Watching Roeg

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1.
Don't Look Now (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A married couple grieving the recent death of their young daughter are in Venice when they encounter two elderly sisters, one of whom is psychic and brings a warning from beyond. (110 mins.)
Director: Nicolas Roeg
“ 10/10
My favourite movie is naturally nr. 1 on this list, see my long review at: http://www.imdb.com/list/-AN_9vbOvv0/ ” - sledgehammer86
 
2.
Insignificance (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Four 1950s icons meet in the same hotel room and two of them discover more in common between them than they ever anticipated. (109 mins.)
Director: Nicolas Roeg
“ 9/10
Wow, how does this only scores a 6,6 here I fail to understand.
Insignificance shows a very mature Roeg, presenting an opaque tale of four people, woven through each other (note: Love Actually, Alles is Liefde, and every other romance movie that weaves together multiple story lines: watch this to see how it is done intelligently).
Insignificance gets better the longer you watch. You start out thinking it is done competently, then notice you are closely listening to the very well-written dialogue, then are surprised even more when there is two or three scenes in there with intensity.

It is a dazzling movie, hard to describe and fully understand at first view. The stories of the professor (of course representing Einstein) and the girl (of course representing Monroe) are beautiful metaphors of each other. Relativity, knowledge, truth and (in)significance create a dialogue between the two's stories.

Direction-wise this is Roeg showing us all he knows, mostly in a subtle way, a few times at full intensity. It is consistently photographed extremely well (watch the beautiful Criterion Bluray). Roeg's editing is at its most meaningful here (perhaps only second to Don't Look Now).
The final scene is of such visual beauty that I decided to bump my high 8/10 up to a 9/10. ” - sledgehammer86
 
3.
Walkabout (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Two young siblings are stranded in the Australian Outback and are forced to cope on their own. They meet an Australian boy on "walkabout": a ritual separation from his tribe. (100 mins.)
Director: Nicolas Roeg
“ 9/10
In a way this totally fulfills what Picnic at Hanging Rock managed to do in a number of scenes but not consistently over its total length. Storywise I like it a lot: the story is presented without overemphasised moral baggage. Sure, there are themes in there about western capitalisation vs. nature and original culture, but these are secondary themes. It is first and foremost the story of the two kids wandering around in the Australian outbacks. Throughout themes such as coming-of-age, (loss of) innocence, emerging love, the distance between men and women, are introduced in a most subtle way.
Walkabout is a stunner visually too. Roeg's trademark editing is in there, but far more subtle and done quietly. ” - sledgehammer86
 
4.
Performance (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Chas, a violent and psychotic East London gangster needs a place to lie low after a hit that should never have been carried out... (105 mins.)
“ 8/10
Although it starts out as something that looks like it's going to be quite brilliant, the story goes off in a different direction quickly. Still, a very good movie, with a very unique atmosphere (reminding me a little of some of the dark scenes in Suicide Circle, although totally different, without the violent atmosphere). Mick Jagger is so-so. Roeg's editing is great. ” - sledgehammer86
 
5.
The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Thomas Jerome Newton is a humanoid alien who comes to Earth to get water for his dying planet. He starts... (139 mins.)
Director: Nicolas Roeg
“ 7/10
This is a difficult, but rewarding movie. It is definitely not faultless. It is near-pretentious and could have done with some editing, as it is overlong. Of course I have to mention David Bowie if I talk about this movie. This is Bowie at perhaps his most enigmatic, mysterious, around his Thin White Duke style. He was doing coke, eating next to nothing at this point, and it is visible in the otherwordly distanced performance he gives. I suppose it is not necessarily a great performance, but it seems fitting nonetheless.
The visuals are again top-notch, and while at the very end I feel for the main character, there is a distance to the movie which is perhaps intentional, but also bloody difficult at points. ” - sledgehammer86
 
6.
Two Deaths (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A tale of power, passion and obsession set in a politically torn Eastern European country. (102 mins.)
Director: Nicolas Roeg
“ 6/10
Flawed, but at least Roeg returns to something that feels personal and emotional rather than generic and Hollywood.
The good parts: there is an intriguing story about a relation based on passion rather than love and a mysterious 'agreement', which feels raw, perverse. The story is at points brutally honest. Michael Gambon is wonderful and shines throughout. The feel of the movie is gritty and stays small.
The less good parts: outside there is a war going on, which constantly interrupts the story happening inside the house. The war adds to the gritty feel of the movie, but also keeps interrupting and I fail to connect it to the personal story inside the house. Also, the story playing inside the house has its interesting factors, but also feels a little contrived and is sometimes hard to grasp.

Still, this feels like a return-to-form and it has spirit, which is something I found to be lacking severely in a lot of the later Roeg movies. ” - sledgehammer86
 
7.
The Witches (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A young boy stumbles onto a witch convention and must stop them, even after he has been turned into a mouse. (91 mins.)
Director: Nicolas Roeg
“ 6/10
This is a movie for children, so I keep this in mind while rating it. But I feel much more would have been possible. Roeg's origins can be seen in some of the shots, but it feels more like he is a hired hand here. Using child actors is always a risk, and those used here are terrible. The acting in general is bad, with Rowan Atkinson (who I like in his own stuff) annoyingly cast as the hotel manager. Roald Dahl's story is original, but it is not entirely convincing on the screen here. I did like the mice puppet work, but did not like the witches makeup as much. The special effects are terrible. In the end, as a movie for children, this is ok. And Roeg sticks to an understandable script here, which is a welcome change amidst jumbled up scripts. ” - sledgehammer86
 
