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Added by Citizen Caine on 30 Jan 2011 07:27
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Films I've Seen In 2011 - Best To Worst

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People who added this item 42 Average listal rating (15 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 6.5

"We are the children of Fritz Lang and Werner von Braun. We are the link between the 20's and the 80's. All change in society passes through a sympathetic collaboration with tape recorders, synthesisers and telephones. Our reality is an electronic reality."

Another film that’s been on my want-to-watch list for quite a while. I only became aware of it about three years ago when my trusty DVD and Blu-Ray Review magazine announced the British Film Institute DVD release in time for the film’s 30th anniversary. A forgotten, British-German co-produced art film, it follows the journey (as clichéd as it sounds) of a man (David Beames) who travels from London to Bristol to investigate the death of his brother who, incidentally, was caught up in an “obscene film” racket. Get Carter similarities aside, what follows is a brilliant study of self-actualisation, regret, loneliness and isolation - when the characters get knocked down in this film, they take a long time to get back up again, quite literally in a scene where Beames is pushed off his bar-stool by an angry regular. Each time Beames reaches a mental breaking-point, his sanity is restored by the soundtrack of the film, his car radio, which often serves as a reminder of the outside world when reporting such topical news stories as the troubles in Ireland, prostitution, the Red Army faction in Germany and the cracking down on the ownership of aforementioned “obscene films.” Unfortunately for Beames, each news story becomes part of his trip. Early on, the Red Army Faction is referenced when he notice a message in graffiti ordering that a militant be released from jail. He later picks up a Scotsman who has served twice in Northern Ireland (and is now a deserter) as well as two German women who hint at having previously sold themselves for sex, in order to get men to help them travel around England in search of a long-lost daughter whom they are fighting over in court with an abusive husband. Each new encounter puts Beames’ mental state to the test. He finds comfort when having a music discussion with a fellow traveller (a cameo role from Sting) and in fact music is one of the central motifs of the film. The film has a distinct English identity, as opposed to a British one. There’s no Union Jack waving patriotism but instead a certain anti-establishment feeling, evident no more so than in the bitter words of the deserter. I’m rambling. Shot beautifully in black and white and featuring some amazing location shoots, Radio On is an absolute masterpiece. It may not be to everyone's taste, it's gruelling, it requires a lot of attention and by the end of the film Beames' character hasn't really got anywhere, but stick with it and it reaps rewards - the ending is certainly something that will stick with you. I should probably have mentioned some of the songs used in the film but I'm no expert in such matters. [/bad grammar]

Direction : 10 Acting: 9 Music: 10 Visuals: 10 Writing: 9 Intelligence : 10
Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 356 Average listal rating (229 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8

Absolutely loved it. It's as near to perfection as films get. It's endlessly quotable, it contains some terrific performances, James Wong Howe does a monumental job with the photography yet again (as does Elmer Bernstein with the Jazz score) and it has probably one of the best endings of all time - love how Tony Curtis lies throughout the film and gets away with it, but when he tells the truth for once he's accused of lying! Curtis and Lancaster aside, the supporting cast are great too, particularly Emile Meyer as Hunsecker's 'fat friend.' And a smoking Susan Harrison. And we get to see plenty of New York which is always cool. I'd pick my favourite quotes but there's simply too many to choose from - brilliant stuff. Superb filmmaking.

Direction : 10 Acting: 10 Music: 10 Visuals: 10 Writing: 10 Intelligence : 9
Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 3927 Average listal rating (2448 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.4

It's been a few years since I've seen this but, unfortunately, it's lost it's power somewhat for me. It's still visually amazing but Brando's introduction and everything onwards seems a bit stale. I've yet to see the REDUX, which I understand is a bit more surreal and that the theatrical version only came about because Coppola feared that the audience would demand a more conventional war film. Hopefully the added footage will restore the film's power, for me at least, as I know some felt the extra 49 minutes destroyed the pacing and narrative flow. I still love this film though. Sheen is outstanding. Enjoyed watching the DVD extra of Brando's complete reading of "The Hollow Men".

Direction : 10 Acting: 10 Music: 9 Visuals: 10 Writing: 9 Intelligence : 9
Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 543 Average listal rating (330 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.6

The most terrifying film I've ever seen, bar none. Those familiar with the film will know that it is not just the shocking moments of surgical gore and mutilation that provides terror, but the long, arduous and uneasy wait for that mask to be lifted from 'the face' of that girl, painfully frail beneath her trench coat. But perhaps the most uncomfortable things of all are each moral dilemma that the characters face and the consequences that occur as a result of each nasty decision. Set to Maurice Jarre's creepy Carinval music, Pierre Brasseur's surgeon and his assistant, Alida Valli, lure pretty young woman to their home in the hopes of heterografting an entire face to restore his daughter's disfigured one. Whilst the surgical scenes are horrifying, it's the sadness in the eyes behind the daughter's mask that haunt. A superb performance from Brasseur and excellent cinematography add to a truly unforgettable film that is certainly not for the faint-hearted. In short, it scared the hell out of me.

Direction : 9 Acting: 9 Music: 8 Visuals: 10 Writing: 9 Intelligence : 9
Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 636 Average listal rating (416 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.1
Marnie (1964)

I love this film, in fact it's not far from being by favourite Hitchcock, certainly his most powerful work in my opinion - I know others would say Vertigo. Some question Tippi Hedren's acting credentials but I think she does a fine job and, to be honest, as much of a wonderful actress Grace Kelly was, I can't see her taking on a role of this kind, for Marnie isn't the typical Hitchcock blonde that Kelly defined. Sure, Marnie is icy cool and mysterious, but she is of course practically asexual, hence she lacks eroticism which is an essential trait amongst the Hitchcock blondes à la Eva Marie Saint or Kim Novak. I'd say this is Connery's finest performance too, although I haven't seen The Hill. Rutland's fetish could have been explored a bit more. I mean, it doesn't have to be completely conspicuous, but it would have added more depth and weight to his character and in turn his relationship with Marnie had it been more obvious. I dunno. It all comes together so well during the final scene, and it features one of Herrmann's best scores in my view. The lighting is terrific at times too, most notably the kiss in the stable and Louise Latham's shadowy figure at the top of the stairs early on in the film. The theft at Rutland's is one of my favourite Hitchcock sequences, very well conceived. And the artificiality? I like artificiality. Besides, I've seen worse back-projection and backdrops.
Yeah, it's just a brilliant film.

