Blu-Ray Review: The Offence

Director: Sidney Lumet
Screenplay: John Hopkins
Based on a Play by: John Hopkins
Starring: Sean Connery, Trevor Howard, Ian Bannen, Vivien Merchant
Country: UK/USA
Running Time: 112 min
Year: 1972
BBFC Certificate: 15

Sidney Lumet was responsible for a handful of cast iron classics. His debut feature 12 Angry Men and several films he made in the 70’s (Dog Day Afternoon, Network and Serpico) are all considered some of the finest films ever made. If you look on the IMDb though you’ll see he has an astonishing 73 directing credits to his name. Granted the first 20 or so are TV shows, but he’s still got quite a large volume of work under his belt. Because of this, he has made a huge number of films that have been forgotten over the years despite his pedigree. Some were probably forgotten for good reason (Gloria for instance), but I imagine there are a good few gems lurking in there waiting to be discovered. It’s that thinking that got me excited about checking out The Offence, which is being re-released on dual format Blu-Ray and DVD as part of Eureka’s superb Masters of Cinema series.

The Offence stars the legend that is Sean Connery as Detective Sergeant Johnson, who is part of a team of policemen on the hunt for a child molester in an English suburb. Shortly after a fourth victim is found, a suspect is brought in for questioning. The slightly fey Kenneth Baxter (Ian Bannen) is this suspect, who gives nothing to the police detectives who question him. Johnson, who is hell bent on catching the deviant and plagued with memories of previous cases, is convinced Baxter is his man though and locks himself in the interrogation room with him to knock out the truth. He knocks too hard though and beats the man possibly to death. Johnson himself becomes the offender at this point and the spotlight is turned on him and his demons.

My opinion on this film veered this way and that, and after reading a couple of other reviews (not something I generally practise) I seem to have the opposite opinion to everyone else, so please don’t take my thoughts as gospel.

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Mamo #275: The “Death” of the “Moviestar”

Taken a look at the Hollywood moviestar lately? Some might argue that the star system is dead, but don’t tell Liam Neeson – he’ll prove you wrong and kick your ass. Plus, we talk about Matt’s James Bond series, From A to Bond – already in progress on The Substream! – and heap praise on Shorts That Are Not Pants.

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Cinecast Episode 202 – Obviously You’re Not a Golfer


It is a cornucopia, a smörgåsbord, a veritable potpourri of cinema, as the Cinecast regulars get together with nothing on the agenda other than to talk about what they have watched, in the cinema, on the DVD and streamed from the internet or (in an exciting technology development, from the Computer Hard Drive.) Andrew continues to dig into the Foreign Language Nominees with Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Biutiful. Kurt comes at Oscar a different way with the new documentary on the man with the midas touch when it comes to little gold men, Harvey Weinstein. And Gamble talks best animated film of 2011 with a preview of the flat out awesome Gore Verbinski/Nickelodeon/Industrial-Light-And-Magic Johnny Depp western, Rango. From there, we go from the occult, to Penelope Cruz DTV failures, to two vastly different takes time travel from the 1980s to Chinese shopping malls. Then it is onto Romans wandering about Scotland, Aussie crime dynasties and suburban teenage prostitution rings! It is all a part of your complete breakfast.

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!



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ALTERNATIVE (no music track):

Full show notes are under the seats…
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James Bond January: “Dr. No”

Director: Terence Young (From Russia with Love, Thunderball)
Novel: Ian Fleming
Screenplay: Richard Maibaum, Johanna Harwood, Berkely Mather
Producers: Albert R. Broccoli, Harry Saltzman
Starring: Sean Connery, Jack Lord, Bernard Lee, John Kitzmiller, Ursula Andress, Joseph Wiseman
MPAA Rating: PG
Running time: 110 min.

This is the first in a series of reviews that are part of the James Bond January blog-a-thon started at paragraphfilmreviews. Each day throughout the month a new review of each of the films in the 007 franchise by various bloggers, fans and critics. Enjoy!

