Paths of Glory

Based on the 1935 novel of the same name, it tells the story of an ill-fated assault on German forces by French soldiers, and the grippling consequences those soldiers face when they refuse to follow through with it.

Having never experienced a Kubrick film before, my expectations for Paths of Glory were surprisingly well-managed. Of course, I’d heard of his greatest works before starting this project: The ShiningDr. StrangeloveA Clockwork Orange… I know he’s widely regarded as one of the best directors of the 20th century. Continue reading “Paths of Glory”

Strangers on a Train

A psychotic socialite confronts a pro tennis star with a theory on how two complete strangers can get away with murder – a theory that he plans to implement.

There comes a point in a most thriller films, and the best name for it is “The Point of No Return”, when a character could very easily escape their circumstances – they are presented with an opportunity to explain or provide a warning – but they never seem to take it. Continue reading “Strangers on a Train”

Wild Strawberries

After living a life marked by coldness, an ageing professor is forced to confront the emptiness of his existence.

If, by the end of this short “review” – or any of my others, for that matter – you’re left asking yourself, “What the hell was that?” you may be close to my response to Wild Strawberries. Except that 250 rambling words will have a much harder time blunting your evening than ninety meandering minutes will. Continue reading “Wild Strawberries”

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”

Sunset Boulevard

A hack screenwriter writes a screenplay for a former silent-film star who has faded into Hollywood obscurity.

When you take a look at Gloria Swanson’s credits, it’s not surprising she was able to so convincingly portray an ageing actress longing to relive her fondest memories. She made over sixty films between 1915 and 1931 – but only four between then and her starring role in 1950’s Sunset Boulevard. Continue reading “Sunset Boulevard”

Seven Samurai

A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves.

sevensamuraiSeven Samurai has too many Samurai. Kurosawa reportedly put together incredibly detailed dossiers for each of the leads, but unfortunately, I’m not interested in how Kambei likes his rice, or what Kikuchiyo’s favourite colour is. One of them got shot and I didn’t even realise, until I thought to myself, “I thought this film was supposed to have seven Samurai…” The body count by the end leaves only three alive, but I couldn’t pick them out of a line-up. And that has nothing to do with the fact that I can’t tell Asians apart. Continue reading “Seven Samurai”


When a Jewish prince is betrayed and sent into slavery by a Roman friend, he regains his freedom and comes back for revenge.

benhurchariotBen-Hur is described as the “entertainment experience of a lifetime”, which is probably correct. Because at over three and a half hours long, you don’t have much lifetime left to try and top it. The movie even has an intermission, I guess because in 1959, there were laws about how long you could make an audience sit still and quiet in a cinema for. Luckily for Martin Scorsese and Peter Jackson, 2015 has no such laws. Continue reading “Ben-Hur”