Direction : 9 Acting: 9 Music: 9 Visuals: 10 Writing: 9 Intelligence : 9
Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 539 Average listal rating (309 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.4

A favourite that was crying out for a re-watch. Roy Budd's score, the location work, Hodges' dialogue and direction aside, what stands out for me is Michael Caine's performance. He just commands the screen, whether he's demanding that his drink be served in a thin glass or asking Glynn Edwards' Albert if he wants to be dead, it's a brilliant performance. And the look he gives when he knows that Geraldine Moffat is trapped in the boot of his car and that John Osborne's men are actually doing him a favour by dumping the car in the sea, when they think they are doing him a disservice, is so, well, words can't describe how chilling it is. As Alun Armstrong says in the film, "Frank told me you were a shit. And he's right."

Direction : 9 Acting: 10 Music: 10 Visuals: 9 Writing: 10 Intelligence : 8
Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 2858 Average listal rating (1770 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.3

Re-watched Citizen Kane with my father who hadn't seen it before. His thoughts, "I'm not really sure what to make of that film. It's certainly unique", sums it up quite well I feel. For me, it's an extremely powerful and absorbing work. Welles' achievement in writing, directing and acting (all of them incredible) in the same film takes some beating.

Direction : 10 Acting: 10 Music: 9 Visuals: 10 Writing: 10 Intelligence : 9
Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 31 Average listal rating (13 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 6.5

Whilst Caine was playing Carter, Burton was playing Vic Dakin, a homosexual, cockney gangster who makes sure he takes his mother on regular trips to Brighton (to me it looked more like Eastbourne, but it's a stunning location nonetheless). Along with his bisexual lover, Ian McShane, (his sexuality causes him problems when Burton finds him in bed with Fiona Lewis), Burton, accompanied by his violent and treacherous gang, plan to steal the money from a wages van on it's way to a factory of Clarks' London branch. Whilst it lacks the iconography of Get Carter, it's a well-paced film that is no less enjoyable. Again, the screenplay and score are both outstanding, the direction is spot on and Burton turns in a performance of the highest order, as does the underrated McShane.

Direction : 9 Acting: 9 Music: 10 Visuals: 8 Writing:10 Intelligence : 7
Citizen Caine's rating:

Superb adaptation of Agatha Christie's novel, despite a slight deviation from it towards the end, in order to add a little bit of romance. I'm familiar with the story, after seeing an excellent stage version about a year back, but that didn't stop my enjoyment of this cinematic version. The cast are great ; we've got Irish actor Barry Fitzgerald turning in a wonderfully charismatic performance as the Judge, Walter Huston as the decisive but cowardly Doctor, Louis Hayward as the mysterious Philip Lombard and the lovely June Duprez (who I was recently introduced to in The Spy In Black), amongst others. Brilliantly directed by Clair, it’s a fast-moving, atmospheric film with a real sense of paranoia alongside plenty of subtle, black humour and an abrupt ending to rival Hitchcock. Very enjoyable and highly recommended.

Direction : 10 Acting: 9 Music: 5 Visuals: 9 Writing: 10 Intelligence : 8
Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 7525 Average listal rating (5483 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 8.5

The film of my childhood. That is all.

Direction : 8 Acting: 10 Music: 10 Visuals: 8 Writing: 10 Intelligence : 8
Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 355 Average listal rating (238 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.4
The Getaway (1972)

Just as awesome as I'd hoped and expected it to be, this is really my kind of film. Right from the brilliantly edited opening sequence, we have a taught, tense and atmospheric crime thriller that makes good use of its two leads, in the forms of Steve McQueen and Ali McGraw - once McQueen wields a shot gun, you know he means business. Peckinpah's stylistic direction is a joy to behold, especially upon McQueen's release from prison at the start of the film and along with the said editing and Quincy Jones' hallucinogenic score , we have a terrific first sixty minutes including the chaotic bank robbery, once again showcasing the masterful editing. Later on in the film, the scenes with Al Lettieri, Sally Struthers and Jack Dodson do get a little silly but they don’t mar the events, in which McQueen and McGraw are forced to go on the run – the pursuit of a thief on a train and the final showdown in the South are both highlights. McGraw deserves a lot of credit too, she’s an underrated actress.

Direction : 8 Acting: 9 Music: 10 Visuals: 9 Writing: 9 Intelligence : 7
Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 148 Average listal rating (63 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.7

A mightily impressive work, at least from a directorial point of view. The only other film from Dearden's back catalogue that I've seen is The Man Who Haunted Himself which remains one of my upmost favourite films. Victim is a different beast entirely but it's just as well crafted. I'm not going to lie, I wasn't bowled over by Dirk Bogarde's performance ; he's one of my favourite actors but I prefer him in more comical parts. I think he was more comfortable as an actor when he could afford to lark about like Cary Grant. He does a fine job here, but the scenes between him and Sylvia Sims, upon the confrontation regarding his homosexuality, don't work as well as they should and I can't place why. But that's a minor criticism in the grand scheme of things. Everything else is utterly superb from the cinematography (black and white has rarely looked so good), the supporting cast, the writing and the rest. But the direction is where the film really shines. Like Radio On (best first-watch film I've seen this year), it's a brilliant study of isolation and regret. Very, very good.

Direction : 10 Acting: 9 Music: 9 Visuals: 9 Writing: 9 Intelligence : 9

Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 2806 Average listal rating (1885 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 8

One of those rare films such as On The Waterfront and To Kill A Mockingbird in which the acting alone warrants the term "masterpiece". Like said films, every member of the cast in The King's Speech are at the peak of their professions and the brilliantly witty script makes sure that they are. Even if you took away the superb production design, score, locations and had the actors performing the film in jeans and t-shirts in the same room for two and a half hours, it would still probably be up for nomination. And deservedly so. Enthralling, engaging, stirring, call it what you will, who said movies weren’t made like this anymore?

Direction : 7 Acting: 10 Music: 7 Visuals: 7 Writing: 10 Intelligence : 7
Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 22 Average listal rating (7 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 6.2

Another cracking British crime noir, unfairly slated simply because of it's stance alongside it's American and Italian genre counterparts. In a brutal tale of a London-based protection racket, Sean Connery, giving one of the most commanding and impressive performances of his career (at least from what I've seen), plays Irish tough-guy Paddy Damion, drafted in by syndicate leader Harry Foulcher (a brilliant Alfred Marks) to keep order amongst his new pub and club chains - with financial advice from sly mobster, Herbet Lom (ever dependable). It all goes arse over head when the syndicate splits, murder and gang warfare becomes rife, Connery struggles to look after his old mate (Kenneth Griffith) and his girlfriend (Olive McFarland) whilst banging a smouldering Yvonne Romain, and John Gregson's beat-out cop(per) (old cliché but nevermind) is soon out to regain control of the streets. It's exciting, complex and provided a hit song for The Shadows. And as a tidbit, Hitchcock regular Frederick Piper makes an appearance. Good, thrilling stuff.

