#74: Singin’ in the Rain

Who's hand is that up there?

Who’s hand is that up there?

Director: Gene Kelly & Stanley Donen
Year: 1952
Genre: Comedy

I avoided watching Singin’ in the Rain for the longest time due to being over-saturated with the titular musical number, since the day I was born, and believing the film to be a plotless musical literally about singing in the rain.

Luckily, I was fortunate enough to catch this masterpiece on the big screen back in 2009 and I was shocked! Shocked by how blown away I was; shocked by how ahead of its time the script was; and shocked that for the first 23 years of my life I was living a lie!

Singin’ in the Rain is an extraordinary comedy set in Hollywood during the dawn of “talking pictures” in the late 1920’s. The plot revolves around Hollywood’s 2 hottest stars, who pose as a couple to increase their popularity, and the trials and tribulations they must face during the transition from silent films to talking pictures. You may have seen The Artist (2011), which explores this very same subject matter with the added gimmick of being a black-and-white silent film itself. The Artist is a great film in its own right, but it pales in comparison to Singin’ in the Rain’s hilarious Hollywood commentary and deliciously extravagant musical/dance sequences.

The fabulous, and epic musical set pieces of Singin’ in the Rain highlight the superficial indulgence of Hollywood by taking every aspect of film production to decadent heights all at once to create a spectacular extravaganza not matched till, perhaps, Moulin Rouge! (2001). Whilst the sequences are entertaining enough on the surface, there’s a level of commentary suggesting that in order to stay in the limelight and hold the public’s attention one must constantly up the anti by taking entertainment to ridiculous levels. Such commentary couldn’t be any more relevant today with our short attention spans and the wide variety of accessible platforms we now have in entertainment and technology.

The success of the film doesn’t solely rest on its musical sequences, however. The cast, lead by Gene Kelly, sell the screenplay’s witty dialogue and endearing banter with their infectious charisma, leaving no room for “filler” in between musical numbers.

Of course, if you detest musicals all together, there’s no way I can recommend this sophisticated-Hollywood-extravaganza to you. But, if you were like me five years ago and you were expecting nothing more than old-fashioned, frothy nonsense, then forget everything you thought you knew and put your raincoat on!

#75: Battle Royale

These exams are bloody hard!

These exams are bloody hard!

Director: Kinji Fukasaku
Year: 2000
Genre: Action/Thriller

Since the release of The Hunger Games films Battle Royale has fought its way back into the public consciousness. The latter is a Japanese film released in the year 2000 based on a novel of the same name. These two franchises, The Hunger Games and Battle Royal, have been compared due to the fact that they share the concept of teenagers being forced to kill each other in controlled environments. Where The Hunger Games focuses as much on the revolution outside of the televised battle ground as it does the carnage within, Battle Royale never leaves the fighting ring and isn’t concerned with much more than high school pressures and violence.

If you’re looking for an epic story with heaps of character development maybe you should just stick with The Hunger Games, which is more than a decent franchise, but if you’re partial to lots of graphic on-screen violence and are looking for something a little more thematically challenging then get your hands dirty with Battle Royale.

Set in a near future where high school students are forced to kill each other on an isolated island until one sole survivor remains, Battle Royale is a vicious examination of the severe high school pressures in Japan and our obsession with reality game shows. What would you do to survive? Could you turn on your friends? Or will you sacrifice yourself so that you don’t have to do the unspeakable?

Whilst this film raises a variety of issues it is, none-the-less, 2 hours of high school kids trying to kill each other with a random assortment of weapons. Due to such subject matter it’s clear that Battle Royale’s target audience is rather niche but if your stomach’s churning from a chunky blood lust and you’re yet to see this modern classic then strap an explosive collar around your neck and hope that you can kill all of your classmates before it goes off!

CK’s Top 10 Films of 2013 – pt. 2

#5: The Place Beyond the Pines

This movie almost looks as gorgeous as I do...

This movie almost looks as gorgeous as I do…

Director: Derek Cianfrance
Genre: Drama

The Place Beyond the Pines is a sweeping crime drama told from both sides of the law across two generations. Pretty boy Gosling plays a stunt motorcyclist who turns to bank robbery so that he can provide for his son. Bradley Cooper plays the “heroic” cop who rises through the ranks whilst struggling with his own demons and proves that he too is an actor we can take seriously. So far the story probably sounds pretty familiar but to elaborate any further would “spoil” your experience.
The Place Beyond the Pines takes you on a thrilling emotional journey and is arguably the sexiest looking film of the year. If you enjoy crime dramas like The Town (2010), The Departed (2006), and/or Heat (1995) then you should most defs check this shit – even if you don’t find Ryan Gosling attractive.

