Reviews written by
templer_doom (templer_doom@yahoo.co.uk)

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223 reviews in total 
Index | Alphabetical | Chronological | Useful

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
The darker side of illusion. WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS, 21 November 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw this for the first time this week on DVD in the new remastered Anchor Bay 2-disc set and was totally blown away by this acclaimed movie, set in the context of a WWI adventure.

It is an extraordinary movie which has something to say about the nature of insanity and the resultant psychology that even the most reasonable people have in spades.

Steve Ralisback plays a criminal who is on the run from the law and happens to be responsible for the death of a driver when he runs onto a bridge near where a movie is being shot. The accident is recorded by the director (Peter O'Toole in sensational form).In a bid to cover himself, O'Toole takes Ralisback on board as a stuntman,with no experience whatsoever, and finds himself in the midst of increasingly dangerous stunts. The lead actress in the film, Mina (Barbara Hershey), takes to him as well. However, his past is starting to catch up with him......

Thought-provoking, disturbingly plausible with a genuine sense of dimension in it's characterisation, THE STUNT MAN is a brilliant look into the the nature of illusion.

6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
One of Burt Reynolds last great movies. WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS!!, 21 November 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

William Diehl's original novel transposed time and period involving gold bullion at the bottom of a river in Europe.

Burt Reynolds wisely avoided the opening pages of the novel and made it into a slick cop thriller that long-term pal Clint Eastwood described as DIRTY HARRY GOES TO ATLANTA after Reynolds took the mickey out of him for making EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE as a contrast to the SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT movies that Reynolds was so successful.

Busted after a drug-bust gone wrong, Sharky (Reynolds) is reassigned to vice and his first case involves a local senator who is involved with some high-class call girls. Sharky and his colleagues set up phone taps at a high-rise and Sharky takes an interest particularly in one known as Domino (Rachel Ward). Their survelliance doesn't stop one of Domino's 'colleagues', Tiffany, being blown away by a gunman (Henry Silva in the role that he is most known for) and Sharky has to protect Domino, who has the evidence to put the senator away, whilst in the process trying to protect his own growing feelings of love for her.

Backed up by a classic jazz score (Randy Crawford's version of STREET LIFE also played in Tarantino's JACKIE BROWN), SHARKY'S MACHINE is good all-round entertainment.

Interesting viewpoint. WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS!!, 21 November 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

No avid horror fan should miss THE AMERICAN NIGHTMARE, which has been put on the 2-disc UK DVD of THE HILLS HAVE EYES from Anchor Bay. Juxtaposing clips of late 60's TV news with the classic 60's and 70's horror that many of my generation have raved about over the last 25 years, it is an interesting sidebar to the whole nature of horror film entertainment.

These days, I do get raised eyebrows whenever I mention that I am a horror film fan and I strongly doubt whether this documentary will convert those who do so. Thanks to contributions from Carpenter, Hooper, Craven and Romero, to name but four, the film provides a useful insight into the mentality that created the likes of Myers, Jason, Leatherface and Freddy.

Some cynical horror fans may well brush this aside and think 'oh - it's another 'so-called intellectual expose' documentary about the psychology of horror films', but on this occasion it can be forgiven.

Worth a look.

Notable animation. WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS!!, 20 November 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Somewhere amongst the comedy and science-fiction offerings of the 80's, there was Gerald Potterton's cult adaptation of the magazine HEAVY METAL. Like CREEPSHOW, this is a portmanteau of short stories, linked by a common object.In CREEPSHOW, it is the discarded comic book of the kid berated by his uncompromising father; in HEAVY METAL it is a glowing sphere that brings chaos and destruction in five places.

A forerunner of the Japanese Anime and Manga movies that dominated video during the 90's, HEAVY METAL is admirable sci-fi animation. Laden with dark humour and a liberal sprinkling of sexual undertones that wouldn't look out of place in a Tinto Brass movie.

The story begins with the sphere arriving at the house of a young girl who is terrified at first, but then is regaled with stories by the sphere. Cue some very bizarre adventures (my favourite is the man who ends up in an Aztec civilization and starts enjoying his unusual surroundings)

Worth a look for all that and something waiting to be discovered on DVD.

Classic rural nightmare. WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS!!!, 20 November 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The concept and conflict of progression vs regression and, as Joni Mitchell put it, going back to the garden, is laid four-square in John Boorman's dark, brooding, nightmarish classic river movie DELIVERANCE.

John Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ronny Cox and Ned Beatty play four white collar workers convinced by Reynolds to take a canoe trip over a weekend down a river which is to be levelled over by a dam being developed by the state of Georgia. They encounter locals and a mute boy plays a banjo against Voight in the classic DUELLING BANJOS sequence. They pay somebody after tense negotiations to drive their motors down to the end of the trail whilst they paddle downstream, but Voight and Beatty run foul of two hillbillies who terrorise them and in the process rape Beatty asking him 'squeal like a pig!!' before being saved in the nick of time by Reynolds.

What follows is a terrifyingly plausible fight for survival and the issue of morality vs nature.

The use of natural locations heightens the power of this film and do not, if you haven't seen it, lower your guard at the end.....!!!

