HUD

1963; directed by Martin Ritt; adapted by Harriet Frank Jr. and Irving Ravetch; 107 mins

How times change. Apparently, the character of Hud Bannon became sort-of a counter culture icon in the 60s because he was seen as the free-wheelin’ rebel young people wanted, thumbing his nose at tradition and the ways of the Old West. If Hud, the movie, were made now, I think young people would see him for the bastard he’s portrayed as. Continue reading

LE CERCLE ROUGE

1970; written and directed by Jean-Pierre Melville; 135 mins

The penultimate film of Melville‘s career is a crime movie that precedes Fargo with it’s opening bullshit text. Utilising a made up story with Buddha saying something unfathomable; “Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, drew a circle with a piece of red chalk and said: ‘when men, even unknowingly, are to meet one day, whatever may befall each, whatever the diverging paths, on the said day, they will inevitably come together in the red circle.'” Continue reading

A FISTFUL OF DYNAMITE/DUCK, YOU SUCKER!/GIU, LA TESTA!/ONCE UPON A TIME… THE REVOLUTION

1971; directed by Sergio Leone; written by Roberto De Leonardis, Sergio Donati, Sergio Leone, Carlo Tritto and Luciano Vincenzoni; 154 mins

[Spoilers.]

“And then, the people who read the books, they all sit around the big polished tables, and they talk and talk and talk and eat and eat and eat, eh? But what has happened to the poor people? They’re dead! That’s your revolution.” – Juan Miranda

About the only film I would say is a genuine underrated classic. Perennially lost amidst all of Leone’s other films, A Fistful of Dynamite (by which it’ll be referred from here on in because that’s the name by which I came to it) is the dirty, smelly, subversive cousin sandwiched in between golden children, Once Upon a time in the West (1968) and Once Upon a Time in America (1984). It’s historically all over the place, to say nothing of the lead actors’ accents. When it came out, it was too ambivalent in it’s politics for the cultural elite and too arty for the studios, both of whom butchered it in their own way. This review is of the 154 minute version… that’s very important! Not the 121 minute version or the 138 minute version which miss out very crucial character beats. Continue reading

IVAN THE TERRIBLE

1944/1958; written and directed by Sergei Eisenstein; 99/82 mins

Part I: Ivan Vasilyevich, Tsar of Moscow, having subjugated the warring Boyars under one leader, is crowned Tsar of all the Russians. This is greeted with suspicion and hostility from the old-school nobility, chief amongst them, Efrosinia Staritska, Ivan’s malicious, scheming aunt who is desperate to put her own, child-like son, Vladimir, on the throne. Much political infighting ensues even as Ivan continues in his plans to fight back against the encroaching forces of the Tatars and the Livonians and trying to establish trade routes with England. Throughout, he learns the struggles of staying strong and true to himself when even victory for his country cannot stop those who wish to depose him. Continue reading

sex, lies and videotape

1989; written and directed by Steven Soderbergh; 100 mins

God damn! This long-awaited viewing of Steven Soderbergh‘s Palme d’Or winning and surprisingly confident debut movie* was well worth it! Like a sleek mix of Bleak Moments and prototype 90s Indie film, for a movie that’s got yuppies talking about heavy petting, it’s one of the most gripping and sexy movies I’ve seen since forever ago! Continue reading