Direction : 9 Acting: 9 Music: 7 Visuals: 9 Writing: 9 Intelligence : 9

Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 37 Average listal rating (23 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 6.9

A tough prison drama that is rather frank in it's portrayal of brutal violence, an abusive prison system, sex and nudity, alcohol consumption, mental disorders and corruption. It gave the film something of a reputation and was subsequently banned in several countries. The sound quality of the print I watched was very poor, which made the film difficult to follow at times, but it certainly grabbed my attention with several standout scenes, most notably the wild party, the violent prison rebellion and the finale onboard a barge. But the film is at it's best whenever Cleo Laine's rendition of "Thieving Boy" is played. Haunting stuff. But the real reason to watch is Stanley Baker, who is quickly becoming one of my favourite actors after providing consistently excellent performances in the films of his I've seen - it's such a shame that so many of his films are hard to find. He plays an Irish inmate, who practically owns the place (he has Noel Willman's governor wrapped around his little finger), but comes into constant conflict with Patrick Magee's dissolute prison warden. He's released and duly takes part in the pre-planned robbing of cash, at a racetrack, that goes horribly wrong after he is betrayed and ends up lumped back in prison with fellow criminals after his blood, waiting to be paid off as the plot thickens and the inmates become even more unsettled. Sam Wanamaker and Grégoire Aslan are the other key performers of note and there's even a couple of Bond connections in the forms of Jill Bennett and Paul Stassino. And, as a sign of the times, there's plenty of British Imperialistic snobbery, as the inmates are made up almost entirely of Irishmen, Scots, Australians, West Indians and Italians, but few Englishmen. The location work is excellent too. A gripping and thematic, if talky and slightly dated film that has quite possibly the best and most resonant ending I've ever seen.

Direction : 7 Acting: 7 Music: 9 Visuals: 10 Writing: 8 Intelligence : 7

Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 1031 Average listal rating (711 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.6

Excellent. I had been wanting to see this mainly for Patrick McGoohan's involvement who, as expected, is very good indeed. The first forty minutes or so play out like The Shawshank Redemption, (hate it with a passion) as there are a lot of similar characters and situations, but it didn't bother me too much. The second half is an absolute tour de force of masterful direction, camerawork (reminiscent of The Ipcress File), lighting and acting accompanied by an ominous, teasing score from Jerry Fielding. It's edge-of-the-seat stuff. And of course it's a true story. Makes it all the more thrilling. And,of course, an absolute killer ending. Top marks all round, cast wise. Roberts Blossom (RIP) deserves a mention. I could go on. Just great stuff.

Direction : 10 Acting: 8 Music: 9 Visuals: 6 Writing: 8 Intelligence : 7

Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 182 Average listal rating (110 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.4
Gunga Din (1939)

A delight. They really don't make 'em like this anymore. The inspiration for notable films such as Temple Of Doom and The Man Who Would Be King (another Kipling yarn), this is the adventure film at its best. Cary Grant, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Victor McLaglen are our three swashbuckling heroes of Her Majesty The Queen's Royal Engineers, sent to investigate the loss of contact with a British outpost in colonial India. Upon arrival at this ghost town, the trio witness the mysterious Thuggee cult in action - their Guru wonderfully played by Eduardo Ciannelli who gets quite possibly the greatest villain quote ever. Fueled by Grant's passion (greed) for treasure, McLaglen's love of gun battles (and elephants) and Fairbank's sense of adventure, the three embark on a quest that will ultimately end in tragedy and bravery. But who's this tagging along? Gunga Din (Sam Jaffe), a loyal water-bearer, who longs to become a soldier and adventurer and it is his act of bravery that Kipling pays tribute to in his poem. While there's a focus on Grant's comical character more than anyone else, the three leads are all equally superb and share a chemistry that is certainly matched by Caine, Connery and Plummer, 40 years on in aforementioned The Man Who Would Be King. But that's another film. There are so many hilarious moments that it would be impossible to mention them all (the drugging of a bowl of punch showcases Grant's perfect comic timing) and the action is often exciting, unfortunately the final battle scene lacks energy or any real sense of danger, but the score is wonderful and the ending packs a punch. As I said, a delight.

Direction : 9 Acting: 10 Music: 7 Visuals: 9 Writing: 9 Intelligence : 7

Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 1056 Average listal rating (578 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 7.7
Repulsion (1965)

My first viewing, but wow! This film takes visual storytelling to a whole new level! And the use of sound is extraordinary, whether it's doorbells ringing, phones ringing, flies buzzing or knives slashing and since there's a limited amount of actual music they become the soundtrack. It's a tough watch as there are plenty of vile images (the skinned rabbit which is just left to be devoured by the flies for example) and I think there is one rape scene too many, but it's a film I definitely need to see again to gather my thoughts - I wasn't all that keen on the final third, but that could have been the coffee I'd just drank kicking in, I don't know. The cast are great, I think Ian Hendry is an underappreciated actor even if his part isn't all that big in this film, Catherine Deneuve does a great job, right down to the nervous twitch that her character has, but I think my favourite performance was from Yvonne Furneaux. Love the cut where Hendry takes a run to break down the door and Deneuve 'bounces' off it. The final shots of the photograph were quite disturbing also. A bloody well made film.

Direction : 9 Acting: 9 Music: 9 Visuals: 10 Writing: 9 Intelligence : 9

Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 223 Average listal rating (153 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7

A deeply disturbing but brilliant work. This had been on my want-to-watch list for ages, mainly for the ensemble made up of Gregory Peck, Laurence Olivier, James Mason, Lilli Palmer, Denholm Elliott, Bruno Ganz, Walter Gotell, Rosemary Harris, Michael Gough and Steve Guttenberg. What a cast! And I wasn't disappointed; Peck and Olivier are phenomenal in this film. Olivier plays a Nazi-hunter, tracking down war criminals all over the world including Peck’s Josef Mengele who has organised the mysterious assassinations of 94 civil servants in Europe and North America and to resurrect Hitler himself through cloning. Naturally, it's up to Olivier and his associates to stop him. It's all a bit over the top and occasionally becomes more silly than sinister, particularly the Nazi convention ballroom scene ("Shut up you ugly bitch!") and throughout the film I couldn't understand why the film had an 18 certificate in the UK - until all was revealed in the finale with one of the most realistic, bloody and brutal fight-scenes I've ever seen. Oh, and there's vicious dogs. Peck and Olivier's performances carry the film (Mason's role is comparatively small but he does a good job and Gotell is a laugh as a burnt-out SS commander (or somesuch) who couldn't really care less about Mengele's plan). The film also continues my recent run of movies that contain annoying kids (after Bigger Than Life and 1980's The Island). Furthermore, the scientific explanations are a tad patronising to a modern audience but to a 70's audience the idea of cloning was mind-blowing I guess (and confusing). Peck utterly owns the film (I'm not fond of that expression but that's the only way I can put it). He's brilliant. Have I said that already?

