Reviews written by registered user
maralex

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28 reviews in total 
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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
I long to see this again!, 25 February 2003
9/10

I remember watching this on TV when it was first broadcast,and it was spellbinding. The plot twisted and turned, at times it was impossible to make out what was happening. Then, at the end, it all became blindingly clear. The ending was brilliant as well, making it one of the best mystery programmes I've ever seen. I just wish that I could somehow have the chance to see it again!

Tosca (2001)
3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A great film that stays in the memory, 22 December 2002
9/10

I'd read some bad reviews of this film, and didn't expect to enjoy it. For me Tosca is such a great opera that I couldn't imagine how technical trickery could do anything but spoil it. However, director Jacquot has actually enhanced it at times, although the grainy pictures of outside locations didn't work for me.

The film begins with black and white film of the singers recording the sound track, and occasionally this device is used during the opera itself, but I found it interesting and it didn't break the spell of the story in any way. In fact, when Ruggero Raimondi stood up to record his entrance he looked just as frightening as he did when acting!

Allowing the singers to either talk or stand silently thinking while their arias or recitatives were played was a great idea. For me it worked best when Raimondi's Baron Scarpia was watching Angela Gheorghin's Tosca as he tried to poison her mind with jealousy so that she would lead him to her lover Mario Cavaradossi. This could be because out of the three leads, it's Raimondi who has the best screen presence. He not only looks right, he can act as well, and although Angela Gheorghin looked beautiful, I was disappointed in her acting skills. For me her Tosca lacked passion and she seemed more interested in looking lovely than reacting appropriately.

Her scenes with Scarpia were her best scenes, mainly because Roberto Alagna failed to generate any hint of passion or sexuality, which was a huge disappointment. Even his singing sounded as though he was in an echo chamber, which made me suspect that he was underpowered. Maybe it was a technical fault, but it was irritating.

It was an involving film, and the sumptious costumes and sheer brilliance of Raimondi's singing and acting meant that it had moments of genius. Overall it was a great film for me, and one that I can't wait to see again. The golden couple of Gheorghin and Alagna didn't quite live up to their reputations, but Ruggero Raimondi certainly made up for it. Even if you're not an opera lover, it's worth watching this film for his performance alone, and if you are an opera lover then see it as soon as you can for the whole production.

12 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Superbly acted, a delight to watch., 2 November 2002
9/10

This is an excellent period crime drama in the style of Agatha Christie but with more bite. Michael Kitchen is superb as D.S.Christopher Foyle, and the supporting cast are all strong, including a surprisingly quiet but highly effective performance by Robert Hardy. The first in a series of four, this murder story with its background of tensions and suspicions in a small village shortly after the outbreak of the first World War has a satisfying array of characters, a good plot, and allows you a small glimpse of Foyle the man as well as Foyle the detective. Michael Kitchen is an actor who doesn't need words to tell you what he's thinking, and I hope that his performance, and the series itself, gets the recognition it undoubtedly deserves. It's a delight to watch.

6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Well worth seeing if you get the chance, 18 May 2002
7/10

This is a neat little story, beautifully acted by Susannah York and John Castle as the middle-aged couple who meet and fall in love. Unfortunately, the past returns to haunt them both and the ending comes as quite a shock. If it's shown again on TV, try and catch it.

8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
The most tasteless film I've ever seen, 9 April 2002

It's difficult to imagine the kind of person who could dream up a concept where the making of snuff movies provides grounds for truly pathetic, slapstick comedy, but that person exists, as this film proves. There is a very unpleasant feeling to the scenes where the snuff movies are shown being filmed, and the camera lingers on the 'victims' deaths far too long. Then, just as you start to feel uneasy, Gotz Otto and Mariusz Pujszo are given a knockabout comedy routine as two of the most inept and badly acted cops ever to grace the screen. Some extraordinary editing means that you constantly flash back and forth between humour and extreme violence towards women, an uneasy mix to say the least of it. Jurgen Prochnow, who should know better, plays the king of the snuff movie empire but we never really get to know his motivation or character. Perhaps we should be grateful for that, although I would have liked to know why he constantly quotes the bible and burbles about his name being legion. I don't think he was meant to be the devil, just a nasty Russian who's having a bad hair day. A poorly produced, badly acted and totally tasteless film.

