Masterpiece Memo: The Greek Blues With Rembetiko

Costas Ferris’ extraordinary, sinfully under-seen, Rembetiko from 1983, begins and ends with the music. Literally. Your ears are in for a real Greek treat – baglamas, violin, santouri, bouzouki – the music emerges from the opening frame. From behind the hanging bead pass of a Greek bar, a secluded venue, one of many, for the social […]

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A Clockwork Orange: Kubrick’s 1971 Controversial Masterpiece

Alex DeLarge (Malcom McDowell) is the leader of a street gang in a slightly futuristic London who inflicts ultra violence with his mates on the unsuspecting residents about town. After committing a series of beatings and rapes, Alex is betrayed by his three other gang members and is arrested by the police. Alex is sentenced […]

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Citizen Welles

Orson Welles

On the 6th May, it will be Orson Welles’ 103 birthday. There’s a very high chance that you have heard the name Orson Welles, and I am going to out on a limb here and say you must be aware of his most well-known film, Citizen Kane (1941). To celebrate his birthday, I have decided […]

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Masterpiece: Milos Forman’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Milos Forman

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest opens and closes with a tranquil setting, open land at near-dark, mountains, that stirring Jack Nitzsche score – emotively both experiences are very different. The brave, sensitive subject matter on show here is still tricky to handle, even today (over forty years on), but the director Milos Forman just […]

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Masterpiece Memo: Raging Bull

When the opening credits begin in Raging Bull and we see a distant, hooded figure in the smoke-filled ring in warm-up sparring mode – presented in cosmic slow motion and set to the celestial “Intermezzo” from Cavalleria rusticana and the pop of flashbulbs – we sense that we are entering untrod territory.

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Masterpiece Memo: The Age of Innocence

Whenever asked about my favorite Martin Scorsese film, I typically went with the usual, more generally acceptable suspects across Scorsese film geeks. Movies like Goodfellas or Raging Bull or Taxi Driver. Those are the generally agreed-upon classics. And they’re great, don’t get me wrong. But they weren’t films that lived in my heart. Those are […]

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Masterpiece Memo: Spielberg’s ‘Close Encounter’ With Greatness

Da. Da. Da. Da. Daaa. Those five notes are perhaps some of the most iconic in cinematic history. After all of the human drama and stunning visuals leave you of Steven Spielberg’s 1977 classic Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the brain hangs onto the most simple aspect of the film. And that’s completely by […]

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Masterpiece Memo: The Exorcist

Often I wonder with a kind of disappointed enthusiasm, what it was like to actually be around to see some of cinema’s greatest motion pictures when they first went on general release in theaters. Of all the excellent movies that drift in and out of my abstract nostalgia, not many fill that yearning more than […]

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Masterpiece Memo: Maya Deren’s Meshes Of The Afternoon

If I were female, Maya Deren would be my heroine for all time. Scratch that, the pioneer’s legacy in the film world is a landmark of inspiration and adoration for all, regardless of gender, of occupation, of time. Deren’s imprint on the history of cinema is likely too vast and layered to do it justice […]

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Masterpiece Memo: Seven

Alien 3 had it’s merits with regard to the superb technical visual aspect, and this was down to music video director David Fincher. He had to put up and shut up there, a poor, insult of narrative material, but that which was directed superbly. Everyone starts somewhere. Seven was Fincher’s second chance to demonstrate his […]

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Masterpiece Memo: The Social Network

To begin with I think The Social Network is a masterpiece. It’s a film that I really love, and ever since I first saw it in January 2011, I always feel like it is an event to watch. There are not many films that I have felt this strongly about. Titanic is a film that […]

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Masterpiece Memo: L’enfer d’Henri-Georges Clouzot

“You have to see your madness through. You have to take responsibility to the end… I believe there’s a job to do every day and from time to time, ideas do or don’t come. It’s like a seed you plant in the earth. Every day, you water it and whatever grows will grow. And there’s no point pulling the stem to make it grow faster. If […]

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Masterpiece Memo: Le salaire de la peur (Wages of Fear)

The Fifties, that squeaky-clean decade of that saw the birth of the suburbs, strict morality and, the McCarthy era, also had the misfortune to precede the Sixties and Seventies in film history because the number of industry–challenging styles of storytelling positively exploded in the latter two. Since then, with a couple of major exceptions like […]

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Masterpiece Memo: Barfly

Barfly is a film that I have loved for a long time. I can’t remember how old I was when I saw it, or what year it was, but I knew what I was watching was something to behold. It’s not an overly impressive film the way The Godfather or Star Wars is, but in […]

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Masterpiece Memo: Inside Llewyn Davis

  The Cannes Film Festival may be coming to an end this year, but some of the films that came out this year will likely go on to be remembered for years to come. Surely that’s also the case for one that premiered there 3 years ago in 2013. Winning the Grand Prize of the […]

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Masterpiece Memo: L’Avventura

Some films deserve far more words than what I pour out here. Easy on the eye, but tougher on the soul, Michelangelo Antonioni’s beautifully absorbing L’Avventura effortlessly blends enticing scenery of varying scopes with genuine human restlessness and conundrums. The great beauty of 1960 among a flourishing excellence in a new dawn of cinematic history. […]

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Masterpiece Memo: Bonnie and Clyde

Or, the film that flipped the bird at Hollywood movie-making and changed everything. Next year is the fiftieth anniversary of a little film that drop kicked Hollywood into the cinema revolution that was already raging internationally. In the 1960s, with a few exceptions, American movies had started looking stale in comparison with the prolific French […]

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Masterpiece Memo: The Empire Strikes Back

I have a vivid memory as a child browsing the collection of Star Wars figures in a store, and the new set on display. Part of the excitement was that they had the word “Empire” on them, a word I could hardly read, and did not know what it meant. Had I even seen The […]

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Masterpiece Memo: The Grapes of Wrath

Great films continue to speak to the human condition for decades long after they are initially released, and none begs the connotation, “Now more than ever,” than John Ford’s filmed version of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. Steinbeck’s novel was unusual in that not only was it the bestselling book of 1940, it was […]

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Masterpiece Memo: Modern Times

Modern Times is one of four or five movies I have seen many, many times, that when I do sit down and watch it again I have to scratch my head and wonder – is this my favorite film of all time? Most recently I took it upon myself to introduce my recently turned 3 […]

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Masterpiece Memo – Lawrence of Arabia

Mention Hollywood epics and one of the first films that comes to mind is Lawrence of Arabia. AFI named it Number One on its “EPICS” top ten and it appears on every other list for which it qualifies. It is the standard by which all are measured, but when one looks closer, it should have […]

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