Film Reviews

Impact Reviews Recommends The Classics

Amelia Gibbs, Rory Beveridge, Hannah Walton-Hughes, Tim Ovenden, Katie Hardy, Charlie Maris, Christina Giallombardo and Rose Hitchens

As seen in our latest print edition, Impact’s Reviews team have come together to review their favourite classic films and albums.

The Wizard of Oz (1939), Amelia Gibbs:

Describing MGM’s The Wizard of Oz as timeless would not be strictly accurate – the use of painted backdrops and smoke-and-mirrors effects exposes this film’s 82 years. Despite many newer, shinier versions that have threatened to overthrow it, the film remains the most beloved adaptation of Baum’s novel of all time, thanks to the surprisingly grounded and universal narrative that lies beneath the Technicolor fairy-tale. Starting the film as a child, the story sees Dorothy leave Kansas for the first time and learn to be smart, kind, and courageous without the security of her home. By the end of the film she comes of age, having found her way in a world that’s both familiar and foreign as we all eventually do.

Sunset Boulevard (1950), Rory Beveridge:

When Sunset Boulevard was initially released, it received rave reviews from critics, and still to this day it’s an excellent film. Centring around struggling screenwriter Joe Gillis (William Holden) and ageing silent movie star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) it brilliantly critiques Hollywood’s more sordid elements. The character of Desmond, who lives her secluded life in the shadow of her former success, shows what happened to Golden Age actresses when they got older. Desmond’s delusion and madness intensifies throughout the film as opportunities for work dry up, culminating in her killing Gillis in a rage. The fact that Swanson herself was a former movie star who’d fallen out of favour makes this great film even more convincing.  

Psycho (1960), Hannah Walton-Hughes:

Whenever anybody refers to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, the first thought that undoubtedly comes to mind is the infamous shower scene; a knife, a murder, a crazed killer- everything needed for a classic horror! However, that only scratches the surface of what is arguably the greatest horror film of all time. For me, Psycho has always been so memorable, because of how Hitchcock builds such tension, all the way from the film’s deceptively ordinary beginning to its shocking conclusion. Classic films such as Psycho live as proof that you don’t need blood, bones, and creepy clowns to make an audience shiver in their shoes. All you need is a gothic motel, thematic music, a shower…. and Norman Bates and his dear old Mum.

David Bowie, Low (1977), Tim Ovenden:

The product of an attempted escape to Germany away from controlling cocaine binges, Low is the first in the ‘Berlin Trilogy’, a collaboration with ambient music pioneer Brian Eno. Painting a Blade Runner-esque dystopia, vocal-less soundscapes dominate the album, evoking both synthetic joy and impending doom. Sound and Vision and A New Career in a New Town are feel-good highlights, never failing to bring me out in a boogie. The album’s instrumental side B is bookended by two monumental centrepieces: Warazawa begins with chimes of hopeful despair, and Subterraneans is punctuated by prophetic hums and a trepidatious saxophone, both crescendoing with apocalyptic, unintelligible Bowie vocals. Low’s haunting moments still feel impactful, and the concept album stands out amongst Bowie’s impeccable catalogue.  

The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses (1989), Katie Hardy:

Despite mixed reviews following its initial release, The Stone Roses soon went on to be recognised as one of the greatest albums of the 80s and beyond. The four-piece from Manchester combined the ‘jangle pop’ of the 1960s with influences from R&B to create a powerful and era-defining debut. Each song is rife with samples from a range of genres; Fools Gold uses James Brown’s Funky Drummer beat, one of the most sampled of all time, and Elizabeth My Dear pays homage to Simon and Garfunkel’s Scarborough Fair. The Stone Roses is not only a technically and musically strong album, but one which influenced many bands to come by paying tribute to those which had come before.

Goodfellas (1990), Charlie Maris:

30 years since Goodfellas hit cinemas, the thrill of watching it still remains the same. With long one-shot scenes, switching narrators and freeze frames, Scorsese directs without restraint, upending what a gangster film can be. The three central performances are incredible with Liotta guiding you through this fascinating universe, De Niro as a chilling psychopath and Pesci running away with every scene. The soundtrack is just perfect, each scene illuminated by the music. A cocaine hit of a film, it seduces you with the excitement of mob life, and then you come down into the stark reality of murder and moral corruption. You can watch it again and again, each time amazed by something new.

Pulp Fiction (1994), Christina Giallombardo:

Pulp Fiction is a movie where nothing and everything happens. The film explores a series of incidences between members of the LA underworld. I watched Pulp Fiction to understand why everyone was so obsess with Tarantino’s comedic thriller. The non-linear storyline and the seemingly irrelevant conversations between most of the characters did nothing but confuse me for three quarters of the movie, and just what the heck is in that briefcase! Yet what I think this movie does best is leaving its audience feeling intrigued. The movie is interweaved with so much mystery – the viewer can create as many conspiracies as they please to explain the plotless storylines. Despite its dark themes, I highly recommend giving Pulp Fiction a watch.

Blink 182, Enema of the State (1999), Rose Hitchens:

Blink 182’s Enema of the State has managed to remain an essential album for any music lover to have in their arsenal. Released in 1999, the album is driven by mischievous and vulgar lyrical content that rebelled against the pop culture boundaries of the millennium. Unpolished, adenoidal vocals are fused together with upbeat, bouncy guitar riffs to create this seamless amalgamation of punk-pop. Its immature and lewd lyrics might have had critics rolling their eyes, but its devil-may-care approach to real life situations is exactly what makes it a classic. In short, Enema of the State perfectly tackles the awkward, anxiety-inducing period of transition between teenager and adult in a light-hearted, yet realistic way that no album has done since. 

Amelia Gibbs, Rory Beveridge, Hannah Walton-Hughes, Tim Ovenden, Katie Hardy, Charlie Maris, Christina Giallombardo and Rose Hitchens

Featured image courtesy of Alex Watkin. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes made to this image.

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