Planet of the Apes (1968)

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner Screenwriters: Rod Serling, Michael Wilson By Roderick Heath Although overshadowed in appreciation amongst high cinephiles by Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, 2018 brings the fiftieth anniversary of another hugely popular and influential science fiction film: Franklin J. Schaffner’s Planet of the Apes. 1968 was a pivotal year for sci-fi cinema, …

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The Disaster Artist (2017)

Director/Actor: James Franco By Roderick Heath When I wrote about Tommy Wiseau’s The Room (2003) in 2011, I finished up my commentary with a flourish of mock-epic prose: The Room finishes, and yet its all-pervading awfulness remained with me. Everything seemed to grow darker, tainted by its touch. The likes of Michelangelo and Leo Tolstoy …

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Me, You, Him, Her (Je, Tu, Il, Elle, 1974) / All Night Long (Toute Une Nuit, 1982)

Director/Screenwriter/Actor: Chantal Akerman By Roderick Heath Chantal Akerman’s death in 2015 at the age of 65 was a wrenching moment for many movie lovers, and closed curtains on a career beloved in the most studious corners of the world cinema scene. Akerman staked her claim to such loyalty with her most famous work, Jeanne Dielman, …

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Baby Driver (2017)

Director/ Screenwriter: Edgar Wright By Roderick Heath A heist scene, both in life and in movies, is traditionally a scene of fear, ferocity, chaos, and sometimes bloodshed. Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver kicks off on the other hand with a sequence of startling formal artistry and glib humour as its hero, who remains for nearly the …

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The Ladies Man (1961)

Director/Screenwriter/Actor: Jerry Lewis By Roderick Heath Jerry Lewis’ partnership with Dean Martin had terminated in 1956 as Lewis increasingly dominated their movie collaborations. For every filmgoer who found Lewis a testing presence, there seemed to be another who adored him, and his slapstick talents were so spectacular, so percussive in their cinematic impact that Martin, …

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Shoot the Piano Player (Tirez sur les Pianiste, 1960)

Director/Coscreenwriter: François Truffaut By Roderick Heath The evergreen lustre the early films of the French New Wave still retain stems in part from a tangible quality inseparable from the moment and place of their making. That sense of fleet-footed adventure encoded in their frames, captured by a bunch of ragged young men and women spilling …

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How Much Do You Love Me? (Combien tu m’aimes?, 2005)

Director/Screenwriter: Bertrand Blier The White Elephant Blogathon By Roderick Heath Bertrand Blier was for a long time a strong commercial and creative presence in French cinema, thanks to his reputation as a maker of droll, lippy, often outrageous films about that eternal French topic, l’amour. His work evoked prime-era Woody Allen’s fascination for urban manners …

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Inherent Vice (2014)

Director/Screenwriter: Paul Thomas Anderson By Roderick Heath Thomas Pynchon has long been considered an unfilmable author. The celebrity-averse writer’s absurdist, metastasizing narratives and quintessentially postmodern, metafictional conceits, wrap the reader in material wrought from a heated blend of cultural detritus. Pulp novels, B-movies, history books, philosophy volumes, underground comedy skits, comic books, urban legends, paranoid …

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