Tom Hanks and Shelley Long star in The Money Pit, a Steven Spielberg-produced comedy from 1986. The film sees a couple get a good deal on a house before realising it's literally falling apart.

Much like their relationship, the house is slowly but surely collapsing but it's also being renovated and while this metaphor isn't too subtle it completely works here. The plot may not sound all that appealing but the film itself is a lot of fun as the ridiculously precarious house leads to some genuinely funny slapstick moments. Highlights include a long stretch during which Hanks is literally stuck in-between floors, the hilarious sudden breakdown of what seemed like a perfectly usable kitchen, some paint-induced catastrophe on scaffolding and Hanks' priceless reaction to a bathtub bursting through down to another floor.

The Money Pit does feel like an old-fashioned screwball comedy crossed with wacky antics the likes of Charlie Chaplin or Laurel & Hardy would have no doubt appreciated. In the vein of, say, Housesitter this is a rom-com which could have easily been over-sentimental and forgettable but the script is sharp enough and the jokes are effective enough that the film ends up being a worthy comedy indeed. It received mixed reviews upon its release, which is surprising as this is a completely accessible, likeable little flick. Hanks is at his best here, once again making us miss his now rarely used comedic talents and it's great to see the criminally underused Shelley Long in a proper comedy she can really have some fun with.

The Money Pit may not be the most memorable comedy of the 80's but it remains an entertaining, very amusing gem nonetheless. It's certainly well worth visiting or revisiting.




The fact that Ian Fleming's Martini-drinking super-spy still has an audience over 50 years later is a testament to the formula set up by the writer's novels and, of course, the movies which kicked off with the 1962 classic Dr. No.

Sean Connery shines as James Bond from the very first moment you meet him, casually smoking and winning some dough in a game of cards before walking away like a boss to the sound of his own theme, setting up a date with a beautiful stranger. He brings intelligence and an effortless charm to the character but he can also be tough and menacing when he needs to be, tossing minor enemies aside, killing off assassins in cold blood without giving it a second thought. Based on this performance, it's no wonder the world fell in love with this Bond, James Bond fella.

The film itself boasts all the tropes you'd expect in a Bond film: girls, guns, physically impaired villains with absurd aspirations, an underwater lair, a casino scene, a Martini shaken-not-stirred moment, car chases, all the good stuff. The opening credits are essentially just Monty Norman's masterful, immortal theme (performed by John Barry and his Orchestra) with some exotic drumming thrown in near the end to gently lead us towards the film's Caribbean setting. The intrigue is simple enough: MI6 agents are being specifically targeted left and right and it's up to 007 to find out who is orchestrating such ruthless attacks. Bond's search leads him to the "dragon" guarded island Crab Key where, supposedly, the infamous Dr. No is working on a mysterious, highly radioactive project. Her Majesty's top spy meets American ally Felix Leiter along the way as well as Ursula Andress' white bikini-wearing, sea shell collecting Honey Ryder, who contributes very little yet still makes an impact as one of the most stand-out Bond girls to date.

The titular villain, Joseph Wiseman's Dr. No is surprisingly absent for most of the film but the build-up to him and the world he's built for himself is inspired. You only hear his disembodied voice once about halfway through the film, which makes for an effectively creepy scene, and he finally meets our hero in person in the film's third act. Wiseman's stern, near robotic performance is so deadpan and cold it makes his dialogs with Bond all the more tense and suspenseful. Despite the fact that Bond disposes of him way too quickly, he remains one of the all time most memorable villains in the franchise.

The pace of the film may be a little slow by today's standards and the whole thing is pretty dated, feeling very much of its time but that's no bad thing at all. Going from SPECTRE and re-watching this one makes for an interesting contrast, though. Bond seems much more careful and professional in Dr. No, checking for intruders or cameras in his room, keeping a cool head as a poisonous spider crawls all over him. This is a three-dimensional yet very simple and driven 007 who doesn't let emotions get in the way of his job and through Connery all this comes across perfectly.

Whether Dr. No is the best of the Bond films is debatable but when it comes to classic Bond movies, it's hard to do more classic than this one. It sets up the formula with class, style and confidence, gives us the best 007 we could have ever hoped for right off the bat and leaves us wanting much, much more.

The film's good, very good.



In this 63rd episode, Adam (aka The RetroCritic) and fellow film buff Jamie discuss movie news, review SPECTRE and talk retro stuff.

