five star movie tagged posts

Sorcerer – William Friedkin’s zero hour contract masterpiece

When discussing Blade Runner, Ridley Scott said, “It’s as bad to be ahead of your time as behind it.”

Director William Friedkin can sympathise with this.

In the early 1970s he was a filmmaker in synch with the mood of the nation. He revitalised the cop thriller with The French Connection in 1971, nabbing Best Director and Best Film among a five Oscar haul.

Two years later he reinvented horror cinema for the modern age with The Exorcist.

Then, in 1977 he delivered to American audiences Sorcerer, a film fundamentally at odds with a country aching to slough off a decade of uncertainty and corruption.

A loose remake of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s 1953 thriller The Wages of Fear and Georges Arnaud’s same-name source novel, Friedkin’s movie was too bleak for a nation hungry for the escapist th...

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Tears and Laughter: Movie Reviews


Tears and Laughter: Women in Japanese Melodrama runs until Wednesday 29th November at the BFI Southbank. For more information and to book tickets, click here.

To read an interview with season curator and Sight and Sound features editor James Bell, click here.


OSAKA ELEGY

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi

Writer: Yoshikata Yoda (screenplay), Tadashi Fujiwara (dialogue)

Cast: Isuzu Yamada, Yôko Umemura, Benkei Shiganoya

Cert: PG

Running time: 71mins

Year: 1936



What’s the story: To pay off her father’s debts and her brother’s university fees, young switchboard operator Ayako (Yamada) becomes her boss’ mistress. But, when he rejects her she is forced into prostitution.

What’s the verdict: A pre-war film from director Kenji Mizoguchi, the 1936 Osaka Elegy anticipates Japan’s rejection ...

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Director: Martin McDonagh

Writer: Martin McDonagh

Cast: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Lucas Hedges, Caleb Landry Jones, John Hawkes, Peter Dinklage, Samara Weaving, Amanda Warren

Cert: 15 (TBC)

Running time: 115mins

Year: 2017


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What’s the story: A year after her daughter’s brutal murder, Ebbing resident Mildred Hayes places signs on the roadside goading the town’s sheriff for not catching the killer.

What’s the verdict: There wasn’t much love for Martin McDonagh’s Seven Psychopaths. We liked it, mind, but three rather than seven is writer/director Martin McDonagh’s lucky number.

This astonishing crime drama is set to receive a lot of love. Caustic, profane, hilarious and heartbreaking, it could be the equal of Calvary, the five-star movie McDonagh’s bro...

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The Shape of Water

Director: Guillermo del Toro

Writer: Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor

Cast: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg

Cert: 15

Running time: 119mins

Year: 2017


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What’s the story: In 1960s Baltimore, as the Cold War heats up, mute Elisa Esposito is a lowly cleaner at a government research laboratory. She falls for an amphibian creature in one of the labs. When discovering what government agent Strickland plans for her new love, Elisa plans a daring break-out, calling on her friends for help.

What’s the verdict: The Shape of Water begins in an aquatically themed dream. Fitting, for water is the stuff of which dreams are made in Guillermo del Toro’s latest adult fairy tale.

Del Toro fans will also be in a dream world when immersed in the ...

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Last Flag Flying

Director: Richard Linklater

Writer: Richard Linklater, Darryl Ponicsan (screenplay), Darryl Ponicsan (novel)

Cast: Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston, Laurence Fishburne, J. Quinton Johnson, Yul Vazquez

Cert: 15

Running time: 124mins

Year: 2017


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What’s the story: Larry Shepherd contacts Sal Nealon and Richard Mueller, who served with him in Vietnam, to help escort his son’s body home after he was killed in Iraq. But, the journey takes longer than expected as secrets are revealed and past events are revisited.

What’s the verdict: Midway through Richard Linklater’s excellent new movie, Bryan Cranston’s troublemaking Sal says every generation gets its war. Every generation also gets its sign-of-the-times dark military comedy.

Vietnam had Robert Altman’s M*A*S*H and Hal Ashby’s The Las...