#4: You’re Next

I killed your family, like a fox!

I killed your family, like a fox!

Director: Adam Wingard
Genre: Horror

The horror of the year is a comic one, much like last year’s Cabin in the Woods but not as experimental or ambitious. You’re Next sees a wealthy family reuniting at some vacation house. The festivities are spoiled when a bunch of strangers disguised in animal masks crash the party with crossbows and the intent to kill! This is one of those movies you clap and cheer in. You know those films that keep surprising you WHILST giving you exactly what you’re expecting? You’re Next is a ballsy, gruesome horror with a sharp sense of humour and a massive adrenaline shot.
And to chuck a massive cherry on top of an already decadent cake, our very own Sharni Vinson kicks absolute fuckin’ arse in this movie! Seeing a female Aussie steal the limelight in an awesome American film really gets me going… 

#3: Star Trek – Into Darkness

"Live long and suffer!"

“Live long and suffer!”

Director: J.J. Abrams
Genre:
Sci-Fi

Man that J.J. Abrams knows how to make a blockbuster! Star Trek: Into Darkness may have a shitty title and isn’t quite as amazing as its predecessor, Star Trek (2009)but when sequels are this good my faith in the Hollywood system is momentarily restored.
If you didn’t like the previous film don’t bother with this one. PS. What’s wrong with you?
Otherwise, how can anyone resist such a loveable ensemble cast, exciting story, mouth watering special effects, and emotionally manipulative music? I’ll tell you how. If you’re a massive cynic with a heart of stone. Shame on you!

#2: Upstream Color

I'm no scientist but that shit looks cray!

I’m no scientist but that shit looks cray!


Director: Shane Carruth
Genre:
Sci-FI

Some folks are enchanted by this film, others are confused by it, but many are both! Upstream Color may be the most challenging and unique film of the year and it really is a thing of beauty.
So, what is this…thing? Upstream Color can be described as a sci-fi drama about two people who start to mirror each other’s behaviour after being infected by a strange parasite. To be honest, any attempt to describe the plot does it a disservice.
This film doesn’t have a complex plot like director Shane Carruth’s previous effort, Primer, which was an extremely technical and mind-bending story about time travel. What makes Upstream Color so disorientating, and fascinating, is the peculiar way in which the film is directed and the story is told. There aren’t any characters who conveniently deliver us all the exposition we need to fully grasp the story, the camera often focuses on strange or unrelated subjects during dialogue driven scenes, and there’s lots of extreme close ups of shit growing. I’ve probably put a lot of people to sleep already! Upstream Color obviously isn’t for everyone but if you open your mind and stop worrying about plot you just might discover a new experience in cinema.

#1: The World’s End

Drink your beer and don't look so suspicious!

Alright, we can have our beers but let’s try not to look like fuckin’ weirdos while we’re at it!

Director: Edgar Wright
Genre:
Comedy

The team that brought us Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz finish off their Cornetto Trilogy with a bang. 20 years ago a group of teenagers attempted an epic 12 pub crawl but didn’t manage to make it to the end. In the present day these friends reunite to try again but this time their attempt coincides with an alien invasion!
The World’s End may not be the best of the trilogy but it’s certainly the most ambitious. A lot of fans may be put off by how different The World’s End is from its predecessors but I reckon Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg made some bold decisions with this one. Their ability to mix hilarity with familiar yet moving storytelling has always been spot on and they explore darker and richer territory in The World’s End.
I’m such a fan of this team’s work that I deemed The World’s End the film of the year after my initial viewing of it. Upon second viewing, however, I was amazed, but not surprised, by the meticulousness of each shot and line of dialogue. Every scene is so thematically and comically rich it gives me nerdgasms just thinking about it.
Genre comedies, funny films with stories you can take seriously, are my most beloved type of film and Wright and Pegg have been the true masters of the genre for the last ten years. Thank God for The World’s End!

Fitting that the end of this Top 10 should be The World’s End but as much as this year hasn’t been a great film year, there are still lots of other films I liked a lot. Here are 3 such films…

Django Unchained, This is the End, and Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing

CK’s Top 10 Films of 2013 – pt. 1

2013 was a pretty shitty time for cinema but every year has its gems and, of course, I didn’t get round to seeing every film I should have.
For that reason I can’t rate films such as Captain Phillips, Mud, Blue Jasmine, or Francis Ha.
Also, I’m Australian which means some of my most anticipated films of 2013 have not yet been released here. Due to such international intrigue, the following films will have to compete in my 2014 lineup…
Her, The Wolf of Wall Street, Blue is the Warmest Colour, 12 Years a Slave and Inside Llewyn Davis.

