5th June 2008
3:28 PM — Be honest, when was the last time you saw a movie from Kazakhstan? Most of us could barely point it out on a map, let alone name any of this mysterious Central Asian country’s cultural achievements.
3rd June 2008
California Dreamin’ 1
2:56 PM — It's a safe bet that there aren't many people in the world whose first choice of a movie to see on a Friday night is the latest offering from Romania.
Sex and the City
12:46 PM — So there we were, four girls dealing with being single and thirtysomething in New York City. It was a blast. No real jobs to worry with, just shoes, shopping and sex – all the while wearing fabulous outfits.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
12:36 PM — Indiana Jones has become what he was always intended to be – a genuine cinematic icon, a true Hollywood legend, and one of the most successful film-related brands ever created.
23rd April 2008
8:07 PM — When fans of comic books want to prove to doubters that such things are not "just for kids", as so many people seem to believe, there are a few examples they always use to demonstrate the point beyond doubt.
7:57 PM — For a young actress trying to prove her mettle, appearing in a horror film can seem like a canny move. So little wonder Jessica Alba has now decided to do a horror film and, specifically, a remake of a South-East Asian horror flick.
7:32 PM — It wouldn't be Spring without a bit of romance in the air, yet this month sees a surprising lack of films revolving around love and relationships. What we do get, is this unusual romantic comedy.
18th January 2008
12:20 AM — Taiwanese director Ang Lee is nothing if not eclectic in his output. Still best known for 2000's beautifully-shot epic martial arts flick Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - which in turn helped bring us the sumptuous likes of Zhang Yimou's decidedly similar Hero and House of Flying Daggers - it is easy to forget just how odd a bunch of movies he's been associated with. After all, his back catalogue includes everything from New York-set immigration comedy The Wedding Banquet to Taiwan-set romance Eat Drink Man Woman to lush Kate Winslet-starring Austen adaptation Sense and Sensibility, through philosophical superhero flick Hulk, suburban character study The Ice Storm, American Civil War romance Ride With The Devil, and his most recent, the film indelibly dubbed "that gay cowboy flick", Brokeback Mountain.
P.S. I Love You
12:20 AM — The sheer unpleasantness of the thought that, one day, we are all bound to die has naturally led to human beings creating various methods to avoid worrying about the inevitable. Religion is, of course, the most obvious - but comedy comes a close second.Taking the micky out of death has a long history, making light of our inevitable demise largely to - bizarrely, if you think about it - help us all stop, well, thinking about it.
Charlie Wilson’s War
12:20 AM — Every now and then, a film comes along that has Oscar written all over it. If you were to look at CVs of those involved in Charlie Wilson's War, you'd know that putting money on this little outfit to pick up a slew of golden men in a couple of months' time is likely to be one of the safest bets you've ever made.Top of the bill, as the titular Charlie Wilson, is none other than Tom Hanks - the Academy's favourite star for well over a decade now, with two Oscars and another three nominations under his belt.
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
12:20 AM — Veteran director Sidney Lumet, best known for the Al Pacino-starring 1970s classics Serpico and Dog Day Afternoon, has had a rather hit-and-miss time of it in his six decades-long career. Starting out at the dawn of the television era, he made his impressive feature film directorial debut - gaining himself the first of five Oscar nominations in the process - in 1957's superb courtroom drama 12 Angry Men, before going on to helm the varied but much-loved likes of Long Day's Journey Into Night (1962), Fail-Safe (1964), Murder on the Orient Express (1974) and Network (1976). Then he fell into a bit of a rut in the 1980s and 90s.
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem
12:20 AM — A sequel to a dire action/horror movie - especially one based on a computer game - is normally cause to flee for the hills. Ever since the Bob Hoskins-starring Super Mario Brothers nearly killed the careers of all involved way back in 1993, computer game movies have had a truly abysmal history.Remember the Jean Claude Van Damme vehicle Street Fighter? The tedious attempt to do justice to the classic game Doom?
No Country For Old Men
12:20 AM — Everyone loves the Coen Brothers, surely? Over the last two decades, the oddball pair have produced some of the weirdest and most wonderful movies ever to have come out of America - quirky yet accessible, and always with a streak of deliciously black humour running throughout.The Coens have given us that modern icon, Jeff Bridges' White Russian-supping bowling layabout The Dude in their biggest hit, The Big Lebowski.
In the Valley of Elah
12:20 AM — Films about the psychological aftermath of war have a long and generally speaking highly distinguished history. Yet, when the war in Vietnam - similarly unpopular to those in Iraq and Afghanistan - was still raging, Hollywood seemed to have cold feet about tackling the actual blood and guts of the conflict. Apocalypse Now has gone beyond mere classic status to become a defining movie in the history of cinema, but it was also the first film to go into production about the Vietnam War itself. Yet, it was only released in 1979; four years after the war had ignominiously come to an end.
Sweeney Todd 1
12:20 AM — Love him for his quirky visual style or hate him for his apparently deliberate appeal to that subsection of the teenage market that dresses in black all the time, mostly while writing dire poetry about death and unrequited love, Tim Burton is undoubtedly one of the more interesting and individual of mainstream Hollywood directors. Somehow always able to create films that look like no others - even with his occasional misses, like the ill-judged "reimagining" of Planet of the Apes - Burton's movies have a style all their own, and that should always be cause for celebration.
26th October 2007
5:10 PM — One of the major benefits of the spread of the internet and the boom in movie piracy has been that the big American studios have finally begun to release their films world-wide at approximately the same time. Whereas in the bad old days us poor consumers from the UK market would end up getting Christmas movies in February or March, the studios following their old pattern of staggering European releases until a good three months after the American box office had had its fill, or even have to wait until the following Christmas, those nasty pirates have forced the studios' hands.
Elizabeth: The Golden Age
5:10 PM — 1997's Elizabeth, dealing with the early years of Queen Elizabeth I and her difficult passage to the throne, was a glorious example of the most lavish kind of period drama. Plush sets, a big-name cast, incredible costumes, and a central performance from a then-nearly unknown Cate Blanchett, who was robbed of an Oscar - Best Actress that year instead went to Gwyneth Paltrow for her turn in the so-so Elizabethan romantic comedy Shakespeare in Love, prompting a memorable bout of acceptance speech hysterics.
Lions for Lambs 1
5:10 PM — Say what you like about Tom Cruise, he certainly knows how to pick his films. He may well have had a falling out with Paramount after his bizarre, Scientology and love-inspired behaviour in the run-up to his wedding last year, but love him or loathe him he's one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood - and you don't get to that level of fame by appearing in bad films. Unless, of course, they're bad films that are likely to make a huge amount of money - like Days of Thunder, Legend or the last couple of Mission: Impossible movies.
5:10 PM — In the wake of the massive success of The Lord of the Rings, little wonder that Hollywood's been scrabbling around for other fantasy epics to bring to the big screen, now that the technology is finally good enough to create the kind of strange creatures with which such legendary settings abound. 2005's adaptation of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - and its forthcoming sequel Prince Caspian - was an obvious choice, so similar are the two books, thanks to their authors' friendship.
American Gangster 1
5:10 PM — OK, so the last team-up between director Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe, last year's film adaptation of A Year in Provence that was A Good Year, may have been critically panned and largely ignored by cinemagoers.Yes, Scott's outing before that, 2005's historical epic Kingdom of Heaven, was likewise slated and shunned. And yes, his film before that, the Nic Cage-starring Matchstick Men, made little real impact.