A Warner classic of the vaults.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
First rate adventure. WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS!!, 19 November 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Seen at a recent preview.

Peter Weir takes the typical themes of his films - connection between characters, tragedy and the world they inhabit - and translates it to a high seas adventure at the time of Admiral Nelson which is a perfect introduction for young and old to life on the ocean wave.

Containing the best interior fight sequence I have seen in a film since the Nepal bar shootout in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, MASTER AND COMMANDER is much more than a movie about battling boats. The relationship between Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany and their compelling conflict which keeps the film on balance is the root essence of this story. After the spectacular opening salvo battle between the Surprise and the Acheron, Crowe and co have to retreat to fight another day, but new discoveries on islands, notably by Bettany's ship doctor of new species, provide surprising truths about the objectives that this band of men have to face in the film.

Peter Weir has always been a competent director who has provided memorable moments on celluloid and he doesn't do himself an injustice with his latest offering. Russell Crowe continues to impress, but it is Paul Bettany who steals the film. The younger members of the cast also acquit themselves with some of the best child acting since Mark Lester's days and heighten the camarderie inherent in this splendid adventure.

A great Christmas offering and one to see if you can't get a ticket for LOVE ACTUALLY.....

Westworld (1973)
Down to earth, classy sci-fi. WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS, 13 November 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Before STAR WARS firmly placed the realm of science fiction to infinity and beyond, 70's sci-fi carried on much as it had done in the 60's. Films like PLANET OF THE APES and SILENT RUNNING kept the genre close to Earth and WESTWORLD continued this tradition with a neat little idea exploiting some keen observations of entertainment in all forms.

James Brolin and Richard Benjamin are two tourists who decide to take a trip to Delos, a futuristic amusement park consisting of three virtual reality scenarios, WESTWORLD, MEDIEVAL WORLD and ROMAN WORLD. Benjamin is making his first visit, whilst Brolin is the veteran of the fun. Inevitably the ride starts out fine, but then all of a sudden things begin to go awry in all three places, notably in the case of Yul Brynner in MAGNIFICENT SEVEN mode as he ruthlessly pursues Brolin and Benjamin in the film's electrifying climax.

Faithful to it's source material, but classic entertainment in the true spirit of films like this, WESTWORLD remains a truly thrilling metaphor for any time.

10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
The first science-fiction movie I ever saw. WARNING POSSIBLE SPOILERS!!!, 13 November 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was as good as banned from cinemas at the age of seven for being a disruptive child and if it wasn't for a developing interest in astronomy, I may well have been for the rest of my life. Because of that interest, I began to watch space movies and the very first one I saw was WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE, two years before a more recent sci-fi offering involving Jedi, a farmboy, a Wookie and so on hooked me for good.

I recently bought the DVD in a box-set with THE WAR OF THE WORLDS and even today, I am well impressed with the look of the film and the reality of the concept, which is quite rooted, with genuine moments of drama and suspense. Although the special effects are limited to artistic paintings (the approaching planets are planted backdrops which vary in size), the production design heightens the very dramatic situation that the Earth finds itself in and utilises limited resources to their utmost.

One of the best sci-fi films ever made.

Christine (1983)
Not really the soul of the novel. WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS!!!, 11 November 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I recently read the original Stephen King novel on which Carpenter's film was based and found it to be a more rewarding experience than the movie, which was conveniently designed more as a Friday night horror offering.

Where the book becomes more disturbing is in the essence of how a car can consume it's owner. Arnie is merely the heir to the throne of the car in the film. Bullied at school, the car becomes his prime source of respect for himself and from others, especially when he gets involved with Leigh. In the book, King wisely takes this idea one step further and makes the characters a little more intense of conflict, notably in the backstory of the original owner.

Film-wise, this is a passable, occasionally very funny film, notably in Robert Prosky's supporting performance as the garage owner.

Simply the most accessible kids movie in ages. WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS!!, 8 November 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

THE SCHOOL OF ROCK was this year's surprise film at the London Film Festival and unquestionably among one of the most well-received. I resolutely give this 10 out of 10, as it is simply the funniest film I have seen in ages, with a lot of knowing references and the best career move Richard Linklater has made, proving that even slackers have their place in the world.

Similar in structure to KINDERGARTEN COP (in which the lead character is a misfit in his own context and has to be taken out of context to find that he is a much more required human being in life) but with plenty of knowing references which young and old will lap up and with a cast of kids who are kids without being annoyingly stage-classy in their delivery, THE SCHOOL OF ROCK delivers on it's promise of good wholesome entertainment and in spite of the subject matter is very clean and family orientated with a desire to appeal to all.

Jack Black, who up to now has been a strong supporting actor in earlier films alongside much bigger stars, now takes centre stage and is helped also by a counterbalanced, controlled performance by Joan Cusack as the head of the school where Black poses as his friend, who has quit the band Black is in to pursue a teaching career on the advice of his girlfriend, who is typically resentful of Black's character.

Great moments of comic timing, coupled with a touch of romance make this the best weekend bet in a long time.

A triumph of 2003


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