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Reappreciation Society: Piece of Cake

Author Derek Robinson credits LWT’s 1988 adaptation of his WWII RAF novel Piece Of Cake with reviving a work he felt he had put four years work into for little return. The excellent novel has remained in print ever since, yet perversely, I’m sure few now remember this piece of television brilliance. Piece Of Cake tells the tale […]

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Re-appreciation society: Paradise Alley

  In 1978, Sylvester Stallone was riding high on the rags to riches success of his make or break everyman made good script, Rocky. After fighting his corner to play the mumbling underdog as well, he had freedom to pursue a couple of interesting projects, both largely forgotten in the pantheon of his otherwise overblown […]

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Reappreciation Society: Kingdom Of Heaven

David Thomson, in his book “Have You Seen?” said of Anthony Mann and Charlton Heston’s Bank Holiday stand-by El Cid, that it is “one of the last authentic epics in American film history,” although admitting that today it is “rather awkwardly anti-Islamic in its basis.” At the time of writing (2008) he didn’t think “there […]

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Reappreciation Society: Five Graves To Cairo

Set in June 1942 at the height of Rommel’s Afrika Korp successes against the British Eighth Army in North Africa, Billy Wilder’s Five Graves To Cairo was made only the following year, serving as both allied propaganda (the imagined key to victory is uncovered!), thriller, and proto-noir. With its shades of grey, compromised loyalties, and […]

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Spying, Swingin’ Style – Guy Ritchie’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E

Style over substance is usually a rote dismissal of either low brow or pretentious entertainment, but sometimes it can be a too – handy cant that overlooks a plain good old-fashioned romp – such an unfairly maligned film is Guy Ritchie’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E. The film, based on the T.V show of the same […]

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The Big Red One: The Fuller Picture

In Hollywood, personal films can often become bloated vanity projects. With Samuel Fuller’s semi-autobiographical WWII memoir, The Big Red One, there is nothing vain or glorious about the events portrayed therein. Fuller’s words at the beginning baldly state “This is fictional life, based on factual death.” The Big Red One tells the story of a […]

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Reappreciation Society: Captain America The First Avenger

Like scrawny Steve Rogers before his super-soldier transformation, Captain America The First Avenger (punctuation, anyone?) punched above its weight and expectations to deliver a rousing, refreshing new spin on the superhero film, with a meta-twist. Yet it’s dismissed amongst the modern Marvel stable, audiences more keen to see a grittier, modern Cap in The Winter Soldier. It was always […]

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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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Forget About It Sanchez, It’s Rushmore

Wes Anderson’s films often seem to exist in hermetically sealed bubbles of wilful whimsy, with a measure of sangfroid and melancholia just beneath. One environment perfectly skewed to such an approach is that of our school days. Although you’ve never had school days like these. With Rushmore, the curtains open, as if in one of […]

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A Quantum Leap: Bond’s First Sequel

“There’s something horribly efficient about you.” Camille’s words to James Bond could apply equally to the film Quantum Of Solace, a quantum leap of sorts for the Bond series – the first direct sequel, and a film some say suffered from hyper-kinetic editing and the bad timing of the writer’s strike. Praise was muted, but […]

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