OK. I have to 'fess up here to being a huge Cary Grant fan. I think all of the adjectives that he's been labelled with during his career (suave, witty, urbane, charming...) have stuck for one very good reason. They're all true! Well... I say that. Of course, I never met Cary Grant in real life unfortunately and let's face it, the guy was an actor. So I suspect only those that knew him well, know where the reality of the man parted ways from the persona he portrayed. They say, you should never meet your heroes. I would have loved to have met Cary Grant, I don't think he would have disappointed in at the very least meeting those expectations of the 'consummate all-round good guy' and the 'quintessential English gentleman'...

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Another Howard Hawks film from the around the same period as His Girl Friday, but so completely different in tone and perspective that you would never think these films were only four years apart and directed by the same man. This one was the film that brought 'Bogie' and 'Bacall' together for the first time. They never looked back.

It's has a bit of a complicated plot (moreso, than the Hemingway book upon which the film was based, in my opinion), probably due to the change in locale and the introduction of the pro-German Vichy France elements...

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I wonder how many people realise that North by Northwest isn't actually a proper compass destination. It doesn't really matter does it. North by Northwest just trips off of the tongue doesn't it?

With it's finale on the face of Mount Rushmore and the crop duster chase scene, this is one of Hitchcock's most iconic movies, probably along with Psycho with it's shower scene and Vertigo with that infamous climb up the Mission Tower to ultimate calamity. Who knew so much jeopardy could result from a (albeit less than innocent) case of mistaken identity.

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The third of my Howard Hawks picks. This one a western. Just goes to show the breadth of this man's work. A comedy, a melodrama and a western. He did everything. I believe there're even a few musicals and sci-fi films scattered around and about his resumé. Whether or not it's fair to say his western's are what he is most well known for, films like Rio Bravo are what drew him to my attention. With a name like Howard Winchester Hawks, that could only be said to be quite apt.

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The best Hitchcock film, never made by Hitchcock!

It has so many twists and turns, double and triple-crosses that you don't know whether you are coming or going half of the time. As a writer it was the plotting of this twisty-turny tale that immediately grabbed me. A star-studded cast (of mainly villains — James Coburn, George Kennedy (who makes what has to be one of the best entrances in ANY film, ever), Walther Matthau and the Mr. Sneezy-alike Ned Glass). Hitchcock's direction could never be termed 'slick' in my opinion, but Stanley Donnen's approach to the Hitchcock-ian thriller, definitely is that.

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There's little possibility of selecting one of the three films in this trilogy above any of the other. Even though each of the three is slightly different in tone, they really have to be taken as a whole. Funnily enough, the last of the trio 'The Good, The Bad and the Ugly' (GBU) should really be seen as a prequel to the two films which were released slightly earlier.

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I think with every major conflict, WW1, WW2, Vietnam and the Gulf War(s) there's an initial period of seriousness that surrounds the conflict itself, where no serious film-maker would even conceive of lampooning it or poking fun at the brave men and women who laid down their lives during it. But it seems that lasts for maybe 15-20 years before a 'revisionist' period begins to creep in and we get films like Oh, What a Lovely War, or Kelly's Heroes, M.A.S.H, The Producers or Three Kings even.

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This war film, couldn't be more different to the one that just preceded it. It really is 'just that' a film about the war, or more accurately a very specific battle that was one of many such engagements during that long interminable campaign.

Like it's predecessor, it has an absolutely 'stellar' cast. Other than the actors who were in the afore-mentioned Kelly's Heroes, there are very few major Hollywood stars of the period both English and American who don't have a speaking part in this film.

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Make no bones about it, Star Wars changed how films were made and how we as the public digested them. It affected an entire generation of film makers and cinema-goers. It was the first film that I remember going to see on my own (aged 12). After Star Wars it seemed for a while there that every other film from 1977 onward was a science-fiction film with a large special effects budget. Even James Bond went into space with 1979's Moonraker. Hollywood does love to jump on a 'band-wagon' - the most recent of which is the comic book adaptation.

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For me, this is one of those films that 'shifted' the goal-posts in terms of what you could and couldn't do in cinematic terms. James Cameron is one of those film-makers who, seemingly with every movie he makes is constantly pushing the bar out ahead of everybody else and leaving them scrambling to catch up with him. This film though, had it all. Action, suspense a slight nod to the horror genre, cutting-edge (for the time) special effects and a very cool story. Time travelling robot sent back in time to answer that age old question... 'If I go back in time and kill my Mother, will future me cease to exist?'