Taking into consideration all of the above bullshit, here are my Top 10 Films of 2013 (well, at least films #10-#6 for now)…

#10: John Dies at the End

Damn, I really wanted to "meat" her...

Damn, I really wanted to “meat” her…


Director:
Don Coscarelli
Genre: Comedy/Horror

There’s no easy way to describe this riot of a film. Writer/Director, Coscarelli, of Phantasm and Bubba Ho-Tep fame, adapts the surreal, dark comic novel of the same name and presents us with the stoner film of the year.
The story can be vaguely described as a twisted tale about a young man who recounts a series of bizarre and unbelievable events to a reporter, played by Paul Giamatti, and there’s a monster made of pieces of frozen meat!
Bear in mind that John Dies at the End is a small film and with that you won’t be getting Guillermo Del Toro quality CGI, but this is a perfect example of ambitious story-telling and inventive filmmaking triumphing over big budgets.
Watch this film if you wanna see some crazy shit and have a good time!

 #9: Magic Magic

I speak Chilean now, bitch!

I speak Chilean now, bitch!

Director: Sebastián Silva
Genre: Drama/Thriller

Another limited release of 2013, Magic Magic is a beautifully shot Chilean-American indie psychological thriller. We follow Alicia, a young, timid woman played mesmerisingly by Juno Temple, into the South of Chile for what is meant to be a holiday but what begins as an awkward fish-out-of-water drama slowly but magically evolves into a demented psychological trip. A remarkably unique and challenging indie-drama filled with seamlessly naturalistic dialogue and plenty of “WTF” moments; Magic Magic is essential viewing for those who desire a break from the mainstream. Hell, it’s even worth the watch just to see Michael Cera speak Chilean! The film also showcases how well Cera can perform in a drama, and now I shall watch what the future holds for him with great interest.

#8: Only God Forgives

"I don't need no mirror to tell me how good I look."

“I don’t need no mirror to tell me how good I look.”

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Genre:
Thriller

Most people hated this film, but I hate most people. Nah, Only God Forgives is a trying film and I can certainly see how it turned people off. If you’re looking for a dense story with twists and turns then this film isn’t for you, in fact, what are you doing watching a Refn film at all? Remember Drive? That was one of my favourite films of 2011 but it wasn’t on account of its plot. Refn’s films, at least his later works, tend to be all about atmosphere and Only God Forgives is dripping with it. Refn’s directorial flare and Gosling’s stoic performance and boyish good looks were a dynamite combination in Drive and this time round Refn jacks the atmosphere up to 11 and builds Gosling’s character up only to be broken, therefore shitting on our expectations. There’s not a whole lot of dialogue in Only God Forgives and for that reason people shrug it off as having no story, but if you allow yourself to be consumed by the film’s deliciously nightmarish atmosphere you just might find yourself on the dark, surreal journey that I didn’t want to return from once the film was over. If you think you could be seduced by sexy cinematography, hyper-stylised lighting and sublime soundscapes then dive into the macabre wonderland of Refn’s latest effort, otherwise watch Captain Phillips or something else that’ll probably get an Oscar or two.

#7: Prisoners

Can I come too?

Can I come too?

Director: Denis Villeneuve
Genre: Thriller

Phwoar! There’s nothing quite like a well executed mainstream procedural thriller. Hugh Jackman’s kids get kidnapped and Jake Gyllenhaal is the detective assigned to crack the case. A clear suspect, creepy Paul Dano, is identified but there’s no substantial evidence to keep him in custody. Enraged by all this bureaucracy, Hugh Jackman goes rogue and starts doing questionable shit to find his daughters. If I haven’t sold you on the premise already it’s probably ‘cos you’re sick of mainstream thrillers being shit. Well, this one isn’t, it’s actually great. The script is tight, the film is beautifully directed and the cast are electric, particularly Hugh Jackman in his most serious role to date. Like I said, there’s nothing like a good thriller, and Prisoners is the undisputed mainstream thriller of the year, probably even the last 3 years!

#6: Pain & Gain

Let's get a protein shake.

Let’s get a protein shake.

