Category: essay

“You’re so cool, Kung Fu” | House (1977)

As with all national cinema industries, Japan has seen a variety of highs and lows. If the 1950s and the 1960s were the golden age of Japanese cinema, then the decade that followed is probably best considered the industry’s ‘dark age’. The 1970s witnessed a staggering contraction in the Japanese film industry: audiences dwindled away, ...

“Filigree, apogee, pedigree, perigee!” | Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)

It is the year 1940. An apprentice witch-in-training attempts to master a spell that will enable her to animate soldiers’ uniforms and send an unstoppable magical army into Nazi Germany. Her quest to discover the correct words for the spell take her from rural England to London and back, with a side-trip to an animated ...

“The only winning move” | WarGames (1983)

Teenager David Lightman, obsessed with his new personal computer, uses it to hack into a telephone network and access pre-release videogames. He has made a mistake. He has not hacked into a videogames developer but rather into NORAD – North American Aerospace Defense Command. While David believes he is playing a war game a powerful ...

“It’s the end of the world.” | The Birds (1963)

It seems unlikely that there is a film director more widely known than Alfred Hitchcock. Through numerous iconic feature films – primarily thrillers – he managed to carve a permanent niche inside the pop culture landscape. Even people who have never seen one of his films are generally familiar with their most famous images and ...

“I shouldn’t have come” | It’s Always Fair Weather (1955)

  Sometimes you can’t go home again. In 1952 movie-goers around the world fell in love with Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen’s vibrant, toe-tapping musical Singin’ in the Rain. They embraced it with such enthusiasm that it remains one of the all-time great Hollywood productions today. Three years later Kelly and Donen reunited with Singin’ ...

“It’s tough to be a god” | The Road to El Dorado (2000)

In August 1994 the Walt Disney Company was responsible for the number one feature film in America (The Lion King), the number one CD in the Billboard charts (The Lion King’s soundtrack), the number one musical on Broadway (Beauty and the Beast) and the highest-rated comedy series on television (Home Improvement). All four achievements were ...

“Every time I close my eyes” | Sunshine (2007)

  It is fifty years into the future. The Earth’s sun is dying. One human mission to re-ignite the sun’s core has ended in catastrophic failure. A second and final mission is underway: the Icarus II, commanded by a small crew of astronauts and scientists and carrying the largest explosive device ever conceived. This arresting ...