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Showing posts from September, 2017

Bullitt (1968)

He's a tough cop policing the mean streets of San Francisco. A maverick, who doesn't mind breaking the rules to get the job done. No, not Dirty Harry , the other one. Steve McQueen was at the height of his fame when he made Bullitt , a tough cop thriller that paved the way for all the other tough cop thrillers of the 1970s. McQueen stars as the improbably named Frank Bullitt, a plain clothes Lieutenant in the San Francisco police department. Bullitt is assigned to protect a key witness for a senate sub-committee hearing into organised crime, overseen by Chalmers (Robert Vaughn). When his star witness is killed, Bullitt has to cover it up and goes after the killers himself. Despite its fame, Bullitt is essentially a fairly ordinary policier lifted by the presence of McQueen and the contribution of the film's director Peter Yates. The film, based on the novel “Mute Witness” by Robert L. Pike, is weakly plotted and the storyline doesn't bear close inspection. As a mystery

Survivor (2015)

Pierce Brosnan as Not James Bond Mmm, who's that on the poster of Survivor ? It looks like Pierce Brosnan, starring in a spy film, wearing a smart suit, holding a gun and looking a bit like you-know-who. Maybe it's Brosnan back being a cool British spy, dispatching villains and throwing off cheesy one-liners like Goldeneye was only yesterday!  Or maybe not. The disappointing news is that, despite the obvious preference of the film's distributors, Pierce Brosnan is not the star of Survivor . The worse news is that the actual star is Milla Jovovich. In Survivor , Jovovich plays Kate Abbott, a high-flying American agent who deals with passports or visas or something. She gets seconded to the US embassy in London where she sits looking at a computer screen all day deciding who gets to go to the US and who doesn't.  One day she doesn't like the look of a Romanian doctor (Roger Rees) who claims he's going to the US for a conference. At the urging of her colle

Quatermass and the Pit (1967) (AKA: Five Million Years to Earth)

Quatermass and the Pit is the last of Hammer 's three Quatermass films and is usually regarded as the best. The film stars Andrew Keir as the renowned Professor Bernard Quatermass, this time investigating a mysterious object uncovered during excavations at Hobbs End station on the London Underground. Workmen there have uncovered prehistoric human skulls during building work and a team of scientists is brought in to investigate the site, led by Dr. Matthew Roney (James Donald) and Barbara Judd (Barbara Shelley). They discover that the bones are of extremely early humanoids, dating back millions of years. But during their excavations they uncover something even more unexpected; a strange, huge, metallic object of unknown origin. Fearing that it might be a German bomb or rocket from World War II, they call in the army bomb disposal squad, and with them comes Colonel Breen (Julian Glover) who has expertise in wartime explosives. Breen was in the middle of a meeting with Professor

Lifeboat (1944)

Other than his two propaganda shorts for the British Ministry of Information, Aventure malgache and Bon Voyage  in 1944, Alfred Hitchcock never showed much interest in making war films. The closest he came to the genre was 1944's Lifeboat . Lifeboat was also one of Hitchcock's occasional experiments in making a film set in only one location. The film opens with a passenger ship being sunk in the Atlantic Ocean by a German U-boat, after which an assortment of survivors gather together in the same lifeboat. From then on the film is set entirely in this one location, with only a limited cast of characters.  The survivors of the sinking include an unsympathetic high society journalist (Tallulah Bankhead), a millionaire industrialist (Henry Hull), a nurse (Mary Anderson), and an evacuee mother (Heather Angel) who is still carrying with her her dead baby. There are also four crewmen from the sunken ship – William Bendix, John Hodiak, Canada Lee and Hume Cronyn (the latter oddly