Direction : 8 Acting: 9 Music: 6 Visuals: 9 Writing: 8 Intelligence : 9

Citizen Caine's rating:

Pretty damn good and a lot more humorous than I was expecting (the ending in particular is a hoot!) although they cheated by not explaining exactly how Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam and co were able to override the train's dead man's switch - all they seemed to do was to screw on a pole to the axis. Abracadabra (!). One critic (I forget who but we're talking Radio Times 'expert' here) observed that the passengers were such dreadful stereotypes that they deserved to perish. Bit harsh, but they were bloody awful. Walter Matthau carries the film very well (although his performance is a bit off a few times, albeit briefly) and Shaw and Balsam are clearly having fun hamming it up somewhat. It's paced very well too. Solid.

Direction : 8 Acting: 9 Music: 8 Visuals: 8 Writing: 9 Intelligence : 7

Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 31 Average listal rating (23 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6

Designed as the first in a series of thrillers to rival the Bond series (familiar story?), this Alistair MacLean adaptation is a quality little spy adventure. In a very early film of his career, Anthony Hopkins plays British Treasury agent Phillip Calvert (former naval officer), a man who despises the lifestyle of his superiors and let's them know at every opportunity - his boss is wonderfully played by Robert Morley, who is quote happy to sit in his comfy, oak-paneled office. Hopkins, along with his pal Corin Redgrave, is assigned to investigate the hijacking and mysterious disappearances of bullion frigates in the Irish sea and encounters a marvelous supporting cast of Nathalie Delon, Jack Hawkins ( who is, bizarrely, dubbed by Charles Gray) , Ferdy Mayne, Wendy Allnutt (Yowza!) and Maurice Roëves (a decent actor who crops up here an there in bit-parts). The plot is a tad unclear, although the script is very good, particularly the sexual tension between Hopkins and Delon and there are some exciting set-pieces, most notably the helicopter attack. The Scottish backdrop provides beauty and there's a light, Thunderball-like score that complements refreshing bursts of violence in a taut, very decent film. Alas, the series didn't take off due to a poor box-office return, no doubt thanks to Connery's return as Bond the same year.

Direction : 7 Acting: 8 Music: 7 Visuals: 6 Writing: 6 Intelligence : 7

Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 58 Average listal rating (33 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.2
Boomerang! (1947)

"It's been a pleasure meeting you, Mr. Wade."
"I know."

Cracking noir from Elia Kazan that not only offers up a compelling story (a true one at that) but thoughtful social commentary. Mirroring the Metropolitan Police in London, during the time of the Ripper murders, is the diminished, incompetent and ridiculed police force of Bridgeport, Connecticut, led by none other than Lee J.Cobb. Dana Andrews is the highly-rated detective in charge of an investigation into the death of a local priest, a much-loved father-figure to everyone who knew him. The script is ingenious and there are some great moments of tension (most notably where Andrews is willing to to be the guinea pig in the effort to prove that a gun cannot be fired at a certain angle.) but the film is really all about the cast. Arthur Kennedy turns in the best performance as the accused war veteran, Cara Williams is wonderfully full of herself (not to mention a total bitch!) and Ed Begley, in his cinematic debut, steals every damn scene he's in. There's a small part for Karl Malden too, although he's bizzarely left uncredited. Sam Levene deserves a mention too due to his part in the killer ending.
Great stuff.

Direction : 9 Acting: 9 Music: 6 Visuals: 8 Writing: 9 Intelligence : 8

Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 1456 Average listal rating (876 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.7

Three things come to mind. James Dean. Natalie Wood. CinemaScope. Not to mention Technicolor, the film looks gorgeous, as is Natalie Wood. A vivid portrait of the fifties teen, with a superb Brando-esque performance from Dean struggling against his weak father and protective but domineering mother. I would have liked to have seen more interaction between Wood and her father but nonetheless the loneliness and rebelliousness that links Dean, Wood and Sal Mineo as one comes across just great. The opening scene at the police station is by far my favourite but there's plenty of other things to enjoy such as the scenes at the Planetarium. I don't partuclarly care for the parts of the film where they hide up at the house, or the ending, but those aside, this is a near perfect film. Edward Platt and Jim Backus as Dean's father were great too.

Direction : 9 Acting: 9 Music: 9 Visuals: 10 Writing: 9 Intelligence : 8

Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 16 Average listal rating (8 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 6
Silver Bears (1977)

A criminally overlooked and practically forgotten film from Michael Caine's early Hollywood career. Right in the middle of films such as A Bridge Too Far, The Eagle Has Landed, Beyond The Poseidon Adventure and the notorious The Swarm, that don't exactly showcase his talents, it's great to see Caine doing what he does best again in this fun caper - being a star. Flanked by, the ever-so charming and suave, Louis Jourdan, Silver Bears has Caine fighting to keep control of his Swiss Bank whilst simultaneously masterminding, or so he thinks, a silver-mining operation in Iran. His boss? Martin Balsam. His girl? Cybill Shepherd. His nemesis? Charles Gray, in another rediculously over the top performance. The gags come thick and fast and there are some genuinely hilarious moments, the locations are stunning and Caine and Jourdan get on like a house on fire. Look out for Shane Rimmer in a cameo, too. Great fun.

Direction : 8 Acting: 9 Music: 8 Visuals: 8 Writing: 9 Intelligence : 6

Citizen Caine's rating:

Only my third Preminger after Laura and Whirlpool but it's definitely my favourite so far. Whilst I didn't rate Dana Andrews in Laura, he does a very good job here as a beat-out cop who accidentally kills a murder suspect. The suspect? Gene Tierney's violent, alcoholic ex-hubby (Craig Stevens). Knowing the incident will ruin his career, Andrews tries to pin the blame on a local hood, brilliantly portrayed by Gary Merrill, but ends up falling for Tierney whose father is the main suspect for Stevens' murder. A very enjoyable noir, with a fine cast including Karl Malden and a great use of closeups. The occasional bursts of violence up the tension somewhat. Great film.

