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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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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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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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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 […]

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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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