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The Lodger (1944)
7/10
A Flimsy Tale With Fantastic Atmosphere
14 October 2018
I've tried watching Hitchcock's silent Lodger original several times, but never really clicked with it; it seems to me its chief interest lies in the camera innovations introduced rather than the story itself, which is not up to much.

This 1944 remake hasn't really improved a great deal on the story, which is still fairly uninvolving for the most part, until the rousing finale, but it makes up for it somewhat with the central haunted performance of Laird Cregar (who starved himself to death the very same year) and the first-rate atmosphere.

As with Hangover Square (shot back-to-back with much the same cast and crew) the film opens with the camera swooping and creeping through echoey Victorian London streets, filled with thick fog and impending danger. Magnificent. Unfortunately after that it settles down into too much drawing room talkiness and not enough thrills or plot twists, and after that it's pretty much a straight line of padding until the splendid ending, with Cregar's character being hunted down and closed in on, that same creeping camera closing in on his bloodied face, the sound of him breathing hard eclipsing all else.

If the whole film was like that it would be a masterpiece, the equal of The Thirty-Nine Steps or The Third Man. And it really is a pity it's not.
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6/10
An Amazing Story, The Documentary A Little Shaky And Manipulative
30 September 2018
Warning: Spoilers
The top reviews here give a good report on what is moving, exciting and thought-provoking about this documentary, so I will instead briefly focus on some of the shortcomings.

The set-up of the tale is very good, and the excitement of the brothers discovering each of them exists is most compelling, but once they introduce the idea that something more is going on, there's a feeling that they are inflating with movie techniques a story that is not as shocking or sinister or conspiratorial as they are hoping to make it appear. It's clear they are trying for a similar rug-pull effect as used in 'The Jinx' and other recent crime documentaries, but those tools feel a little out of place with the actual material at hand. A more sober discussion of the pluses and minuses of the morality of research carried out on human beings might have been more fitting.

The other big gripe is the heavy handed message at the end of the film, presented cinematically as some big reveal, that it is nurture, not nature, that shapes our lives, even though this goes completely against ALL of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary we've watched for the previous 90 minutes.

It's really quite hard to figure out why this was inserted here: if one of three triplets kills himself, that doesn't mean the thousand other eerie similarities all three share are suddenly discounted or explained away. If they'd simply said 'obviously it's a bit of both', that would have been one thing, but the blank statement being presented as the final conclusion of what we've just seen really weakens the film, and our trust in its makers.

The overall impression is that the filmakers didn't really know where the story was going to go, and that it didn't wind up where they thought it would. Other than that it was an interesting story to find out about and another solid addition to the growing body of notable 21st century docs.
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4/10
Octavio Is A Bit Of A Mess
26 September 2018
Warning: Spoilers
This starts out intriguingly, with Rosanna Arquette's portrayal of the lead character's grasping and manipulating mother, but that only lasts 5 minutes or so and then once Sarah Gadon leaves to move into her dead father's house, and begins going out to strip bars in his clothes, the film pretty much falls off a cliff.

Gadon seems a fairly good actress but she makes THE most unconvincing cross-dressing 'man' imaginable. The idea that the gay guy she becomes involved with (and everyone else she meets) wouldn't be able to tell she's a girl is simply too ridiculous for the story to remain standing. The 'ghost story' stuff seems kinda patchy and random as well, and by the end the whole film is just a ragbag of implausible, disconnected and emotionally unconvincing scraps that add up to very little.

I think it was perhaps trying to show her discovering her father's hidden sexuality by walking in his actual footsteps or something, which could have been interesting if there had been a tighter hold on the material and a better use of the cinematic medium to depict that in a clear and compelling manner. But there wasn't, so it's a bit of a mess, really.
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5/10
Ancient Curse Found In Attic Sends Handyman Doolally
23 September 2018
Somewhere between a student film and a B-movie, 'It Lives Inside' is a no-budget, low-key stab at a horror movie, containing very little horror and covering very little new ground.

As a real-life movie it doesn't really cut it (all those god-damned fades to black make it look like a workprint), but the lead actor holds up his end of the bargain, and as an obviously-first-attempt on no money, it's very nicely done, with obvious commitment and care from everyone involved.
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1/10
IT'S A FILM ABOUT HAIR!
21 September 2018
No, not a documentary about African American hairstyles, like Chris Rock's 'Great Hair', but an actual real life movie with a script and written characters and employed actors and everything where the entire story just revolves around the length of this one woman's HAIR!

