Blu-Ray Review: Cul-de-Sac

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#5 – Cul-de-Sac (1966)

Director: Roman Polanski

Writer: Roman Polanski, Gérard Brach

Cast: Donald Pleasence, Françoise Dorléac, Lionel Stander, Jack MacGowran

Cert: 15

Running time: 112mins

Year: 1966


Accolades:
1966 Berlin International Film Festival
Golden Bear

Contemporary review:
“Pleasence, in a role that requires him to run sideways most of the time with his head at a crooked angle, is hilarious and frightening as a man going mad, and the film has an eerie appeal.” –
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times, 1967

Electric Shadows rating:
Criterion Extras:


What’s the story: Two gangsters, one badly wounded, arrive at remote castle on Holy Island in Northumberland, England...

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The Founder

Director: John Lee Hancock

Writer: Robert Siegel

Cast: Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch, Laura Dern

Cert: 12

Running time: 115mins

Year: 2016



What’s the story: In 1950s America, fifty-something milkshake machine salesman Ray Kroc (Keaton) convinces the McDonald brothers to allow him to franchise their burger restaurant across America. But, Dick and Mac McDonald (Offerman & Lynch) soon realise Ray’s ambition may be difficult to contain.

What’s the verdict: Birdman was tiresome Hollywood self-congratulation. But, one positive that emerged from the navel gazing was the revitalisation of Michael Keaton’s career. With Spotlight and now The Founder, Keaton is again becoming one of Tinseltown’s most exciting faces.

He clearly knows a juicy role when he sees it, sink...

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Moonlight (2016)

Director: Barry Jenkins

Writer: Barry Jenkins (screenplay), Tarell Alvin McCraney (story)

Cast: Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes, Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, André Holland, Jharrel Jerome

Cert: 15

Running time: 111mins

Year: 2016




What’s the story: The life of Chiron, a black man from a rough area of 1980s Miami, is charted through three key stages of his life, from childhood to teenage years and full adulthood.

What’s the verdict: Moonlight and La La Land could not be more different. Moonlight is a coming-of-age story about the struggles of a young black man growing up ostracised and gay and saddled with an abusive crack-addicted mother in a deprived area of Miami...

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John Wick: Chapter 2

Director: Chad Stahelski

Writer: Derek Kolstad

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Ian McShane, Riccardo Scarmarcio, Common, Claudia Gerini, Ruby Rose, Lance Reddick, Peter Stormare, Laurence Fishburne, Franco Nero

Cert: 15

Running time: 122mins

Year: 2017



What’s the story: Former retired hitman John Wick (Reeves) is forced to honour an old debt to a powerful Camorra mobster, setting off a violent chain of events and a contract placed on Wick’s life.

What’s the verdict: Ironic that the filmmakers have christened this sequel “Chapter 2”. If the John Wick saga were a book, it wouldn’t fill the morning commute.

Picking up shortly after where 2014’s John Wick (presumably to be retconned “Chapter 1”) left off, our monosyllabic button man is tying up loose ends with a cameo’ing Peter Stormare...

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2017 Movie Kickstart – The Electric Shadows Podcast

Rob Daniel & Rob Wallis look through films that have kicked off 2017: T2 Trainspotting, Assassin’s Creed, Jackie, Moonlight, Hacksaw Ridge and Silence. And Rogue One! And there’s some La La Land talk. It’s been a while since the last Electric Shadows Podcast, so we’ve given you a supersized start to the year. Enjoy!

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Jackie (2016)

Director: Pablo Larraín

Writer: Noah Oppenheim

Cast: Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Billy Crudup, Greta Gerwig, John Hurt, John Carroll Lynch, Caspar Phillipson

Cert: 15

Running time: 100mins

Year: 2016


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What’s the story: Weeks after the assassination of President John F Kennedy, a journalist (Crudup) is granted an interview with Jacqueline Kennedy (Portman), who recalls moments of her life as First Lady.

