Alien (1979)

In its genre, Alien has rarely, if ever, been bettered. It’s a very simple story of a terrifying monster let loose in a confined space, killing off the crew of a space ship one by one. Its greatness lies in its superb handling and in its extraordinary art direction.

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The film begins with the mining ship Nostromo returning to Earth with a cargo of 20,000,000 tons of mineral ore. The ship is still a long way from home when its computer picks up a distress signal from a nearby planet. The ship’s crew are automatically awakened from suspended animation and directed to the planet to investigate. Read more …

Top 10 Film and TV Spies

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There was a time when TV and cinema screens were mostly devoid of spy heroes. You might get the ordinary, innocent person caught up in a spy plot by accident, especially in Alfred Hitchcock’s films, like The 39 Steps (1935), The Lady Vanishes (1938) and North by Northwest (1959). But the spy as action-adventure hero didn’t really take off on screen until the 1960s, a decade that saw the big and small screens flooded with fictional spies. Read more …

 

 

The Monster Club (1980)

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In this horror anthology, John Carradine plays horror author R. Chetwynd-Hayes, who is admiring a display of his works in the window of a bookshop one night, when he is suddenly accosted by an emaciated vampire, Eramus (Vincent Price). When the author tells the poor unfortunate that he’s happy to do anything to help him out, Eramus helps himself to a drop of Chetwynd-Hayes’s blood to quench his vampiric thirst. In repayment, Eramus offers to aid the author’s research and introduce him to The Monster Club, a place where ghouls, monsters and vampires hang out, drink blood and get groovy to 1980s rock music.  Read more …

 

 

The Matrix (1999)

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It’s more than 20 years since The Matrix gave us bullet time, leather trenchcoat wearing heroes, spoons that aren’t really there, kick ass action scenes and a shed load of philosophical mumbo jumbo. This week I take a look at this modern classic.  Read more …

 

The Films of David Lean

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In this article, I give an overview of all 17 films directed by David Lean, from In Which We Serve in 1942 to A Passage to India in 1984, and taking in Brief Encounter, Great Expectations, The Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia, among others.  Read more …

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

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The Bridge on the River Kwai is an epic World War II film directed by David Lean and based on the novel by Pierre Boulle.

The film is set in 1943, as the forces of Imperial Japan are tightening their hold on South East Asia. The Japanese military strategy for the region involves building a railway from Burma to Siam (modern day Thailand), using the forced labour of captured civilians and Allied prisoners of war.

The Bridge on the River Kwai focuses on the building of one particular rail bridge over the River Kwai. The bridge is being constructed by the mainly British inmates of a prison camp commanded by Colonel Saito (Sessue Hayakawa). The film arrives in the camp at roughly the same time as a new influx of British prisoners. The new men are led by Colonel Nicholson (Alec Guinness), who will soon come into conflict with Colonel Saito. Read more … 

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