Exactly how short of ideas would somebody actually have to be to decide to waste this much time and effort on such a feeble triviality?

And exactly how much disposable income do Netflix HAVE to merrily throw it away on nonsense like this?
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4/10
Great Premise Poorly Executed
16 September 2018
"A former serial killer with Alzheimer's fights to protect his daughter from her psychotic boyfriend."

How can you not want to see that film? Well, that's what I thought, anyway.

It seems though, that once the makers came up with the pitch for the movie, they simply thought it would write itself, and unfortunately it didn't. The dialogue is laughably poor at points, and while at least some of this might be poor translation, a lot of it is clearly just sloppy writing. Much of the plot seems a badly thought-out ragbag of scenes from other Korean and non-Korean movies - Memento in particular - that don't have any particular relevance or resonance. The main character is good but behaves in ways that are frustratingly inconsistent and lead nowhere (the delayed laughing, for instance). Every other character is either weakly written, implausible or out of place.

It's not a startlingly terrible film, just dull and badly done, and goes on quite a bit too long. A disappointment, since most Korean thrillers are usually much better.
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Bombshell (1933)
8/10
The Hollywood Star-Making Machine At Its Best
6 September 2018
I'd always been a little puzzled as to the popularity of Jean Harlow - yes I'd seen her in a few classic like The Public Enemy and Laurel & Hardy's Beau Hunks, but her delivery was always wooden and stilted, and on top of that, she's a strange-looking thing to have become a sex symbol, really not very good-looking at all, with a somewhat sickly appearance under way too much make-up.

I'd pretty much concluded she must have slept her way into her starring roles, and to be honest, there's not a great deal of evidence in Bombshell to make me rethink that. What IS different is the amazing film that has here been built around her: the script is fantastic, one of the sharpest and funniest of the whole decade, specifically addressing Harlow's own 'blonde bombshell' public image, and very much cut from the same cloth as later screwball comedies like His Girl Friday.

None of the other acting is first rate, but the film itself is. It's a great example of the Hollywood star-making machine at its peak, and an innuendo filled classic of the 'pre-code' age that would disappear from cinema screens for decades the following year when the Hayes Code came in.

Interesting fact: the film Citizen Kane (1941) is credited everywhere with the first appearance of the expression "I know where the bodies are hid", so I was surprised to discover it actually occurs here 8 years earlier, around 2 and a half minutes in, and it's very funny when it does.
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Greed (1924)
5/10
Stroheim's New Clothes
1 September 2018
I'd heard of this film for many years and finally got round to seeing the four-hour restoration of it, and I have to say, I'm really quite surprised at how hammy and hamfisted it all is. I think a lot of the people overpraising it must simply never have watched a silent film before and so have nothing to compare it to.

But look: by the mid-20s we have Chaplin's The Kid and The Gold Rush, Harold Lloyd's Safety Last and The Freshman, Buster Keaton's Sherlock Jr and Emil Janning's astounding performance in The Last Laugh, all of which have amazing subtlety, wit, and mastery of the artform.

'Greed', on the other hand, looks like it was shot in 1908 in between 8 minute loops of 'horse running' and 'train arriving in station', with a cast from the local amateur dramatics pantomime in bad clown wigs. The 'dialogue' cards are the worst of any film I have ever seen, all taking up space and saying nothing.

By 1924, 'Greed' was already a creaky old relic of the past: not only should it never have been up to nine hours long, but everything interesting in the story could have easily been told perfectly well in an hour and forty at most, and the only reason it wasn't has to be Stroheim's ineptitude and self-indulgence. How many times can an audience be expected to watch the same situations and relationships going round and round in circles, getting nowhere?

On the plus side, I liked the yellow tinting of anything gold on the screen - I'm not sure if that was something done in the restoration or was there all along, but it's a nice touch whatever. The ending, which several people here have said was unforgettable, IS pretty memorable (and the only surprising turn in the whole damn film), but 4 minutes of good movie can't make up for the four-to-nine hours of molasses that precedes it.

I'm now of the opinion that the only thing truly legendary about this film is the length itself. But, as with any art, quantity does not equate to quality, and in this case less would definitely have been more.
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5/10
Watchable But Largely Pointless
11 August 2018
So this is something of a mixed bag: the girl playing Elizabeth herself is a model not an actress and this is noticeable right from the beginning: she looks pleasant enough standing still but she moves at all times like she's on a catwalk and tends to blow the illusion of whatever scene she's in whenever she starts to talk.

