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Spike-65

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7 reviews in total 
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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A sad story, 21 October 2006
3/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A very thought-provoking but contrived documentary on one family's downward spiral. The saddest thing with this 'story' is that the woman in the family was so maligned. While the old man may have been a pedophile she was the one who put a brave face on everything and tried to keep the family together, all for the sake of her sons and for 'appearance'. It is a tragedy that she is left with one son who is stunted by years in prison for crimes he probably didn't commit, while another son is so terribly abusive of her. So much for being brought up in a nice neighbourhood, with money, holiday home and relative social independence. All it takes is a few child psychologists and social workers to brainwash a few kids into believing they were abused and a happy home comes tumbling down and we see the true faces behind the masks. Ironic that the worst abuser in this family (although mental and verbal only) wears a mask in real life. Maybe he is ashamed of how he treats his mother, and so he should be. The shrinks must be laughing all the way to the bank. The one nice gem to come from this was that the Mother has found happiness elsewhere and despite one son's efforts it is obvious to all she very much loves her sons.

The Wool Cap (2004) (TV)
5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
A lovely wee story, 10 February 2006
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Not many films make me cry more than once, but this one certainly cleared out my sinuses and was well worth a sob or two. A lovely wee story and some very good acting from the leads, especially William Macy. It makes a change to see a decent film with a REAL storyline and although the Johnson & Johnson tag at the beginning made me wonder if I'd made a bad choice I found the start of the film was as good as the end. While it had the usual 'happy' ending, it was an ending you really hoped it would be. There is a place for films like this, when everything else we see is sensationalised, computerised and overdone to the max. I want to see more of this style of work, as my time spent in places like St. Louis and Chicago show this world does exist, despite the glitz and charade of places like Hollywood. Congratulations for a job well done.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Are Biographical films always true to fact?, 15 August 1999

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

***Possible Spoiler to Follow*** * * *

Detractors of biographical films would say that it is impossible to conceptualise anyone's life after they've died. To a certain extent, that's true; the (in)famous entity can't give directions on how an actor portrays them, nor can they cringe at the (often) abysmal result. The positive side of the 'dead-don't-lie' theory is that you often get a better picture of what a person was really like, "...to see ourselves..."

Father Alek (Christophe Lambert) is the celluloid incarnation of Polish priest Jerzy Popieluszko, one of many martyrs to the cause of Solidarity. Struggling with the growth of the Solidarity movement in Poland, the military enforced martial law in 1981, but failed to realise that a backlash from the predominantly Catholic populace would inevitably de-stabilise their goals.

Stefan (Ed Harris) is a member of the secret police, given the job of keeping an eye on Father Alek, a popular young priest who incites his flock to stand up against their military oppressors. Stefan's private life is a mess, with a wife who is cold towards him and a son who finds his father's job destroying his own young world. His immediate supervisor, the Colonel (Joss Ackland), fails to provide Stefan with the guidance he needs and his personal hell is transferred to his underlings as the three of them kidnap and murder Father Alek. By eliminating the priest, Stefan attempts to smooth his own life out, but instead discovers that the Colonel has brokered a treaty with the Church, where both parties are secretly glad to see Father Alek removed, without having blood on their hands.

The interaction between Ackland and Harris is often tense and tangible. The same cannot be said for Lambert's character, which is ruined by over-direction from Agnieszka Holland, the inevitable anti-communist semantics and the 'hollywood' treatment via a love interest. Even Lambert's usual wit (no matter what the character) is muted. The murder sequence is overdone and I can't take Timothy Spall seriously unless he is playing a philosophising brickie opposite Jimmy Nail.

The highlights of the film are Joan Baez singing 'The Crimes of Cain', the Colonel realising he has been compromised and the opening boys-in-a-bus sequence. Despite a good international supporting cast, a better story could have been told in half the time.

Fortress (1992)
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Using sci-fi stratagem to make political statements., 15 August 1999
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

***Possible Spoiler Attached*** * * *

At first glance this film is just another sci-fi flick with a mediocre plot and sometimes dull dramatics. The pundits have been less than generous with their praise, of a movie that fails to deliver what the trailers promise. Fortunately it has a few redeeming features.

The premise of a society with boundaries on conception is not a new one, infact at the time when this film was released, China was very much in the news for limiting couples to one child only. But while trying to deal with a very real scenario, albeit in the 'global' future, the film crew and management had their own brush with Australian authorities regarding the use of 'local' talent preferentially on the Aussie set. Despite the associated delays and bad press, the film was completed, much to the delight of sci-fi aficionados.

Christophe Lambert portrays an ex-marine John Brennick who's wife Karen (played ably by Loryn Locklin) is expecting her second child. Their first child died and during an attempt to cross the border into Mexico, the land of the free(sic), they are taken prisoner. Transported to an underground prison, they fight technology, hard labour (no pun intended) and a prison warden called Poe (believably evil and portrayed by Kurtwood Smith). It would seem that Poe has been reading too many of his namesake's books, leading to a rather deviant bent, a lust for married women and psychedelic dreams, plus (due to genetic enhancement) the inability to hold his drink.

Once Brennick decides he's had enough, he attempts a breakout, with his cell-mates in tow. One by one they are eliminated by various cyborgs, until there is just the Brennicks and Nino (Clifton Gonzalez Gonzalez) heading for the border in the truck that brought them all to the prison. The ending is a little bland, with one version showing the Brennicks and baby, while the other shows Nino being terminated by the truck. Does this all sound a little implausible? Tough....it's sci-fi.... what else do you expect?

Actually, once you get past the bad acting by some of the Aussies and some very plastic props, the film isn't that bad. It deals with complex social issues; those of overpopulation (which generally means first world values foisted on third world countries), incarceration in prisons run by private companies (a concept currently being adopted world-wide), and the love of a man for his wife and child.

