Not sure I'll watch it again, either.
Bergman was unhappy with this film and considered it to be uneven but I think he was being too harsh with himself. His study of how a war can have a devastating effect on a couple and transform their relationship is bold and assured, full of psychological and social insight. Nykvist's cinematography is typically magnificent and the performances of von Sydow and Ullmann are magisterial. Grim and hauntingly beautiful..
In her teens the beautiful Ayako Wakao was contracted to Daiei Studio and appeared in numerous films for the next two decades. She came to prominence in a couple of films with Mizoguchi (A Geisha and Street Of Shame) and also worked with Ichikawa (Punishment Room) and Ozu (Floating Weeds) but saved her best performances for Masumura, collaborating with him on several occasions and giving brilliant and sexy performances in the likes of Manji, Seisaku's Wife, Red Angel and Irezumi. One of the great Japanese actresses..
Beatty tends to alternate mega-hits with mega-flops and this bawdy farce, the last film he's made to date, is certainly in the latter category. However, as a fan of Warren's meagre output I found it to be a rather enjoyable little romp with the aging lothario sending-up his renown as a ladies' man and serial philanderer. An all-star cast chip in gamely with their contributions and the whole thing zips along amiably..
The penultimate western that Mann made was released at the end of a decade in which he dominated the genre, particularly in the films he made with Jimmy Stewart. An aging Coop gives a dignified performance as the former outlaw confronting the demons of his past in the shape of a bellowing, scenery chewing Cobb. With expert use of the 'Scope frame by Mann, this almost Shakespearean drama is one of the great westerns..
At his peak in the '30's, Jouvet starred in some of the outstanding films of the period. He was the cunning Spanish chaplain in Feyder's Carnival In Flanders (1935), the aristocratic gambler down on his luck in Renoir's The Lower Depths (1936) and Arletty's disdainful pimp in Carné's Hôtel Du Nord (1938). Jouvet had enormous screen magnetism and projected a kind of cynical worldliness in his persona of a sly, shady man-of-the-world; not particularly admirable but full of sardonic humour and human qualities. Always smooth-talking and able to get by on his wits, he retained a certain aloof theatricality throughout his career and is one of the great screen actors..
A whole decade before the Italians made neo-realism famous at the end of World War II, Renoir took himself off to the South of France to make a film which contains all the characteristics of the later movement. Based on a true crime of passion and filmed in the locale where the events took place, Renoir's effortlessly sensual and beautiful poetic masterpiece is one of the best films of his career. Essential viewing..
This exciting, fast-paced drama is the film that confirmed Costa-Gavras as a political filmmaker of the highest order. Based on the fictionalised account of an assassination in Greece from the early '60's, the Greek-born director keeps the tension high with his virtuoso editing style. Legendary New Wave lensman Coutard is on top form, as is Trintignant as the examining magistrate bravely trying to uncover the truth..
At the end of a decade in which some of the finest examples of the genre were made, De Toth shot this bleak western classic which deserves wider recognition. Big and burly Ives dominates scenes as a mortally wounded fugitive who takes over a snowbound town with his thirsty, sex-starved colleagues only to founder at the hands of a determined Ryan. A colossal film that plays out in three acts of increasing brilliance..
This delightful Naruse short featuring a recurring nostalgic motif of children at play with toy aeroplanes is ostensibly a piece of propaganda at a time of war, but not overtly so. It's mainly a simple and effective rural tale in which a mother is told that her son, a soldier in combat, appears in a newsreel and the film shows her journey to see the film and a later parallel journey by her daughter-in-law. Adorable..
A year before reteaming on The High And The Mighty, underrated director Wellman puts the Duke through his paces on another less heralded aviation drama. This one sees him forced to down the plane he is piloting in the Canadian wilderness due to adverse weather conditions and shows the struggles he and his crew have in trying to survive before a rescue mission can be mounted. Nothing too special but a solid actioner..
Veteran director Dwan's terrific little western plays out in real time and would make a fascinating double bill with High Noon. A rather bland Payne in the lead role faces a race against time to prove his innocence when his wedding is interrupted by a posse led by a duplicitous Duryea, one of the great western villains. The film was made at the height of McCarthyism and is a scathing attack on the era's witch-hunts..
Even by Fassbinder's standards the subject matter of this film courts controversy and is one of the rarities on his filmography. Mattes and Baer play twisted young lovers in the story of an underage girl's sexual relationship with a slaughterhouse worker and the naive and callous crime they commit in the mistaken belief that it will keep them together. Brilliant and challenging work from one of the great filmmakers..
Fun and frolics in the Swedish sunshine are on show in Bergman's luscious confection, a midsummer comedy that is genuinely erotic and displays a lightness of touch that is a joy. The script is marvelous, witty and sophisticated, and is spoken by an exceptional cast. Special plaudits on this masterpiece go to Fischer, soon to be replaced by Nykvist as Bergman's cinematographer of choice, for his luminous photography..
The quintessential film noir is a crackling drama with punchy dialogue that hits the heights even though it's difficult to keep up with all the double crosses. Sleepy-eyed Mitchum plays the former private eye hired by Douglas to track down Greer's femme fatale. When the hunter finds his prey it's lust at first sight and he's firmly set on the path to destruction. Easily the best film to feature death by fishing rod..