As a child of the 80’s and 90’s I’m much more familiar with the more gadget driven Bond, popularized by Roger Moore and later more gimmickily and outlandishly from Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan. Dr. No on the other hand, the first in the Bond empire and a first time watch for me, is much simpler; leaning dangerously close to simple detective story rather than a cloak and dagger, spy picture. Sure there’s some international intrigue and some exciting action moments, but more than half of the film is searching for clues, interviewing suspects and gathering information from the (almost bumbling) local law enforecment. Of course in retrospect, I suppose that all of the Bond films do this in some respects, but with Dr. No it feels much more straight forward and simplistic. I better understand now why Daniel Craig’s Bond (specifically Casino Royale) was touted as returning to the roots of the 007 franchsie.

Now that is not to say the Bond conventions are not present. Quite on the contrary. The femme fatales with inuendo names (Honey Ryder), the menacing henchmen, the not so surprising traitor and of course the mysterious evil genius with a unique character trait (in this case, super-human, robotic hands). Many of the things we expect 007 to say and do are all present here and with all of the ensuing entries in the franchise, they almost feel like cliche caricature traits at this point. Of course this isn’t a bad thing. This is what makes Bond one of the most beloved characters in cinematic history. Being the first film in the series, this is the picture that sets the tone and general style of the adventures and the tenets of the character for years to come.

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Irvin Kershner: 1923 – 2010 [RIP]

Looks like it’s one of those weeks. Just on the heels of the sad passing of Leslie Nielsen comes word of Empire Strikes Back director, Irvin Kershner leaving this world at the age of 87 after battling illness in his Paris home.

Some other notable titles Kershner sat in the director’s chair for included James Bond: Never Say Never Again starring Sean Connery and Robocop II. He also directed the great George C. Scott in Flim-Flam Man and a whole slew of other great actors over the many years Kershner was working in the Hollywood system. Of course he remains the director most famous for helping to create what the vast majority of Star Wars fans consider the best in the series: The Empire Strikes Back.

“Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.” Rest in peace, sir.


DVD Review: Time Bandits

Time Bandits

Director: Terry Gilliam (Brazil, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Twelve Monkeys, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Tideland, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus )
Writers: Michael Palin & Terry Gilliam
Producer: Terry Gilliam
Starring: Craig Warnock, John Cleese, Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, Katherine Helmond, Michael Palin, Ian Holm, Jim Broadbent
MPAA Rating: PG
Running time: 116 min.

Though children’s films are still being produced (perhaps in higher numbers than before thanks in large part to the advent of VOD and Direct to DVD releases), the quality of kid friendly fare seems to be on the downward trend. Sure, occasionally something really good comes up (How to Train Your Dragon was a great surprise and Pixar continues to dominate the field – Toy Story 3 (review) being the latest of the studio’s wins) but the 80s has left a plethora of great child friendly entertainment from The Goonies to The Princess Bride. What makes these films that much more special is that they are, for the most part, extremely re-watchable and appealing to both children and adults.

Time Bandits Movie StillOne of the earliest of the bunch is Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits. Originally released in 1981, it continues to be the director’s most successful film to date but beyond that, it hints at many of the visuals and even a few ideas that later came to permeate through films like Brazil and Twelve Monkeys.

The story of a young boy who is drawn into the adventures of a band of dwarves as they use a magical map they have stolen from the supreme being to jump from time to time in search of treasure to steal, Time Bandits is a gem even if you’re seeing it for the first time (as I did) nearly 30 years after its original release.
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Cinecast Episode 103 – Hither and Yon


Episode 103:
We’ve got Bond galore and also a nice Tangent on Kubrick and Kieslowski. And for fans of lists and Oscar season, a new top 5 list is here as well. Oh, and Zombie Diaries!
Thanks for listening!

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