Skip to main content

Posts

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.

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.

The ship has a crew of seven. There is the businesslike captain Dallas (Tom Skerritt), curious and incautious Kane (John Hurt), nervy Lambert (Veronica Cartwright), suspicious science officer Ash (Ian Holm), tough but brittle Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) and two grumbling mechanics from below decks, Parker (Yaphet Kotto) and Brett (Harry Dean Stanton).

Dallas, Kane and Lambert investigate the …
Recent posts

Top 10 Film and TV Spies

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). You might also see some wartime era spy work in the likes of O. S. S. (1946), or true life stories of undercover agents in Nazi-occupied Europe, as in Odette (1950) and Carve Her Name with Pride (1958).

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. Although spy mania reached its peak in this era, aided by the prominence of real life spies in the Cold War, secret agents have never completely gone out of fashion. In fact, with series like the Jason Bourne films, Mission Impossible and Kingsman, they're probably more popular now than they were in the previous couple of decades.

Here then…

The Monster Club (1980)

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.

The Matrix (1999)

In The Matrix, Keanu Reeves plays Thomas Anderson, an average guy living an average, unfulfilling life in an average and anonymous American city, somewhere at the end of the 20th Century.

Anderson works in a dull job as a computer programmer by day, while by night he is a computer hacker who goes by the name of Neo. Neo is looking for something. Specifically, he is looking for Morpheus, a shadowy figure wanted by the government for unspecified crimes.

When Neo is contacted over his computer by another hacker, Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), she tells him that he is in great danger. But she also tells him that, just as he has been seeking Morpheus, so has Morpheus been seeking him.

When Neo and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) finally meet, Morpheus reveals to him the startling and uncomfortable truth about the world in which he is living.



The Films of David Lean

David Lean was one of the most significant film directors of the 20th Century, the maker of classic films such as Brief Encounter (1945), Great Expectations (1946), The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) and Lawrence of Arabia (1962).

Born in Croydon in Surrey, England in 1908, Lean joined the film industry as a tea boy at Gaumont-British Studios in 1927. He eventually moved into the editing room, where he became one of the leading British film editors of the late 1930s and early 1940s.

The World War II Blogathon - Day 3

Welcome to Day 3 of The World War II Blogathon.

We're marking the 80th anniversary of the start of World War II with this three day blogathon on films and TV series related to the war.

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

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.