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The original Aliens film is a bit of an acquired taste, I think. As a piece of science-fiction it is truly inspired, it's sensibilities are more arthouse and indie than mainstream blockbuster though, which is why it's never really appealed to me. There's also the fact that I've never been a big fan of horror movies, which is why there aren't any out-and-out horror films in my list.

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This is a film that defies expectations at every turn. As an adult male, you just have to hear a title like 'The Princess Bride' and your mind automatically conjures up an idea of what you think the film will be and you're already dismissing it as something that you might even be mildly interested in.

But then, you start watching it and cleverly, it starts subverting those expectations from the first few minutes with the interplay between Peter Falk and Fred Savage who plays his grandson.

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This is another of those films (admittedly, alongside Richard Donner's Lethal Weapon film of the year before) that helped to change the landscape for film-makers and cinemagoers alike. It created (or maybe a more timely word would be 'rebooted') an entire sub-genre, that being the hard-boiled, high-octane, high concept thriller/action film.

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Like the next film on this list The Shawshank Redemption, True Romance is just one of those films you have to see. Whilst I had to be browbeaten into watching Shawshank (I hate the idea of being one of the crowd, and everybody was just raving about the film at the time, so just to be contrary - I avoided it at every turn until several years later a friend whose opinion I trusted told me I 'just had to watch it').

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This film would have passed me by, but for the intervention of a good friend, who 'appalled' that I hadn't seen it, challenged me to watch it and deny it's greatness, righfully deserving of its seven oscar nominations. Never one to back down from a decent challenge, I watched it and had to agree wholeheartedly with him. It's a stunningly great film about hope in adversity that slowly draws you in with it's amazing performances and brilliant characterisation.

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OK, another confession. I do like the odd 'rom-com'. Particularly if they have a bit of an edge to them, like 'Love, Actually' or 'Addicted to Love'. This one doesn't particularly have 'any' kind of edge per se. Well, other than the fact that it has Meg Ryan in it, and she always seems to bring some kind of edge to her performances. I think my love of this film stems from the fact that it was released at a time when things were literally all 'flowers and roses' and it has stayed linked with me and pretty much always evokes that particular time of my life, even 22 years later! Anytime I rewatch this film, I am right back there.

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This must have been one of the first animated CGI film that was targetted more at adults than it was children. Amongst all of the superheroics and comedy, it dealt with some pretty heavy themes. Male, mid-life crisis; sustaining a marriage when one of the partners is going through that; child-rearing; possible marital infidelity (come on, Bob was 'very' tempted wasn't he?).

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I recall speaking to my wife on the way home from watching (I believe), the first Tobey MacGuire Spider-man film and saying to her that I'd heard someone was talking about making an Iron Man movie. After seeing the Spider-Man film, it was almost beginning to seem possible to imagine that someone might be able to do it. Of course, as a died in the wool comic fan, my mind was fixated on Tony Stark's armour which folded away into a briefcase, and my head fairly span at the level of special effects that it would take to make that a reality (the suitcase armour had to wait until Iron Man II, but was still damned cool to see on the big screen).

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Of the 15 films that belong to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) to date, this has to be a contender for best film (probably along with the first Iron Man film and the sequel to this one Civil War). There are several set pieces which are absolutely some of the best sequences in any Action film, ever.

The opening sequence aboard the ship shows Cap at his best, tearing along the deck of the ship taking down all of the terrorists pretty much single-handed using only his shield and martial ability.

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The last three Mission Impossibles have all been pretty good. The whole idea of having a different director for each outing has served this franchise well. Since MI3 though, the series seems to have settled into a 'kind' of format. Big Action, Bigger Stunts. That may have something to do with the fact that J.J. Abrams Bad Robot production company has produced MI3, 4, 5 and will be producing 6.

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My Top 10 Books

  • Splinter of the Mind's Eye

    Splinter of the Mind's Eye

    I vividly recall going along to a Christmas Day gathering at one of my aunt's in 1978. All of the

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My Top 10 Films

  • His Girl Friday

    His Girl Friday

    OK. I have to 'fess up here to being a huge Cary Grant fan. I think all of the adjectives

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Contact Me

Quote of the Day

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