SLEEPING DOGS

1977; directed by Roger Donaldson; adapted by Arthur Baysting and Ian Mune; 107 mins

Sam Neill on an island! We’ve been here before, haven’t we? Here is the movie that kicked started the entire New Zealand industry and the first to open in the US. It’s a hugely important movie and if you’re a film critic living in the country and you haven’t seen this one: that’s a crime! I have now atoned and watched and am happy to report that it’s really good! Continue reading

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THIEF

1981; adapted and directed by Michael Mann; 118 mins

Unbelievably, it’s taken this long to get a Michael Mann movie up on the blog but what a way to start! From the beginning – well – movie beginning. He was already a small screen veteran and I understand that his TV prison movie, The Jericho Mile is a great watch but let’s jump straight to the feature films and talk about a film which is the leaping off point for so many of his concerns and themes that would coalesce later on into his greatest crime flicks such as Heat and Collateral. Continue reading

FREAKS

1932; directed by Tod Browning; written by Willis Goldbeck and Leon Gordon; 64 mins

[SPOILERS]

“We call you: the Not-Yet-Disabled” – Anon

One of the earliest examples of a director being pilloried for his uncompromising work, only to be rehabilitated years later. Freaks is one of the all-time horror classics that I have been remiss in catching up with so time to sort that out! Continue reading

THE GENERAL

1926; directed by Clyde Bruckman and Buster Keaton; written by Al Boasberg, Clyde Bruckman, Buster Keaton, Charles Henry Smith and Paul Girard Smith; 75 mins

Having never seen any Buster Keaton before now but seen Tony Zhou’s wonderful YouTube video essay from his Every Frame a Painting channel, I decided to take the plunge with what is now Keaton’s most highly regarded work. Essentially, the most epic comedy routine of all time, this is an action-packed chase movie with massive set piece gags playing off against the stony face of Keaton’s baffled train driver. Continue reading

THE THIRD MAN

1949; directed by Carol Reed; adapted by Graham Greene; 100 mins

Harry Lime is dead. This is a shock for friend and dimestore novelist, Holly Martins, who’s just turned up in Vienna specifically to catch up with him. What a way to start one of the greatest movies of all time! Your main character, played by your biggest star, isn’t going to be dead, he’s already there! This is just the start of a noir thriller that, almost 70 years on, still holds up as a stylish, rip-roaring crime classic! Continue reading