Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston) is a Jewish prince in Jerusalem. He lives with his mother (Martha Scott) and sister Tirzah (Cathy O’Donnell), and has a good relationship with his slaves, including Simonides (Sam Jaffe) and his daughter Esther (Haya Harareet), whom it is obvious from the start will have some kind of romantic relationship with Ben, because she’s pretty. A childhood friend of Ben’s, Messala (Stephen Boyd) has returned¬†home to be the new commander of the town, and wants Ben’s help to get the rebelling Jewish faction in line. Ben-Hur chooses his faith and his people’s freedom over his former friendship, so he and Messala become enemies. When Tirzah accidentally knocks some loose roof tiles and injures Judea’s new governor, she, Ben-Hur and their mother are locked up. Ben works on the slave ships, whilst his family are imprisoned in the dungeons. He then devotes his life to finding his way back to free his family, and enact his vengeance upon Messala.
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Andrei Rublev

Andrei Rublev sits in an odd position for me. As regular readers will know, this year I’m watching films that have been hand-selected from the 1001 Movies list for me to watch by some of my movie-blogging friends, and I’ve also asked a couple of guys who have finished the 1001 List to highlight some of the worst movies on said list, and I’m working through those as well. Andrei Rublev somehow sits on both lists. It was picked for me as a “Recommended” film by Joel Burman, but a “Bad” film by Chip Lary, so I wasn’t sure where I’d settle down on this film. The fact that it appeared on not just the 1001 Movies list but also four of the other five lists I’m going through (everything except for the Total Film Top 120) made me think that perhaps Chip was in the wrong with this one, but now that I’ve seen it I’m definitely swaying more in his direction than Joel’s.
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Leading up to Gotham City’s bicentennial celebrations, the mayor, the police and the district attorney are all keen on increasing the police presence to stamp out the city’s rampant crime. Mob boss Grissom (Jack Palance) is not keen on this, but even less keen on his second-in-command, Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson). He sets Napier up to take the fall on a job, but doesn’t expect the city’s masked vigilante, Batman (Michael Keaton), to step in and, in the process of trying to apprehend Napier, accidentally drops him into a vat of acid. The acid dyes Napier’s skin white and his hair green, and a facial injury prior to the fall renders him with a permanent demonic grin, Thus, the Joker is born.
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My Week in Movies, 2015 Week 17

Normally I do most of my movie watching at weekends. What with work and other commitments, weekdays tend to have more of a focus on TV, which this week meant finishing off Season 1 of True Detective and catching up with the first two episodes of Season 5 of Game of Thrones, all of which was awesome. Then the weekend rolled around, and this happened:
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Yep, we got a puppy. This is Malakili Urak-Hai Robocop Patroni Hagrid Yoda Cluitt-Green, or M.U.R.P.H.Y. for short, a two month old labradoodle, and as such I didn’t watch a great deal of movies this week and, if the past weekend is anything to go by, never will ever again. But he’s all kinds of adorable (you should watch him hunting a tennis ball), so I can’t stay mad at him, regardless of how often he pees in the hall. Anyway, here’s what I watched this week: Continue reading

One-Eyed Jacks

Marlon Brando is Rio who, along with two companions, is forced to flee town after robbing a bank. One guy is gunned down, leaving just him and Dad Longworth (Karl Malden), and only one knackered out horse between them. Dad is sent with the loot to fetch fresh horses whilst Rio defends a ridge until his return, but Dad never comes back and Rio winds up in prison. 5 years later he escapes and has only one thing on his mind – to track down the guy who betrayed him all those years ago. The only problem is, Dad has spent his time wisely, going straight and settling down, becoming the sheriff of a small town, with a wife and step-daughter to care for. When Rio shows up with a new gang in tow and plans to rob Dad’s local bank, well things get a little messy for everyone.
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Le Cercle Rouge

Corey (Alain Delon) has just been released from prison after 5 years, but not before one of the guards tells him about a job on the outside – a jewellery heist – that needs someone of his talents. Corey seems hesitant but, after an altercation with his former boss, who is now sleeping with Corey’s girl, he buys a car and heads out of town. Meanwhile, Vogel (Gian Maria Volont√©) has been arrested, and is being transported by train by Le Commissaire Matteito (Bourvil) to be questioned and potentially sentenced. However, on the journey Vogel escapes and, by sheer coincidence, hides out in Corey’s car, which initially proves a problem for Corey, but perhaps these two can work together on the planned burglary?
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Ace in the Hole

Chuck Tatum (Kirk Douglas) used to be a big shot journalist, and now just thinks he still is one. He’s been fired from more newspapers than I could name for a cornucopia of vices, and now finds himself staring at a vacant typewriter at the Albuquerque Sun Bulletin, a small town paper with very few employees and even fewer stories for them to tell. All Tatum needs is that one big break to get him noticed by the big papers again, and when a local man gets trapped in a cave-in whilst searching for trinkets to sell, Chuck sees potential, he just needs to make the story fit the headlines.
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My Week in Movies, 2015 Week 16

Movie-wise, this has not been a productive week. It seems every time I sat down to write up a review (at time of writing I still have 6 pending, some from a few weeks back now) another big trailer would come up, one that I’d want to cover in my Trailer Breakdown feature over at French Toast Sunday, and the problem with stuff about trailers is if you don’t do it quickly, you may as well not do it. As such, I didn’t get a whole lot of reviewing done this week, and I won’t make any promises about doing it all this week because that’s how I end up breaking promises. Anyway, trailers. There were a whole bunch of awesome ones for films I previously wasn’t looking forward to, but am now at least a little excited about the crazy directions they seem to be taking. I’ve linked to the breakdowns below. We also finished out season 4 of Game of Thrones, and will hopefully be catching up with the first two episodes of season 5 this week. Now that’s out of the way for the most part, I should be able to get back to watching more movies. Here’s what I watched this week:

Amour (2012) Amour Continue reading


Georges and Anne (Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva) are a couple of retired music teachers in their 80s, who live alone together in their apartment. Their peaceful existence is shattered when Anne suffers a stroke, and her condition only worsens, but Georges promises to never send her back to the hospital, and instead attempts to care for her himself in their home.
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The Night of the Hunter

This review was originally written as part of my USA Road Trip series for French Toast Sunday, and was recommended to me by Will Slater from Exploding Helicopter as part of my Nominated Movies quest.

Ben Harper (Peter Graves) has just stolen $10,000 from the bank, and killed two people in the process. He tells his young children John and Pearl (Billy Chapin and Sally Jane Bruce) where the money is hidden, just before their father is arrested. In prison, Ben shares the details of his larceny with his cell mate, Reverend Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum), who has been arrested for stealing a car, but is in actual fact a serial killer. Upon his release, Powell heads to the Harper homestead, with plans of getting his hands on that money, by whatever means necessary.
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