What’s the verdict: From the opening close-up of Natalie Portman’s pinched, pale face and the strings of Mica Levi’s woozy score, it is clear Jackie aims for something beyond a standard soup-to-nuts biopic.

Director Pablo Larraín (who had a better 2016 than most with this and Neruda) and writer Noah Oppenheim (a long way from his scripts for Allegiant and The Maze Runner) con...

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T2 Trainspotting

Director: Danny Boyle

Writer: John Hodge (screenplay), Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting & Porno novels)

Cast: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle, Anjela Nedyalkova

Cert: 18

Running time: 117mins

Year: 2017


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What’s the story: Twenty years after Mark Renton (McGregor) stole £16,000 from his friends, he returns to Edinburgh from Amsterdam. Recovering junky Spud (Bremner) is happy to see him, and Simon aka Sick Boy (Lee Miller), running a failing pub, tries to get Mark involved in a plan to open a massage parlour. But, the psychopathic Begbie, out of prison after a long stretch, seeks revenge.

What’s the verdict: “Nostalgia is why you’re here.” So Sick Boy, now known as Simon, spits at Renton on a trip to the Scottish countryside.

Twenty-one years after the ...

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Blu-Ray Review: His Girl Friday

His-Girl-Friday---Criterion-Collection-coverDirector: Howard Hawks

Writer: Charles Lederer (screenplay), Ben Hecht, Charles MacArthur (play)

Cast: Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy, Helen Mack, Joe Qualen

Cert: U

Running time: 92mins

Year: 1940


Film: medium_5

Extras: medium_5


What’s the story: Ruthless newspaper editor Walter Burns (Grant) schemes to keep his ex-wife and best reporter Hildy Johnson (Russell) from marrying new fiancé Bruce (Bellamy).

His-Girl-Friday---Cary-Grant,-phoneHis-Girl-Friday---Cary-Grant,-Rosalind-Russell

What’s the verdict: Renowned as the archetypal screwball comedy, 76 years on from its original release His Girl Friday remains sparkling and surprisingly relevant. With a few wince-inducing comments that betray its age.

On the surface this is the madcap rom-com territory Howard Hawks previously traversed to great effect in 1934’s Twentieth Century and Bringing Up Baby four years later...

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Live By Night

live-by-night-uk-posterDirector: Ben Affleck

Writer: Ben Affleck (screenplay), Dennis Lehane (novel)

Cast: Ben Affleck, Zoe Saldana, Brendan Gleeson, Robert Glenister, Elle Fanning, Sienna Miller, Remo Girone, Chris Cooper, Chris Messina

Cert: 15

Running time: 128mins

Year: 2016


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What’s the story: Against the backdrop of Prohibition Boston and Florida, Irish First World War veteran turned small-time crook Joe Coughlin finds himself working for the Italian mob during the liquor wars.

live-by-night-ben-affleck-caplive-by-night-ben-affleck-sienna-miller

What’s the verdict: Ben Affleck returns to the work of Dennis Lehane for his latest delve into the life on the other side of the law. His directorial debut Gone Baby Gone, based on Lehane’s book of the same name, drew critical gushes. Live By Night is attracting as much fire as lead character Joe Coughlin.

Which is surprisin...

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Moonlight dominates Online Film Critics Society Awards

moonlight-poster

The powerful coming-of-age drama Moonlight dominated the 2016 Online Film Critics Society Awards, winning a total of four awards out of seven nominations.

The film beat out competition from La La Land, Arrival, Jackie and Manchester by the Sea amongst others to be named Best Picture. Barry Jenkins won Best Director and Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris won Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress, respectively.

The Online Film Critics Society’s Governing Committee said, “We’d like to congratulate all involved with Moonlight for the power and humanity of this extraordinary film. Topical and relevant, it is a timely reminder of that which unites us being greater than that which divides us.”

la-la-land-posterDamien Chazelle’s La La Land, which tied with Moonlight for seven nominations, won ...

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