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Criterion Collection: Lord of the Flies (1963)

Director: Peter Brook

Writer: None credited

Cast: Jack Aubrey, Hugh Edwards, Tom Chapin, Tom Gaman

Cert: PG

Running time: 92mins

Year: 1963


Film: medium_5
Extras:
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What’s the story: Young schoolboys, stranded on a tropical island after a plane crash, degenerate into warring beasts. Ralph (Aubrey) and Piggy (Edwards) attempt to maintain order. But, the other boys are more drawn to the violent choirboy Jack (Chapin).

What’s the verdict: Always depressing to declare a film about man’s innate barbarism is as relevant today as when released almost 55-years ago. But, Peter Brook’s Lord of the Flies, adapted from William Golding’s novel published almost 65-years ago, remains a cautionary fable.

The irresistible premise was borne of Golding’s musing to his wife, how would the child characters...

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Dunkirk (2017)

Director: Christopher Nolan

Writer: Christopher Nolan

Cast: Fionn Whitehead, Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Harry Styles, Cillian Murphy, Jack Lowden, James D’Arcy, Tom Glynn-Carey, Barry Keoghan

Cert: 12

Running time: 106mins

Year: 2017


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What’s the story: France, 1940. After Germany defeats Allied forces in the Battle of Dunkirk, 400,000 British soldiers are stranded on the beach, 26 miles from home. Operation Dynamo, the mobilisation of naval ships plus hundreds of civilian boats, is activated to rescue those across the Channel.

What’s the verdict: Expectations rode high when news broke that Christopher Nolan’s next film would tackle the evacuation of Dunkirk.

Nolan’s response has been to deliver perhaps his finest film to date...

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Criterion Collection: The Fisher King

Director: Terry Gilliam

Writer: Richard LaGravenese

Cast: Jeff Bridges, Robin Williams, Mercedes Ruehl, Amanda Plummer

Cert: 15

Running time: 137mins

Year: 1991


Film: medium_5
Extras:
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What’s the story: Radio shock jock Jack Lucas (Bridges) falls into suicidal depression after his on-air remarks spark a tragic incident. He seeks redemption in helping Parry (Williams), a manic homeless man caught up in the event Jack inadvertently caused.

What’s the verdict: A welcome Criterion Collection release of Terry Gilliam’s romantic fairytale that doesn’t forget to add a generous pinch of the Grimm stuff.

Wounded by the difficult production of 1988’s The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, the vagaries of Hollywood saw Gilliam returning three years later to Columbia, the studio that unceremoniously d...

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Criterion Collection: Les Diaboliques (1955)

Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot

Writer: Henri-Georges Clouzot, Jérôme Géronimi (screenplay), René Masson, Frédéric Grendel (collaboration), Pierre Boileau, Thomas Narcejac (novel)

Cast: Vera Clouzot, Simone Signoret, Paul Meurisse

Cert: 12

Running time: 117 mins

Year: 1955


Film: medium_5
Extras:


What’s the story: Christina (Clouzot), the frail owner of a large French school, lives in fear of her husband, school director M. Delassalle (Meurisse). Together with Delassalle’s mistress Nicole (Signoret), Christina plots her husband’s murder. But, killing him could be the beginning of more trouble…

What’s the verdict: One of cinema’s great shockers, after more than sixty years Les Diaboliques (aka The Fiends or The Devils depending on which print you’re watching) is yet to creak.

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Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: 12 Angry Men

Director: Sidney Lumet

Writer: Reginald Rose

Cast: Henry Fonda, Lee. J Cobb, E.G. Marshall, Jack Warden, Joseph Sweeney, Ed Begley, George Voskovec, Martin Balsam, John Fielder, Jack Klugman, Edward Binns, Robert Webber

Cert: U (extras PG)

Running time: 96 mins

Year: 1957


Film: medium_5
Extras:
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What’s the story: 11 men on a jury believe a young man guilty of first degree murder, for which he’ll receive the death penalty. One juror has doubts.

What’s the verdict: When weather turned bad on location for She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, an assistant to director John Ford asked what could they shoot now. Ford replied, “…the most interesting and exciting thing in the world: a human face.”

12 Angry Men boasts a gallery of interesting, exciting faces. And not just the jurors’...

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