‘The Man from Toronto,’ directed by Patrick Hughes

Movie, 2022 Comedy thriller based on the mistaken identity of a hapless, hopeless dreamer, who’s then coerced into the life of a cold-blooded assassin. A bit of a splodge film, with extended action sequences and set-pieces, with the comic tone not quite fitting the action throughout. Still, it’s all fairly enjoyable with some decent highlights, not least the leads, who play things nice and crisply. … Continue reading ‘The Man from Toronto,’ directed by Patrick Hughes

‘Hell is a City,’ directed by Val Guest

Movie, 1960 By no means a bad film, although one which maybe tries a little too hard in places, starting off like an inappropriately lit film noir, in which the Mancunian setting doesn’t really translate, and working in subplots when the main story itself feels a little underdeveloped. A little clunky, although there’s still much to admire. If Manchester isn’t Chicago or New York, the … Continue reading ‘Hell is a City,’ directed by Val Guest

‘Twice-Told Tales,’ directed by Sidney Salkow

Movie, 1963 Anthology of Nathaniel Hawthorne stories, all starring Vincent Price. As a collection, they hang together, or least sit together quite well – the best is the last, The House of the Seven Gables, while the silliest is Rappaccini’s Daughter. Lurid colour fits in well with the acting and a sense of daftness, intended or not, which is ramped up by a bizarre-looking killer … Continue reading ‘Twice-Told Tales,’ directed by Sidney Salkow

‘Diary of a Madman,’ directed by Reginald LeBorg

Movie, 1963 Vincent Price horror, in which possession by murderous spirits, the focus of the law and a scheming social climber all come together to reasonably good effect. This is a film where things are all fairly understated and the plotting are fairly simple, and while there’s nothing essential to see here, the plot zips along quite nicely and the various characters all play out … Continue reading ‘Diary of a Madman,’ directed by Reginald LeBorg

‘Shirley,’ directed by Josephine Decker

Movie, 2020 Film depicting the relationship between Shirley Jackson, her husband and a young couple staying with them, and integrating themselves into academia. The transgressions, awkward and unsettling actions develop an intense setting between these four main characters, which is quite wonderfully evoked with a washed out atmosphere, particularly enhanced with the constant sounds of insects chuntering along in the background. This is also a … Continue reading ‘Shirley,’ directed by Josephine Decker

‘The Halfway House,’ directed by Basil Dearden

Movie, 1944 A good looking, well-paced hodgepodge of a film. Ostensibly, this is a mystery with a supernatural twist, although there’s plenty of romance, dashes of family saga, comedy and a few odd scenes, which don’t seem to add much to the plot. The film ploughs in a huge chunk of propaganda in at the end, just for good measure. For all this, the positive … Continue reading ‘The Halfway House,’ directed by Basil Dearden

‘I Wake Up Screaming,’ directed by H Bruce Humberstone

Movie, 1941 Stylistic, noir-ish thriller, where there’s a fair amount going on, though not all of it, at times, enough to keep things ticking as consistently as they might. While most of the acting is ok, some of the signalling and use of light and shadow throw overly-dubious hints about who to trust and who not to, while the over-use of dramatic music, particularly Somewhere … Continue reading ‘I Wake Up Screaming,’ directed by H Bruce Humberstone

‘Metal Lords,’ directed by Peter Sollett

Movie, 2022 Fairly fresh, contemporary take on the outsiders-making-good, coming of age film, with all the tropes dressed up, the unlikely jumps smoothed over and the whole thing given a heavy metal theme. While this might all sound hugely unpromising, this is a hard film to totally dismiss or dislike – while there’s no mistaking the baddies as baddies, the goodies have a little nuance … Continue reading ‘Metal Lords,’ directed by Peter Sollett

‘The Blindside,’ directed by John Lee Hancock

Movie, 2009 Movie based on a true story of a campaigning mother who adopts a down and out kid. Kid grows up, mentally and physically, and becomes a professional American footballer. With the rags to riches element, the big budget and the root in true life, the schmaltz gets turned up to a ferocious degree. There are moments where the film tries to do a … Continue reading ‘The Blindside,’ directed by John Lee Hancock

‘Destroyer,’ directed by Karyn Kusama

Movie, 2018 A pretty effective crime film, with a cop with a past, hellbent on one last redemptive mission. There are some interesting ideas and characters in the mix, and a pretty good pace to the movie as a whole. The brave portrayal of the main character does, however, dominate, and Nicole Kidman’s style takes a little getting used to. One of the mumbling set, … Continue reading ‘Destroyer,’ directed by Karyn Kusama