Email us here if you have any questions, requests or contributions: bigrewindpodcast@gmail.com

Or simply comment below :)

Oh and you can also find us on iTunesStitcher and Player FM where you can subscribe to the podcast and download every episode thusfar!




Silent consumers Dale and Jamie discuss the latest gaming news, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas and SPECTRE in this brand new game-centric podcast.




After the huge success that Jurassic Park was, director Steven Spielberg confidently followed the film four years later with sequel The Lost World: Jurassic Park, spinning off Jeff Goldblum's character in the original into his own movie.

With the lead bringing his usual brand of irresistible stuttering charm and The 'Berg back on directing duties, The Lost World seemed like a clear winner.

While it certainly was a winner at the box-office (I mean who wouldn't go see a Jurassic Park sequel?) it didn't exactly wow critics who delivered mixed reviews. The original film was ground-breaking in terms of special effects, bringing believable-looking dinosaurs to wide-eyed 90's audiences, but it was also a masterpiece of suspense and schlocky popcorn movie action. It walked a fine line between family-friendly fare and gory horror but it worked brilliantly. The Lost World goes for a slightly darker tone and a bigger story but only does certain things well, other things not so much.

Making Dr. Ian Malcolm the main character in this one was a good call: his wry quips and chilled-out demeanour added some welcome laughs and light-heartedness to the first film. Unfortunately, he is lumbered with an ex-wife and a daughter here, not to mention about 10 stories going on around him leaving little time for lols. It doesn't help that, against all odds, the usually terrific Julianne Moore gives one of her all-time worst performances here, mostly due to her being completely miscast. While Malcolm is technically the lead he still somehow feels like a supporting character. John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) and his grown-up niece and nephew also pop up, I should mention, for an obligatory cameo.

The film opens with a genuinely pretty chilling scene in which a little girl comes face to face with some small but deadly dinos. Buckets of exposition later, we're finally back on the island as Malcolm learns that John Hammond has hired his ex-wife to study whatever dinosaurs are left. Soon enough, a team of hunters and scumbags show up to capture a T-Rex and wreck havoc. Of course, this turns out to be a very, very dumb idea indeed. Most of the movie is spent trying to recreate the suspense and tension of the first film as people are stalked by the reptilian beasts left and right. Unfortunately, few characters are likeable or memorable, the writing is far weaker, this offers nothing new and even Spielberg's direction is unimaginative. The film's last half-hour finally gives us the Godzilla scenario the trailers promised as a T-Rex somehow finds its way to the city and destroys whatever stands in its way. Those scenes are admittedly effective but they come way too late in the film and you find yourself wishing that all the jungle stuff had been boiled down to just a half hour early on.

The film's main problem, really, is it's simply nowhere near as much fun as Jurassic Park. In fact, it's surprisingly dull. The novelty factor is gone, of course, and we're not given anything to wow at except maybe the city scenes right at the end. The Lost World had the cast, the budget, the score and the ideas it needed to be a great sequel and yet it falls short. It has its moments but ultimately, it's a disappointing follow-up to one of the most entertaining blockbusters out there.

Too little too late.



Taking a page out of his own Silent Hill video game demo P.T., visionary director Guillermo Del Toro helped us celebrate Halloween this year with a horror movie mostly set in a creepy, conveniently lit house packed with monstrous ghosts.

Crimson Peak is an old-fashioned ghost story through and through complete with a period setting and a convoluted whodunit plot. Wonderland alumni Mia Wasikowska stars as the daughter of a wealthy entrepreneur who falls in love with a not-so-wealthy entrepreneur with big ideas, she and the latter (a charmingly dodgy Tom Hiddleston) marry and he invites her back to his crumbling, red clay-infested big house in the middle of nowhere where he lives with his clearly evil sister (Jessica Chastain). To nobody's surprise, this whole arrangement doesn't go that well. Terrifying ghosts start showing up, the sister loses it little by little and the fact it's snowing (and claying) indoors doesn't help either. Eventually, this new husband's past begins to unfold and bloody chaos slowly but surely sets in.

