JayDee's Movie Musings

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Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Thought I'd start up this thread and give it a go, hope that's ok. You don't have to pay your dues and put in a lot of time before you're permitted to do this are you?

I decided against JayDee's Reviews as I don't think they will be knowledgeable or detailed enough to have such a worthy title, will most likely not come across as a true critic's view. I considered JayDee's Ramblings as that is what I will mostly be doing, just going on and on until I run out of things to say. But I settled for Musings.

I'm the kind of person where I'll perhaps either become obsessed and do reviews all the time, or I'll do one and then never get round to it again

Whenever I do post reviews though hopefully they will be appreciated and I will welcome any agreement or criticisms of them. Just to warn you though my views may not always go with the norm. For example in recent months I have had my first viewings of Casablanca, Maltese Falcon and 2001: Space Odyssey. While I could appreciate elements of them none of them really grabbed me. None of them really made me care.

And in terms of just sheer entertainment I would rate them lower than my first film (which I'm sure will horrify many of you) ...

Extended Reviews

10 Rillington Place -

Alien Nation -

All the President's Men -

The Amazing Spider-Man -

American Hustle -

An American Werewolf in London -

The Andromeda Strain -
Apocalpyse Now -

Apollo 13 -

The Assassination of Jesse James... -

Assault on Precinct 13 -

The Avengers -

The Aviator -
Batman Begins -

Batman Returns -
The Beguiled -
Behind the Candelabra -

Big -

Black Swan -
The Boys from Brazil -
Brave -

The Bridge on the River Kwai -

Broadcast News-
Bullitt -

The Candidate -

Capricorn One -

Captain America: The Winter Soldier -

Charley Varrick -
Charlie's Angels -

The China Syndrome -

Cliffhanger -

Coma -
Commando -

Con Air -

Contact -
The Conversation -
Coogan's Bluff -

The Crow -

Crying Game -

Dallas Buyers Club -
The Dark Knight Rises -

The Day of the Jackal -
The Dead Pool -

Dead Ringers -

Death Proof -

Death Race 2000 -

Death Warrant -

Deep Rising -

Deliverance -

Demolition Man -

Die Hard -

Die Hard 2: Die Harder -
Die Hard With a Vengeance -

Dirty Harry -
Disturbia -

Django Unchained -

Dog Day Afternoon -
Donnie Brasco -

Dreamscape -

Duel -

Ed Wood -

The Eiger Sanction -

Enemy Mine -
The Enforcer -
Enter the Dragon -

Equilibrium -

Escape from Alcatraz -

The Expendables 2 -

Face/Off -

Falling Down -
First Blood -

Flight -
The Fog -
Forrest Gump -

Franklyn -

Frenzy -

The Frighteners -
The Game -
Gattaca -
The Gauntlet -

Glengarry Glen Ross -
The Green Lantern -

Gravity -

Gremlins -

Gremlins 2: The New Batch -

The Grifters -

Half Nelson -

Hard Target -

Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man -

Heavenly Creatures -

Hedwig and the Angry Inch -

Hellboy / Hellboy II -
The Help -
The Hidden -
The Hitcher -

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey -
Hopscotch -

The Ides of March -
In the Heat of the Night -
In the Line of Fire -
The Incredible Hulk -
Iron Man -

