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2020-01-21
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When it comes to Star Wars most movie fans would benefit from a reminder that the films are made primarily as space adventure stories for children. What’s also forgotten is that when Star Wars (1977) arrived it pretty much had the space adventure sub-genre all to itself; there had been nothing like it before and nothing to compare it to.

Even so, George Lucas, Irvin Kershner and Richard Marquand’s original trilogy was a lot better than it had any right to be. As such expectations for further Star Wars outings was very high. Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker (2019) is thus a film 42 years in the making, the final word on the adventures of Luke, Leia, and Han.

The prequel trilogy, for all the hype surrounding it, never had to contend with these expectations. Being set before A New Hope the films didn’t have to handle the beloved origi ... Read more »

Views: 62 | Added by: Dave | Date: 2019-12-21 | Comments (0)

Just as VHS gave way to DVD, so my DVD collection is being replaced with blu-ray. For financial reasons I’m being selective as to what films get the high-def upgrade , but there have been a lot of horror films on my blu-ray shopping list. Rather than send the unwanted DVDs off to one of those online sites that offers you peanuts for them, I’ve brought them in to work to sell for charity.

This week I put a “Halloween Special” sign next to them to try and cash in on the season. Seeing the long line of scary DVDs a colleague cautiously enquired about my love for such dubious looking movies as The Burning (1981) and Suspiria (1977). I mentioned my fondness for Halloween but couldn’t follow that up with an explanation as to where that love came from; so began a stagger back through the mist of my memory.

The roots we ... Read more »

Views: 115 | Added by: Dave | Date: 2019-10-27 | Comments (0)

Last month Avengers: Endgame (2019) was officially recognised as the highest grossing film of all time. Film fans everywhere breathed a sigh of relief. Finally, a cinematic oddity had been corrected; Avatar (2009) was no longer the biggest film in Hollywood history.

Arriving in December 2009, Avatar’s ten year reign at the top of the list was the result of fortuitous timing rather than quality filmmaking. As the first blockbuster to take advantage of ‘Real3D’ technology, Avatar was the new film you just had to see. My cinema visit its week of release will remain a memorable one; like a child I stared with open mouthed wonder at the flotsam of Pandora’s exotic fauna dancing in front of my eyes. All memories of red and blue tinted cardboard glasses were wiped away. True three-dimensional cinema was here an ... Read more »

Views: 104 | Added by: Dave | Date: 2019-10-16 | Comments (0)

Most film fans have a favourite actor, someone they can happily watch in any movie no matter how good or bad it is. Growing up mine was Arnold Schwarzenegger. There was nothing I wouldn’t watch that featured the Austrian Oak, from his early steps in to cinema, The Villain/Cactus Jack (1979), to his eighties megahits Commando (1985) and Predator (1987). Of all his films though there was one I rarely returned to, the film that launched him as a legitimate star, Conan the Barbarian (1982).

Access to movies growing up was limited. We didn’t have the funds to raid video shops so we had to hope that the television schedules were kind. Whenever a new Arnie film made it on to TV I’d set the video recorder and soon I’d amassed a full Schwarzenegger back catalogue. Conan the Barbarian was the one that gath ... Read more »

Views: 268 | Added by: Dave | Date: 2018-11-25 | Comments (0)

Fans of Halloween (1978) can be forgiven for being sceptical about new additions to their beloved franchise. After a reasonable follow-up, Halloween II (1981), it was all downhill, starting with a half decent but non-canonical third instalment, Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982), through a middle run of films that grew ever more ridiculous, up to a pair of Rob Zombie remakes that were the blunt unlikeable antithesis of John Carpenter’s sharp original. Even the involvement of final girl Jamie Lee Curtis was no guarantee of quality as the underwhelming Halloween: H20 (1998) and the horrendous Halloween: Resurrection (2002) demonstrated.