Christophe and Kurtwood are both capable of creating stylised characters, something they succeed in doing (shame that Kurtwood later lost the plot in That 70's Show). If you are into sci-fi, future-world or true kick-arse action, then watch it.

Subway (1985)
1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
An alternative look at a poliical statement in celluloid., 26 June 1999
10/10

So you want to sit down with a box of popcorn and a large iced soda, put your brain in neutral and cruise through yet another hour or so of mindless drivel?...then don't bother watching SUBWAY. While it lacks some of the colour and punch of Luc Besson's later work (Fifth Element) it delivers complicated, though integrated plots by the dozen.

On the surface it is a love story; that of a wannabe musician with a fetish for blowing up safes (Fred played by Christophe Lambert) and a bored socialite/housewife who feels trapped in a loveless marriage (Helena played by Isabelle Adjani). When Fred decides to grab some important papers from Helena's safe after inviting himself to her birthday party, it leads to a merry chase through the streets of Paris and down into an alternate world...that of the Metro.

Here we meet an eclectic group of people who, for whatever reason, choose to live in an underground society. The main plot centres around Fred attempting to persuade Helena that he loved her at first glance, which she goes along with because she has nothing better to do. One sub-plot involves the frantic attempts of Helena's husband and his henchmen to get the stolen papers back, another pits two bumbling officers (Batman played by Jean-Pierre Bacri and Robin played by Jean-Claude Lecas) against a bag-snatching Roller, seedily played by Jean-Hugues Anglade.

Fred has been emotionally stunted, due to a car accident at age 5, which destroyed his voice and hence his chances to be in a band, but also eroded his faith in his father '..he bet he could drive his car under a truck and won.' Through this film, he explores his feelings for Helena, his realisation that his songs can be sung by someone else 'It's only mystery' and what it's really like to live on the edge in a community populated by people who society have given up on.

As the henchmen close in for the 'kill' the band that Fred puts together gives us another indication of where the 'power' comes from, '..guns don't kill people, people kill people'. Fred realises he has stepped over the line that society regards as 'acceptable behaviour' and that there is only one way out. Helena's confession of love comes too late. Fred made his choices, as did Helena and all her fine jewels and her husband's money can't cushion her from the consequences.

11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Could this mean the renaissance of the intellectual, 26 June 1999
8/10

Knight Moves is a film of/for fruitcakes....a little too complicated to be called a Madeira, but heavy enough to take away the hunger pangs. It manages to convey the horror of death without any real murder sequences being shown and is rather Hitchcockesque in places.

The story centres around chess player Peter Sanderson (Christophe Lambert) and his (possible) involvement in a string of serial killings. Due to his complete absorption in the game, he has already lost his wife and is now in danger of losing his daughter. Although he is the prime suspect, he becomes involved with a psychologist called in by the Police. This role was picked up by Christophe's (then) wife, Diane Lane, who not only coped well with the character, but also with a well-rehearsed bedroom scene. A case of 'truth being stranger than fiction'?

Like many of Christophe's films, this one relies heavily on explaining the psychology of the killer, even if it is only in laymen's terms; but it does deal with complex issues of responsibility and duress. The photography is a juxtaposition of European noir sur blanc and British thriller, with a little American 'home-grown' logic thrown in for good effect. Tom Skerritt is disappointing as the chief of police, a role that he plays woodenly. He is upstaged by his sidekick (Daniel Baldwin). Jeremy is portrayed by Ferdinand Mayne, an actor well known to film-going audiences, with over 120 roles to his credit before his death in 1998.

Although this film was not initially well received, its continued presence on the 'Pick of the week' shelf at the video store proves that it may well become a 'cult' film. It is often in the top-100-rentals slot in many countries and it seems to appeal to a diverse range of people. While some of the supporting cast need acting lessons, its camera work and well co-ordinated plot make this an original and enjoyable 'who-dunnit'...and you really will be guessing to the end.

10 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Redefining the term 'devine retribution'., 26 June 1999
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Due to the inability of Mitsubishi to make a VCR that can last any reasonable length of time before it dies, I had to wait two days to see this film. The frustration was worth it. This film is quintessential Christophe Lambert and a must-see for any admirer, especially if you are also into gore of the 'n'th degree (hence the British R18 rating).

The plot centres around a cop (Christophe Lambert) and his partner (Leland Orser) and their attempt to track down a serial killer (Robert Joy) who is reconstructing the body of Christ in time for Easter and the Resurrection. It is not for the faint-hearted and should be viewed during the daylight hours, as there are segments of it that will have you alternately on the edge of your seat and then running for the bathroom. Some may compare it to Seven, but the storyline is richer and more varied.

Jonathan Freeman's cinematography is ethereal, but intense, like a rollercoaster at an amusement park, with colour so subtle, it makes some scenes seem almost daguerreotypical. Just when your eyes have adjusted to the pitch of the camera..it changes. There are scenes reminiscent of many of Christophe's previous films, among them are Subway, Knight Moves, Mean Guns, Highlander, Why Me and Adrenaline. Watching it on a big screen helped, as the mood was dark, enhancing the effect rather than detracting from it.

The plot is sound and the (often unknown) collection of actors is acceptable. The only fly in the ointment was the surreptitious use of 'the laugh' at one point; one would hope this was put in to please Christophe's admirers. But once again we see the passion and the sheer volume of commitment that Christophe has given us all before. The score is understated, not at all overdone like the dozens of thrillers thrown at us lately.

If you want to sample a thick slice of what this guy is all about, it would be opportune to catch this one, especially since Christophe and Brad Mirman wrote it, while Russell Mulcahy directed. One would suspect this was a partnership made in heaven...so when do we sinners get the next taste?