Iron Man 3 -


Jeremiah Johnson -


Joe -

John Carter -

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang -

L.A. Confidential -

Lars and the Real Girl -

Lars and the Real Girl #2 -

The Last of Sheila -

Les Misérables -
The Lives of Others -

Looper -

Lord of the Rings - Fellowship of the Ring -

Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers -

Lord of the Rings - Return of the King -

Magic -

Magnolia -

Magnum Force -

Man of Steel -

Man on the Moon -

The Manchurian Candidate -

The Mask of Zorro -

Memories of Murder -

Midnight Cowboy -

Miller's Crossing -

The Mist -

Moon -

Misery -

Moulin Rogue -

Mr Deeds Goes to Town -

The Muppets -

Murder in the First -
My Week With Marilyn -

The Mysterians -

No Country for Old Men -

No Way Out -

Oldboy -

The Omega Man -

The Parallax View -

The Perks of Being a Wallflower -

A Perfect World -

Philadelphia -

Play Misty for Me -

Pleasantville -

Point Blank -

Point Break -

Poltergeist -

The Prince and the Showgirl -

Project Nim -

Pump Up the Volume -

Quills -

Rain Man -

Raising Cain -

Rashomon -

Rear Window -

Reversal of Fortune -

Rise of the Planet of the Apes -

RoboCop -

Rock, The -

Rollerball -

Runaway Train -

Rush -

Save the Green Planet -

Saving Private Ryan -

Schindler's List
Searching for Sugar Man -

Secret Life of Walter Witty, The -

The Sessions -

Seven Samurai -

Shoot to Kill (aka Deadly Pursuit) -

The Silent Flute -

The Silent Partner -

Skyfall -

Sleuth -

Some Like it Hot -

Sonatine -

Speed -

Speed 2: Cruise Control -

Spy Game -

Spider-Man -

Spider-Man 2 -
Spider-Man 3 -

Stand by Me -

Star Trek: First Contact -

Star Trek Into Darkness -

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones -

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith -

Starship Troopers -

The Stepford Wives -

Sudden Death -

Sullivan's Travels -

Sunset Boulevard -

Superman -

Take Shelter -

Targets -

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles -

The Terminator -

Terminator 2: Judgment Day -

Terminator Salvation -

There Will Be Blood -

Thor -

Thor: The Dark World -

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot -

Three Days of the Condor -
Throne of Blood -

Tightrope -

Timecop -

To Live and Die in LA -

The Truman Show -

Unbreakable -

Under Siege -

Unforgiven -

Universal Soldier -

V for Vendetta -

Wait Until Dark -


The Warriors -
Water for Elephants -
We Need to Talk About Kevin -

Welcome to Dongmakgol -

Witness -

Wreck-It Ralph -

X-Men: First Class -

Mini Reviews (aka Micro Musings)

Group 1 - The Odd Couple / The Incredible Shrinking Man / The Seven Year Itch / Niagara / How to Marry a Millionaire / Russian Ark
Group 2 - The King of Kong / Heavenly Creatures / Lavender Hill Mob / Submarine / The Man Who Knew Too Much / Monsters / The Peddler / Super 8 / The Science of Sleep / The Kids Are All Right / Monster in Law / The A-Team / Passport to Pimlico / The Back-Up Plan
Group 3 - Once / Saboteur / Detective Dee / Rebecca / Brief Encounter / Four Lions / Notorious / Adam / Network / Tower Heist / Bell, Book and Candle / Whisky Galore
Group 4 - Phantom of the Paradise / You Can't Take It With You / Drive / Leave Her to Heaven / The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
Group 5 - The Descendants / Up in the Air / The Spiral Staircase / Driving Miss Daisy
Group 6 - Charlie Wilson's War / Point Blank / Crazy Stupid Love / Duck Soup / Journey 2: The Mysterious Island / Laws of Attraction
Group 7 - Chronicle / Leon / The Wild Bunch / Rififi / The Fall / Hudsucker Proxy / Easy A
Group 8 - Psycho / A Matter of Life and Death / Source Code/ How to Murder Your Wife / Dark City / Here Comes Mr Jordan / Wildcats / The African Queen
Group 9 - Life is Beautiful / Mr Smith Goes to Washington / 12 Angry Men / The Proposa l/ The Great Race / Alex & Emma
Group 10 - American Beauty / Sunset Boulevard / Time After Time / Local Hero / Laura / Paper Moon / Shadow of a Doubt / The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance / To Catch a Thief / Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Group 11 - Brick / Monkey Business / Cruel Intentions / Blood Simple / The Rocketeer / An Education / The Concert / The Sting / Marnie
Group 12 - Little Big Man / Dances With Wolves / Rope / Jaws / La Antena / Whale Rider / Dial M for Murder
Group 13 - The Darjeeling Limited / Tokyo Drifter
Group 14 - Showdown in Little Tokyo / Maximum Risk / Faster
Group 15 - Happiness of the Katakuris / Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale / Arthur Christmas / MacGruber
Group 16 - Mission Impossible series (all 4 films)
Group 17 - Rock of Ages / Pitch Perfect /Date Night
Group 18 - When We Were Kings / Kind Hearts and Coronets / Ghostbusters II
Group 19 - Close Encounters of the Third King / Hairspray / Bringing Up Baby / Explorers
Group 20 - Electric Dreams / Hackers / Four Brothers / D.E.B.S.
Group 21 - Road House / Shaft / Death Wish / The Mechanic
Group 22 - Freejack / Logan's Run / Trancers / Runaway
Group 23 - Vanishing Point / From Dusk Till Dawn / Planet Terror / The Seven-Ups
Group 24 - Scanners / Dirty Mary Crazy Larry / Race With the Devil / Night of the Comet
Group 25 - Boondock Saints / Brother Bear / Lilo & Stitch
Group 26 - The Player / Before Sunrise / The Big Lebowski / Heat / Dead Man Walking
Group 27 - A Few Good Men / The Insider / Good Will Hunting / Happiness / Talented Mr Ripley
Group 28 - Quiz Show / Hard Boiled / Adventures of Priscilla / The Bodyguard / Days of Thunder / Bound
Group 29 - Timer / Warm Bodies / Life of Pi / Warrior / Fanastic Mr. Fox
Group 30 - Hard Rain / Dark Angel / The Specialist / Eraser / Ricochet / Soldier
Group 31 - Batman: Mask of the Phantasm / Hulk / Superman II / Blade / Captain America

Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Thor (2011)
First viewing

This film could so easily have been bad. I mean really, really bad! With it's large sets, garish costumes and Shakespearean dialogue it could have been a camp mess, enjoyable only as a guilty pleasure. And yet somehow not only does it not come across as cheesy or but it's actually a wonderfully enjoyable film. While many have failed of late (Prince of Persia, Transformers, Indy 4 etc) I'd put this up there with Iron Man, Star Trek and the first Pirates of the Caribbean film as a summer blockbuster that just perfectly captures the fun that you expect from this type of film.

The reason for this really does seem to be a group effort. The script and Kenneth Brannagh's direction get the tone just right, not tongue in cheek but at the same time not trying to take itself terribly seriously (a problem with the Pirates... sequels). While the performances throughout all fill their purpose whether it be as a heroic Asgardian warrior or as comic relief. It is just as successful in it's attempts as a fantasy epic as it is just as a fun popcorn film.

There really is a split between the two worlds. The action set on Asgard has a majestic, epic feel with moments that bring Lord of the Rings to mind. The character elements are very Shakespearean which does make the initially surprising choice of Branagh a bit of inspiration. The dialogue and story of two brothers battling for the trust of their father so they may ascend to the throne upon his death could have been taken from many a Shakespeare play.

When we get onto Earth it becomes more of a standard action adventure with comedy coming from a classic fish out of water story. Thor's actions and words bring great bemusement and indeed amusement to all those around him

Performance wise Chris Hemsworth really looks like a star here. Trying to find someone imposing enough to convincingly play the god of thunder, but who can also handle the comedic, dramatic and romantic moments must have been a tough task and they certainly came up trumps with the big Aussie. I'm already looking forward to see how he and Robert Downey Jnr. interact next summer.

Natalie Portman doesn't have to greatly stretch herself but is certainly adorable and sweet enough to convince that a God would fall almost instantly for her. Anthony Hopkins brings strength and gravitas as Odin while Tom Hiddleston as Loki is wonderfully conniving as a villain that is pleasantly layered compared to some of the recent Marvel villains.

And smartly they have cut down on the set-ups for the Avengers movie (bar one wonderfully forced and unneeded Hawkeye cameo) so those who felt Iron Man 2 came across more like an extended Avengers trailer should be happier.

This really is a huge success for Marvel. It is by far the most unique and ambitious superhero film yet when you take into account the elements of fantasy and mythology. And the fact that it's about a God! Not a human who happens to get bit by a spider or someone rich enough to build arm themselves with a suit or gadgets. As well as raising my hopes for The Avengers it also makes me very interested to see what happens with both Captain America and X-Men: First Class, two other superhero films with a difference, this time a period setting

Conclusion – A gloriously entertaining film that works against the odds to emerge as one of the best superhero films so far committed to the screen. A great start to the summer season.


Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
first viewing

I put off seeing this film for a long time as I just thought it sounded so grim and depressing. And while it is at times, it also emerges as something very touching and at times very funny. How it was ever made though is a bit of a mystery to me, it's not exactly the easiest of sells. “Come see a film about a prospective gigolo who becomes friends with an ill tramp while they try to earn money just to survive, doing whatever they have to do.”

The film is a very interesting look at the underground scene of New York and those living in poverty, just struggling to get through. It makes the city look glitzy and exciting for an outsider before presenting the seedier underbelly of the city, the depressing and terrifying elements that can lurk about for those in situations such as those of the two characters.

The main point of the film is developing the friendship between these two characters who are at odds when they meet and just going by their words nothing much seems to change. Through their actions however we see a warmth and friendship developing, perhaps out of necessity as they battle very rough times and great loneliness. The film can at times feel a bit slow as they really dedicate a lot of time to building up the friendship/dependence they have for each other.

I'm also unsure of the psychedelic aspects of the story. I swayed between feeling that they helped reflect the time and effects of the drugs, and feeling that it just dated the film quite badly.

Where the film truly succeeds are in the performances of both Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman who are incredible. Voight as the slightly dim-witted, naive country bumpkin, Joe Buck, who comes to New York with grand dreams but slowly has them crushed. And Hoffman as the hustler Rizzo who has been worn down by the city, dreaming of heading to Florida for a better life. Together they form (or at least attempt to) an unlikely pimp-gigolo partnership

I know that Hoffman gets a lot of praise for his performance, and rightly so, but I think I was actually more impressed with Voight. He's not an actor that's ever really made a great impression on me but I thought he was fantastic in this, his performance giving real heart to the film.

The film becomes very emotional as it reaches its conclusion. Rizzo's health deteriorates to the point where he can no longer walk. But despite this he believes that if he can still get to Florida it will be ok. Joe wants to believe this and decides to do whatever he can to get him there. He commits a violent attack on a prospective customer who backs out, and steals the required money for their bus ride. But Rizzo isn't going to make it. The final scene with Joe sitting on the bus, holding Rizzo is a very poignant, emotional moment.

Conclusion – A touching, moving film with two tremendous performances. Worthy of its Oscar win? Yes probably. Will it win a place in my heart? Not quite I don't think

PS – Before anyone gets too furious (mark f for example who I know loves this ) at my ratings, I am in no way saying that Thor is a 'better' film than Midnight Cowboy. These scores are just my personal views of the films and for me a large element of me liking a film is for it to be very enjoyable. While this was a brilliant film, it's tone and story made it harder for me to truly love it. I imagine I will be a lot more likely to watch Thor more often than Midnight Cowboy. But that's just me. And who knows my opinion may change after repeat viewings of both

Oh and it also lost half a mark for getting Harry Nilsson's “Everybody's Talking” stuck in my head for the last few days! I can't get rid of it!

Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Is there any way to edit the title of a thread by the way?

I was going to edit it to "JayDee's Movie Musings (latest film - Midnight Cowboy)" and just update it every time I looked at a new film

Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Not sure whether I'm actually going to keep this going or not (may actually prefer just posting in the movie tab thread) but we have at least one more anyway

Lars and the Real Girl (2007)
repeat viewing

I adore this film. I think it's charming, funny, sweet, sad, touching and just wonderful. As someone with OCD and elements of social phobia I can certainly identify and sympathise with Ryan Gosling's character.

Gosling plays Lars, a reclusive man just about crippled by fear. While his brother and sister-in-law do what they can to help him there doesn't seem to be much hope for him. Until he learns about 'real dolls', incredibly life like dolls available on the internet. And before you know it he has Bianca in his life, a beautiful wheelchair-bound girl from Brazil. Except he doesn't see her as a doll.

The doll helps bring Lars out of his shell, making him a more confident and sociable person. As a result his brother and sister-in-law are encouraged to go along with his delusion by the doctor who is treating Lars.