Director: Michael Bay
Genre:
Black Comedy

If Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines is the morally questionable yet musically irresistible song of the year, then Pain & Gain is the same for the films of 2013.
Pain & Gain hilariously depicts the outrageous, real life, exploits of 3 body builders who kidnap a corrupt franchise owner to benefit from his wealth.
You really have to be in on the joke, or at least open to appreciating the film’s superficial irony, to enjoy this movie. Despite being based on a true story, the film’s bubble-gum-pop visuals and dark sense of humour would make one think otherwise. I guess that’s where the controversy comes into play. Is it morally insensitive to indulge in the hilarity of these strange and brutal circumstances if they are, in fact, real life events? That’s for you to ponder and not for me to answer.
To exacerbate matters, Pain & Gain is directed by none other than Michael Bay! If you’re a Bay hater, never fear, this film stands out from the rest of his work as being “the arty one”. If, on the other hand, you’re a fan then it’s time to get excited about what is definitely the best Michael Bay film since The Rock (1996)!

#76: The Wicker Man

Absolutely terrifying.

Absolutely terrifying.

Director: Robin Hardy
Year: 1973
Genre: Horror

The Wicker Man is a strange addition to the horror genre and is perhaps one of the most unique films ever made. It just may be due to the film’s strangeness that it’s so critically acclaimed yet so unfamiliar to the public.

To most of today’s youngsters The Wicker Man is known as that shitty 2006 movie where Nicolas Cage gave his worst and most hilarious performance. Now, I love “bad” Nicolas Cage almost as much as I love “good” Nicolas Cage, but it’s a shame that the story of The Wicker Man was introduced to contemporary audiences with an awful film because the original 1973 picture is a masterpiece.

What is this movie? The story follows a police officer, Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward), to a remote Scottish island in search of a missing girl. Howie, being a devout and celibate Christian, is shocked to find that the islanders all follow a peculiar pagan religion. What’s worse is that no one seems to know anything about the missing girl and Howie must plunge himself deeper into the island’s strange and haunting society in order to uncover this conspiracy.

There is nothing supernatural about this film. The horror comes from the surreal and elaborate rituals the islanders take part in, and the alienation we feel being thrown into this incredibly cliquey society. Welcome to the land of public fornication, chanting children and enchanting hippy song numbers. Unless you’re a devout Christian, like our protagonist, you’ll find that there’s nothing inherently wrong with these people’s habits, but the fear comes from what they’re not telling us. Mystery is equally fascinating and threatening and that’s exactly how I would describe The Wicker Man.

One of the most intriguing elements of The Wicker Man is its religious content. There’s this battle between Christianity and paganism and, as a non-religious viewer, you’re constantly at war with yourself deciding who you should be rooting for. Howie is such a Christian extremist that you find yourself hoping the pagans get the better of him. Conversely, Howie is so morally pure that you’re hoping he shakes up the pagans and comes home with the truth.

You also get the pleasure of seeing Christopher Lee, in arguably his best role, as the community leader, Lord Summerisle. His two dimensional, yet captivating, camp, villainous antics take on a third dimension in this more restrained performance. Edward Woodward, however, has the most difficult role as the film’s Christian protagonist. His ability to physically express his devotion and spiritual struggle under pressure and temptation is spellbinding and adds to the horror of the film.

If you’re looking for a truly different experience in cinema that’s easy to follow and thematically challenging seek out The Wicker Man: The Director’s Cut. Whether you like it or not, you won’t be able to turn away till the credits roll and you’ll be talking about it for a while longer.

#77: Back to the Future Part III

“Go ahead, make my day.”

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Year: 1990
Genre: Comedy/Western/Sci-Fi

Back to the Future III is everything a family blockbuster should be. This comedy/sci-fi/western adventure is as funny as it is exciting. Not only is it the conclusion to one of the best film film trilogies of all time, it’s also a great blockbuster adventure in its own right rivalling the likes of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989).

People tend to neglect Back to the Future III because it’s so different to its previous instalments, but that’s part of its charm. The first two pictures contain Clint Eastwood references and nods to the Western film genre. Finally, in the third picture, we’re dropped off in the old west for an old-school epic adventure in the past. What a feat to be able to take the trilogy in such a different direction yet tie all the stories up together so neatly! I will admit that the film isn’t quite as good as the other two but that’s through no fault of its own. It’s like comparing  anything to The Beatles, we still enjoy music from the many artists who followed them, but will there ever be a band quite like that ever again?