Direction : 9 Acting: 9 Music: 8 Visuals: 9 Writing: 9 Intelligence : 9

Citizen Caine's rating:

"From the moment the Bohemian corporal promoted himself to the supreme command of our forces, the German Army has been the victim of a unique situation; not only too many of the enemy, but one too many Germans. "

The true story of Erwin Rommel, the German Field Marshall who was well-respected by the Axis and Allied forces alike, wonderfully portrayed here by James Mason. From the exciting opening raid on a Nazi base by British commandos to the final scene in which Rommel rides off into the sunset on his Panzer to the dulcet tones of Winston Churchill, we have a very well made and powerful drama. Cedric Hardwicke turns in a great performance as Dr. Karl Strolin, Rommel's friend, who is first to challenge him on what he feels about Hitler's leadership, after Rommel was ordered not to retreat or save his men in North Africa, a challenge that will lead to Rommel's death. A cast including Leo G. Carroll, Jessica Tandy, Richard Boone and Everett Sloane keep their native accents, as does Mason, but Luther Adler puts on a German accent and makes for a very camp Hitler! After seeing Valkyrie (which wasn't too bad at all), it's interesting to see another take on von Stauffenberg's assassination attempt on Hitler's life, which is done very well might I add. Very good film on the whole, but it could do with a little less stock WWII footage as it breaks the flow of the narrative somewhat. Worth seeing for Mason.

Direction : 9 Acting: 9 Music: 7 Visuals: 6 Writing: 9 Intelligence : 8

Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 552 Average listal rating (347 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 7.9
East of Eden (1955)

I thought it was great, in moderation. A lot of if works really well for me, some of it doesn't. It's a film that's masterfully put together, I love the sense of time that Kazan creates, and it all fits into place by the end. I didn't care much for the first act. Things really pick up when the film reaches the lettuce fields and there's the interaction between Dean and Julie Harris. And when the war arrives the film hits its high note, everything onwards is just terrific. James Dean is brilliant, I prefer his performance in Rebel Without A Cause , but here he's cool, quirky and charismatic. I couldn't stand Jo Van Fleet, she's a great actress no doubt, but I just didn't like her in this film - I think the long dialogue sequence between her and Dean is the weakest part of the film, either that or the motocar-selling scene. Richard Davalos, Burl Ives and particularly Raymond Massey were all fantastic. It's a shame Lois Smith wasn't used more, she's really cute, I would have preferred her and Dean to fall for each other rather than Harris and Dean - it didn't seem right that they ended up together at the end. It sounds like I didn't enjoy the film, but I really did and as I said, the third act if utterly brilliant.I like the way we are actually given the garden of Eden, the backyard with the willow trees and such. It looks beautiful. The dvd includes an overture, which I thought was really needless considering the opening credits seuqence uses much of the same music and shots. All in all then, it's a film that celebrates life and love and ,despite it's flaws, I really enjoyed it.

Direction : 10 Acting: 9 Music: 8 Visuals: 9 Writing: 8 Intelligence : 8

Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 4144 Average listal rating (2766 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8.2

This is a fine thriller that looks a million dollars, but did I miss something here? It was all so anti-climactic. Sure, I like the fact that there isn't some kind of shoot 'em up climax in which Bardem is blown to smithereens by Brolin in order to save his wife or what have you, and it was fantastic how his car crash/ shirt purchasing final scene echoed Brolin's earlier on in the film. But to kill off the main character, a man whose eyes the audience see the film through, off-screen with half hour of the film left? It's like Janet Leigh's death in Psycho but, well, wrong. Don't want to come across as whiny here, and I get the whole theme of fate/chance that threads the film together but it just didn't seem right to me. And I seriously struggled with the accents. I should add that this is the first taste I've had of the Coen brothers' work and it was a fascinating experience nonetheless. The dialogue (well what I could make of it) was bristling with tension, the first coin toss scene is something to behold. Bardem is excellent, as is Brolin. And Tommy Lee Jones. And even Woody Harrelson. A very exciting film too ; Brolin struggling to load his gun when being chased by a vicious dog, his first confrontation with Bardem's hit man and the car crash all had me on the edge of my seat. It all looks great (photography is stunning) and the makeup work is amazing. Impressed on the whole but I just felt cheated by the ending. And what was Jones' dream all about?

Direction : 9 Acting: 10 Music: 9 Visuals: 10 Writing: 9 Intelligence : 8

Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 8 Average listal rating (4 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 6.6
This was a pleasant surprise. An exciting biopic of Lionel "Buster" Crabb, highly decorated Royal Navy frogman, and one of many models for Fleming's James Bond. Laurence Harvey plays the brave, if rather short-tempered, Crabb who was something of a living legend during the war for his exploits on the rock of Gibraltar. Along with his team of bomb-disposal experts, Harvey sets out to protect the British fleet from Italian mines, planted after transportation in underwater "chariots.", and after the capture of one of the said chariots, aims to give them a taste of their own explosives. It's a gripping affair with plenty of espionage, underwater battles, poignancy, heroic deaths, mutual compassion between the Brits and the Italians and humour ( courtesy of an excellent screenplay written by Fairchild, complimenting a supporting role from Sid James). Even the underwater sequences are well-handled. It would have been nice for the film to have touched upon Crabb's mysterious death (he was found decapitated after spying on a Russian submarine) to conclude the story of quite an incredible life but, nonetheless, this is a war film of great merit.

Direction : 7 Acting: 7 Music: 7 Visuals: 7 Writing: 7 Intelligence : 5
Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 100 Average listal rating (71 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.8
"Euan [Lloyd] had a reputation of being a bit of a right-winger" - Sydney Samuelson

"Don't f*** around with Moore!" - Roger Moore (on practical jokes)

"That Jimmy Granger. He hasn't made a film for fifteen years and he's still a bugger!" - Richard Burton

"F*** 'em!" - Stewart Granger (on shooting another take)

"Ronnie [Fraser] would take five or six papers and roll a joint the size of a toilet role tube. He was stoned for most of the picture." - Roger Moore

"If I were dead and you were a f***ing hearse I wouldn't ride in you!" - Richard Burton (to a crew member)

Suffice it to say, the production of The Wild Geese had its problems. These quotes, coupled with Burton and Richard Harris' drinking problems should give you a good idea of exactly what went on. What's left is a bloody enjoyable, if politically nonsensical, slice of brutal action, camaraderie, tragedy and loss that doesn't let up. It's typical McLaglen fare that would become something of a tradition after The Sea Wolves and Return From The River Kwai - a gang of old servicemen (played by whole range of international stars) meet up again for one last mission, the toughest and deadliest of their lives. In Geese we have the aforementioned Burton, Harris and Moore as veteran commandos alongside Hardy Krüger's white supremacist (whose views on the apartheid are suddenly changed in the blink of an eye upon a discussion with John Kani) and Jack Watson, Kenneth Griffith and Barry Foster. Their mission is to spring Kani's Ugandan leader from a military camp in the heart of Africa and return home, until they are double crossed that is. Moore and Krüger are merely serviceable but this is good, violent stuff with a particularly believable onscreen friendship between Burton and Harris, who turns in the finest performance. As a message movie, the film's a mess.

