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Features Screengems

Screengem: The Red Shawl from The Sisters Brothers (Jacques Audiard, 2018)

Ms. Amelia Partridge is never seen at any point during the 122 minute runtime of Jacques Audiard’s 2018 wistful comedy-western The Sisters Brothers, but her presence looms large for one particular character in this film based on Patrick Dewitt’s 2011 novel of the same name. The year is 1851. Hired assassins Eli (John C. Reilly) […]

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Screengem: Duncan’s bike in The Way Way Back (Nat Faxon & Jim Rash, 2013)

The year was 1982. I’d recently moved to Los Angeles from London and had settled into a seemingly idyllic sun-kissed life by the coast. I was however branded the ‘new kid’ at school; a tag that comes with a certain amount of anxiety, and so one of my favourite activities was to head off on […]

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Screengem: Samantha Belmont’s Cheerleader Outfit from ‘Night of the Comet’ (Thom Eberhart, 1984)

This post apocalyptic slice of ‘80s camp about a comet that wipes out life on Earth save for a few lone survivors was released at a time when it seemed fashionable to locate films in decaying Los Angeles landscapes. Although it was a time of shopping malls, MTV and the city’s second Olympic games, Los […]

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Screengem: The gnome in Amelie

Everyone dreams about travelling the world and seeing the sights, and in Amelie, as Georgina Guthrie tells us, a very unusual globetrotter got to do just that. Fairy tales inform us that the gnome is a reclusive figure, content to hide in the safety of his underground burrow. How apt, then, that suburbia adopted him […]

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Screengem: Brandon’s porn collection in Shame (Steve McQueen, 2011)

In Steve McQueen’s Shame, sex addict Brandon (Michael Fassbender) sees his secretive, psychologically damaging affliction eat into his outwardly successful life. A sophisticated, high flying businessman with a modish New York apartment he may be, but underneath Brandon is crippled by spiritual, emotional and existential crises, thwarting his attempts at anything resembling a functional, meaningful […]

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Screengems: ‘The Book’ in The Devil Wears Prada (David Frankel, 2006)

Forget put-upon, would-be journalist, Andy Sachs (infused with subtle innocence by Anne Hathaway), bitchy PA Emily Charlton (the wonderfully acidic Emily Blunt) or Priestly herself (a career defining turn from Hollywood icon Meryl Streep) – it was really ‘The Book’ which played the pivotal role in The Devil Wears Prada, director David Frankel’s acid sharp pastiche on the fickle […]

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Screengems: C.C. Baxter’s bowler hat from The Apartment (Billy Wilder, 1960)

From the moment Jack Lemmon’s C.C. Baxter dons his new bowler hat in Billy Wilder’s The Apartment the film changes into a very different beast to what has come before. Baxter’s rise from struggling clerk amid the core of the 19th floor to 2nd administrative assistant with his own office is swift. The endless nights […]

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Features Screengems

Screengems: The motion tracker in Aliens (James Cameron, 1986)

Directors often rely on composers to provide key signature passages in their film scores to aid the audience’s journey through a narrative – think John Williams’ iconic themes for Indiana Jones or Superman ­- but objects, and the sounds they make, can often become just as effective in helping to support character recognition, thematic progression […]

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Screengems: The rune parchment from Night of the Demon (Jacques Tourneur, 1957)

In attempting to scare the grey flannel trousers off its original 1950s audience, Jacques Tourneur’s deliciously dark little frightener Night of the Demon, based on the M. R. James story Casting the Runes, employed a number of devices to instil fear – the effectiveness of the stick puppet demon itself, insisted on by executive producer […]