James Robinson is a writer from Yorkshire whose trenchant music and book reviews for the Press Association have appeared in newspapers as far afield as Aberdeen and Dudley. He can also be found at the folk music website forfolkssake.com. James loves films the way most people love ice cream: he rates among his all-time favourites The Third Man, Vertigo (the best date movie in the world) and Eyes Without a Face (the worst date movie in the world). He tweets at @jamesisrobinson.
There are only three safe topics of conversation when meeting a stranger for the first time: the weather, the fastest route to take when planning on driving long distances, and the best sweets that they don't make any more. Until recently, the most likely outcome of such a chat would be that the weather was disappointing but better than expected, that the route you'd been planning was impossibly convoluted, and that the best discontinued confectionary was Vice Versas.
There’s a received wisdom, in the more refined academic circles, that cinema as a medium is too derivative to genuinely be considered art. Films as we have come to accept them are not, for the most part, too much evolved from plays; their plots are lifted from bestsellers, and the action emphasised by independently popular music.
These days, when every film features S&M sex scenes and lavishly choreographed 3D garrottings, it’s difficult to appreciate just how shocking the Hammer studio’s lurid output genuinely was back in the drab 1950s.
Once upon a time, long, long ago, vampires were not the ideal boyfriends for brooding teenagers; they were the most chilling of all the movie monsters, and no other film seemed to capture their horror quite as well as Hammer studio’s 1958 release, Dracula. It’s one of the loosest adaptations of Bram Stoker’s famous novel, yet easily the most memorable. As this long-awaited Blu-ray release proves, it has also, like the man himself, defied the ravages of time. It still casts its disquieting spell, long after the others, particularly Bela Lugosi much-imitated 1931 incarnation, have come to appear faintly ridiculous to modern eyes.
Coen fans rejoice! The trailer for the highly anticipated Inside Llewyn Davis has arrived, and hey man, it looks, like, totally groovy daddio.