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Non-Review Review: Spider’s Trap

Spider’s Trap is a rather heavy-handed film. There are points where this works to the movie’s advantage – the stark black-and-white cinematography lends itself to exaggeration and effect. There are also points where the movie feels a little overly-earnest and awkward as it fashions its own noir tale about second chances and long-planned revenge. Beautifully shot by director Alan Walsh, Spider’s Trap is often endearing and charming, if not quite consistently brilliant. There are a few notable missteps, but there is also a lot to like.

Things aren't so black-and-white...

Things aren’t so black-and-white…

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The Top 30 Under-Reported News Stories of 2012…

Today is a very special day. We’re officially a third of the way through 2012. It’s been a pretty solid year for movies, and it’s been an interesting year for movie news. However, some news stories haven’t had quite the traction that I would have expected, and might have passed readers by. So, to celebrate getting through the first third of 2012, here’s the 30 most underreported movie-related news stories of 2012.

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Non-Review Review: The Artist

It’s funny that The Artist should end up being so accessible. It’s a black-and-white silent film, shot in an abandoned aspect ratio, set in old Hollywood from a French director. It sounds like an exercise in arthouse excess, and yet it’s easily one of the most charming and engaging stories in recent memory. It’s hard to put a finger on which part of the film works so well, so I’m going to opt for a massive copout: they all do. It’s a love letter to cinema, but not necessarily to “classic cinema” – the movie feels pretty timely for a story set in the twenties. In short, if you are any sort of cinephile, do yourself a favour and check it out. You won’t regret it.

Released just in time for New Year’s, it seems like 2011 might have saved the best for last.

Now THAT's Entertainment!

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Noir the Battle to the Strong: Why I’m Afraid of Classic Cinema…

We’re currently blogging as part of the “For the Love of Film Noir” blogathon (hosted by Ferdy on Films and The Self-Styled Siren) to raise money to help restore the 1950’s film noir The Sound of Fury (aka Try and Get Me). It’s a good cause which’ll help preserve our rich cinematic heritage for the ages, and you can donate by clicking here. Over the course of the event, running from 14th through 21st February, I’m taking a look at the more modern films that have been inspired or shaped by noir.

I have to admit, the “For The Love of Film Noir” blogathon is a very worthy cause. Bloggers from all around the world continuously blogging in order to raise funds to restore classic films. It’s something that I just couldn’t ignore the chance to be a part of – to have the chance to say that I helped restore a classic film print of an actual honest-to-goodness classic film. It was too great an opportunity to ignore… and yet I almost did. I hesitated as I wrote the comment agreeing to take part. My fingers felt heavy. My thoughts caught in wherever it is that thoughts catch. I wanted to blog about film noir for a week straight, but I was also genuinely terrified by the idea. After all, what do I know about classic film?

Too hot to handle?

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In Good Humour: The Calamatous Case of the Comedy Classics…

The wonderful lads over at Anomalous Materials are running a tournament over the summer to find the best comedy of all time. Think of it as a world cup, for film nerds. However, the competition – like our quad-annual footie fest – has had its share of upsets. Most notable in an early round where Galaxy Quest triumphed over Some Like it Hot or the trumping of Arsenic and Old Lace by A Fish Called Wanda another day (the same day The General went home empty handed, losing to Mrs. Doubtfire) or Bringing Up Baby getting trounced by Little Miss Sunshine. There are more borderline cases, with The Apartment beating The Circus or The Great Dictator losing to The Graduate. However, the only victory for a “classic” classic film I could find was that of City Lights over A Christmas Story. This sparked a bit of discussion between those taking part (which is, in fairness, the rather wonderful thing about events like this), but it got us wondering: Is comedy a fickle mistress? Has what the audience expected from a comedy changed dramatically with the times? Are what many consider to be “classics” of the genre subject to this winds of change and popular taste?

Modern Times are tough for Charlie...

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The Walking Dead, Vol. 1 (Hardcover)

The best part of The Walking Dead is the premise, brilliantly summed up by Robert Kirkman in his afterword: why do zombie movies end? The answer is quite logical, as he concedes, in that people don’t want to spend their life in a cinema watching 24-hour zombie movies. Okay, most people don’t want to do that. Somewhat forshadowing the recent announcement we’d be getting a Walking Dead television series (from Frank Darabont, director of The Shawshank Redemption and The Mist, no less), Kirkman argues that comics and television are the only media that can truly support a longterm continuous narrative. What happens after your favourite zombie film ends? It’s an interesting premise to be sure. It’s just a shame that the initial twelve issues of the series don’t quite live up to it.

Better off red?

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No More Animated Patrick Troughton? It’s a War Crime!

The War Games, the final Doctor Who serial featuring Patrick Troughton, materialises on DVD today. I haven’t seen it (I’ll probably pick it up from HMV today if the price is right), but reviews seem to state it’s one of the show’s few ten-parters that doesn’t feel padded… well as padded. Anyway, I’m a big fan of Troughton’s Doctor (whose one-adjective-summation would be “loveable” – in the same way that Tom Baker’s would be “dramatic” or Eccleston’s would be “human” or Hartnell’s would be “bratty” and so on), but we’re nearing the end of Troughton serials available for release. Which is a damned shame. Is animation the next step forward?

The "Reanimated" Cybermen...

The "Reanimated" Cybermen...

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