The titular feline is never glimpsed and is a symbolic presence in Wellman's second interpretation of a Van Tilburg Clark book. It's a quite brilliant chamber piece, a pseudo-western in muted colours which expertly uses every inch of the 'Scope screen. Primarily set on a stagebound snowy ranch where a dysfunctional family is in conflict, Mitchum gives one of his great bad guy performances in this underrated classic..
When All Is Said And Done, after watching this abomination the will to live was Slipping Through My Fingers and the question on my lips was: Should I Laugh Or Cry?! I cried... It went On And On And On and I must be a Super Trouper for sticking with it right through to the end. I Have A Dream... in my dream, this film never existed. More Dum Dum Diddle than The Winner Takes It All. And that's coming from an Abba fan..
Aiming to emulate the success of King Kong, its producer Merian C. Cooper embarked on an adaptation of Rider Haggard's much filmed novel. Though the project wasn't a moneyspinner and is rather stilted and humourless in places there is still much to admire, not least the kitsch Art Deco design of the palace of She Who Must Be Obeyed and Steiner's typically bombastic music. Enjoyable, but I'd hoped it would be better..
On the eve of her funeral morbid curiosity finally brought me to this Thatcher biopic and it turned out to be exactly as I anticipated; a rather interesting but somewhat shallow portrait of a deeply complex woman dominated by a typically barnstorming performance by Streep. The complex flashback structure depicts numerous episodes from her life and career in an oversimplified but never less than entertaining manner..
The first of eight collaborations between Mann and Stewart is also the first of five terrific westerns they made together. Jimmy is on the trial of an old foe and a stolen rifle in an episodic story with plenty of gun-toting action before he finally gets his man and settles the score. In an excellent support cast look out for Hudson as an unconvincing Indian chief and fellow Universal contract player Anthony Curtis..
Kansas during the Thirties Depression is the setting for this delightful film, beautifully shot in gorgeous monochrome by Kovács. The onscreen chemistry of Ryan and Tatum is a definite asset in the tale of a couple of con artists who may or may not be father and daughter. We follow their adventures on the road and see their relationship blossom in a natural and touching way. Easily one of Bogdanovich's finest films..
Clad throughout in nothing but a pair of swimming trunks, Lancaster's odyssey is on view as he makes his way home via the pools of his neighbors in the Connecticut suburbs. At each stop we learn more about him until by the end his self-confidence has been exposed as a sham and his near-nakedness is apt as he is stripped of his dignity. A fascinating film that teeters on the brink of absurdity but never topples over..
Fassbinder would go on to make more films before his early death but this mammoth project is the summation of his magnificent and prolific career. Most of the actors who appeared regularly in his earlier work are reassembled for an epic adaptation of Döblin’s novel. In a film so long there are bound to be longeurs but on the whole it is absolutely sublime with a lead performance of sustained brilliance by Lamprecht..
There can be no denying the provocative nature of this unique film. A simple description of the plot in which a couple are put on trial after murdering three people is inadequate; it truly has to be seen to be believed. Directorial technique is everything in this film, from the audacious sound design to the extreme use of close-ups. If David Lynch had been born in Poland, this is the kind of film he might have made..
Distance lends enchantment to a fading love affair when a young welder is sent by his employers to work in Sicily. Olmi enriches his warm story of ordinary people with a wealth of detailed observations which gives its characters their humanity and believability. The film is masterfully constructed with a divine range and choice of music which helps to effortlessly generate a mystical quality. A towering achievement..
This little-known classic is a dark and twisted melodrama that shows a stable family unit torn apart by the machinations of a predatory housemaid. The director gradually builds up the tension until the startling conclusion and then pulls the rug out from under the viewer with a denouement that boldly breaks the fourth wall. The editing and camerawork are exemplary, as is the stunning photography. Highly recommended..
Originally released on a double bill with Miyazaki's gorgeously cute My Neighbor Totoro, you could not wish for a greater contrast than this harrowing story in which orphaned siblings struggle to survive alone in the last months of World War II. Takahata illuminates this masterpiece with moments of sheer beauty but on the whole it is brutal and unbearably poignant; in fact, I'm not sure I could sit through it again..
Another one I watched with my daughter... It's loud and it's brash but it's also quite entertaining and eye-poppingly colourful, with lots of movie in-jokes to keep the parents happy. I came out of it almost with a sugar rush of my own...
My first Studio Ghibli, my first Miyazaki.. Such a beautiful film, easily the best traditional animation I've yet seen. I can't praise Miyazaki enough for the originality of his imagination. He has delivered a film that can be loved equally by parents and children alike. Indeed, after having watched it alone I can't wait to cuddle up on the couch with my 4 year old daughter and introduce her to such a superb artist..
Whether I agreed or not with his opinions on a particular film, I always respected what he had to say. When I wanted to watch a film I always checked to see if Ebert had written a review first. His reviews of Great Movies on his website were a source of great enjoyment to me. If you go to the ‘External Reviews’ of any film on IMDb, if Roger had written a review it was always top of the list. That says it all for me…. Goodbye to one of the greatest and most prolific writers on film….
The third film Renoir made during his brief Hollywood spell is based on a decadent novel that was adapted again by Buñuel in the '60's. It's a surreal tragi-farce, an account of the havoc wrought by a sensual chambermaid on a wealthy family and is the antithesis of Renoir's earlier and more lyrical work. Wonderfully played by a peroxide Goddard and a talented supporting cast, this strange concoction is a real treat..