The return of intelligent sci-fi

Prior to the success of last year’s Inception, big science fiction films had mostly struggled at the box office, meaning there was a huge reluctance to commit budget to the genre. The exception was movies with plots aimed at 12-year-old boys, which involved lots of CGI action, explosions and a script that wouldn’t leave half…

New perspectives on Ferris

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is 25 years old this month. But have we been misreading the lm’s message these past three decades? Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was released on June 11th, 1986, the day of Shia LaBeouf’s birth. Shia will be all over the cinema screens this month starring in Transformers 3. But we’ll be…

The man who would be Kane

Citizen Kane is 70 years old this month and is acknowledged as a masterpiece from actor/director Orson Welles. But, let’s not do what he did and forget screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz. Orson Welles was a dictator — a loud, overbearing brilliant control freak and a genuine cinematic genius, but a dictator nonetheless. And he wasn’t…

Four great DVD commentaries

The rare exceptions when it’s worth buying the DVD for the audio extras. THIS IS SPINAL TAP (MGM HOME ENTERTAINMENT RELEASE) The band do the entire thing in character, complaining throughout that the 1984 mockumentary was a “hatchet job” perpetrated by documentarian Marty DiBergi (Rob Reiner). It’s like having another whole Tap mockumentary to sit…

Colin Firth: What I’ve Learned

After you’re nominated for an Oscar, it’s not as if you wake up the day and suddenly there are fifty wonderful scripts on your doorstep. I may have only received three scripts over a given period beforehand and if those three were not particularly good then it doesn’t help you if there are suddenly fifty…

Internet Archive

The online treasure-trove of free film As the fight against illegal downloads goes on, it’s worth knowing that an increasing number of films, music and books have fallen legally into the public domain and are now free for everyone. You’re able to access these files via The Internet Archive (www.archive.org) and it’s fast becoming one…

Return of the Creature Feature

The success of Piranha 3D marks the resurgence of monster movies and a welcome reintroduction of fun to horror films. There’s a strange, almost perverse, joy to be had watching films that you know are bad. Not bad in a Sex And The City 2 way (lame puns, lazy Arabic stereotypes etc.), but enjoyably cheap…

In defence of the Hollywood remake

There’s a somewhat misleading belief that Hollywood has run out of ideas. It hasn’t. What it has run out of is money and balls. According to one Hollywood director we spoke to, “There are lots of great scripts knocking about, but few studios want to take risks on them. They know a remake, sequel, comic-book…

All the damn vampires

The final line in the 1987 film The Lost Boys comes from the deadpan Grandpa: “One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach… all the damn vampires.” Swap Santa Carla for popular culture and it’s a sentiment that many are echoing right now. Unfairly in some cases. Not here though, as this…