Waltz with the Devil: Goodfellas and Crime’s Whirlwind Romance

More than a quarter of a century after its release, it’s easy to underestimate the level of impact that Goodfellas had on cinema.

There had been seminal gangster movies before, but Martin Scorsese’s flamboyant lens would change the way filmmakers approached the genre, which had always been eager to stress the pitfalls above all else. Without Goodfellas there would be no Jules and Vincent, porn star Dirk Diggler would perhaps never have made it to the silver screen in any way palatable, and The Sopranos would have struggled to make it past the pitch that would ultimately change television forever […]

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Burning Hearts and Iron Curtains: Rocky IV and Cold War Propaganda

The appeal of Rocky Balboa is his status as a flawed everyman.

Back in 1976, director John G. Avildsen gave us the perfect underdog story. Backed up by an Oscar-winning screenplay by Stallone, Rocky was about community and togetherness, shining a sympathetic light on the poor and downtrodden and reminding us that, given the right attitude and determination, anything is possible. It also spoke of family values and the importance of perspective. Stallone was a revelation as the movie’s titular hero, a reluctant thug-for-high whose friendship with an insular store clerk set him on the path to self-discovery […]

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Deadly Friend: Krueger and the Near-Demise of Wes Craven

Wes Craven was never one to rest on his laurels.

A creative force who twice redefined the slasher genre, he would make his name as a horror movie director thanks to a series of low-budget films that would win him a generation of loyal fans. After making waves with grungy efforts The Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes, he would finally burst onto the mainstream with 1984’s A Nightmare On Elm Street, his most famous character Fred Krueger spawning the kind of franchise that turned faltering production company New Line Cinema into a surging goldmine […]

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For the Love of the Con: Fast Eddie and The Color of Money

For the most part, The Color of Money doesn’t feel like a Scorsese film.

That may sound like negative criticism, but I actually like this movie a great deal. Instead, what I mean is that this seems like an anomalous entry in the director’s rich and varied canon. His thumbprint is visible, but it doesn’t seem to carry his DNA. For one thing, it is a relatively conventional movie when the vast majority of his career has been anything but. These are characters that you invest in, that you remember fondly, but they don’t have the intensity or pzazz of those featured in his other marquee titles […]

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Leave Those Kids Alone: When Cannon Met Death Wish

By 1982, British director Michael Winner was in desperate need of a hit.

Eight years prior he had immortalised western stalwart Charles Bronson by taking his John Wayne act to the streets of New York City. Although the original Death Wish tackled the growing problem of street crime in America, it was denounced by critics due to a vigilante theme that relished in the very violence it was supposed to be condemning […]

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Cinema’s Raging Bile Duct: The Skewed Morality of Fight Club

Some movies you tend to grow out of; I just didn’t expect Fight Club to be one of them.

I was 17 when David Fincher’s adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s transgressive novel hit the cinemas, and after seeing it I was immediately convinced that it was one of the greatest movie’s ever put to celluloid. Further watches only confirmed my feelings, but the passing of time has altered my opinion. In hindsight, it is easy to see how […]

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