Galaxy Express 999 (1979) / Adieu, Galaxy Express 999: Final Stop Andromeda (1981)

Ginga Tetsudô Surî-Nain / Sayônara, Ginga Tetsudô Surî-Nain: Andromeda Shûchakueki Director: Rintaro Screenwriters: Kon Ichikawa, Shirô Ishimori; Hiroyasu Yamaura By Roderick Heath Leiji Matsumoto isn’t a household name outside of Japan except to fans of manga and anime, Japan’s beloved, specific styles in cartooning and animation. But for anyone who does love those art forms, …

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The Land That Time Forgot (1975) / At The Earth’s Core (1976) / The People That Time Forgot (1977) / Warlords of Atlantis (1978)

Director: Kevin Connor Screenwriters: Michael Moorcock, James Cawthorn, Milton Subotsky, Patrick Tilley, Brian Hayles By Roderick Heath Movies like Star Wars (1977) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) stand large as templates for contemporary blockbuster cinema, for better and for worse. But I’ve long thought of them rather as a culmination in popularity for …

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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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Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

Director: Ron Howard By Roderick Heath Here there be spoilers... From the moment it was announced, Solo: A Star Wars Story was dogged by ill omens, and the feeling it would prove the runt of the revived Star Wars litter. The troubled production, which saw initially commissioned directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller sacked and …

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Black Panther (2018)

Director/Coscreenwriter: Ryan Coogler By Roderick Heath The hype for Black Panther was rather daunting, to say the least. If you wanted to buy into Disney-Marvel’s carefully cultivated marketing hullabaloo and attendant word of social media mouth, you might reasonably expect Black Panther to singlehandedly reshape western history and count as a major act of social …

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

Director/Screenwriter: Rian Johnson By Roderick Heath Here there be spoilers… Although primed as the eagerly awaited follow-up to a hugely successful blockbuster and instant pop culture fixture, Star Wars: The Last Jedi had a daunting job of work ahead of it. If J.J. Abrams’ franchise-reviver The Force Awakens (2015) proved as tepid as often as …

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The Shape of Water (2017)

Director/Coscreenwriter: Guillermo del Toro By Roderick Heath Here there be spoilers… Guillermo del Toro’s oeuvre has long come in two strands: the wistfully poetic splendour and infernal evocations of his Spanish-language films, Cronos (1992), The Devil’s Backbone (2001), Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), and the gleeful, geeky spectacle of his Hollywood work, including Mimic (1997), his two …

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Justice League (2017)

Directors: Zack Snyder, Joss Whedon (uncredited) By Roderick Heath Here we go again. Zack Snyder’s films for the DC Comics-Warner Bros. imprimatur have provided ready whipping boys on the contemporary pop culture scene. Compared to Marvel-Disney’s current stranglehold on the zeitgeist, with their chintzy, jolly, near-indistinguishable entries, Snyder’s films, cloaked in a dusky, gothic stature, …

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