Ripper (2001)
4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
One of the worst movies I've ever sat through., 27 November 2001
3/10

This is a terrible movie, absolutely dire. I can't think of a single good thing to say about it, except that watching Jurgen Prochnow prowling and slithering around, dressed all in black, whispering half his lines and over-emphasising the other half gave me the best laugh I've had for a long time. What a waste of a good actor. The rest of the cast are terrible too, but perhaps that's their normal standard of acting, I don't know as I've never seen any of them before, and I hope I don't see them again. The entire film is badly written, badly acted and very badly directed. At the end I still didn't know for sure who the killer was. At first I thought this was because my brain had atrophied during the course of watching the movie, but when I listened to the Director's commentary on the DVD I discovered that he'd 'deliberately left the film open-ended so that we could all make up our own minds'. Now there's a novelty. If you can't make up your mind how to end a film, leave it to the viewers! I wouldn't recommend this film to my worst enemy.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A fascinating and unusual movie, 17 November 2001
9/10

Jurgen Prochnow plays Brenner, a Swiss policeman, in this intriguing and surrealistic movie that grips from the very start. Despatched to a mountain village to investigate both a murder and the disappearance of two of his colleagues who were originally sent to investigate the crime, Brenner soon finds himself caught up in the affairs of villagers who seem to live in a bygone age and who don't welcome outsiders. A tunnel is the only link between the village and the modern world, and as the death toll mounts and Brenner tries to return to his headquarters for help, he finds that the tunnel gates remain resolutely shut, forcing him to return to the village once more. The ending of the film is excellent, leaving the viewer with a lot to think about, but personally I liked this and didn't feel at all cheated. Highly original, with a superb cast and wonderfully atmospheric, it's a great pity that this German language film hasn't been released with subtitles as I think that if it were, it would quickly gain a cult following.

Unternehmer (1970) (TV)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A nostalgic look back at the seventies, 6 October 2001
6/10

This is quite an entertaining film about a German youth (Jurgen Prochnow) who is happy to hang around with his friends and has no great desire to do anything except drink as much as he wants and have lots of sex. Set in the seventies it's an interesting reminder of the fashions and attitudes of that time, and although Prochnow should probably be considered an anti-hero it's difficult not to warm to him. For obvious reasons the film has dated badly, but it's still enjoyable. Difficult to imagine though that ten years later Prochnow would be starring in DAS BOOT.

The Fall (1999)
5 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
A film that grips from start to finish, 16 September 2001
8/10

This film was way above average, and is - in my opinion - greatly underestimated. The opening sequence is exciting and gripping, and the story moves at a fast pace as the plot twists and turns towards an intriguing finish. Most of the performances were very good. Helene de Fourgerolles is new to me, but she was excellent, and it was impossible to tell whether she or the ever-reliable Jurgen Prochnow were telling the truth. My only quibble was that Craig Sheffer never convinced, neither his fear of nor his his fascination for the lovely Marta came across properly, and this was a pity. Try and see it, the rest of the cast more than make up for him.

6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
A convoluted and ultimately pointless plot, 3 September 2001
6/10

Rob Lowe sleepwalks through this convoluted plot, with barely a glimmer of an expression ever crossing his face. I think he was meant to be an ex-IRA man who now worked for the highest bidder, but if so he'd lost his accent along the way. Most of the cast were equally underwhelmed by their parts, but with the main Italian villain being called, in all seriousness,'Don Giovanni', this is hardly surprising. He had a German nephew - Jurgen Prochnow, who did show plenty of expression but mostly of the 'how did I get into this film?' kind - and Prochnow had a German stepdaughter from his dead wife, which made the Italian mafia link a little tenuous. The plot was merely an excuse for lots of different locations, and ultimately a pointless exercise. However, along the way the English were shown to be pinstripe suited men who hid swords in their walking sticks, the Irish all drank a lot and danced to the sound of fiddles in sawdust floored pubs and the Scots were barking mad, rolling their eyes and saying 'och aye the noo' at every possible opportunity. The Chinese were in it too, all speaking Oxford-educated style English. It's very long, which is lucky for Prochnow as it gave his hair time to turn from grey to blond. This was the most interesting thing in the movie, but it rates high for amusement, albeit of the wrong kind.


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