Message Movies: Liking Films Despite Their Perspectives

You’ve got to admit that CURNBLOG’s readers have a deep memory. Witness a comment posted by “Carlos” in response to my recent article on the movie The Promise (2016) and a statement I made in it that said this: I don’t usually urge cinephiles to run after movies with messages for altruistic purposes, as I,…

By Simon Hardy Butler
Odd Man out

Hope and Glory: ‘Odd Man Out’ and the Need for Cinematic Recognition

Why isn’t Carol Reed’s heavy-hitting 1947 drama Odd Man Out better known? I wondered this recently after revisiting the film on television—following a period of not having seen it for quite a while. My taste for it has never waned, but I had forgotten some of the nuances that are present in this very complex,…

By Simon Hardy Butler
Akira Kurosawa Yojimbo

Akira Kurosawa: Debating the Way of the Samurai

The second of a two-part debate between CURNBLOG’s Simon Butler and Jonathan Eig on the films of Kurosawa. The question: Are Kurosawa’s Samurai films superior to his contemporary films? See Part One here. I’m no Miniver Cheevy. That is to say, I don’t wish I was born in another century when knights achieved feats of derring-do and…

By Simon Hardy Butler
Akira Kurosawa - Seven Samurai

The gun against the sword: Why Kurosawa remakes miss the point

The biggest trap directors fall into when remaking Kurosawa films is putting the gun centre stage. I’m going to admit something: I’m biased. I love Akira Kurosawa’s movies – though I tend to prefer the jidai-geki flicks to the ones set in the present day. Yet there’s an inherent issue unrelated to quality that precludes…

By Simon Hardy Butler
Videodrome - hallucination

Hallucinations on film: Six startling unrealities in cinema

  Some of the most memorable scenes in the cinema have involved hallucinations seen by movie characters, and although one could argue that film itself is an apparition – an imaginary product consumed as popular art – it’s hardly redundant to crow about the best such images on the screen. Here are six of the…

By Simon Hardy Butler

Cinema and combat: Is filming a great battle scene a lost art?

Is filming a great battle scene a lost art? I pondered this question recently after watching The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013) in all its lengthy, kill-the-orcs-in-creative-ways glory. Director Peter Jackson certainly knows how to helm an epic contest—the thrilling defense of Gondor in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) is…

By Simon Hardy Butler