Chances are you’re looking for more films like The Avengers (2012), or Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013) to satisfy your blockbuster sweet-tooth and you haven’t seen Back to the Future III in a dog’s age. Resurrect that sucker for the ultimate blockbuster experience. Hell, why don’t you go ahead and blow your own mind by watching the entire trilogy in one go? If once you weren’t fond of the third film maybe after watching all three at once you’ll have restored faith in the story.

I can’t rightly recommend Back to the Future III to anyone who hasn’t seen the first two films. Sure the film works as a stand alone adventure, but the plot and jokes have a far greater impact if you’ve seen the other instalments.

If you’re one of those cynics who believe themselves to be above commercial blockbusters then I double dare you to sit through Back to the Future III without grinning. If there’s any trace of humanity within you I swear that 10 minutes into the film you’ll surrender yourself to its glee.

#78: Shaun of the Dead

"Don't look but there's a large man and a little girl in our backyard..."

“Don’t look now but did we bring anyone home last night?”

Director: Edgar Wright
Year: 2004
Genre: Comedy

Genre comedies with story lines you can take seriously and characters you could legitimately care about seem to be relics of the 80’s, but Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead has all the ingredients for those who want more than just a laugh from their comedies.

I love screwball comedies, like Steve Martin’s The Jerk and Will Ferrell’s Anchorman, but genre comedies like Back to the Future and Ghostbusters, which are as much about the storytelling as they are about the laughs, are more than just “fun movies”, they’re “great films”. Shaun of the Dead is one such film. Whilst it doesn’t treat its horror elements seriously at all, unlike An American Werewolf in London which manages to be as scary as it is funny, Shaun of the Dead offers an iconic lead character in Shaun and A-grade geek humour to appease any self-respecting genre buff.

For those of you who haven’t seen it Shaun of the Dead is a British comedy concerned with Shaun, a man in his 30’s in a dead end job with no direction. He needs to break free of his best mate’s lazy influences, patch up his relationship with his mother and win back his girlfriend all in one day. His plan to overcome these hurdles is to gather all his loved ones and take charge of the zombie apocalypse!

Shaun of the Dead has somewhat of a niche audience made up of film buffs who love comic books and horror films, but you don’t have to be a creep to enjoy this movie. Shaun of the Dead is a great film for so many reasons. 1) It’s hilarious. 2) Edgar Wright’s inventive directorial flare is undeniably attractive. 3) It has unforgettable characters. 4) Despite being a comedy it’s better than most zombie films out there, in fact I’d rank it as one of the top 5 best zombie films of all time. 5) There’s more than 3 reasons!

If you haven’t seen this film then tonight’s plan is as follows…

1. Head to the local pub with whoever’s keen.

2. Knock back a few pints.

3. Walk home.

4. Settle in for a spot of Shaun of the Dead.

 

#79: Big

big3

How’s about a kiss?

Director: Penny Marshall
Year: 1988
Genre: Comedy

Remember Tom Hanks in the 80’s? The reason Hollywood fell in love with him and made him a 2 time Academy Award winning schmuck is because of his endearing nature and his wild approach to comedy. Big sees the perfect mix of Hanks’ loveable sensibilities and zany antics  placing him in the role of a 12 year old boy stuck in a grown man’s body. Along with The Burbs, Big has the privilege of showcasing Mr. Hanks at his best.

Big is not just an excuse to get a kick out of Hanks’ wonderful and iconic performance, the film is a phenomenal comedy/fairy tale in its own right. Don’t expect some silly high-concept comedy like Rob Schneider’s The Animal or The Hot Chick. Big is a substantial story about an inadequate 12 year old boy, Josh Baskin, who wishes he was “bigger” so that the boys wouldn’t pick on him and the girls would dig him. He gets a shock when he wakes up the next morning to find that he has the fully grown man’s body of Tom Hanks! Well, the adult version of himself as played by Tom Hanks, there’s no meta Being John Malkovich shit where the kid suddenly becomes a movie star. Though, that could be a pretty cool film in itself!

Big is a coming of age comedy to the extreme. Imagine learning to be an adult when you’re 12 years old just ‘cos you woke up with an adult body. Imagine the pressure! You’d have to pretend to know everything just so people didn’t think you were mental. In fact, it’s a pretty neat way of teaching you all the basics such as driving, paying bills, getting a job, investing, sexing, and more stuff I can’t even name because I’M still not man enough yet to fathom. Every high school should put all of its students through the Big test before sending them out into the world. If we kept churning out armies of “Bigs” the world would really be a better place.