As the movie progresses though, and the first reveal occurs, this starts to seem like it might actually work to the story's advantage. There was another well-known film three years back which I won't mention for fear of spoiling, but it covers some of the same ground and takes one to a similar place but this one doesn't raise any of the same questions or emotional responses, which makes it a much less worthwhile experience.

Ciarán Hinds is good as always, along with Carla Gugino, but Matthew Beard is noticably weakest of all. On top of this there is some odd, clumsy editing, with too many scenes just awkwardly fading to black and slowing down the momentum.

So the film really has one foot in compelling sci-fi and another in bad B-movie drama/ TV soap opera. It's a good premise, though not really original or examined enough to feel groundbreaking, revelatory or even particularly memorable, and after the first twist there's no real point to the story and no interesting place for it to go. It's definitely watchable but largely pointless, and you'll never choose to watch it again.
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SheChotic (2018)
1/10
Worst Film Of The 21st Century
4 August 2018
This really is one of the worst films ever made. It looks like it was shot on someone's first generation iPad and acted out by whichever passerby said yes when offered a dollar fifty on the street. The acting is atrocious, with every line the lead actress speaks delivered like someone absentmindedly reading out the ingredients on the back of a cereal box. The music sounds like a Guatemalan daytime soap. The movie appears to have been filmed on a porn set, and the audio recorded on one of the catering staff's laptop.

Basically, SheChotic is a no-budget blacksploitation/rapesploitation revenge flick doing its darndest to ride the coattails of the present #MeToo hysteria and cram as much far-fetched rapeiness as it possibly can into its 90 minutes running time. I have no idea what it is trying to say but whatever it is, it's saying it very badly.

It's possible it could become one of those "so laughably bad it's good" movies like 'The Room' with time, and maybe there's a drinking game in there somewhere but I think that's a long shot and unrealistically optimistic. It's just completely unwatchable.
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8/10
Flawed But Fantastic
28 July 2018
There's a case to be made that the Dietrich/Sternberg films may actually have been better as silent films, as a lot of the time the talkiness is the weakest, creakiest part, especially when compared to the images, which are so immaculate. Almost every frame of this film would look great blown up and mounted on a wall, and Dietrich looks like a religious icon most of the time, especially lit by candlelight during the wedding scene.

The excesses of this film are second to none, and for sheer lurid spectacle, you can only really compare it to Cecil B DeMille, though this is a far more beautiful and well-told tale than anything DeMille ever made. There's nudity and adultery and torture and all that good pre-code stuff that would disappear from Hollywood screens for decades only a year later. This was the last gasp of freedom and it's a gasp everyone should share at least once.
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Dishonored (1931)
7/10
Tremendous Delirium
25 July 2018
Well now this is just very silly. As others have pointed out, Victor McLaglen acts his best but is fatally miscast - too rigid, charmless, snide and creepy in a role that is crying out for a Clark Gable or Cary Grant.

On the other hand Dietrich was never more beautiful, and you can feel Sternberg's worshipping of her through the camera lens. The photography is luscious and the BluRay restoration a joy. Warner Oland has a small role as something other than Charlie Chan, which is very odd to see.

The story, dialogue and characters are thoroughly unbelievable at every turn, and the whole thing, really, is just a delirious but delightful mess, a stilted, fevered, nonsensical fairytale dream about spies, but no less likeable for all that. Accept it and love it for what it is, because it isn't like anything else.
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8/10
The First Film Noir?
22 July 2018
Warning: Spoilers
'Film Noir' was a French term for a type of violent, pessimistic American film that started to appear around and after the second World War, usually shot in sparse, dark rooms at night, at least partly to save money.

Often they would take place in flashback - as in Double Indemnity, DOA, and Sunset Boulevard - with the fate of the hero already carved in stone, and the film just the series of bad decisions and treacherous women leading up to his fall.

Oddly though, this French film might be the one that started all of that, and though it might not compare with the Chandleresque dialogue and fast-moving shoot-em-ups that followed, it is decidedly more beautiful, mysterious and atmospheric.

On the downside, even though it is a short film it drags, and there are some poorly developed characters and plotholes (François following Françoise all the way into town about 10 feet behind her in an empty street while pushing a bike and she never sees?)

