At the Movies: Let’s go to the pictures

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Like many guys around my age, my first movie going experience was Star Wars – my parents took me to a treble bill at the Ipswich Odeon when I was about five.

Modern multiplexes don’t have the romance of the old theatres, yet the anticipation is still the same. I love those quiet moments when you’re sitting with your popcorn waiting for the lights to dim and the movie to start, eager to see where the film is going to take you.

The glory years of VHS made everyone a movie buff, and the 80’s was a brilliant time to be a boy with access to his dad’s video club card. Rental stores weren’t so hot on age restrictions in those days, and the playground was abuzz with kids talking about the exploits of Freddy Krueger, the spider-head scene from The Thing, or ED-209’s boardroom bloodbath in Robocop.

I became an amateur film critic in the mid-nineties. There was real excitement about the arrival of directors like Danny Boyle and Quentin Tarantino, and breakout world cinema hits like La Haine really made people sit up and take notice.

The first movie magazine I ever bought was the Trainspotting edition of Empire, and I remember the thrill of watching Pulp Fiction on the big screen – it was one of those movies I couldn’t wait to see again, even while I was watching it for the first time. La Haine was the first foreign language film my father watched without moaning about having to read subtitles.

I studied film at my local college. They didn’t hit us with the heavy stuff straight away – the first film they screened wasn’t Citizen Kane, or Battleship Potemkin, or Birth of a Nation, it was Close Encounters of the Third Kind. What a great way to start a film course – Close Encounters perfectly encapsulates the magic of movies, the wonder of sitting in the dark watching images on the wall.

I’ve been writing movie reviews for the past twenty years, and anyone who knows me will tell you that I live and breathe cinema. I started my own movie blog, Video Krypt, three years ago. I wanted to combine in depth analysis with the enthusiasm of a ten-year-old boy, standing in front of a rack of VHS tapes with a sweaty pound coin in his pocket, wondering which movie to choose.

Now the chaps at the BEC have offered me the opportunity to write movie reviews for the good people of Brno.  I aim to share some insights on the latest releases, plus pick out some gems from the city’s smaller movie houses.  I hope you will enjoy my articles and I welcome any feedback – whether you agree or disagree with my opinions, I’d love to hear about it!

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