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The Force Awakens - or is it a recurring nightmare?

The Force Awakens – or is it a recurring nightmare?

Having been drawn by some irresistible force (sic) to visit J. J. Abrams Star Wars reboot (http://www.cinefileonline.co.uk/cinefile-database/7476/), I was underwhelmed by the storytelling, even if some shots, like the last one, attained some sort of mythic greatness. What kept coming to mind was Oppenheimer’s famous misquote: ‘I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds’. Now […]

Death of the Iceberg siren

Death of the Iceberg siren

First Virna Lisi, now Anita Ekberg dies, eclipsing (in every sense) the passing of her younger, less notorious colleague in sex symbol-dom.  More a natural phenomenon than an actress, Ekberg embodied everything that Fellini was looking for in La Dolce Vita: an established American star, epitome of glamour, and (for him) so much the perfect woman […]

Carnal Knowledge: a great new war movie, and Mike Nichols

Carnal Knowledge: a great new war movie, and Mike Nichols

Our cinemas are full of exciting product this month. There was the Babadook around Halloween, an above-average creeper, then Interstellar, which packed a lifetime’s experience into its galactic proportions (and by some accounts it felt like it), and Mr Turner with the grunting Timothy Spall. Currently there is The Imitation Game, another exploration of the […]

Sir Dickie takes the Big Sleep

Sir Dickie takes the Big Sleep

With the summer gone, it is time to take stock of some of the summer movies, for whose sake I have sadly neglected the arthouse fare: it is my one chance of the year to catch up with popular cinema, as Ipswich Film Theatre tends to revert to one-show-a-night at 7.30, too early for a […]

RIP Gordon Willis

RIP Gordon Willis

Although he had not worked in movies for nearly two decades, the death from cancer last month of Gordon Willis marked the passing of one of the great cinematographers from the modern half of film history.  Celebrated for his collaborations with Francis Ford Coppola on the Godfather films, and with Woody Allen, he was dubbed […]

Rich pickings this month

Rich pickings this month

First off, I owe Matthew McConaughey an apology, having scoffed at his body transforming antics in Dallas Buyers Club last month.  Having since viewed the film, I can honestly say he carries all before him without compromising what remains an impressive film drama.  Clearly Mr Woodruff was a highly charismatic personality, and McConaughey marshals his […]

The Talented Mr Hoffman

The Talented Mr Hoffman

Obituary: Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967-2014) We were all shocked and saddened at the beginning of the month to hear of the untimely death of Philip Seymour Hoffman from a drug overdose.  One of the most impressive actors of his generation, he was anything but a conventional leading man; his bulky physique and unkempt presentation destined […]

Sight and Sound Critics' Poll

Sight and Sound Critics’ Poll

And so the expected dethronement has happened: after years at the top of Sight and Sound’s revered World Critics’ Poll, Citizen Kane has been displaced by Hitchcock’s Vertigo, long the pretender in waiting. After two decades spent skulking in obscurity because of lapsed exhibition rights, the film re-emerged in about 1983, having been talked up into some […]

Tony Scott dies

Tony Scott dies

The news came yesterday that Tony Scott had taken his own life by jumping off a bridge over water in L.A.  A little later it was revealed that he had been diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. This was clearly a huge shock for the film community stateside, and for the many who have worked with […]

Jean Dujardin collecting his award

Award Blues

Here’s to Michel Hazanavicius and Jean Dujardin for trouncing the opposition at several awards ceremonies!  Those of us who know better, of course, appreciate that Monsieur Dujardin has done little more than capitalize on his self-adoring persona from the OSS films, and his director buddy has permitted himself to go a bit more ‘high art’ […]