I've only seen it the once but I was confused as to the relationship between François, Françoise and Valentin: first we were told these two new lovers with the same name happened to be raised in the same orphanage, then an older man who is having an affair with the female one claims to be her father. This plot twist doesn't seem to lead anywhere but thin air, and I would have thought the much better story would have been the revelation that Valentin was BOTH of their fathers, and hence the two lovers were actually brother and sister. Was this a storyline left undeveloped because of its taboo nature? I don't know, but I feel it would have been a much better catalyst for François shooting Valentin than the somewhat unconvincing showdown in the final film.

In conclusion: it's a flawed jewel from the past: watch for the exquisite photography and silver atmosphere, as well as the central performances, especially from Jean Gabin, who was perhaps never better.
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Separation (1968)
6/10
Little-Seen Sixties Period Piece
21 July 2018
A fascinating snapshot of London in the swinging sixties, with mandatory experimental editing and a Procul Harum soundtrack, reminiscent of Blow-Up and Repulsion and some things by Nicholas Roeg like Performance, but shot more like a handheld B&W from the French New Wave. The story doesn't seem to add up to anything particularly coherent and the dialogue is mainly improvised but the scenes depicting the central character's crumbling mental health are still powerful.

An odd bit of trivia is the final scene looks uncannily like it is shot in the same park as the one featured so significantly in Blow-Up, but the director Jack Bond swears it is not so, and that he has in fact never even seen that film.
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8/10
A Lesser Carné Still Worth Checking Out
21 July 2018
Making my way through the films of Marcel Carné I come at last to this, which, after just watching Les Enfants du Paradis, can't help but feel somewhat lesser, and indeed the film does feel like less than the sum of its parts. There's some wonderful stretches but for it to work it needed to pull all of the strands of story together in a satisfying way by the end, and it doesn't, it just misses the mark. The pacing also drags in parts, particularly towards the end.

As often with foreign language films from the past, the English subtitles are poorly translated and unclear, making the point and subtext of certain passages hard to follow.

The fabric of the film is glorious, though, with a magical mood and ravishing photography. The premise of fated lovers is very nicely evoked, if not satisfactorily executed. Still very worth checking out though.
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Jim Jefferies: This Is Me Now (2018 TV Special)
4/10
Where Are The Jokes?
13 July 2018
I really liked the first couple of Jim Jefferies stand-up specials, he was a fresh, edgy and rambunctious new voice when he first appeared, but living in LA and hosting that awful chat-show seems to have tamed him and given him no time to come up with any quality material. He really doesn't have anything new to say and what he does have to say isn't all that funny. There are no great set-pieces or even any lines you'd want to remember to pass on to anyone else.

I laughed precisely twice. Some of the bit about Trump was moderately amusing but so safe and predictable, and nothing that the average man in the street couldn't have easily come up with himself. The Al Pacino story was nice but didn't lead anywhere, or add up to anything, it was just some stuff that happened.

Unless it was simply a contractual obligation, I can't actually see why Jefferies wanted to put this show out at all. Really just a disappointment.
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The Terror (2018– )
4/10
Lovingly Made But Dull, Massively Overlong And As Slow As Watching Paint Dry
27 May 2018
So I managed to make it through to the end of this interminable slog - I don't know why, other than through sheer bloodymindedness and wanting to see if it actually went anywhere. Turns out it doesn't. The majority of the final two episodes I was actually watching on fast forward. It made little difference: just long, long shots of people walking over rocks not saying anything.

The Terror is yet another dull but impeccably shot and acted 10-part TV show that could have been made to much better effect as a movie. There is, as always, a huge cast we are forced to spend time with and hear out, even though there are only four characters that the audience has any reason to focus on or (mildly) care about whatsoever: Crozier, Franklin, Hickey and Goodsir.

On top of that there are regular cutaways to numerous characterless womenfolk back in England trying to organize a rescue party that ends up having no bearing on the story whatsoever. These could all have been entirely omitted and nothing in the story would have been changed or lessened one jot.

Clear all this flotsam and jetsam away and you have a tale that could easily - indeed generously - be told in a 2 and a half hour film. Maybe then there could have been mounting tension and momentum, two essential requirements of a story entitled The Terror, one would think, but here sadly lacking.

There is very little fear - though quite a bit of gore - and the 'monster' is just plain laughable. It reminds me most of that 'Abomination' character from one of the Hulk movies, or the half-human baby alien in Alien Resurrection: at some point on paper it must have seemed a good idea but in practice it just looks like a shapless, unwieldy and unbelievable mess.

