‘Catacombs,’ directed by Gordon Hessler

Movie, 1965 Reasonably effective ghostly psychological thriller, in which some great ideas and scenes are set up, though the pay off isn’t always on the mark. A case, I guess, of a film nearly hitting heights, but not quite delivering. While the marriage at the centre of the story and the individual characters of husband and wife are wonderfully hammed up, the quickly developing relationship … Continue reading ‘Catacombs,’ directed by Gordon Hessler

‘Green Book,’ directed by Peter Farrelly

Movie, 2018 Engaging and emotional film exploring the relationship and social historical situation in the American deep south in early 1930s America. The main characters, both whom are wonderfully acted, are an American night club bouncer and a renowned Indian-American pianist. The relationship between the two men forms the main thrust of the film, though there’s plenty of other themes and currents bubbling under and … Continue reading ‘Green Book,’ directed by Peter Farrelly

‘Recoil,’ directed by John Gilling

Movie, 1953 A bit of a plodding, un-mysterious mystery, in which tension is suggested, then not really delivered. There are a few glimpses of period London and some nice atmospheric touches, but save for a spirited performance by the female lead, the acting and characterisations all seem a little flat. The plot doesn’t help – it’s fine, but it’s rather slim and a little predictable. … Continue reading ‘Recoil,’ directed by John Gilling

‘Property,’ by Valerie Martin

Novel, 2003 A compelling, well-written book, taking an interesting view of the slave trade and its effects on individuals. This is a book about the experiences of a sugar plantation’s mistress, trapped in a loveless marriage, and the relationship she has with the slaves, and particularly with Sarah, with whom her husband has an illegitimate child. This book is bold in taking this perspective, particularly … Continue reading ‘Property,’ by Valerie Martin

“The Voice of Merrill,” directed by John Gilling

Movie, 1952 Effective and well-paced mystery, with noir sentiments, if not stylings, and a love triangle which spins and dramatises the lives of the film’s main protagonists, after the murder of an acquaintance. Some great acting from Valerie Hobson and James Robertson Justice brings some tension along the way, so that even if some of the other acting and the settings are a little down … Continue reading “The Voice of Merrill,” directed by John Gilling

“Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,” directed by Adam McKay

Movie, 2013 Crass, disjointed, ridiculous but funny reprise of a gang of newsreaders and their resurrection following their appointment to the fledgling world of ‘rolling news.’ A film which doesn’t take itself in any way seriously and doesn’t really invite much in the way of comment or critique either, but which delivers some high octane, daft action, plenty of throwbacks to the original film and … Continue reading “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,” directed by Adam McKay

‘Ant Man,’ directed by Peyton Reed

Movie, 2015 Super-hero film which swerves around being half-way great entertainment, to occasional ludicrous, too-stretched daft, to just a little confusing, in either the too real stupid action scenes and intertextuality with other Marvel characters. It feels as if the tropes and clichés are given the twist of including intelligent yet brainwashed ants. That’s about it. Otherwise, you have removed parents, a protégé gone bad, … Continue reading ‘Ant Man,’ directed by Peyton Reed

“The Man on the Eiffel Tower,” directed by Burgess Meredith

Movie, 1950 A curious film for a number of reasons – partly the washed-out colour from a weird process and film stock, and partly through the relative lack of suspense and mystery in what feels like it should be a suspenseful and mysterious film, featuring Simenon’s Inspector Maigret. The result is far from unworthy, however; we have a dreamy set of characters and locations, culminating … Continue reading “The Man on the Eiffel Tower,” directed by Burgess Meredith

“The Reader,” by Bernhard Schlink

Novel, 1995 A straightforward, first-person narrative of a young man who has an affair with an older woman with something of a history she’s not keen to share. Ultimately, this is a book about reactions to the Holocaust and feelings of desire, guilt and attempts to come to terms with and rationalise what happened and how people can deal with the aftermath and after effects. … Continue reading “The Reader,” by Bernhard Schlink