Sexy Beast British bad guys

The Hard Men: British Bad Guys

British actors have long been sought after by American filmmakers. They like to cast them as villains, or as upperclass, witless saps. They are often used as Nazis, and have provided the James Bond franchise with some of its more memorable arch-enemies. Maybe it’s the accent, perhaps it’s the old animosity from the 1770s, but…

By Pete Johnson
Mortdecai

The Cruelest Month: Why Most Films Released in January are Terrible

January’s the cruelest month, breeding Redundancy in each frame, mixing A-Listers and High Concepts, stirring Dull plots with big names. No offence to T.S. Eliot, the greatest of all American poets. His correspondence with Groucho Marx alone can make you feel better about the wit and wisdom that mankind is capable of.  But when it…

By Jonathan Eig
Ishtar

The ‘Ishtar’ Effect: Changing Perceptions and the Allure of Objectivity

I didn’t think Ishtar (1987) was all that bad. I know, I know. It was one of the big box-office bombs of the 1980s, raked over the coals for its bloated budget and not-as-funny-as-it-should’ve-been script, among other issues. Yet I have to wonder if it really lives up (or down) to its reputation, given the…

By Simon Butler
Monkey Business - Marx Bros Comedy

From Feathers to Fields: Our 10 Favourite Comedies, 1930-1945

It is a mystery that plagues pop psychologists and culturists alike. What happened to the American sense of humour? American film comedy, which dominated the world in the silent era with towering figures like Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd, took a few years to figure out the new synch sound medium in the late ’20s, and…

By Jonathan Eig and Simon Butler
Damien Chazelle's Whiplash

Forget the Oscars: Here are 2014’s Best Films and Performances

Show of hands, how many of you have seen Cavalo Dinheiiro? Maybe you know it is as Horse Money. The Portuguese documentary from director Pedro Costa tied for third in the 2014 Sight & Sound critics poll, making it the highest-ranking documentary on this respected list. Didn’t catch it? How about Jean-Luc Godard’s Goodbye to…

By Jonathan Eig
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

Ana Lily Amirpour’s “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night”

This is a little embarrassing. As a self-proclaimed Jim Jarmusch fan, I was very eager to see his latest movie, a refreshingly quirky take on the vampire genre. I even wrote a rather long piece on Only Lovers Left Alive, which you can read here. So did I have egg on my face when I…

By Jonathan Eig
American Sniper

American Sniper: Chris Kyle, Clint Eastwood, American Manhood

American Sniper, an account of the life and times of Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper), the most lethal sniper in American history, bears the classic marks of a Clint Eastwood film. Eastwood’s career, intentionally or unintentionally, has always been deeply entangled with ideas of masculinity – ideas which cumulatively seem to suggest an overarching vision of…

By James Curnow