Direction : 8 Acting: 8 Music: 8 Visuals: 7 Writing: 7 Intelligence : 5
Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 7834 Average listal rating (5652 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 9

It's been discussed to death so I'm not going to add anything new here. What I can say however is that it really clicked for me this time, my third viewing. What really stood out for me this time was how well paced the film is, it moves along nicely, with one twist after another. All the scenes with Gary Oldman's Gordon and Aaron Eckhart's Harvey Dent are bang on the money but of course the standout performance is that of the late Heath Ledger as The Joker - the scene where he provokes the police officer when he says "In a way, I knew your friends more than you ever did" is brilliantly done. Maggie Gyllenhaal's lovely. Gotham feels like a real, living, breathing urban environment and I love the sweeping aerial shots of the city. It feels so real. Some would argue the dialogue and film as a whole is quite pretentious but to me it's an exploration into the human psyche like no other, whether it’s the Joker’s “social experiment” or the Joker himself. As for Bale’s Bruce Wayne, I think he’s fine. He portrays the arrogance and recklessness of his millionaire lifestyle cover well. Perhaps not the Wayne of the comics but I’m no expert in such matters. Credit for the limited use of CGI during the set pieces. An engaging, enjoyable and thrilling film on the whole. Terrific.

Direction : 7 Acting: 9 Music: 5 Visuals: 8 Writing: 8 Intelligence : 8

Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 1152 Average listal rating (717 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.3
Invictus (2009)

Stirling work from everyone involved. Unfortunately, it's a film that's gone pretty much unnoticed amongst Eastwood's other, more popular directorial work, mainly due to the focus on Rugby Union - admittedly I haven't seen many but I'd take this over the likes of Million Dollar Baby, easily. If Freeman ever deserved an Oscar, it's here. He's got Mandela down to a tee, you forget it's Freeman playing Mandela and believe it is Mandela you see on the screen. Damon's performance is admirable too, honest and genuine. My only criticism is that we don't really see the Springboks improve as a team. we are only really told through the final scores of each match in the tournament. However, the actual rugby action we do see is seamless and very believable, helped along by the real-life former professionals of course. The ending incorporating the Invictus poem, the 9000 days song and photographs of the real matches is as uplifting as anything I've ever seen. A very impressive work that doesn't go all out of it's way to win awards. At the risk of repeating myself, this is a film that is honest and genuine, which is what I liked about it the most.

Direction : 8 Acting: 9 Music: 9 Visuals: 7 Writing: 7 Intelligence : 7

Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 6238 Average listal rating (4381 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.8
Inception (2010)


Suffice it to say, I really enjoyed it. It's a blockbuster with brains, and in that regard it works. I liked the cast, particularly Tom Hardy and Ken Watanabe. Didn't really notice the score, which probably means it's no good. I think the film as a whole is being needlessly dissected. I'm taking the simplistic outlook on the ending in saying that the spinning top, or 'totem', fell - the cut on it spinning of course leaves uncertainty but I think it's alluding back to something Marion Cotillard says earlier in the film about "creeping doubts". It's pulling the audiences' legs I suppose. That's really all I have to say until I watch it again. It's solid entertainment.

Direction : 7 Acting: 7 Music: 6 Visuals: 7 Writing: 7 Intelligence : 6

Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 786 Average listal rating (528 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.8
The Fog (1980)

I first saw this about three years ago and it remains a lot of fun. It's success lies in the fact that there is no gore and yet it is still able to terrify, some would call the shocks "cheap" but I beg to differ. Sudden jumps and Carpenter's creepy synthesizer music is a combination that works. It's thrilling. The film owes a lot to Hitchcock - the arrival of a young woman to a seaside town ,prompting mysterious goings on, is straight out of The Birds and of course we have Psycho's scream queen, Janet Leigh. The rest of the cast are great; Jamie Lee Curtis and Tom Atkins make an interesting duo and a hot Adrienne Barbeau (then Carpenter’s wife) is excellent, providing commentary on the events via the radio, cooped up in her lighthouse. Arguably old-fashioned, but very enjoyable.

Direction : 8 Acting: 8 Music: 9 Visuals: 8 Writing: 9 Intelligence : 7

Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 12 Average listal rating (7 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 6.1

Cracking little Bond spoof that's actually much more of a conventional spy thriller than the opening, in which John Le Mesurier returns the belongings of a newly deceased 007, would lead you to believe. Dirk Bogarde is the everyman by the name of Nicholas Whistler, drafted into British Intelligence as a replacement and sent on a mission to receive information regarding a new type of formula used for the production of lightweight bullet-proof glass. Although, it's only upon his arrival in Prague, across the Iron Curtain, that he discovers he is working for British Intelligence. Sylva Koscina is his comrade driver turned lover who must help him escape Czechoslovakia from the clutches of Leo McKern's Soviet Spy boss (and her father!). For those who aren't fans of the rather gung-ho spoofs like the David Niven Casino Royale or the Austin Powers series, this is refreshingly more lightweight in terms of wit and provides a few genuine chuckles, namely thanks to a brilliant Bograde sending up his own image at RANK. Robert Morley once again crops up as the head of MI6. Very enjoyable.

Direction : 7 Acting: 9 Music: 7 Visuals: 7 Writing: 8 Intelligence : 6
Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 35 Average listal rating (25 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 0

This was a pleasant surprise. Two decades on from a grisly murder, a house is finally newly-inhabited by a sinister Anton Walbrook and his wife, Diana Wynyard, who is supposedley 'ill' but has actually been driven mad by her husband. Frank Pettingell is the pompus fellow trying to discover the motives behind the estranged Walbrook and the mysteries that took and continue to take place in the infamous house. Cathleen Cordell plays a lustful maid in a film that has plenty of sexual undertones, that must have been quite risque in 1940's Britain. Diana Wynyard is a lovely woman and it is perhaps her genuine, appealing and sympathetic nature that carries the film, wonderfully contrasting with Walbrook's character. The tinkling piano music that is played when she has her 'dreams' is very, very creepy and adds to the surreal atmosphere that is created. Pretty damn good film all round.

Direction : 8 Acting: 8 Music: 9 Visuals: 8 Writing: 9 Intelligence : 7
Citizen Caine's rating:

A little gem of a movie, a taught, tense gangster thriller with a wonderful use of locations. The dialogue is also terrific :

“I am sensible. I am calm. I'll give you my answer calmly and sensibly, my final answer. My final answer is finally no. The answer is no! Absolutely and finally no! Finally and positively no! No! No! No! N - O!”

