Categories
Hidden Gem Reviews

Hidden Gem: Jeff, Who Lives at Home (Duplass Brothers, 2011)

Jay and Mark Duplass’s film starts with Jason Segel’s 30 year-old slacker Jeff musing about the significance of fate into a dictaphone while sitting on the crapper. M. Night Shyamalan’s 2002 film Signs, with its thread of meaningful coincidences, points to a loose philosophy for Jeff to cling to as he idles away endless hours […]

Categories
Lost Classic Reviews

Lost Classic: The Comic (Carl Reiner, 1969)

Comedian and director Carl Reiner’s second directorial feature-length film, The Comic (1969), starred Dick Van Dyke as a fictitious silent film era comedian, Billy Bright. Bright, an over bearing, egocentric comic, never reached the level of fame he believed he should have, always falling victim to the behavior of others like his wife (and co-star) […]

Categories
Lost Classic Reviews

Lost Classic: The Way, Way Back (Nat Faxon & Jim Rash, 2013)

Nat Faxon and Jim Rash’s The Way, Way Back is a typical teen movie in so many ways. It captures that feeling of taking a holiday from teenage angst – a holiday with the promise of being whoever you want to be for a short period of time. In a way, however, the film feels […]

Categories
Feature Four Frames

Four Frames: Best In Show (Christopher Guest, 2000)

The attention to detail attained by Christopher Guest in his finest works is absolute. One of the many high watermarks of his career, the 2000 dog show satire Best In Show, looks and feels authentic in every frame. But more than that, underneath the wonderful comedy, it also looks and feels authentic in each and […]

Categories
Lost Classic Reviews

Lost Classic: You Said A Mouthful (Lloyd Bacon, 1932)

“I really couldn’t respect a man unless he were a great swimmer,” says Alice Brandon (Ginger Rogers) to Joe Holt (Joe E. Brown) in Lloyd Bacon’s comedy You Said A Mouthful (1932). A common feature of screen comedies in the 1920s and ’30s was social commentary on masculinity, with comedians often cast as shy, timid […]

Categories
Feature Screengem

Screengem: Del Griffith’s Travel Trunk in Planes, Trains and Automobiles (John Hughes, 1987)

This article contains spoilers – read at your own risk! “What did I do to wind up with this guy?” sighs a bemused Neal Page midway through John Hughes’ Thanksgiving-set comedy Planes, Trains & Automobiles. Anyone of the belief that things in life are sent to try us will conclude that Neal’s uptight advertising executive’s […]

Categories
New Release Reviews

New Release: A Dozen Summers

Between the early 1950s and 1980s, a film company called The Children’s Film Foundation captured what being a child was all about. Their short films – usually running at under an hour – were aimed at younger audiences, primarily featuring children in the main roles with adults reduced to mere support. The resultant films provided […]

Categories
Feature Screengem

Screengem: Keaton’s Train in The General (Buster Keaton & Clyde Bruckman, 1926)

One of the most fondly remembered works of silent cinema, Keaton and Bruckman’s The General is a masterpiece in both daring comic performance and narrative simplicity – many of the greatest visual jokes ever filmed all revolve around one man and his train. That man is Johnnie Gray (Keaton), a railroad engineer whose attempt to enlist […]

Categories
Feature Four Frames

Four Frames: The Royal Tenenbaums (Wes Anderson, 2001)

Criticisms of Wes Anderson’s filmmaking often centre on a lack of warmth and humanity, as if his style is a façade and that emotional content is something that is neglected or ignored, willfully or otherwise. But this doesn’t ring true; in this, his third film, the story reaches an emotional crescendo that the design, cinematography […]