The Sixth Sense

A boy who communicates with spirits that don’t know they’re dead seeks the help of a disheartened child psychologist.

M. Night Shyamalan’s debut is an excellent one that I’ve seen a handful of times – the first, as a terrified eleven-year-old subsequently deprived of sleep. The Sixth Sense‘s most chilling moments have been seared into my memory – but today, they don’t stand up as particularly scary, and I find myself re-categorising the film in my own mental IMDb. Continue reading “The Sixth Sense”

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

While Frodo and Sam edge closer to Mordor with the help of the shifty Gollum, the divided fellowship makes a stand against Sauron’s new ally, Saruman, and his hordes of Isengard.

To use the tagline, “The Journey Continues”, is wrong. Because the second instalment of Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy doesn’t just bridge a gap between stories, and it’s certainly not more of the same. While The Fellowship of the Ring may be my favourite of the threeThe Two Towers is hard to ignore, doing everything bigger, while simultaneously bringing everything closer. Continue reading “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”

Gran Torino

Disgruntled Korean War veteran Walt Kowalski sets out to reform his neighbor, a Hmong teenager who tried to steal Kowalski’s prized possession: a 1972 Gran Torino.

With some films, it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what it’s doing right. My knowledge of film theory is thin, so I normally end up judging films on the stories they tell – something which only makes up about 20% of the finished product, but explains why some of the greatest films of all time didn’t entertain me. Continue reading “Gran Torino”

The Prestige

Two stage magicians engage in competitive one-upmanship in an attempt to create the ultimate stage illusion.

To describe a film as “formulaic” would normally be considered a great insult – but I think The Prestige earns it. The film follows its very own formula, established by Michael Caine in the opening moments: act one is “The Pledge”, in which the magician, or film-maker, shows us something ordinary. The Prestige seems, at first, ordinary. An entertainment-industry rivalry-thriller. But, similar to the tricks within its fiction, The Prestige quickly shows us “The Turn”, and ultimately, “The Prestige”. And we’re left, much like a 19th century crowd at a magic show, reeling. Continue reading “The Prestige”

North by Northwest

A hapless New York advertising executive is mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies, and is pursued across the country while he looks for a way to survive.

And we’re back for another edition of “Tom Questions His Masculinity”, with your host: Cary Grant. This time, it’s not about drinking scotch or a deliberating monotone – this time, it’s about scathing witticisms in the face of life-threatening adversity, and going head to head with other men for the ultimate prize: Eva Marie Saint. Continue reading “North by Northwest”

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Film lovers can usually trace their interest in the medium back to a single event. Often a movie from their childhoodThe Lord of the Rings series is my genesis – the films that got me interested in films. Over a decade since their release, I still try to make time for them once a year. Sometimes to once again lose myself in the cinematic world that I fell in love with as a child, sometimes just to see how well they’ve aged (hint: they’ve aged really bloody well). Continue reading “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”