Category Archives: Movies

Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000)

Batman Beyond Return of the Joker“It’s funny. I know about all your other major enemies,
but you never mentioned him. He was the worst, wasn’t he?”

After the runaway success of Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992) Warner Bros. made the not-too-surprising decision to commission a weekly animated version of the Dark Knight, entitled Batman: The Animated Series (TAS). Several ideas for the tone of the show were kicked around until the powers that be settled on animator Bruce Timm’s suggestion that the show should feature a more Noir feel than previous animated incarnations of the character. This series would incorporate some aspects of the Burton rendition – the darker tone for example – but would thankfully jettison the more gothic (and let’s face it, stripey, over the top, Burton-esque) excesses of the live-action version. The new shows’ style, labelled Dark Deco, would prove an instant hit with the fans and the series ran for almost 8 years and delivered over 100 episodes. Continue reading Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000)

The movie poster art of Robert McGinnis

Live and Let Die (1973)

During his long and celebrated career Robert McGinnis has painted over 1000 paperback covers for authors such as Elmore Leonard, Donald Westlake and Erle Stanley Gardner, covering subjects as diverse as crime, thrillers, gothic horror and romance. Over the last few decades a healthy collectors market has sprung up and books featuring his artwork are now quite valuable (click here for more on McGinnis’ book covers). Continue reading The movie poster art of Robert McGinnis

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960)

Saturday Night, Sunday Morning (1960)

“What I’m out for is a good time –
all the rest is propaganda!”

A change of pace tonight. It’s the turn of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960), director Karel Reisz’s adaption of the semi-autobiographical novel by Alan Sillitoe. This film not only heralded the birth of a new wave of realistic and gritty British films – popularly known as “kitchin sink” dramas – it also helped launch the career of Albert Finney.

Continue reading Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960)

The Blues Brothers (1980)

“It wasn’t a lie… it was just bullshit”.

Weaving a story utilising Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi’s existing stage band (the band in the film were members of the ‘real-life’ band) and under John Landis’ brash direction, The Blues Brothers is over-the-top exuberant fun. Everything is done to excess – the comedy is broad (“Sell me your children!’), the music infectious (church parishioners jump twenty feet into the air) and the car chases extreme (why have a car chase with two police cars when you can use 200?).  Continue reading The Blues Brothers (1980)

Dredd (2012)


“It’s all a deep end”

My introduction to the 22nd century Mega-City One lawman came via a copy of the 2000AD Annual from 1978, a Christmas gift from a relative. Although the two Judge Dredd stories were interesting they didn’t have that much of an impact on me. Rather it was the Dan Dare and MACH 1 stories that caught my eye. Saying that though, the graphic scene from the Dredd story ‘Whitey’s Brother’ where the villain gets disintegrated did creep me out. Continue reading Dredd (2012)

Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)

Assault on Precinct 13 theatrical poster

 “Got a smoke?”

I’m embarrassed to admit this but for various bizarre reasons I avoided this film for years even though I’m a fan of John Carpenter‘s early films. Somehow I’d gotten it into my head that Assault on Precinct 13 was a stark prison movie and that premise never really appealed to me. I was also under the impression the movie was in black and white! I’ve no idea where any of those misconceptions came from but they unfortunately resulted in me ignoring the film for decades despite being a fan of The Fog, Escape from New York and the incomparable The Thing. So you can imagine my surprise (and delight) when, in the late ’90s, I stumbled across a late night showing of the film on BBC2 and discovered it wasn’t a grim prison drama but in fact a fast-paced, action-packed exploitation homage to both Howard Hawks’ Rio Bravo and George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. Continue reading Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)

In The Line of Fire (1993)

Clink Eastwood as Frank Horrigan
Clink Eastwood as Frank Horrigan

“I know things about pigeons, Lilly”

I always tend to group this film together with Unforgiven, not just because they were released at roughly the same time (Unforgiven came out a few months earlier) and not just because both films helped revive Clint Eastwood’s flagging career (anyone remember Pink Cadillac or The Rookie?). I think it’s because both films share a common theme: a character with a haunted past shaped by violence is given a chance for redemption. Unforgiven is concerned with a dealer of violence while In The Line of Fire deals with the victim of a violent event. Frank Horrigan (Eastwood) is a US Secret Service agent haunted by the assassination of President Kennedy, an event he failed to stop. He blames himself for the death of the man he’d sworn to protect and believes the break up of his marriage, and his subsequent alcoholism, to be a direct result of him ‘not taking the bullet’. Continue reading In The Line of Fire (1993)

Rio Bravo (1959)

Theatrical poster for Rio Bravo (1959)
Theatrical poster for Rio Bravo (1959)

“It’d be pretty close. I’d hate to have to
live on the difference.”

Hollywood legend has it that director Howard Hawks and star John Wayne were so offended by the premise of Fred Zinnemann’s High Noon (small town sheriff begs the local townsfolk to help him fight off a band of outlaws) that they made Rio Bravo (small town sheriff refuses to ask the local townsfolk to help him fight off a band of outlaws) as their own take on the bravery and stoicism of the western lawman. That all sounds a little too much like Hollywood PR to me though.  Continue reading Rio Bravo (1959)