And it's not just them. The whole town get together and play along with Lars, accepting Bianca as a part of the community. And while you do rather have to suspend your sense of disbelief when it comes to the idea that the whole community while go along with it just to help him, it is a very sweet, endearing, Capra-esque idea.

While Ryan Gosling's performance as Lars is excellent; full of depth and pain with touches of hope coming through, the real heart of the film for me comes from Emily Mortimer and Paul Schneider, as his sister-in-law and brother respectively. His brother is completely out of his depth, unsure how to handle the situation and worried about the embarrassment. While Emily Mortimer's character does all she can to help Lars and even begins to build a bond and feelings for the doll.

The setting for the movie helps a great deal. It's hard to imagine this film working in a sunny LA setting. Instead it is set in a very grey world, giving the film an almost Scandanavian tone.

Conclusion - This movie could have played out as an awful one-joke movie, like some extended Saturday Night Live skit. But the film is played straight, and with such warmth and charm that I can't help but to be touched and entertained by it.


Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
X-Men: First Class (2011)
first viewing

I had some fairly high hopes for this film. While the original idea didn't grab me I loved the look of the trailers, which made it seem they were mixing superhero action, true historical events and Mad Men style period style.

Those hopes were met and actually surpassed. This is a wonderfully entertaining film. Great action, touches of humour and strong performances all corralled by Matthew Vaughn into a film that will most likely remain as one of the best of the year.

To make this film work it really needed two great performances from the central characters of Magneto and Xavier; and it got them. James McAvoy is just about spot-on for Xavier, portraying the wisdom and strength we saw from Patrick Stewart, while matching it with a charm and cheekiness that goes with youth.

I'd have to say however that he is perhaps outdone by Michael Fassbender who is fantastic as the young Erik Lensherr. By the end of the film we actually do feel a sense of sympathy and empathy for him; we understand why he becomes the nemesis to the X-Men that he does. I particularly liked the line that went something like "I've been the victim of men who were just doing their job before. Never again."

Placing the characters into a real historical event works very well. It's already a story that most people know and are intereted in. And when they have to take so much time to set-up all these new characters it's a nice time-saver to have an already established story, instead of trying to weave a new tale.

My one complaint about the film would be Kevin Bacon's character. Nothing to do with Kevin Bacon's performance (I think he's actually very good), more that the character just wasn't developed that well in my opinion. No real in depth analysis was made of the character to explain his motivations. It's as if we're just to accept the fact that he was a Nazi so obviously he's an evil bugger!

And I didn't understand about his mutant ability. Was he born with it and that's why he was so interested in studying it for the Nazis? Or did he learn so much while studying Erik that he was able to give himself a mutant ability? Perhaps I just missed that bit. Perhaps I'm just being daft.

To me they seemed more interested in developing Magneto as the villain for future movies, rather than developing a strong villain for this movie.

But that's a minor complaint in an otherwise thoroughly entertaining romp. With Thor and X-Men: First Class down, it's just left to Captain America to see if we can have a stunning summer of Marvel movies. Coming in I actually thought Captain America looked like being the best of the three, so if it is able to acheive that it will be something very special

Oh yeah and there is a fantastic surprise cameo.

Conclusion - The best X-Men film so far and for me personally one of the most enjoyable superhero films so far.

Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
How do you do spoilers? When I'm trying it the words just vanish

Great Reviews, would love to see what you don't like though!

RIP www.moviejustice.com 2002-2010
Lars and the Real Girls looks interesting based on your review. I've heard of the title, but have never bothered to look into it. I might now.
"A candy colored clown!"
Member since Fall 2002
Top 100 Films, clicky below


Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Great Reviews, would love to see what you don't like though!
Thank you very much. Well it takes a bit of time and effort (for me at least) to try and write up a proper review, and with films I don't like or even aren't that keen on in I find it hard to get up the motivation to write about them. For example I found the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie to be decent but nothing special (maybe 2.5/3 out of 5) and felt I'd perhaps struggle to write enough to be worthy of posting.

At most for films like that I'll post a little mini review in the movie tab thread.

