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Waiting for Something to Happen in Paul Schrader’s The Card Counter

Prior to the release in 1976 of Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, based on Paul Schrader’s screenplay, the popular image in movies of taxi drivers were of amiable but somewhat chatty folk — prone to waffle on about the weather, politics or state of world affairs, while passengers did their best impression of accommodating politeness. In […]

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Feature Screengem

Peter and the Wolf: Objects of Torture and Triumph in Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog

Spoilers Ahead… Beware! It was the English screenwriter Angus MacPhail who first coined the term MacGuffin in the early 1930s while working with Alfred Hitchcock to describe objects that help to drive the plot of a story but are insignificant, unimportant, or irrelevant in themselves.   Jane Campion’s latest film The Power of the Dog, […]

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Feature Four Frames

Four Frames: The Borderlands (Elliot Golder, 2013)

It’s become somewhat of a British horror tradition to have a plot based around local country bumpkin-satanist types. Elliot Golder’s found-footage debut The Borderlands, with its unfriendly villagers and sheep-burning teenagers, certainly looks as if it’s going that way. It’s quick to pay homage to Kill List (Ben Wheatley, 2011) but swiftly skirts the local […]

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Feature Four Frames

Four Frames: 28 Days Later (Danny Boyle, 2002)

The zombie film was, to excuse the pun, a sub-genre that had flatlined at the turn of the century. Movies thrown together by hacks with low budgets and even lower ambitions had consigned the undead to the DVD shelves. What this sub-section of horror needed was an injection of life, and British genre-spanning director Danny […]

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Feature Four Frames

Four Frames: The Innocents (Jack Clayton, 1961)

The Innocents – Jack Clayton’s adaptation of Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw – was once described by the famous New Yorker magazine film critic Pauline Kael as “the best ghost movie I’ve ever seen”. Miss Giddens, a brittle and idealistic young governess, is newly employed as custodian of two orphaned children, Miles and […]

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Feature Four Frames

Four Frames: Rififi (Du rififi chez les hommes, Jules Dassin, 1955)

Jules Dassin had already made a number of important political thrillers and film noirs, notably The Naked City (1948) and Thieves’ Highway (1949), before falling victim to the House of Un-American Activities in 1952. His subsequent exile, first in London – where he directed the magnificent noir Night and The City (1950) – and later in Paris, culminated in his […]

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Feature Four Frames

Four Frames: Danny’s Tricycle in The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

A Big Wheel tricycle. The epitome of American 1970s childhood; a bastion of good, clean fun and innocence, and staple toy of choice for the all-American kid. To see it is to imagine wide, tree-lined streets, fresh air and mom’s laundry drying out in the sun. Yet here, in Kubrick’s Overlook Hotel, the tricycle is […]

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Feature Four Frames

Four Frames: There Was a Father (Yasujirô Ozu, 1942)

There Was a Father (1942) is one of two films Yasujirô Ozu made during Japan’s efforts in World War II and, as such, is a film that was influenced by the Japanese government’s increased control over all aspects of the country’s film industry. Under the watch of the ruling powers, films were encouraged to promote […]

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Feature One Sheet

One Sheet: Moon (Duncan Jones, 2009)

Through the years, science fiction posters and subtlety have not been the best of pairings. Forbidden Planet gave us one of many over-saturated and melodramatic visual spectacles: the eye-catching (if absent from the film) scene of Robbie the Robot kidnapping a scantily-clad woman, and the word ‘AMAZING!’ stamped on top. Star Wars started a trend […]