american sniper

American Sniper: Insha’Allah At The Gates

War! What is it good for? A record breaking $105 million January opening weekend, that’s what. And a debate that rages on over whether director Clint Eastwood and screenwriter Jason Hall’s American Sniper is a Republican polemic of “God, America, Country“; or a “Coming Home“-redux, surprisingly according to  one-time “Hanoi-Jane” Fonda. When the truth becomes […]

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Scene Is Believing: The Good, The Bad And The ugly

Sergio Leone’s The Good, The Bad And The Ugly is, in Leone biographer Sir Christopher Frayling’s words, “the most carnivalesque of all his films – a black comedy about the craziness of war, a Catch – 22 of the American Civil War.” Tuco / Ugly (Eli Wallach) and Blondie / Good (Clint Eastwood) are a Mexican bandit and […]

a fistful of dollars outake

A Fistful Of Outtakes

This year marks the 50th anniversary of  Sergio Leone’s A Fistful Of Dollars, the spaghetti western (a term he disliked) that put both the Italian director and his American leading man Clint Eastwood firmly in the cinematic firmament. And now that  Cineteca Di Bologna has begun restoring the “Dollars” trilogy (A Fistful Of Dollars, For […]

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Guilty Pleasures: Firefox

Clint Eastwood’s Cold War thriller Firefox (1982), based on the novel by Craig Thomas, has a bit of a rep as a plodding spy film, partially enlivened by some fancy model work dog fights in the third act. Rewatching it the other night, it struck me that the minutiae of the set-up, evasions and manoeuvres […]

spaghetti western terence_hill

Western , Italian Style

There’s far more to the Spaghetti Western sub-genre than the films of Sergio Leone (Spaghetti Western was a term he despised). His were simply the more polished end of a rough and ready take on America’s frontier history. Hundreds of European westerns were made from the 1960’s (their heyday) up to the the 1980s, many […]

pulp fiction jools

Scene Of The Crime: Pulp Fiction

I know what you’re thinking: “What can possibly be wrong with any scene in Pulp Fiction? It’s a modern classic!” True, but a recent interview The Root conducted with Quentin Tarantino left me a little disappointed with the director, and the wise words of killer Jules (Samuel L Jackson) at the very end of Pulp Fiction made me think that QT […]

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Guilty Pleasures: Where Eagles Dare

  Saving Private Ryan has a lot to answer for. Suddenly, WW II was hot again, but only in a visceral, reflective, solemn way. “Earn this” indeed. I’ve a lot of time for it, but it took Quentin Tarantino to inject his own wicked sense of fun into the time honoured, “guys on a mission” war […]

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Dirty Harry, A Tarnished Tin Star

“Ring-a-ding-ding, Punk. Do you feel lucky?” Imagine a be-macced, laconic Frank Sinatra, wearily uttering those words in a New York minute. He, along with John Wayne, who baulked at the grim violence on the page, was an original choice for the role of detective “Dirty” Harry Callaghan, upholder of justice in a broken system, in the working […]

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