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Jameson Cult Film Club: Jaws (November 27th)

If you’re a regular visitor, you’ll know that I’m a massive fan of the Jameson Cult Film Club. They stage screenings of classic films in unconventional locations, enhancing the experience and even occasionally bringing scenes from the film to life. They’ve announced that their next film will be Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, screening on the evening of the 27th November at a top secret city centre location. The event promises all the fun of a day on the beach at Amity Island – with barbecues and refreshments, and a fantastic atmosphere. The best part, though? Is that tickets to the event are absolutely free. Coupled with their sponsorship of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, I think that Irish film fans have a lot to be thankful for – they really do a great job supporting the love of film in the city. (And outside it to boot.) Just head on over to their website to apply for free tickets.

If you don’t make it along, the film is now available on blu ray and I hear (from reliable sources) that the picture and sound quality of the original summer blockbuster is absolutely astounding in the format.

If you aren’t familiar with the Jameson Cult Film Club, check out some photos from past screenings: Alien, The Blues Brothers, Reservoir Dogs and Silence of the Lambs. It really is all top notch, and comes very highly recommended.

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Non-Review Review: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow evokes pulp science-fiction cinema with an earnestness and an eagerness that is endearing, if not infectious. Although the special effects have dated significantly in the time since the movie’s release, it’s hard not to admire director Kerry Conron’s use of computer graphics to forge a connection to classic cinema. However, one senses that Conron might have been better suited to emulate the mood, rather than merely the appearance, of these old adventure serials. The problem is that despite its rather wonderfully crafted appearance, there’s never anything in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow to really get excited about. And that’s a shame.

A ray of hope?

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Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Wet Saturday (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.

Wet Saturday is what you’d get if you crossed a Hitchcock murder mystery with a very British farce. It’s a bit of a strange cocktail, a comedy of manners about a sordid murder, but Hitchcock makes it work, in no small part to the work of a fantastic ensemble cast. Any excuse to see Hitchcock working with John Williams is worth the price of admission, even if the veteran performer finds himself relegated to a supporting role here. Sir Cedric Hardwicke excels as the patriarch of a proud British family who has to deal with the inconvenience of a murder on the family estate.

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Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Back For Christmas (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.

Shrunken heads are a hobby of mine. Collecting them, of course, not making them. It takes too long to make one. First, you must wait until the original owner of the head dies. I haven’t the patience for that. As you have no doubt already guessed, tonight’s story has nothing whatsoever to do with shrunken heads. It is called ‘Back for Christmas’.

– Hitchcock’s introduction. No, really.

It’s amazing how much variety Hitchcock managed to bring to Alfred Hitchcock Presents. After all, Revenge was a straight-up noir tale and The Case of Mister Pelham was an existential mystery. Back For Christmas is Hitchcock doing wonderfully dark comedy, to the point where the surrealist introduction above perfectly sets the tone. It’s also an episode that will probably add fuel to the “Alfred Hitchcock was a misogynist” debate.

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Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Banquo’s Chair (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.

Banquo’s Chair has a rather standard little plot. There’s no sense that any of the ideas are overcrowding one another, or that they’ve been rushed along to fill the twenty-five minute slot. Indeed, the plot and the script are about as standard as they could be, using a simple set up to play through a familiar drama and leading to a somewhat trite and predictable conclusion. Without being harsh, I think that’s a fair description of Banquo’s Chair. However, it is well served by an experienced cast and by Hitchcock’s direction. Neither truly distinguishes it from the rest of the series, but they do elevate a fairly simple set-up into an entertaining little adventure.

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That One Scene…

You know the one I’m talking about. It’s the one scene in a bad movie that really got you, that managed to suggest that maybe there was a bit more to the film than met the eye. If it came towards the start of the film, it probably built up expectations that the finished product couldn’t meet. If it appeared in the middle, it made sure that you didn’t quite nod off towards the end. If it closed out the movie, you probably left feeling more satisfied with the movie-going experience than you really should. Often, however, these sequences are just frustrating because they just end up teasing what could have been.

Mauled by critics...

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Non-Review Review: Star Wars – Episode I: The Phantom Menace (3D)

In 1999, after decades of anticipation, George Lucas unleashed Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace. The response was… less than enthusiastic. After years of heightened anticipation, during which the original trilogy had been built up to near mythical status, anything less than the second coming was going to disappoint viewers. I think it is reasonable to say that The Phantom Menace fell well short of that particular target. That said, I’ve always felt a bit of sympathy for the first of the prequel trilogy. Not enough to label it as a good film (it really isn’t), but enough to argue that the fairly fundamental and central flaws do mask a number of virtues. Those virtues don’t quite redeem the film, but they do make the end result a lot more fascinating than most would concede it to be.

Schindler’s miffed…

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