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Mann – Magic Act

Can Michael Mann be considered a Hollywood auteur? In the following tribute to his crime films by Plot Point Productions, we see, rather than direct narratives, a recurring fascination with archetypes, mood, colour, lighting and composition. Moody blurring of the lines between cop and criminal – professionals with a code of ethics and devoted diligence […]

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Guilty Pleasures: Lost Command

Lost Command and The Battle Of Algiers are two films released in the same year (1966) on the same subject – the latter a haunting warning down the years to colonialist intervention and the threat of disaffected insurgency (covered by me here); the former a gung – ho action adventure and clash of command ideologies, […]

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Star Wars The Force Awakens Sounds Supercut

Star Wars The Force Awakens didn’t disappoint when it came to sound editing and design – as well as the familiar “Pew ! pew!” blaster fire and Mouse droids, a whole host of other, new, auditory phrasings laid open a world both old and new, to delight, excite and enchant audiences in a Galaxy far, […]

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Scene Is Believing: The Graduate

“Montage, gotta have a montage.” So mocked Team America, but sometimes a montage can illuminate and encapsulate a film’s themes in a single sublime sequence. There are several themes to The Graduate: rebellion vs conformity, the obvious sex comedy, Oedipal rage even; but it is also about youthful lassitude, ennui. The miracle is how brilliantly […]

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Dick Tracy: Tunes, Toons and Goons

“Everywhere I look, it’s Tracy, Tracy, Tracy!” So slammed Al Pacino’s gangster Big Boy Caprice in 1990’s Dick Tracy. But why is it not remembered as fondly as its comic book / toontastic predecessors, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and Batman? Could it be the age old truism of style over substance? Dick Tracy as a […]

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Merry Christmas – A Shane Black Tribute

“An action movie should, like any other, follow the narrative traditions of literature. That means there should be subtlety, a slow build and a gradual bringing together of all the separate threads of the plot. To see all of it coming together slowly is very rewarding for the audience.” – Shane Black Or, alternatively, you […]

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The Wrath Aquatic: How Zissou Reflects Khan’s Kirk

I recently re-watched The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou in its entirety for the first time since its original release. This time around I found it a more entertaining, less wilfully obtuse experience, relaxed in its own world building and themes, weighty beneath the whimsy. There is quite a bit one could discuss about the […]

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Ralph McQuarrie: A Tribute

  Here at Cinetropolis, we are massive Star Wars fans. So it was with great sadness we learned of the death of artist Ralph McQuarrie yesterday at the age of 82. Ralph was the man who George Lucas turned to when he needed to explain his vision to studio executives in 1976, as he tried […]

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Sunset Boulevard & Double Indemnity Illustrate Billy Wilder’s Screenwriting Tips

In the book Conversations With Wilder, Hollywood’s legendary writer / director spoke candidly with young turk Cameron Crowe about his lengthy career. As a contract writer at Paramount Studios, Wilder had grown disenchanted with the way his scripts were directed. He became a director as a means to an end. The decision coincided with a […]

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The Field: An Irish Lear

Come not between the dragon and his wrath Before his return to the big screen in Jim Sheridan’s The Field, Richard Harris often surprised Joe and Josephine public by being very much still attached to this mortal coil. But Sheridan was wary of the hellraiser after so long a break. “I did so many bad movies in […]

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