2007 was a particularly good year for films, with every genre well represented and no end of talent, new and old, emerging or re-emerging to produce some of the best films of this generation. No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood were noted by many as out-and-out classics; I would add a third to that list: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. New Zealand-born writer-director Andrew Dominik takes a fresh, outsider’s view of the western genre, and has created an astonishing, revisionist film that is flawless on every level.  Read the rest of this entry »


This Is England

September 3, 2007


DVD Out Today

Happy days. Shane Meadows finally gets the recognition he deserves without selling his soul to the devil of film production. Following outstanding but largely ignored early projects (TwentyFourSeven, A Room For Romeo Brass) the homegrown genius with an eye for realism took on big stars and big money for his first bonafide commercial release in 2002. From the result (Once Upon A Time In The Midlands) it was obvious to those with brain cells that Meadows plus cash plus remotely famous people was not a formula for success. The film flopped, but more importantly it gave the big bald maverick his first bitter taste of how studio interference and an almost total theft of creative control can ruin a noble vision. Meadows works best on a shoe-string budget with unknown talent, an environment where his ideas, honesty and grit are left to breathe and grow. 2004’s grisly revenge drama Dead Man’s Shoes marked a return to such a style with considerable success, but it’s with This Is England that Meadows enjoyed greatest acclaim. There’s some debate as to whether or not it demonstrates his best work, but at the very least it opened a lot more eyes to the brilliance of an unsung hero. Read the rest of this entry »


Out: August 13th 

If you don’t own this film, now is the time to buy it. A classic in every respect, from the cinematography down to Robert De Niro’s tour-de-force performance, Taxi Driver brought the ‘nobody dreaming of being somebody’ concept to Hollywood. That’s the tagline in fact. It’s nice (perhaps not nice, but refreshing) to see a New York on screen where the streets aren’t paved with gold and the tramps wear suits. Scorcese’s orginal masterwork pulls into focus a black and gritty part of town, every character a potential timebomb for some grisly events. That’s not to say its a gore-fest; the skill is in creating the constant threat of danger in the air. This lonely taxi driver is walking our streets, living by neighbours oblivious to the plans unfolding in his mind… it’s a nervous, sweaty wait until the pitiful outcast blows his last fuse. Featuring an awesome turn from young Jodie Foster and some of the most quoted lines in cinema history, Taxi Driver is an influential milestone of film, a superb social study of a very familiar and very dangerous character. And it seems ultra-brilliant at this very minute as i’ve just seen Evan Almighty. Read the rest of this entry »

New DVDs Out Today

June 18, 2007


Scrubs: Season 5

Blood Diamond

The Good Shepherd

The Shield: Season 3



Hot Fuzz (pictured)

Goal! 2: Living The Dream

Monty Python’s Flying Circus: Complete Series 4

9th Company: Collector’s Edition

Sophie’s Choice: 25th Anniversary Edition

It took its name from Big Brother ditz-fest Chantelle’s reality show, and it’s just as stupid.

The first chapter in the football prodigy saga was at least watchable and actually quite touching, if not a masterpiece of contemporary cinema. You could root for the boy as he struggled to break out of humble beginnings and make it in the world of ‘soccer’, willing him to beat the critics and his scary dad to play the game he loves in England, praying he’ll finally get it on with Anna Friel and her dodgy geordie accent. Read the rest of this entry »

Notes On Judi’s Creepy Wig

Aka the one where Cate Blanchett de-flowers a small child and Judi Dench is a creepy lesbian. That said, ‘Notes’ is a tremendous piece of work from stalwart director Richard Eyres, a much more engaging drama then it first appears.

Though we’re treated to masterclass performances all round, the film’s nicest surprises are stylistic ones. The camera deftly avoids the busy road chosen by many contemporary, ‘real’ dramas, sacrifing grit and rawness for gloss on a grand scale. The initially OTT score feels right at home when the debauchery unfolds, and with Patrick Marber’s (Closer) sharp book-to-screen adaptation, ‘Notes’ takes shape as a dark, devious and sophisticated watch.

The DVD includes an enlightening director’s commentary and a number of featurettes and interviews.