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Excalibur: John Boorman’s Once And Future Movie Myth

  John Boorman’s 1981 fantastical retelling of Mallory’s Le Mort D’ Arthur is, to quote Nicol Williamson’s Merlin in the film, “A dream to some. A nightmare to others!” What some see as an episodic and hammy sword and sorcery tale is a clever and satisfying retelling of a mythical truth, an abstract approach that shows us Arthur’s […]

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Little Wonder – A Tribute to Time Bandits

 Terry Gilliam often refers to Time Bandits, Brazil and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen as his “dreamer’s trilogy”. All three films share a common thread of fantasy and all three leave you with the impression that the protagonist may have imagined the whole adventure. There is also a common theme of bureaucracy chasing man – Brazil is the story of a man […]

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Reappreciation Society: Heaven’s Gate

Heaven’s Gate, Michael Cimino’s grand, epic retelling of the Johnston County War in 1892 Wyoming, has become a byword for profligacy and headstrong vanity. In truth, based on a notorious early review that examined everything but the film on screen, vexatiously fixated on scurrilous rumour and annoyance at being kept in the dark about the production. […]

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Sorcerer: Friedkin’s Ballbreaker

“What I did on Sorcerer makes Jaws look like a picnic!” Roy Scheider Jungle drums were sounding the call for William Friedkin’s blood in 1977. Critics judged Sorcerer, his loose remake of George Clouzot’s The Wages Of Fear, filmed in the wilds of the Dominican Republic, an act of hubris out of step with the […]

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Buried

ReappreciationSociety: Buried

Buried, a claustrophobic chest thumper from director Rodrigo Cortes, will leave you shocked and awed, both at its technical and suspensful audacity, and its ace in the hole leading (only) man performance from Ryan Reynolds. That’s right, it’s just Reynolds. In a box, underground. For ninety minutes. The ultimate survival flick. You haven’t seen this […]

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The Swimmer: Not Waving But Drowning

On a beautiful Autumn Sunday morning in upstate Connecticut, a middle-aged virile man, Ned Merrill (Burt Lancaster) emerges from the trees. Clad only in swimming trunks, he approaches old friends gathered around their back yard pool. Greeted warmly but with some surprise, he announces cheerily that he intends to swim home via a chain of similar pools in […]

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let me in

Reappreciation Society: Let Me In

Any work of art should stand or fall on it’s own merits or faults, not be forever held in the shadow of its forerunner. When Charlton Heston’s Ben Hur was released in 1955, did audiences say “Yeah, but I preferred the version where they didn’t talk so much…” That said, Director and co-writer Matt Reeves […]

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Bond Without Borders: The Trailblazing “Reboot” Of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

“The lasting impact of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is that it showed that a James Bond film could be made without Sean Connery in the lead role. The producers maintained that audiences came to the films to see James Bond, not necessarily the actor playing him.” — Bruce Scivally, The Digital Bits. Unjustly dismissed […]

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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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