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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OKJA

2017; directed by Bong Joon-ho; written by Bong Joon-ho and Jon Ronson; 121 mins

A few years ago, I had a chat with a mate of mine, having just found out he was vegetarian. It was a chat that made me realise how full of shit us meat-eaters are. We always moan about; “vegetarians and vegans – always having a go at us!”… Thinking about it for more than two seconds, I’d never had that. Not once. All I’d ever heard was meat-eaters complaining about the tongue-lashings they’d never actually got. In the end, there is no argument against vegetarians and vegans. They are nice people with the courage of their convictions, which is a rare commodity in this day and age. Hasn’t stopped me eating meat. Okja, however, challenged me that bit more in it’s story about a little girl and her pet. Continue reading

JFK

1991; directed by Oliver Stone; adapted by Zachary Sklar and Oliver Stone; 198 mins

“I mean, how the Hell do you know who your daddy is? Cos your momma told you so!”

These words, spoken by compromised Assassination investigation team member Bill Broussard, are emblematic, for me, of the whole movie. It’s a quote that’s always stuck out. Just in time for thousands of key assassination-related documents to be released publicly for the first time, I had turfed up the director’s cut DVD of Oliver Stone’s 1991 classic. Does it still hold up? Well, if you disregard the ongoing turnover of credible evidence – yes. It does. Roger Ebert, in his Great Movies review of this film, said one of the most pertinent things I think has ever been said about cinema; “I believe that films are the wrong medium for fact. Fact belongs in print. Films are about emotions”. It’d be much more fitting to put this film alongside David Fincher’s Zodiac than any Michael Moore doco. Broussard’s line illustrates that facts are forever at the behest of emotions when human folly is involved. This film, more than any other, proves that truth. Continue reading

CARLOS

2010; directed by Olivier Assayas; adapted by Olivier Assayas, Dan Franck and Daniel Leconte; 339 mins

“The man who hijacked the world”

In a recent interview, the filmmaker and critic Alex Cox complained that critics have become “hucksters”, touting and selling films to audiences rather than being honest about a film. I agree with him up to a point but I do think that there is a slight element of whore-ishness that enters into it when you really love a film but you know it’s a tough sell. This is definitely the case with Carlos, which is one of my absolute favourite films but bear in mind that whilst – Yes! – I am selling this movie to you, I honestly love it to bits and I want to share it because it’s such an exciting movie! Continue reading