala Madonna of the Seven Moons) - an overheated melodramatic bodice ripper with a lusty love triangle involving a pair of Cain & Abel sibling types and a pure and pretty convent reared orphan girl. To find anything remotely romantic in this (non-Gainsborough, Sydney & Muriel Box were behind this one) tale of isolation in an unforgiving rugged and desolate environment (the Scottish Isle of Skye of…

  • Under Suspicion

    Under Suspicion

    ★★★

    Thoughts on the two and a half star rating.

    After watching a twisty and sleazy barely remembered neo-noir from a director who never broke through ( letterboxd.com/film/under-suspicion/ ) I decided to make it an Under Suspicion double bill and watch the identically titled completely unrelated twisty and sleazy barely remembered neo-noir from a director who never broke through. Now, both films are flawed but entertaining movies that probably objectively easily earned a two and a half star rating on a…

  • Another Shore

    Another Shore

    ★★★½

    When an Ealing rom-com is a mere 77 minutes of rather offbeat whimsy it’s inevitable that it will be dismissed as minor - but I really enjoyed this Irish set film about a dreamer plotting his escape to the South Seas (a sort of George Bailey (It’s a Wonderful Life) and Billy Fisher (Billy Liar) type). Our hero (with the travel suggesting moniker of Gulliver no less) is played by Canadian born Robert Beatty rather even keeled and stuffily, offset…

  • The Seven-Ups

    The Seven-Ups

    ★★★½

    Largely unsung and forgotten policier of the super authentic gritty early seventies variety; back in the good old days when New York was still a cesspool of garbage and crime. Director D'Antoni previously produced Bullit and The French Connection and while The Seven-Ups is easily the weak sister amongst this trilogy of sorts, it also comes equipped with one of those super awesome CGI free extended car chase sequences that made D'Antoni's earlier films the classics they are today. Roy…

  • The Bubble

    The Bubble

    If you’re into list making for kicks - like ranking a director’s filmography - it’s always a bit tricky when the director’s output is at a pretty consistent level of quality. You hate to relegate a half decent film you enjoyed to last place. Then along comes something like this…and the whole process gets a hell of a lot easier.

  • Swiss Army Man

    Swiss Army Man

    ★★½

    It’s like the Farrelly Brothers tried to reimagine a Daniel Defoe novel as a Weekend at Bernie’s homage and asked Michel Gondry to direct. Did give me the impression that when Robert Zemeckis and co. decided to leave Wilson the Volleyball’s farting scenes on the Cast Away cutting room floor, it was the right call