8.
Track 29 (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
A doctor's wife tires of his obsession with model trains, and spends her days wondering about the son she gave up for adoption at birth... (91 mins.)
Director: Nicolas Roeg
“ 6/10
A weird movie, with a boring middle part. It starts off intriguing, with a creepy-as-hell Gary Oldman, but soon gets boring, with Gary Oldman annoying. Track 29 is still ok for some of its weirdness, but it is not very good. ” - sledgehammer86
 
9.
Heart of Darkness (1993 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
A trading company manager travels up an African river to find a missing outpost head and discovers the depth of evil in humanity's soul. (100 mins.)
Director: Nicolas Roeg
“ 5/10
Certainly not as good as the novel. And most certainly not as good as the other (loose) adaptation: Apocalypse Now. This version follows the novel more closely than Apocalypse Now, although something seems to be missing. I am not sure what is, but the story is not completely satisfying. Roeg introduces a lot of dense atmosphere, which is good. But in the end, it failed to make a strong impression. It is perhaps a bit heartless. Also, John Malkovich as Kurtz was disappointing and a bit embarassing. ” - sledgehammer86
 
10.
Bad Timing (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A psychiatrist living in Vienna enters a torrid relationship with a married woman. When she ends up in the hospital from an overdose, an inspector becomes set on discovering the demise of their affair. (123 mins.)
Director: Nicolas Roeg
“ 5/10
Roeg's trademark editing is heavily featured here, and is one of the better aspects of the movie. Again, beautiful visuals at points. But it is such an unsympathic movie. The lead, Art Garfunkel, is Roeg's least well-chosen rock-star uptil now. The character Garfunkel plays is perhaps a prick, but Garfunkel makes him so boring and uninteresting. The story feels like something that is jumbled up a little too much, and is largely plodding along. ” - sledgehammer86
 
11.
Castaway (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
Middle-aged Gerald Kingsland advertises in a London paper for a female companion to spend a year with him on a desert island... (117 mins.)
Director: Nicolas Roeg
“ 5/10
Insignificance must have been the exception to the rule at this point in Roeg's career, because it is back to weaker material here again. The movie is not without its merits, with a cinematography that sometimes makes the beaches look silky (and is better than the tropical looks of Eureka but ain't as good as early Roeg cinematography either). Oliver Reed is solid as is Amanda Donahoe (bonus is that she spends half of the movie walking around in the nude). But I am not convinced by the story. The goal of the script is not entirely clear. I found the editing distracting here, not adding to the thing, which is a first for Roeg. ” - sledgehammer86
 
12.
Samson and Delilah (1996 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Mara and her husband Manoa are both upstanding and religious Israelites living under the harsh and unjust rule of the Philistines... (172 mins.)
Director: Nicolas Roeg
“ 4/10
Boooorring.... At nearly three hours long with a story that can be told in a much, much shorter time, this is simply too long. Moreover, it is bland and generic, not giving me anything emotionally or thematically. As far as entertainment goes, it does not deliver either, with cheap sets and forced action. Soundtrack is cliché. Michael Gambon and Dennis Hopper are doing ok, but do not have interesting lines or characters to build on. Elizabeth Hurley looks the part of the beautiful Delilah, but is out of place with her over-English accent. The actor playing Samson is forgettable. ” - sledgehammer86
 
13.
Eureka (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
In 1925, Arctic prospector Jack McCann becomes a rich man when he strikes gold but 20 years later he faces major personal and family problems. (130 mins.)
Director: Nicolas Roeg
“ 4/10
The first twenty minutes are fantastic, with beautiful shots of mountains, snow storms and caves and a dark soundtrack. But then the story shifts to a tropical location and turns into a generic thriller. The thriller element to this is misleading as it is hardly exciting. I feel there was no character development. A waste of the good cast that was assembled for this (Hackman, Hauer, Pesci amongst others). ” - sledgehammer86
 
14.
Puffball: The Devil's Eyeball (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.3/10 X  
Powerful supernatural forces are unleashed when a young architect (Kelly Reilly) becomes pregnant after... (120 mins.)
Director: Nicolas Roeg
“ 4/10
The first minutes trick you into thinking this might be some sort of return-to-form with nice English countryside cinematography. But it soon gets dull and uninteresting. The script is a true mess, trying to be mysterious and all, but just does not make sense. Any sense of mystery is lost this way. I have no clue what the 'puffball' was and what it did. As I did not understand any of the witchery going on with the baby and its conception. I did not care for any of the characters at all.
Donald Sutherland has a small role, which is clearly only there for cameo purposes, not having anything do whatsoever with the story. ” - sledgehammer86
 
15.
Cold Heaven (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
An adulterous woman's faith in God is tested when her husband dies and miraculously comes back to life. (105 mins.)
Director: Nicolas Roeg
“ 4/10
Really generic and bland. Apart from two scenes with a Roeg-montage this is hardly recognisable as Roeg. Although, in its uninterestingness it is certainly recognisable as late-Roeg...
The acting throughout is bad, especially (the always appalling) Mark Harmon's. I really tried, but the story does not make sense to me. The plot twists come out of nowhere, but are unexciting and unintelligible. And in the scene where the supposedly dead husband is back alive again he turns up with a face that looks like it is has been put in a bag of flour...
Surprisingly, even in the cinematography department there is nothing to gain from this movie. ” - sledgehammer86