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

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PERFECT STRANGERS

2003; written and directed by Gaylene Preston; 96 mins

[Spoilers]

From what I’ve seen of Sam Neill in Hunt for the Wilderpeople (which, CRIMINALLY, I still have not seen!), it fills my heart with gladness that he makes a convincing grouchy old Kiwi bugger. We know he’s versatile but he usually gets the straight-laced, upstanding types (whether good or bad). Here, he is desperate and creepy to skin-crawling effect.

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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

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