A coastal Californian is attacked without warning by swarms of birds. One of the last truly great Hitchcock movies, full of suspenseful set-pieces, an absence of explanation, and an apocalyptic climax. Recommended.
Month: June 2018
Clueless (1995, dir. Amy Heckerling)
A rich high school student determines to become a matchmaker. So specifically of its time it’s practically a documentary on the mid-90s, this loose reworking of Jane Austen’s Emma nevertheless delivers; a strong cast helps throughout.
An Affair to Remember (1957, dir. Leo McCarey)
An on-off romance is thwarted by multiple obstacles. Splendid and still-influential escapist romance, full of exotic locations and playboy lifestyles. Glorious if you’re in the mood.
Escape From LA [AKA John Carpenter’s Escape From LA] (1996, dir. John Carpenter)
Snake Plissken is compelled to rescue a gadget from what is now the island prison of Los Angeles. Campy though large-scale reprise of the 1981 predecessor. Some moments work, but this is lesser Carpenter, and a film blighted by woeful CG.
Winchester ’73 (1950, dir. Anthony Mann)
A cowboy relentlessly pursues an outlaw, and the prized rifle stolen from him. The first Mann/Stewart western is a splendid thing, creating a new rugged persona for Stewart and delivering in all manner of genre pleasures. Highly recommended.
Sicario (2015, dir. Denis Villeneuve)
A female FBI agent gets in over her head when she volunteers to liaise with an inter-agency anti-drugs team. Smart, bleak and suspenseful thriller with great performances and some standout sequences. Recommended.
The Death of Stalin (2017, dir. Armando Iannucci)
A power struggle ensues in the USSR when Stalin dies suddenly. Frantic black comedy which plays totalitarianism as a dark farce. Hugely impressive, with a great cast clearly having fun throughout, while making a few satirical points along the way. Recommended.
Men In Black (1997, dir. Barry Sonnenfeld)
An NYPD cop is recruited into a secret anti-alien taskforce. Brisk SF comedy-thriller with some good moments and neat odd-couple playing from its leads, but too concerned with sub-Ghost Busters slapstick than with exploring the potential of its premise.
Escape From New York (1981, dir. John Carpenter)
An infamous criminal is sent into the island prison of Manhattan to rescue the US President. Defiantly odd post-apocalyptic piece, much happier with its production design and oddball characters than delivering on action/horror. Not quite the film you remember.
Wish Upon (2017, dir. John R. Leonetti)
A misfit teen finds a Chinese puzzle box which can grant seven wishes. Pedestrian rehash of The Monkey’s Paw (plus shades of Hellraiser and Final Destination) which struggles to find new things to say, or novel ways to kill people. Weak sauce.