Categories
Features Thousand Words Widescreen

On Location: The LA River as seen in ‘Drive’ (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2011)

The LA River is one of the most familiar sights in cinema, though many filmgoers might be hard-pressed to recognise it as a river. A hard-sided cement trench sluicing through the city, it’s rare to see it adorned with so much as a puddle. Indeed, this ‘river’ is a startlingly inauthentic place, empty and barren, […]

Categories
Features Screengems

The Plaid Overnight Case (What’s Up Doc?, 1972)

Once upon a time, there was a plaid overnight case… It may not have the heft of a dinosaur bone or the bite of a trained leopard, but the plaid (that’s tartan, to UK readers) overnight case in What’s Up Doc? is a far more effective spur to action than anything in Howard Hawks’s Bringing […]

Categories
Brilliant Failures Reviews

Brilliant Failure: Toys (Dir. Barry Levinson, 1992)

A relief map of the career of Robin Williams would probably resemble that of a particularly active volcanic mountain range: a few dizzyingly high peaks such as Dead Poets Society (1989) and Good Will Hunting (1997), as well as the early stand-up work, along with some notable foothills like The Fisher King (1991), Mrs Doubtfire […]

Categories
Features Thousand Words

Spotlight: Lo-Fi Sci-Fi

Over the past several decades, something has happened to science fiction: once a genre of ideas, little but the spectacle now remains. Early classics, such as The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), wanted us to think, to question ourselves and the world we lived in, while contemporary science fiction blockbusters like Avatar, seem driven […]

Categories
Lost Classics Reviews

Lost Classic: Destry Rides Again (Dir. George Marshall, 1939)

For film fans, Westerns are a serious business. In the Fifties, directors like Zinneman, Hawks and Mann garnered critical praise for their psychological realism and deconstruction of the genre. In the Sixties and Seventies, Peckinpah and Leone mixed stylized violence with mournful elegies in films which lamented the end of the frontier. And today the […]