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Non-Review Review: The Hundred-Foot Journey

Guest review by Sinéad Finegan. You can find her at sineadfinegan.com.

Anyone who goes to see this foodie film to sample a little of the its finest dish – Helen Mirren – will not be disappointed. Humour, light-hearted fun, and a gently simmering Mirren are definitely on the menu; and who would complain?

One particularly memorable scene stands out: Mirren as Madame Mallory, the impeccably dressed proprietress of a Michelin-starred restaurant, stands before her assembled staff and silently holds up a single, rather flaccid-looking, asparagus which droops mournfully and looks an altogether unappetising specimen. Food should not be like a tired marriage, she informs us; no, the food in her restaurant must be a steamy affair. Which is rather a good assessment of the film itself: a fun, light-hearted and steamy foodie affair.

100footjourney5

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Non-Review Review: RED 2

Red 2 is a stronger film than Red, although it’s still not quite a wholly satisfying cinematic experience. There’s a certain charm to watching all these veteran stars reuniting on the screen together, with a considerably lighter touch than The Expendables. What’s interesting about Red 2 isn’t a dearth of good ideas or interesting hooks in the set-up of this sequel, it’s just a littler rushed, a little unfocused, a little disjointed. However, Red 2 generally moves so fast that these problems never quite reach critical mass. The result is more-than-occasionally great fun, but also just a little too light for its own good.

Growing old disgracefully...

Growing old disgracefully…

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Non-Review Review: Hitchcock

As a bit of a film fan (and a bit of a Hitchcock fan), Hitchcock had me interested. After all, Hitchcock’s Psycho is arguably among the most important films ever made, both creating an entire subgenre (“the slasher”) and imbuing it with artistic credibility at the same time. The production of Psycho was not only a huge gambit for Hitchcock, but it was also an incredibly difficult task for the auteur to accomplish. Hitchcock was sixty when Psycho was eventually released. It’s easy to imagine a director at that age resting on his laurels, and Hitchcock really works when it explores the drives of the talented film maker, willing to look at the implications of those drives and how the same things that made him one of the world’s greatest directors may also have made him a less-than-nice person.

Hitchcock occasionally gets a bit too cluttered with domestic drama, but it features two strong performances and a fascinating true story. It might not be as exceptional as it could have been, but it’s still a damn fine exploration of movie history.

Alma matters?

Alma matters?

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Watch! Alfred Hitchcock Presents a PSA About Texting At the Movies

I’m quite looking forward to Hitchcock, the trailer of which premiered last week. The marketing team have sent around this lovely PSA, in which Anthony-Hopkins-as-Hitchcock lets us know his stance on texting in the cinema. It’s written in the dry punning style of Hitchcock, and I like Hopkin’s deliver – it’s not really an accent, just an attempt to emulate Hitchcock’s rhythm of speech.

As for the video itself, it looks – ironically enough – like it was shot on a mobile phone. But, considering the fact that it’s being pushed so widely, I assume that’s the intent. (Indeed, it would have been interesting for the trailer to end with a smash cut of somebody turning off the mobile.

Still, it’s a light and fun piece of marketing, and one I can easily get behind. Although I wish I could say that texting in a theatre was the worst thing I’ve had to put up with.

Watch! Hitchcock Trailer!

I must have missed it, but the screen adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock & The Making of Psycho has now been officially titled the much blander (but more accessible) Hitchcock. It doesn’t really matter, though, as the new trailer has arrived and it’s really quite wonderful. I’m a massive Hitchcock fan, so recruiting Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren to headline a film about the making of one of his most high-profile works is certainly fascinating. Looking forward to this one. It’ll start a limited release in the States in late November, but we’ll be waiting until February to see it over here.

Ah well. At least they can’t spoil they ending.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents: The Horse Player (Review)

As part of the “For the Love of Film” blogathon, I’ll be taking a look at Alfred Hitchcock’s contributions to his celebrated anthology series Alfred Hitchcock Presents. I’ll be looking at some of the episodes of the classic show that he directed. The “For the Love of Film” blogathon this year is raising money to keep one of Hitchcock’s earlier works, The White Shadow (which he wrote, edited, designed and assistant-directed), available on-line and streaming for free. It’s a very worthwhile cause and you can donate here.

The Horse Player actually makes for a nice conclusion to our run of Alfred Hitchcock Presents reviews. It aired in 1961, towards the end of the sixth season of the anthology show, a year before the show would be rebranded The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. It was the second last half-hour show that Hitchcock personally directed, but is generally agreed to be much stronger than his final effort, a morality play titled Bang! You’re Dead. Instead, The Horse Player is an enjoyable and engaging meditation on those cardinal virtues of faith, hope and charity.

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Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Dip in the Pool (Review)

As part of the “For the Love of Film” blogathon, I’ll be taking a look at Alfred Hitchcock’s contributions to his celebrated anthology series Alfred Hitchcock Presents. I’ll be looking at some of the episodes of the classic show that he directed. The “For the Love of Film” blogathon this year is raising money to keep one of Hitchcock’s earlier works, The White Shadow (which he wrote, edited, designed and assistant-directed), available on-line and streaming for free. It’s a very worthwhile cause and you can donate here.

Hitchcock’s collaborations with Roald Dahl are always worth the time, and I have to admit I have a special fondness for A Dip in the Pool, which is a bitter little comedy about a bet that goes very far wrong. It’s a wonderfully cynical little story about a compulsive gambler who makes an impressive bet on a sure thing. Of course, this being Alfred Hitchcock Presents, there’s no such thing as a sure thing. Filled with Dahl and Hitchcock’s trademark bleak humour and a wonderful central performance from Keenan Wynn, A Dip in the Pool makes for an entertaining little drama.

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