In Big you will laugh HEAPS and, if you’re a pussy like me, you’ll cry just as much. If Grown Ups 2 is your next movie outing, then I strongly suggest you give the cinemas a miss this week and go and rent Big on DVD or Blu-ray.

May Tom Hanks teach us all to be the best adults we can be!

#94: The Untouchables

Do not fuck with us.

“Do not fuck with us.”

Director: Brian De Palma
Year: 1987
Genre: Drama

Based on the real life hunt for Al Capone in the prohibition era of the early 1930’s, The Untouchables is a hard-hitting crime drama disguised as an old-school crime caper. From the opening credits, with its camp-TV serial style titles and Ennio Morricone’s stunning, upbeat score, you’ll know you’re in for a fresh and exhilarating 2 hours.

At a first glance, De Palma’s film comes across as a family friendly cops and robbers caper. Early on in the film we are presented with a sickeningly innocent scene of a little girl’s mundane exchange with the man behind the counter at a cafe. When the girl notices a stranger leave his briefcase behind and exclaims, “Mr, you forgot your briefcase!”, we realise that there’s something deviously different about this film. Oh, that’s right. It’s De Palma! A director who is known for bathing his audience in onscreen violence. The next time we are presented with an oddly innocent scene is when our protagonist, Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) is at home with his wife, Catherine (Patricia Clarkson), and the interaction between them is laughably sweet and conservative. Now, it’s apparent that De Palma is taking the “innocent” image of 1930’s cinema and spitting in its face by contrasting Eliot’s squarish personality with Capone’s barbaric nature and loading the film with tragic violence.

De Palma’s “clean on the outside, dirty on the inside” style is what makes The Untouchables stand out from other gang films and the main reason why it’s so damn slick and entertaining. The film’s old-fashioned soppiness keeps your emotional side nice and tender so that when the unmerciful violence intrudes your blood-thirsty side and your ‘Bo-Peep’ side are at war with each other. A more gritty and naturalistic film would have your heart hardened leaving you somewhat cold towards any emotional tipping points.

Kevin Costner is perfectly cast as Chicago’s clean-cut, by-the-book prohibition agent, Eliot Ness, and big, bad Robbie De Niro was born to play the infamous gang-lord, Al Capone. The real star of the film though is Sean Connery in his Academy Award winning role as Jimmy Malone, an Irish-American police officer on the brink of retirement. Connery, you scene stealer. Wait, there’s more! The Untouchables is one hell of a rich film. It’s filled with costumes designed by Georgio Armani, luscious 30’s era production design, a tight screenplay by David Mamet, an amazing score by Ennio Morricone and loads of iconic sequences.

What else do you want? Go stop some bootleggers!

#95: Touch of Evil

touchevil2

Is that a cheeseburger? Or are you just happy to see me?

Director: Orson Welles
Year: 1958
Genre: Mystery/Thriller

A couple drives a car through the U.S.-Mexican border. The car explodes on American soil killing the couple within. An honest Mexican drug enforcement official, Miguel Vargas (Charlton Heston), and a bitter old police Captain, Hank Quinlan (Orson Welles) face off to close the investigation before the other one can. How far will Vargas go to ensure a just investigation and protect the integrity of his country? And how many rules will Quinlan break to put the case to rest as quickly as possible?

Touch of Evil is the last great Film Noir and one of Mr. Welles’ masterpieces. SEE Welles himself give an electrifying and unforgettable performance as alcoholic and magnificently overweight police Captain, Hank Quinlan. FEEL the fear and paranoia Janet Leigh went through before her iconic role in Psycho. LICK the rich textures of the film’s stunning black and white cinematography. And DON’T fall off the edge of your seat when you’re experiencing the many thrilling set-pieces Welles constructed.

There is one unfortunate downfall in that the protagonist, Miguel Vargas, is supposed to be quite Mexican but he’s portrayed by none other than Charlton Heston. Whilst the man is a fine actor, his being cast in that role is a silly and racially patronising choice by today’s standards. Such a decision would be unforgivable today but as Touch of Evil is a 50’s film, Heston’s portrayal can be laughed off as nostalgic charm.

Touch of Evil is a sophisticated investigative thriller with a touch of freshness and Orson Welles is that touch. A typical Welles film promises striking black and white cinematography, a sly sense of humour, and a dark and slightly twisted sensibility towards its drama, which to me is most effective in the Film Noir genre, hence why Touch of Evil is my favourite of his films.