Many years ago I got myself coerced into watching a number of Bollywood films by some Asian work friends who, as far as I could tell, thought it was funny that I’d actually watch them. To them Bollywood films was entirely a product of their culture and, by proxy, should make no sense to a silly Englishman such as myself. Over some time I sat and watched Baazigar, Daag: The Fire and Gharwali Baharwali. All of which are damn enjoyable films and quite a good crash course in modern Bollywood movies. None of those movie hold a candle to the film I’m reviewing today though. Sholay goes beyond being a big deal in India. It played solidly in cinemas for 5 years and it still wouldn’t be too hard to find a cinema showing it today some 38 years later. When adjusted for inflation it is the highest grossing Indian film of all time. It also proves that Bollywood films aren’t just for the people of their homeland. I say this because Sholay is one of the greatest Westerns of all time. Click the link for my review.
Category Archives: Drama
I try to make sure most of the films I cover on this here blog are ones I have never seen before. There’s two reasons for this. If I watch a film I have seen before it will likely be one I love and therefore the review will probably be overly gushing with my love of that film. The other is because I hope to introduce people to new films at the same pace I come across them. Essentially I want to be saying “Hey, I just saw this film and now you should too”, unless you’ve already seen it, of course. Well, I suppose I should also be saying “Hey, I saw this pile of shite. Do not watch”. Today’s film is, thankfully, from the recommended viewing camp. It’s also a film which I probably should have seen years ago as it represents a gap in my viewing of Coen Brothers films. Today’s film is Barton Fink. Click the link!
You know what I love? Other than inappropriate humour, that is. Discovering a new artist that I enjoy. Last year I watched Mark Cousin’s excellent documentary The Story Of Film. Early on in the film… well about 6 hours in, it is a 15 hour long film… he covers the work of Yasujrio Ozu, a director I was aware of but had never seen any of the works of. A little after that I rented myself a copy of Ozu’s masterpiece Tokyo Story from Lovefilm. Not long after that I had brought a copy after being taken back by it’s beauty (this copy also came with Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family which I will get too before too long) and about a week ago I purchased another film of his in the form of Floating Weeds. Tokyo Story hooked me into Ozu’s work and directorial style. Floating Weeds has convinced me that he is easily one of the greatest directors that has ever lived. This is true classical style film making. Click the link for me saying pretty much the same thing but with more detail.
218 reviews in and I find myself struggling to remember if I have covered any Martin Scorsese films (I haven’t). It would be pretty shocking of me if I had indeed gotten this far without looking at a film by one of the all time greats (it is). And then I remember that there’s plenty of great film makers I’ve not covered on here and I begin to feel like I’m not doing what I’m supposed to be. At least I have reviewed a Shane Van Dyke film… a true luminary of the cinematic arts. Maybe I should do a directorial heavyweights season. Anyway, today I knock Scorsese off my imaginary list of directors I have failed to talk about with his first ever children’s film, Hugo. Click the link for the review!!!
In my last review, for Mulholland Drive, I remarked that I don’t enjoy writing reviews of unquestionably great films. I find writing those reviews a taxing experience due to the fact that whatever I write will have been written a million times before. Plus I generally assume that if you’re reading these reviews you’re already fairly knowledgeable in the world of film and are likely familiar with the work already. But I made a decision nearly 2 years ago to review every film I see and, after watching Mark Cousins’ superb The Story Of Film, I have found myself building a collection of classic films I have never seen. And so here I am, with a BFI restoration of Battleship Potemkin, one of the most important films ever made. Often placed at the top of greatest film ever lists and possibly the origin on montage film and the use of editing to manipulate the audiences emotional links to the character. Also, the most praised propaganda film of all time without question. Yes, more so the The Hurt Locker. Well then, click the link for my review. I promise to review something simpler next time.
Well, here I am again, reviewing a film I’d have rather avoided. As I’ve mentioned before, sometimes I’ll cover a film that’s in the upper tier of film making. A film that has been studied and discussed so many times that whatever I have to write about it will have been discussed before. Also, there’s a good chance I’ll interpret something one way that many disagree with. Luckily for me hardly anyone ever bothers commenting on this blog so I suppose I can interpret Mulholland Drive anyway I want. Except I kind of can’t because Mulholland Drive is a film that I studied years back in College and so I am one of those people that have written and discussed it’s themes and story telling devices already. So, click the link below for my review… or go download Surgeon Simulator 2013 cos it’s really quite hilarious. Surgeon Simulator 2013 has nothing to do with Mulholland Drive, I just wanted to share how funny that game was. Anyway, on with the review.
During 2012 a number of films were released that could almost be seen as love letters to the history of cinema. We had Hugo which featured the early career of George Melies and many silent cinema nods. Cabin In The Woods played out as one huge love up/damnation of the horror genre which simultaneously paid tribute to classic horror whilst showing you how horror worked and, by proxy, how simple horror has recently become. Mark Cousins released a beautiful 15 hour long film about the Story Of Film which is a must watch for any film fans. Today’s film is another of these tributes to classic cinema in the form of The Artist. At The Oscars last year it was The Artist and Hugo that swept up a lot of the awards, which kinda says a lot about how nostalgic the Oscar committee are. Does The Artist manage to be more than just a tribute to the early days of cinema? Well, click the link for my irrelevant views.
So here’s the end of my Tarantino review season. Django Unchained is finally out in the UK and so I went to see it last night hoping for something good from Mr Tarantino. His last two films, Death Proof and Inglourious Basterds disappointed me in a few ways. Death Proof was full of filler and the same story repeated, Inglourious Basterds had title characters I had no interest in but an incredible sub-plot with Shosanna and her cinema and some of Tarantino’s best writing to date. How to describe Django Unchained then? Simple, pure fecking joy on a grand scale. Click the link for my review!
I don’t like having to review films as universally praised as Pulp Fiction. More so than any other films I feel as though I have to be more precise and spot on about how I view the film. The reason is primarily because that I’m not just reviewing any old film here, I’m reviewing a film that goes beyond just being of a high calibre. I’m reviewing a film that is considered one of the most influential and ground breaking of all time. I wonder if these days younger people coming to view Pulp Fiction will even be as impressed by it as people my own age were when it first appeared. The appearance and effect f Pulp Fiction on cinema in 1994 was the equivalent of someone taking a baseball bat to every trope, character archetype and contemporary story telling structure and wail on them until all that was left was the fragments that now formed something whole but entirely new. Part anthology tale, part crime caper, part dissertation on cinema history, Pulp Fiction is THE film of the 90s. Click my link to read me saying things that has been said a million times before.
After Jackie Brown was released and multiple critics had had the chance to realise that it wasn’t Pulp Fiction 2 the film managed to gain a high level of praise. It was Tarantino’s most mature and restrained film to date. Naturally he wasn’t gonna stay restrained all the time though. Cut forward 6 years and Kill Bill is due to enter cinemas towards the end of the space year 2003. The film is a massive 4 hours long and the decision was made to split it in two. A decision I think was actually made long before. To view both Kill Bill films separately is to view two cohesive films that are tonally very different but share much of the same language of cinema. While Vol.2 is more character focused and relaxed Vol.1 is an ice cream sundae based explosion of violence, movie quoting and cereal based gags. Click the link for my review.