When Lee Curtis announced in 2017 that she was returning to the franchise that launched her career, even she seemed nonplussed. Eschewing the usual pre-film promotional espousing, Lee Curtis was ... Read more »

Views: 386 | Added by: Dave | Date: 2018-10-23 | Comments (0)

A clean sweep of sunny bank holiday weekends was always too good to be true. So it was the final bank holiday weekend of 2018 saw a return to form, grey skies and torrential rain. For the movie fan it was a blessed release after months of summer weather; stuffy living rooms and sun blasted TV screens make movie watching a chore. You can’t see what’s going on in darker films and the warm weather calls you to the garden rather than the sofa. The perfect antidote to a rainy bank holiday Sunday then? An impromptu movie marathon, and for FilmsFilmsFilms sixteenth epic it was nine hours with Gotham’s Dark Knight.

By the end of the twentieth century Batman movies were anathema to comic book fans. As the nineties Batman films leaned ever more towards the camp of the sixties TV show, fans and critics became increasingly non-plussed with the big screen outings. B ... Read more »

Views: 546 | Added by: Dave | Date: 2018-08-27 | Comments (0)

There’s nothing Hollywood won’t take advantage of when it comes to turning a buck. Studio execs were paying attention when the #MeTo movement started and they keenly noted the reaction of the average cinema goer. Most of us were disgusted that females in the movie trade were being taken advantage of just because they wanted to further their career. And in turn we were keen to see Hollywood’s female contingent get a fair deal.

The studios were happy to oblige, at least on the face of it. Their direct response was to get more female faces up on the big screen. But rather than write some actual quality scripts for them, the quick and easy route was to remake movies that had all male ensemble casts, but this time with an all lady cast.

Despite the public’s positive reaction to #MeTo, Hollywood’s first ‘olive branch’ drew an avalanche of ir ... Read more »

Views: 379 | Added by: Dave | Date: 2018-07-03 | Comments (0)

As cinematic success stories go, there’s no arguing with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Eighteen films old now, its run since 2nd May 2008 is unmatched. There’s only been one stumble to date, The Incredible Hulk (2008), but even that was a decade ago at the very start of the MCU masterplan. No other movie franchise can match the MCU’s achievements, its combo of sustained quality, number of films, and box office takings. It seems the only thing that can topple the MCU is the MCU itself, and as its nineteenth film Avengers: Infinity War (2018) shows there’s a danger that the Marvel movies are becoming their own worst enemy.

SPOILERS BELOW

Infinity War is undoubtedly a stunning movie. There was a time when to include three or more comic-book characters in a film was to court disaster, Batman and Robin (1997), ... Read more »

Views: 391 | Added by: Dave | Date: 2018-04-28 | Comments (0)

It’s quite easy to be down on modern cinema. Prices are expensive, blockbusters and popular fare clog up screens, and viewings are often blighted by talkers, noisy eaters, and mobile phone flashlight wielders. Every now and then though a very special movie comes alone that reminds you why you fell in love with cinema in the first place, why going to the movies is such a special thing.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2016) was more than just a film, it was a catalyst for a coming together of film fans spanning generations. Men spoke of the joy of once again being taken to visit a galaxy far, far away by their fathers, but this time having their own children with them for the adventure. Three generations of fans gripping boxes of popcorn as the Star Wars fanfare rattled surround speakers and that yellow opening crawl moved towards an invisible space horizon. Fortu ... Read more »

Views: 495 | Added by: Dave | Date: 2017-12-15 | Comments (0)

Discussion and debate about the best directors of all time usually covers the same ground; who has won the most Oscars, who has the most classics in their back catalogue, who has covered the most genres. Something that’s regularly missed is legacy. Sadly it’s the sort of thing that isn’t looked at until a great filmmaker passes away, and this week one of Hollywood’s most legacy rich directors departed for pastures new.

I say Hollywood director, George A. Romero was better nown for being a Pittsburgh director, and proud to be so. Born in The Bronx, New York City in 1940, Romero first supplanted himself to Pittsburgh aged 19 to study at Carnegie Mellon University. Graduating in 1960 his first forays behind the camera were for commercials and short films. Earning just enough to take the brave step in to film production, Romero gathered together a group of ni ... Read more »

Views: 660 | Added by: Dave | Date: 2017-07-19 | Comments (0)

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