Saturday, 30 December 2017

King Kong (1933)

Land of the Pharaohs (1955)

A captured architect designs an ingenious plan to ensure the impregnability of tomb of a self-absorbed Pharaoh, obsessed with the security of his next life.

Nicely assembled large-scale production has lots to show and is fairly entertaining, but is highly marred by wooden performances and dialogue to match. 

Halliwell*: "Unexpected, interesting excursion into Ancient Egypt, distended by Cinemascope, basically a macabre melodrama with a final spectacular twist. The engineering details would make a fascinating documentary."

Maltin**1/2: "Entertaining, if fruity spectacle...filmed on an epic scale. Hawks claimed neither he nor his writers (including William Faulkner and Harry Kurnitz) "knew how a pharaoh talked"...and it shows. Still worth catching for great revenge ending and now-campy villainy by Collins."

Susan Bernard

New acquisition: War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

Arden Cho

Gone With the Wind (1939)

A manipulative woman and a roguish man conduct a turbulent romance during the American Civil War and Reconstruction periods.

An epic Hollywood masterpiece showing excellence in all departments (production, casting, storytelling, cinematography) - complete with a disquietening intrinsic and unabashed racism.

Halliwell****: "The only film in history which could be profitably revived for forty years: 'still pure gold', said the Daily Mirror in 1975. Whole books have been written about it: its essential appeal is that of a romantic story with strong characters and an impeccable production. The widescreen version produced in the late sixties ruined its composition and colour, but it is to be hoped that the original negative still survives."

Maltin****: "If not the greatest movie ever made, certainly one of the greatest examples of storytelling on film, maintaining interest for nearly four hours."

Olivia Hussey

New acquisition: Twin Peaks (2017)

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Veronica Lake

Twin Peaks (2017)

25 years after Laura Palmer's murder, Special Agent Dale Cooper, who investigated the case, heads out on an odyssey that returns him to the Washington town.

Ingenious continuation of the Twin Peaks surpasses the previous seasons by aesthetic cohesion, plot development and the sheer magic and mystery of its tale, a TV Gesamtkunstwerk. That said, episode 8, "Gotta Light?", is a work of art in itself.


Scarlett Johansson

The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)

The lives of two struggling musicians, who happen to be brothers, inevitably change when they team up with a beautiful, up-and-coming singer.

Not particularly original and a bit slovenly paced, this movie comes alive by its star cast - Michelle Pfeiffer is especially convincing - and sure-handed direction.

Halliwell*: "Enjoyable excursion into the lower depths of show business."

Maltin**1/2: "Writer Kloves' directing debut is stylish and self-assured, but it skimps on story - and never really fleshes out Jeff Bridges' sullen character. The real-life Bridges brothers are perfectly cast, Pfeiffer is ideal. Her steamy rendition of "Makin' Whoopee" atop piano considered a minor classic."

Monday, 25 December 2017

Bo Derek

Kong: Skull Island (2017)

A team of scientists explore an uncharted island in the Pacific, venturing into the domain of the mighty Kong, and must fight to escape a primal Eden.

Nicely assembled monster movie with a big budget; as so often: the creatures steal the show.

Chloe Moretz

New acquisition: Biutiful (2010)

Adrianne Palicki

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind.

Great final act to the Planet of the Apes trilogy with the usual excellence in production and effects, this time showing obvious political allusions and an unabashed (and welcome) sympathy for the apes.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Charles Boyer

The Arrival (1996)

A radio astronomer, discovers intelligent alien life, but the aliens are keeping a deadly secret, and will do anything to stop him from learning it.

Mediocre attempt of combing sci-fi mystery with humour never quite convinces, and Charlie Sheen is obviously miscast in his role as a frenetic scientist.

Halliwell*: "Conspirational science fiction exhibiting some interesting ideas and managing to incorporate them into a sometimes suspenseful story."

Maltin***: "Clever, intelligent sci-fi thriller of the old school, with many bright ideas; suffers from flaccid pacing in the last third but remains fun throughout."

Sunday, 17 December 2017


The Night the World Exploded (1957)

Earthquake experts find trouble at the core, something highly explosive called E-112.

Risible science, low budget effects and moderate performances doesn't make this movie any much exciting.

Maltin**: "OK idea hampered by low budget." 

Liv Tyler

Il compagno Don Camillo (1965)

The village of mayor Peppone and Don Camillo, after much dispute, gets a assigned a sister village in Russia.

Mildy entertaining last intsallment of the Don Camillo series.

Juliette Binoche

Don Camillo monsignore... ma non troppo (1961)

Don Camillo is now a bishop, Peppone is now a senator, but their rivalry is as fierce as when they were just a village priest, and a village administrator.

Entertaining, but now even more episodic continuation of the popular series.

On renewed viewing: still as much fun as the previous versions.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Martha Hyer

A Sound of Thunder (2005)

When a scientist sent back to the prehistoric era strays off the path he causes a chain of events that alters history in disastrous ways.

Disappointingly below-average sci-fi yarn has a silly, logic-defying plot, poor performances and risible special effects to match; it does show some imagination with its array of mutant creatures.

Maltin*1/2: "Misguided expansion of Ray Bradbury short story with mediocre effects and a confusing script. It's easy to see why this remained on the shelf so long."

Lo scatenato (1968)

Steve Jobs (2015)

Steve Jobs takes us behind the scenes of the digital revolution, to paint a portrait of the man at its epicenter. The story unfolds backstage at three iconic product launches, ending in 1998 with the unveiling of the iMac.

Energetic, breathless tour-de-force character study easily makes one forget that it mostly consists of talking heads; Winslet and Fassbender deliver amazing performances.