Monday, 24 February 2014

How well will 'The Wolf of Wall Street' do at this weekend at the Oscars?

How well will 'The Wolf of Wall Street' do at this weekend at the Oscars? Brilliantly written by Terence Winter ("The Sopranos", "Boardwalk Empire"), along with the usual stylish direction from Martin Scorsese and boasting a career-best performance from Leonardo DiCaprio, 'The Wolf of Wall Street' is superior entertainment and highly recommended.
RATING ****

'12 Years a Slave' - an important film but not a great film

Watched '12 Years a Slave'. Any film that deals openly with the horrors of the US slave trade has to be important but sadly this is simply not the great film that critics claim it to be. I just think there is not enough attention to character and there is too much emphasis on the many torture scenes rather than the drama itself. Another overrated art-house film from the director of 'Hunger' and 'Shame'.
RATING ***

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Harper (1966) - An enjoyable homage to Marlowe

William Goldman's first screenplay is an adaptation of Ross McDonald's novel 'The Moving Target' called Harper. Released in 1966 and stars Paul Newman as private investigator Lew Harper (Lew Archer in the novel) who has problems with his marriage to Susan (Janet Leigh) but one of his few friends is attorney Albert Graves (Arthur Hill) who brings him a case. The wealthy husband of Elaine Sampson (Lauren Bacall) is missing and she thinks that he is with another woman. She just wants to know where he is. It is Harper's job to investigate and report back but the case is on as straight forward as it seems.

Harper is an enjoyable homage to Marlowe (Lauren Bacall starred with Humphrey Bogart as Marlowe in the 1946 film The Big Sleep) with great performances all around especially from Newman. The dialogue is great as you would expect from Goldman, the direction (Jack Smight) and photography (Conrad L. Hall) are top notch too. Recommended. 
RATING ****

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Leslie Halliwell - an inspirational film critic and historian


Leslie Halliwell
Leslie Halliwell (1929 – 1989) was a British film critic and historian. In 1965 Halliwell’s The Filmgoer's Companion was published which proved to be the first one-volume encyclopaedia devoted to all aspects of the cinema. Then he spent years creating the Halliwell's Film Guide, an impressive source for all movie fans. Although a very conservative film critic (Halliwell did not award full marks to any film after 1967) and an apologist for classic Hollywood, Leslie Halliwell created reference books which were so important to many of us during those pre-internet days. I used to enjoy reading the reviews of Leslie Halliwell and I think I read every one of his books when I was young. I am still a fan of classic Hollywood but I now dislike Halliwell’s resentment of more modern and independent films. By the time Halliwell sadly passed away in 1989, I had long thought that his reviews were somewhat one-dimensional, unsupported and extremely conservative. Nevertheless, Leslie Halliwell's love for vintage cinema, his knowledge and his film guides contributed significantly to my own passion for (and education of) the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Friday, 26 April 2013

A memorable trip to India

Just came back from a memorable trip to India. I am not a fan of Indian mainstream cinema (Bollywood) so I was able to enjoy the sunshine instead!
A photo of me relaxing by the Indian Ocean

Monday, 25 February 2013

Some thoughts on the 85th Academy Awards

I do not think I have much to say except that it is great that Argo won the Best Picture Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards. Argo is an entertaining film based on a true story of a CIA operative who is sent to Tehran to rescue six U.S. diplomats during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. Argo is definitely worth watching.

I am also pleased that Quentin Tarantino (original screenplay) and Christophe Waltz (supporting actor) received deserving nods from the Academy for the enjoyable western Django Unchained which I think is the best film of the year.


Ang Lee won the Best Director Oscar for the impressive Life of Pi, one of the very few films that brilliantly utilises 3-D technology. A terrific adaptation of Yann Martel's novel of the same name but so enjoyable.

The emotional drama Amour won Best Foreign Film and the award was collected by the acclaimed Austrian director Michael Heneke. I wonder why the legendary French actress Emmanuel Riva's portrayal of a dying elderly woman was overlooked for Jennifer Lawrence's Tiffany Maxwell in Silver Linings Playbook?

Finally, I didn't care much for Spielberg's Lincoln but Daniel Day Lewis does produce the goods in every picture. He was expected to lift the Oscar for his portrayal of Abe and lift it he did. There you have it! I did not have much to say after all!

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Lincoln - An over-rated bore of a movie!

The critics seem to be falling over each other to call this movie a modern day classic but I think 'Lincoln' is genuinely boring, over-long and very over-rated. Daniel Day-Lewis' performance is okay but full marks has to go to the make-up department for making him look as grotesque as Honest Abe. No doubt that this over-blown bore-fest will probably be the big winner at the Oscars.
RATING **

How well will 'The Wolf of Wall Street' do at this weekend at the Oscars?

How well will 'The Wolf of Wall Street' do at this weekend at the Oscars? Brilliantly written by Terence Winter ("The Sopranos&...