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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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A Hill Away From Malick: Andrew Marton’s The Thin Red Line

Author James Jones exploded onto the literary scene in 1951 with From Here to Eternity, a fictionalized account of his experience in Hawaii before and during the attack on Pearl Harbor. A film version came two years later and was instantly deemed a classic as it swept that year’s Academy Awards, winning eight out of […]

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A Tribute to Blue Thunder

In the 1980s, film makers were obsessed with technology. Computers were new and exciting (and could seemingly do anything), robots were becoming a reality (they were even being given as birthday presents by prominent boxers to their slovenly brother in laws) and vehicles were suddenly all becoming weapons. Every hero had to have a unique vehicle, something […]

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ride with the devil

Secession And Sensibility: Ang Lee’s Ride With The Devil

Ang Lee’s Ride With The Devil, adapted by James Schamus from Daniel Woodrell’s American Civil War novel Woe To Live On, charts how naïve young men, divorced from a wider base cause (the Confederacy for which they nominally fight), emerge changed from conflict. Finding, one might say in the context of vexatious personalities of the […]

tales of the gold monkey

Re-appreciationSociety: Tales of The Gold Monkey

When is a rip-off not a rip-off? When a TV show is unsuccessfully pitched until the successful film it is supposedly based on causes it to be greenlit. If adventure “homage” has a name, it must be Tales Of The Gold Monkey. Donald P Bellisario is something of a legend in American television history. The writer […]

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Reappreciation Society: The Hit

The Hit (1984) a crime-land road trip by director Stephen Frears and writer Peter Prince, is a clever four- hander ostensibly about two hit-men (master and apprentice), a Spitfire of a hostage, and a resigned yet wily supergrass, travelling across Spain to meet a deadly reckoning. It also falls into what critic Matt Zoller Seitz […]

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Re-appreciation Society: The Last Castle

Few things it seems, stir the American soul more than Old Glory fluttering in the breeze. In The Last Castle, an honourable addition to the military stockade tradition (see also my piece on The Hill), Robert Redford and the late James Gandolfini engage in an elaborate and increasingly deadly game of “capture the flag”: a battle of wills […]

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Reappreciation Society: The Emerald Forest

Before Avatar, before Dances With Wolves, heck, even before Ferngully (!) there was The Emerald Forest, an adventure tale based on the real life story of a Venezuelan engineer’s 10 year quest to find his young son, spirited away by a mysterious tribe from the “civilised” encroachment on their land, and raised in the wonders […]

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Reappreciation Society: The Wind And The Lion

Writer / director John Milius counts The Wind And The Lion as one of his own favourite works; it’s a highly engaging, witty and old school adventurous examination of many of the Hollywood maverick’s marshal fascinations. It has been referred to as a cross between Lawrence of Arabia and The Wild Bunch – a comparison Milius no doubt ensures remains in […]

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Reappreciation Society: Sleuth

Watching Sleuth is like watching two peacocks dancing around on the front lawn of a country estate on a balmy summer’s day, their feathers in full flow, gleaming and sparkling in the hot summer sun – with seemingly no end to their beauty and hauteur. These are two men at the peak of their powers and this […]

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