It's also quite rare for me to really dislike a film. I've always been that way, enjoying most films I see. Whether I'm just good at avoiding films I know I won't like, or it's just a quirk of some sort that I like most films I see.

Lars and the Real Girls looks interesting based on your review. I've heard of the title, but have never bothered to look into it. I might now.
Thank you very much. I think that's about the best compliment you can get from one of these reviews, if you're able to interest someone who hadn't been previously.

Awesome reviews! Smart and enjoyable to read, and not stuffy or pretentious! I really dig your style. Hope to see some more soon!

I rate this review thread 9/10.
#31 on SC's Top 100 Mofos list!!

Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Thank you Marky and Deadlite. Very kind of you.

Awesome reviews! Smart and enjoyable to read, and not stuffy or pretentious! I really dig your style. Hope to see some more soon!

I rate this review thread 9/10.
Thanks again. I'm not sure I have enough film knowledge or talent to do stuffy and pretentious! Nice to hear you like my style

9? 9?! 9?!!! Only 9? What's going on here? How dare you insult me like that!

Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
first viewing

"Beware the moon, lads."

I'm not really a big horror fan. There are only a few I own on DVD, and they have to have a dark streak of comedy or satire in them for me to enjoy them. Thankfully this falls into that category.

Two American backpackers are attacked on the English moors by a wild creature. One of them, Jack, is killed but David survives, but not before being bitten. In London he experiences one of life's great highs by falling in love with the nurse treating him, Alex. And also the unfortunate lows of being haunted by a decomposing Jack, and turning into a werewolf. Don't ya just hate when that happens?

It's the classic werewolf tale; but infused with a slick script, engaging performances, excellent choice of music, some big laughs and suspense-filled moments and scenes, it rises above your standard fare to become something rather wonderful.

And then on top of all that there are the effects. Revolutionary in their time and still damn impressive today, the effects help bring horror and comedy to proceedings. The transformation scene is truly something to behold as David's body stretches and elongates, with gruesome sounding bone cracks which made me wince with each snap. It really captures the horror and pain of what is happening. I also enjoyed the effects used to create the ever changing face of Jack. And while I'm not sure if I was meant to or not I found the continuing decay of Jack's face to be morbidly entertaining!

A number of scenes stood out and made an impression, either for the tension or laughs they generated. There were those that were actually happening – the gloriously weird patrons and behaviour at the Slaughtered Lamb pub, a commuter being hunted through the tunnels of the London Underground and the incredible finale set in Piccadilly circus. And then there were David's enthralling nightmarish dreams. The horrifying Nazi demons in particular is one of the more wow-inducing scenes I've seen in quite a while.

The film is also quite a sexy thrill, mostly as a result of Jenny Agutter's alluring turn as Alex. She is something rather special. Alongside David Naughton's charming performance as David they make for a great combination.

Conclusion – A ghoulish treat. A film that is just wonderfully entertaining. Hats off to Mr John Landis. If there were more horror films like this it would be a genre I would most likely fall in love with.

Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Thanks HK. I just wish the review was better; the film deserves more. But I just couldn't think what else to write.

It's funny, some films that I didn't enjoy as much as that I could write loads about and yet others that I really love I struggle. I think it's noticeable on my top 100 list. Some films in the 90-100 positions I was able to write more about than a film in the 30s or 40s. No idea why

Just a shame I didn't see the film before making my list as I think it would have a very good chance of sneaking in there

Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
I'm posting this group of reviews both here and in the movie tab thread, trying to figure out which is the best place for them.


The Odd Couple


I found this film to be absolutely hilarious! One of the funniest I have seen in quite some time. I can certainly see why it became a sitcom, as at times it can feel like you're just watching 5 episodes of a sitcom back to back rather than a film, but wonderfully so.

Adapted from his own stage play Neil Simon's script is a piece of genius, wonderfully witty and with a number of cracking one-liners. And it is performed beautifully by Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, each man having their individual moments of glory as well as coming together with great chemistry for some wonderful back and forth interaction.