“All that Cain did to Abel was murder him.”

I could go on. The cast are great too; John Garfield is smooth, Marie Windsor is sultry, Thomas Gomez gives the best performance in the film and Beatrice Pearson is a total babe – shame she appeared in so few films. Not to sound too generic, but the best scenes are those involving guns - the kidnapping scene is masterfully directed. But you can’t go wrong with the long dialogue scenes, particularly those with Garfield and Pearson – pure poetry.

Direction : 8 Acting: 9 Music: 7 Visuals: 10 Writing: 10 Intelligence : 9
Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 484 Average listal rating (320 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.3
Four Lions (2010)

Controversial Jihad satire that's as frequently hilarious as it is genuinely thoughtful. I haven't seen anything else from Chris Morris (Brass Eye, The Day Today et al.) but I'll have to make amends based upon this. Obviously it won't be to everyone's tastes but, quite frankly, I think if you're offended by this you're missing the whole point of the film. It's a classic tale of British blokes ballsing everything up. They just happen to be Muslim extremists - allthough they're really only pretenders. It's funny, it raises some serious questions and hell, it's even quite touching towards the end. But most importantly, is a Wookie a bear?

Direction : 7 Acting: 9 Music: 5 Visuals: 7 Writing: 9 Intelligence : 9
Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 21 Average listal rating (11 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 6.5

Was in the mood for watching an espionage thriller along the lines of The Spy Who Came In From The Cold , or something of the sort, and remembered having an unwatched copy of this hidden away at the back of my shelf. And it didn't disappoint. It turned out to be an intelligent ,highly suspenseful (in due part to Richard Harvey's score) and , for the most part, realistic film (although the ending beggars belief). Gabriel Byrne (who bears a striking resemblance to the James Bond featured on Pan's 1959 cover for From Russia With Love, above) turns in a good performance as a journalist investigating the links between the resignation of an important member of parliament, rumoured to have KGB contacts, the crash of a US plane carrying nuclear weapons in the East of England, and the death of a young prison escapee. An excellent Denholm Elliott, Robbie Coltrane, Ian Bannen and Greta Scacchi also feature. Well directed by David Drury, the elevator scene stands out in particular, this is a very good film indeed.

Direction : 9 Acting: 8 Music: 8 Visuals: 7 Writing: 8 Intelligence : 9
Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 309 Average listal rating (183 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.4
The Duellists (1977)

Wow. Just wow.

Direction : 9 Acting: 10 Music: 10 Visuals: 10 Writing: 9 Intelligence : 8
Citizen Caine's rating:

Terrific World War I set B-movie featuring a brilliant performance from Boris Karloff. Margaret Lindsay is the beautiful German spy sent undercover as a refugee to the home of a wealthy government official (wonderfully played by Holmes Herbert) in London , in the hope of stealing the plans for the locations of British munition wearhouses and locating the agent known only as Franz Strendler. Karloff, posing as a butler to Herbert, is also a spy and as the plot thickens, with genuine twists and tricks, it is only in the final scene that it is revealed who is actually working for who. Exciting biplane dogfights, thrilling zeppelin bombing scenes and more German agents than you can shake a stick at (even the bloody milkman is a spy) make this a very enjoyable film all round. Frederick Vogeding's German baron, whilst only appearing briefly at the start of the film, makes an impression too. Fun.
Could be seen as a companion piece to Powell's The Spy In Black as both are First World War thrillers, with Karloff's and Conrad Veidt's characters bearing similarites.

Direction : 8 Acting: 9 Music: 6 Visuals: 7 Writing: 8 Intelligence : 7
Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 238 Average listal rating (147 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 6.3
Topaz (1969)

Wow. A hell of a lot better than I remembered. I’m going to be controversial and say this is the closest Hitchcock got to Bond, as much as I love North By Northwest. Whilst that film was a more light-hearted precourser to From Russia With Love, this is the thinking-man’s Thunderball. Frederick Stafford is Connery, Topaz is SPECTRE, Soviet/Cuban missiles replace stolen atom bombs, John Forsythe is Felix Leiter, Brandy and Scotch, plenty of gadgets, and we even have former Bond girl Karin Dor. The first hour is superb, love the scenes in Harlem in particular, Roscoe Lee Browne is very cool as Stafford’s ally. Everything in Cuba is spot on, plenty of espionage, torture, the purple dress scene etc. But it’s not a film without flaws, that’s for sure. It should’ve ended once Stafford leaves Cuba and returns to Washington. Then suddenly “oh yeah, we forgot to actually find out who was involved in Topaz” and the film drags on for a further half hour. Not the most thought- provoking comments I’m writing here but what I’m really trying to say is that for the most part, I loved it this time.

Direction : 8 Acting: 8 Music: 8 Visuals: 10 Writing: 8 Intelligence : 8
Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 125 Average listal rating (59 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.4
Murder! (1930)

A pretty damn good 'whodunit'. The climax is as gripping as that of any Agatha Christie play. I suppose the film could in fact be described as an ode to Christie's work, or at least her very early work, as she's even name dropped during the course of the film. But of course this is a Hitchcock film, and his use of imagery is at its best here, whether it's the shadowy noose that looms over the convicted Norah Baring, or the sponge-like carpet that indicates the jelly-like legs of a nervous Esme Percy. Okay, admittedly that last one was quite bizarre! A top performance from Herbert Marshall really sets the film a class above the other talkies I’ve seen from Hitchcock’s early work, with the exception of The 39 Steps. There’s plenty of humour too and good humour at that. A tad slow at times but satisfying on the whole.

Direction : 9 Acting: 9 Music: 5 Visuals: 10 Writing: 9 Intelligence : 7
Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 384 Average listal rating (264 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.4
The Blob (1958)

A lot of fun. Steve McQueen's first leading role is akin to the James Dean-esque teenagers of the era. Like in Rebel Without A Cause, he just wants to be listened to. But in a film like this, social commentary shoudln't be taken too seriously, mind. Aiming to tap into the psyche of teenagers watching at drive-in theatres, the film reflects the paranoia and unease of fifties America - the blob represents Communism of course. The iconic scene, in which the blob squeezes it's way into the cinema, must have been brilliant to have watched in the cinema. The acting isn't always up to scratch, McQueen isn't always on the money, and there are some attrocious extras, but it doesn't really matter. The score's great, Aneta Corsaut fits the bill, the effects are still impressive and, considering the film is set entireley at night, the atmosphere is terrific. And then there's the title song :

Beware of The Blob!
It creeps, and leaps, and glides and slides,
Across the floor, right through the door
And all around the wall.
A splotch, a blotch,
Be careful of The Blob!

As I said, a lot of fun.