If there's one thing Guillermo Del Toro excels at it's setting a mood: Crimson Peak's art direction is detailed and beautiful throughout, as are all the costumes. This plus intense performances all around, a moody score and some unique-looking ghosts make the film one gorgeous and atmospheric gothic horror movie to say the least. Tom Hiddleston is well cast as the tormented husband but it's Jessica Chastain who steals the show as the unpleasant and more-than-just-a-little jealous sister. What the film lacks is a script with a bit more bite: the plot is far too predictable, the characters' motivations tend to be inconsistent and the ending could have used some more surprises. Plus, while the ghosts look amazing (Doug Jones once again doing a fab job), they are a little underused and don't contribute much more than the odd mini-scare here and there.

Overall, Crimson Peak is worth checking out for the visuals and the performances alone. If you're looking for a ghost movie with big thrills and big shockers, however, this isn't it. Not Guillermo Del Toro's best, then, and it might be forgotten quite quickly but it is nevertheless a decent Hammer-style horror flick perfect for the Halloween season.




Silent consumers Dale and Jamie discuss the latest gaming news, Star Wars Battlefront (beta), Dawn Of War and Batman New 52 comics in this brand new game-centric podcast.




Remember back when it was totally ok to call your Bond film Octopussy for absolutely no reason?

This was the early 80's, when Roger Moore was still James Bond despite being a little too old for the role and 007 movies each doing pretty much exactly the same thing without any real surprises. Oh sure Bond went to space and got an extra nipple at some point, but essentially the formula stagnated and/or went downhill after that.

Octopussy preceded A View To A Kill, Moore's last Bond flick, and it tends to be remembered more for its racy title than for its content. In a nutshell: the film's plot is irrelevant. Something about the Soviet Union trying to setup a war through a women-led circus somehow, and jewellery... This'll hurt less if you don't think about it. A lot happens in this movie but so much of it is either random or completely irrelevant, you could be forgiven for thinking this is more of a clip show from other Roger Moore Bond movies rather than its own film.

In terms of ridiculousness, this one's right up there with the silliest of the long-running franchise: crocodile-shaped submarines, UK flag hot-air balloons, James Bond literally dressed up like a clown, the bad guy lives in what is basically the Playboy mansion, 007 filming a woman's boobs, the madness rarely ends which helps keep things entertaining. That said, as with many of Moore's outings as the charming super-spy, this movie proves to be way too long and it soon runs out of pace, filling up its last half hour with one unlikely ending after the other.

The titular "Octopussy", by the way, is a nickname the main Bond girl's father once gave to her.

I shudder to think why...

While this is still not the worst Bond movie thanks to some genuinely fun action sequences and quite a few amusing moments, Octopussy is however not one of the best, far from it. It feels unnecessarily long for a story (if you can call it that) which really didn't need to be told and it insults your intelligence more times than it probably should. That said, the late, great Louis Jourdan makes a good villain and there are enough memorable scenes here and there to make it worth a watch.




Because making a straight-up Robinson Crusoe movie would have been too easy, director Robert Zemeckis went for Cast Away instead: a modern-day retelling of the familiar tale of a man stuck on a desert island.

With only the love of FedEx to keep him warm at night.

Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) is the put-upon castaway whose FedEx plane crashes in the sea in one of the film's best, most effective sequences. We then follow him as he slowly but surely comes to terms with his new life alone on the deserted island he randomly found himself on. With only coconuts and the odd (raw) fish to eat, he struggles at first but eventually starts to learn some key survival skills which end up saving his life in the four years he ends up spending on the island. That and the company of a personalised volleyball he calls Wilson, one of the film's biggest characters and most genius product placement ideas.

Hanks' very own physical transformation during the making of the film certainly adds some realism to his character's decreasing diet and the actor's performance is altogether definitely strong enough to hold the whole film together. While the film could have very easily capsized into the melodramatic and gone for a happy Hollywood ending, there's a genuine attempt here to not overdo the schmaltz. Hanks' relationship with Helen Hunt's character on (he keeps a picture of her inside an old watch) and off the island is heartfelt but never too romanticised and it never gets in the way of some valid character development. There's also a darker revelation and some bloodier moments on the island which really don't help sugarcoat our protagonist's adventure at all.

It's a simple story told very well yet it falls just short of making for a great movie. The FedEx-themed plot just comes off as gimmicky and corny and the film itself drags a little in its first and final acts. I for one would have gladly sat through more island-based discoveries or challenges than waiting for a package to be delivered or a Christmas dinner where everybody is talking at the same time with a mouthful of ham.

Cast Away is well worth seeing, if only for Hanks' performance and dedication to the role, just don't expect to be completely blown away.

Popular Posts