I have to say I kinda love Jack Lemmon! This is now the 5th or 6th film featuring him that I've seen and I like him more every time. He's just about perfect here as the neurotic, hapless, cleanliness-obsessed Felix, who has just split from his wife and nothing in his life is going right; he can't even commit suicide successfully. And when you team him up with Matthau's classic slobby, guy's guy, they make for a classic mismatched pair as they become a makeshift marriage of sorts.

In terms of directing this has to be one of the easiest, laziest gigs of all time. Gene Saks pretty much just seems to point the camera at Lemmon and Matthau, then walks off and just leaves them to it.

Performance wise there are also no failures amongst the support cast, with all the actors portraying the fellow card players and the two English sisters all bringing the goods when called upon. Great fun.


The Incredible Shrinking Man


This is a cracking film! Fantastically entertaining. It is extremely cleverly made, with the special effects and inventive tricks a real joy to behold. They are what give the film a large degree of its charm, making it much more engaging than any new CGI-heavy remake would likely be. The director, Jack Arnold, deserves a lot of credit for this. One scene that deserves particular applause is the fight between the now minuscule Scott Carey, and the spider who has become his great nemesis. Considering it was made in 1957 it is a fine achievement, one that still created a real buzz of excitement for me

Richard Matheson's scipt does a great job of realising the sheer horror and terror such an event would create. It also shows however mankind's great will to survive in a world that we have no control over. It's just that in this world those obstacles include cats and spiders. And I really admired that it didn't just drop into a piece of schlocky fun, but aimed for much more in terms of intelligence and being thought-provoking. As a result it reminded me a touch of a Twilight Zone episode.

And after praising the director and writer, I can't end this without paying tribute to Grant Williams. He puts in an excellent performance. All these elements come together to create an excellent piece of science fiction.


The Seven Year Itch

I found this to be a highly enjoyable and at times hilarious film. Like How to Marry... it's very light and fluffy but on a different level from that film, much funnier and much more enjoyable.

Tom Ewell is magnificent as Richard Sherman, a man whose imagination is too large for his nerves to cope with. The fantasy sequences that his mind creates are wonderfully entertaining and provide the large majority of the laughs. From imagining his potential flirtations with Monroe, to the nightmare of his wife coming home they're very amusing.

While Tom Ewell is the main player here Monroe is also excellent. I have to say this is the first time that I really 'got' Marilyn Monroe; the first time I really saw the great appeal of her and why she is still the icon that she is. She is very charismatic as the dim, naïve object of Ewell's affection. Just insanely sweet and likeable.

While it's perhaps not one of Billy Wilder's truly iconic films (Sunset Blvd, Some Like it Hot, The Apartment etc more fit that bill) it is still an extremely funny and well done film.



To call this film Hitchcock-lite; while perhaps an accurate description, would also be a tad harsh as it's rather enjoyable in its own right. With a sensual, brooding look to the cinematography and some nice twists its good fun.

Up until this film I had only seen Marilyn Monroe in full on comedy mood in her classic dumb blonde role, but here she is the slinky, sexy femme fatale. And she is rather glamorous at it! The performances of Monroe and Joseph Cotton, combined with some impressive location shooting were the definite highlights for me.

The film actually reminded me a touch of Hitchcock's own Vertigo. Both films feature a mentally unstable man who is obsessed with a beautiful blonde femme fatale, both prominently feature a bell tower as a large element of the film and its finale, and even just the aesthetic look of both films seemed rather similar.

How To Marry a Millionaire

An old fashioned and dated film but fairly enjoyable all the same. The film has a trio of huge, legendary names (Monroe, Grable and Bacall) at its disposal, and as a result it's a little disappointing that the final product isn't better.

Bacall and William Powell make for an engaging duo (Powell particularly is very good), but for me the main thing it has going for it is definitely Marilyn Monroe's turn as Pola, the lovably ditzy blonde who is almost completely blind without her glasses.

A lot of the humour does feel quite dated but there are still a few good laughs sprinkled throughout. It's very light, fluffy and forgettable; but in it's own way a 'classic' piece of old Hollywood, showcasing some of the biggest stars the big screen had ever seen.

