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A real threat this time!
11 April 2003
Movie catastrophes tend to go to extremes in search of deadly threats, or plots that justify a large FX budget. This very good German thriller, instead, increases its dramatic value precisely because it takes a very run-of-the-mill danger, not really appreciated by the public, who ignore that even the cleanest cities in the world have a rate of from six to ten rats per human inhabitant (and really dirty ones, can boast up to a hundred rats per human). The action is placed in Frankfort, where a strike of garbage men and an unusually hot spell result in a massive infestation of the city, overrun by famished, vicious and aggressive rodents. Very much worth seeing, with a good couple of leads played by Ralph Herforth and Ann Cathrin Buhtz. It had to be made in the country of the original Pied Piper of Hamelin...
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A Miami Herald female reporter follows up closely the search of a desperate father for her missing teenage daughter.
6 June 2001
Elizabeth Montgomery is, as usual, perfect in her role as the real life journalist and Pulitzer Prize Winner Edna Buchanan in this film loosely based on her book, which highlights her 18 year career as a crime reporter in Miami, where she covered about 5000 violent deaths, more than 3000 of them, homicides. The film and the book, however, don't follow the trodden path of so many real-life crime stories, thanks to the detachment and humor which Buchanan imbues her work with, which gives a droll slant to her otherwise macabre stories. Furthermore, the script deals with only one case, which captures the spirit of both the author and the book, as Edna and some friends in the Miami Police Department (Dennis Farina, Yaphet Kotto) search for the missing teenage daughter of a distraught father, played by Lee Horsley. (The film has been retitled abroad as Daddy's girl).
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Gotham (1988 TV Movie)
A private detective is hired by a rich client to act as a go between with his ex-wife... who's been dead for ten years!
21 May 2001
If now Oscar-winner Tommy Lee Jones were allowed to delete all memory of one of his previous films, no doubt he would choose this incredible mess of a thriller to cast into oblivion. He plays a private dick who is hired by a rich husband to settle some matters with his ex-wife, who is holding some jewelry of his in her possession. Only that the woman apparently has been dead for a decade! He takes the case thinking of making easy money with a crackpot client, but the woman appears to be alive and well and even very seductive (Virginia Madsen, no less), all qualities painfully lacking in the film, which is slow, poorly acted (evidence of a great lack of enthusiasm on the side of Tommy and par for the course for Madsen)and disconcertingly ambiguous, undecided between a solid thriller of unexpected final twists (which it has not) and a run of the mill ghost-story that had traded horror for sensuality. Really dreadful.
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A wonderful portrait of Ireland's Saint Patron.
27 March 2001
St. Patrick is probably one of the best known saints in the Western World, and certainly America's most revered one, his shamrocks and greenery covering New York and other great cities on his day. But even those devote Irish who proudly parade in or out of uniform, will learn something about the man who brought the Gospel to Ireland, in this splendid biopic which takes Patrick as a young Christian Scot who is captured and taken to Ireland as a slave, only to fall in love with these heathen people, and dedicate his whole life to save them from paganism.

The film is supported by a splendid cast, but its principal merit is the sensible, unobtrusive way in which it mixes the human, heroic story of the man, with the necessary miracles of the saint, and his duel of prodigies with the heathen druids is casually inserted in the more factual story of his labours, not without catering to the Irish by depicting a rapacious "British church" in perhaps the only departure from strict historical truth, since Patrick lived long before the English considered themselves such. Which doesn't prevent Malcolm McDowell from adding another splendid villain to his gallery, as the ambitious and autarchic Bishop Quentin.
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A lawyer who has won the acquittal of a murderess, is ready to sacrifice himself in order to see Justice is done!
27 November 2000
Warning: Spoilers
This excellent thriller is one, if not the only, starring role for Raymond Burr in the movies, one year before he became Perry Mason on TV. Here he is a lawyer too, who brings out the acquittal of his client (Angela Lansbury)accused of murder, only to discover after the verdict, that she really is guilty as hell. Obsessed with his love of Justice, he devises a clever plan to by-pass the double jeopardy immunity, and arranges for her to be caught red-handed after committing another murder... with him as the victim!
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A former billiards champion fearlessly defies the Mafia for the second time.
3 November 2000
A tense, very good story about a former billiards champion who once defied the Mafia by winning a tournament and so depriving them of a large sum of betting money. He was severely punished by the mob, but some years later he finds a gifted girl whom he takes under his wing, to make her a champion. Only, for a second time, if she wins, the Mafia loses... and the man now goes, not only for victory but for revenge as well.
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