Direction : 7 Acting: 7 Music: 7 Visuals: 7 Writing: 6 Intelligence : 4
Citizen Caine's rating:

An amusing short from Shane Meadows. Four men give their views on their particpation in a robbery invlolving £800, a cricket bat, a starting pistol, Italian mobster brothers and a man called Ronnie, played by Meadows himself. Intersting to view as it was the first fillm of Meadows' career. Jimmy Hynd as "Jock of the Spoono" is the highlight.

Direction : 6 Acting: 6 Music: 1 Visuals: 6 Writing: 7 Intelligence : 5
Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 54 Average listal rating (34 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.3

Another espionage effort from the filmography of Michael Caine and it's a solid, good old-fashioned thriller with an excellent cast including Donald Pleasence, Delphine Seyrig, Clive Revill, Janet Suzman and a very saucy Catherine Schell. It's quite refeshing to see Caine's cockney tones and charm replaced by a serious, deadpan, proffesional and unemotional character in the form of secret service agent John Tarrant, caught up in a plot that involves his kidnapped son and stolen diamonds. It all ties up into what turns out to be a very enjoyable and engaging film with nice subtle humour and a noteworthy performance from Pleasence.

Direction : 8 Acting: 8 Music: 7 Visuals: 9 Writing: 7 Intelligence : 8
Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 8 Average listal rating (6 ratings) 4 IMDB Rating 3.8

In 1953, Universal decided it would be a good idea to cut their 12 part, 4 hour long Buck Rogers serial from 1939 and rerelease it as a 68 minute feature film with added forward and afterward to justify the production of "space age" nuclear weapons and compare the villainous Killer Kane character to the likes of Stalin (who died the same year) and Malenkov of the Soviet Union. ("Let us hope that the scientists of the free world will devise the weapons and the craft that will make democracy invincible against any enemy. God bless America! ") Kane doesn't use propaganda or fear to brainwash his people, but a bucket-shaped helmet that numbs all thoughts and feelings. Buster Crabbe's Buck Rogers and Jackie Moran's 'Buddy' are our all-American heroes who aim to crush his dastardly Empire, and we follow their adventures in buzzing spaceships to Saturn and beyond. I haven't seen the original serial, but I would imagine Constance Moore's part has been made significantly smaller here (was she a love interest in 1939?). Anthony Warde makes a good villain and Philip Ahn plays Tallen Of Saturn. The so called "wise elders" of Saturn don't make decisions for themselves but just go along with whatever Buck Rogers or Killer Kane say (Rogers says something, they agree, Kane, says something, they change their mind, Rogers says something and they "change their vote" !) There's some really awful acting from the extras, particularly early on from the men who discover Buck and Buddy in suspended animation, but the quick paced adventure (which surprisingly still makes sense considering 3 quarters of it is missing) provides a really fun hour or so.

Direction : 5 Acting: 5 Music: 5 Visuals: 7 Writing: 7 Intelligence : 5
Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 19 Average listal rating (12 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 6.7

A quality, London-set little thriller, a mix of film noir and kitchen sink realism. It's a bitter tale of four desperate men, brought together by chance and the same predicament - the need of money. And fast. Those men are :

Richard Basehart - A New Yorker who can't afford to get his wife (a seemingly impossibly young-looking Joan Collins) back to the States away from her doting mother, in order to start a new life .

Stanley Baker - A champion boxer who has lost his hearing in one ear, his sight in one eye and his hand to amputation in order to win enough prize money so he can set up his own business away from the ring. Now he's lost his winnings too so his wife can bail out her convicted brother.

John Ireland - A U.S serviceman whose marriage to his adulterous, film-star wife (a smoldering Gloria Grahame) is in tatters. Is money the answer to his problems?

and Laurence Harvey - The vivacious playboy who brings them altogether to execute a disastrous raid on a post office. His need for some cash is purely based on greed and his pompous father (Robert Morley) won't give him a penny. As Michael Caine once said, "If you look at Englishmen in films they are either homosexual, bisexual, cold, repressed, f***ed up, no good with women, bad lovers, kinky or insane." Harvey's character is practically all of these.

As for the film itself, whilst it's atmospherically shot, Gilberts's direction is a little flat (it's far from tense) and the dialogue fluctuates from quite poor to quite clever. Still, it's worth a watch for the leads, particularly Basehart and Baker (playing the typical working-class hero of his early career) who both turn in fine performances. Enjoyable.

Direction : 7 Acting: 8 Music: 7 Visuals: 8 Writing: 7 Intelligence : 7
Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 26 Average listal rating (14 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 0

An effective Burma-set World War II adventure with Gregory Peck as a Canadian RAF pilot, haunted by the death of his wife after London was caught in the blitz. Shortly upon arrival in Burma, he falls in love with nurse Win Min Than (her first and only film role) and is involved in a plane crash which puts him and his co-pilots through the most devastating test of the human spirit as they are required to survive in a Japanese-occupied desert. Decent performances all round from Peck, Maurice Denham (won a BAFTA), Brenda De Banzie and Bernard Lee, but the real standout is Win Min Than who comes across as a very accomplished actress despite her relative inexperience. Well directed bombing and dream sequences make this a little gem of a film.

Direction : 8 Acting: 8 Music: 7 Visuals: 8 Writing: 8 Intelligence : 8
Citizen Caine's rating:
People who added this item 17 Average listal rating (12 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 6.2
Double Take (2009)

A Belgian-made mockumentary cum essay piece, presenting the fictional meeting between Alfred Hitchcock and his double from 1980 (on the set of The Birds in 1963), interspersed between stock footage of major events during the cold war, whilst also studying the influence of television on the masses. How about that for arty-farty? And that's the film's biggest flaw. There's too much going on here for any subject to be dissected individually in depth. It's all a bit shallow and disjointed. The mesh of clips from Alfred Hitchcock Presents..., Psycho and newly-filmed footage featuring real-life Hitchcock lookalike Ron Burrage to create "the meeting" is far from seamless either. Although that's quite possibly intentional, it takes away the aura surrounding Hitchcock and the meeting itself, especially considering after one of the opening lines, "If you meet your double you should kill him", builds up the mystery and suspense so well. Both Kennedy and Krushchev and Nixon and Khrushchev are also paired up and explored as 'doubles' of each other as the film descends into an average cold war documentary. In a post 9/11 world, the images of a falling woman cut between clips of the aftermath of the Empire State Building plane crash in 1945 resonate the most. A fascinating but underbaked film.

Direction : 7 Acting: 4 Music: 4 Visuals: 7 Writing: 7 Intelligence : 7
Citizen Caine's rating:
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THE "FILMS I'VE SEEN" LISTS - 2010-2017 (9 lists)
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