Russian Ark

My main interest in seeing this film was to see the fabled, single 90 minute take for myself. And while it is impressive that was about the only element that really caught my attention whatsoever here. It is a real artistic accomplishment, I'll give it that. You just stop and look at what's going on at times and it's amazing. There are hundreds of extras on screen, all decked in wonderful costumes, and the whole things is skilfully orchestrated and choreographed.

However I found the film to be a bit of a trial to get through, and came close to giving up a few times. I thought this may be down to my pretty much complete lack of knowledge concerning Russian history. However I talked to a friend of mine who is Russian and he felt the exact same way about it.

As a technical achievement this perhaps deserves a score of 3 or 4, somewhere in there. But my ratings are based on their entertainment value to me, and on that basis I can't bring myself to go any higher than a...

and even that is perhaps a little generous.

Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
first viewing

Are they both mad? Or am I going mad?...Or is it the sun?”

This is one of those classic British films that are frequently shown on lazy Sunday afternoons and during holidays. I'm talking of films like The Great Escape, Zulu, The Dambusters and The Italian Job. And like all of those films, I had somehow avoided catching this one up until now. And what a great film I've been missing out on

It's a fantastically riveting film. A film which is the true embodiment of the term 'epic'. Too many are graced with that title undeservedly, but based on its size, scale and ambition this is certainly worthy. It truly is a thrilling spectacle helmed by David Lean, the first of his proclaimed 'epics' (Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, Ryan's Daughter and A Passage to India would follow)

While this is technically a 'war film' there is actually very little combat or violence on show. Instead the main confrontation is a psychological battle between two opposing colonels; prison camp commandant, Colonel Saito (Sessue Hayakawa) and commander of the captured British soldiers, Colonel Nicholson (Alec Guinness). Neither man feels he can afford to lose his ground to the other, and will do whatever they feel is necessary. Nicholson in particular willingly endures great torture for his principals. It is surely greater pain and hardship than he could possibly have suffered if he had just agreed to build the bridge, but that doesn't matter to Nicholson.

And the reason this battle of wits is so engrossing is the performances of both Hayakawa and Guinness. Alec Guinness gives a wonderful, powerhouse performance as Colonel Nicholson. He really creates a very believable 'hero.' He is extremely determined, a heroic leader and is willing to suffer great pain for what he believes is right. I put hero in quotations however as I wonder at times if he crosses the line between heroic and determined, into selfish and demented. To stick to the principals of the Geneva Convention he puts the health of his fellow officers at risk, even resulting in the death of one of them. While he may in some ways be a great example of what a colonel should be, he is also a very flawed individual. Guinness is just about matched step for step by Hayakawa's turn as Saito.

By the end the relationship between Nicholson and Saito has developed so much that there now seems to be a kind of understanding and respect between them. It's also a little bit heartbreaking when you realise that Nicholson actually has been pushed over the edge into madness. What was once a noble undertaking, aimed at keeping up the spirits of the men and showing off the strength of the British spirit, has now become a dangerous obsession for Nicholson. There is a thin line between courage and insanity, and a thin line between doing solid, professional job and aiding the enemy. Sadly Nicholson crosses both.

The film also has an absolutely thrilling conclusion. Before the explosive finale, mounting tension is built as first the plan is put into motion, and then Nicholson starts to uncover the planned bombing of the bridge. And after so much building of tension throughout most of the film it finally explodes.

There is some truly gorgeous cinematography on show here, courtesy of Jack Hildyard. Through a mixture of some stunning locations and lush colours it looks tremendous; it creates a very dirty, dusty aspect as well as feeling rather claustrophobic at times. And last but not least all of these elements help to bring to life a fantastically written script.

The film garnered 8 nominations, eventually scooping 7, and for me each was richly deserved. Along with the Best Picture prize the individual winners included Alec Guinness, Jack Hildyard and David Lean himself.

Conclusion – A tremendous film and an amazing accomplishment by Lean. With great direction, writing and acting I can certainly see why it rates as one of the all time great war films. It's so close to a 4.5 rating but as it's the first viewing I'm going to be a little harsh.


Check out Lawrence of Arabia. Personally, I think it's Lean's best, but The Bridge on the River Kwai would probably be my second favorite.