The show LOOKS and SOUNDS gorgeous - CGI aside, the craft is flawless - but it is all so dull and SOOOO GGOOODDDDAAAAMMM SSSLLLLOOOOWWWWWW that it's as beneficial as a layer of varnish on an air bubble.

At the end of watching it all I feel bewildered and lost trying to fathom just how so many of my fellow humans could watch the same thing I did and gush so rabidly about it. What are they seeing I'm not? If THIS is what they give "Ohmygawd!! 10 STARS!!!" to, then what will they do when they actually encounter something on their television sets with an original, surprising and engaging storyline instead? I'm genuinely concerned their heads might explode.
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3/10
The Worst Kind Of Self-Congratulatory, Gated-Community Hollywood Comedy
25 May 2018
I don't think I'm exaggerating excessively when I say that the last time Steve Martin was really, TRULY funny was probably in the movie Dirty Rotten Scoundrels - thirty years ago now - and that I honestly had no idea that Martin Short was still alive.

To be fair, they play with this unfortunate situation in the show, but everything they do and say - right down to the 'seated conversation' part of the act - is so lifeless and scripted and overrehearsed the whole thing felt like an Oscars Ceremony number spun out to over an hour, or corny patter from a Bob Hope and Dean Martin telethon from the sixties. I honestly never even smiled once.

Steve Martin seems like a really nice guy, and I'd love to see him make a comedy as great as The Jerk, The Man With Two Brains or the Three Amigos again. But he doesn't HAVE to, he's certainly done enough, and I like it that he's out there picking his banjo and playing music instead. He's earned his comfy retirement and his hobbies.

But I can't say this is any good when it isn't. And in truth, I really don't know who this is even meant for, except for maybe the guys playing golf at the country club.

There's nothing glaringly, astoundingly WRONG with this special, there's just nothing at all appealing or interesting either. And you really will forget it ever existed just as soon as you stop watching it.
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Indiscretions (1936)
7/10
It's The New Testament, Goddamn It
24 May 2018
I do wish IMDB would stop listing films by titles that bear no resemblance to that of their original language: it's really quite confusing... This film is known (when known at all) as Le Nouveau Testament (The New Testament), not "Indiscretions" - a title I've never heard it referred to as anywhere.

Aaanyhow, this is yet another quite stagey Drawing Room Comedy, elevated to a higher level by the Guitry touch, and hence more airy and flippant and saucy AND more serious and urgent and philosophical than pretty much anyone else would have made it. I enjoyed my time spent with it.

I don't have much to add - there's some lovely outdoor scenes of Paris that are now of historic interest, and Jacqueline Delubac is very pretty. The film, much like this review, ends rather abruptly.
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Evil Genius (2017– )
6/10
Nice But Not Great
23 May 2018
Nice but not great 'True Crime' Netflix documentary miniseries, definitely watchable but falling some ways short of the standard set by 'The Jinx', 'The Staircase' or 'West Of Memphis' because there is no great mystery to it: we know pretty much from the start who the filmmakers think 'did it', and that's precisely how it turns out, almost four hours later. Besides the initial bizarre and gruesome facts of the case, as a story it doesn't really have a lot going for it, no enormous revelations or fantastical developments.

There IS one small 'twist' near the end when one of the people involved adds a little more key information that clears one matter up, but really there is no reason this could not have easily been half the length.
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8/10
An Oscar Wilde Bedroom Farce
17 May 2018
I'm still shocked at how few reviews there are of Sacha Guitry's films here on IMDB, so feel duty bound to add another, even if I don't have much in the way of fresh information to contribute.

This one is really little more than a bedroom farce - very stagey and confined almost entirely to a single set, but the dialogue is so quick and witty and energetic, and the chemistry between Guitry and his ravishing real life lover Jacqueline Delubac so good, that never feels a limitation. Needless cutaways to fjords and train stations and alien landing sites would be a distraction, in fact, from what is best about it, and only slow the movie down.

As another reviewer here noted, Michel Simon appears (uncredited) very briefly in the opening scene - I was surprised at this as I was convinced Guitry had never worked with him before 1951's La Poison - he even says so (at some length) in the film itself(!)

Once again the English subtitles on every version I could find were poor, sometimes obscuring a joke or making no sense at all, so I ended up creating my own subtitle file for it by comparing the original French and using some common sense. The title, too, "Let's Make A Dream" is better as a simple straight translation than some of the other attempts.

Anyhow and regardless, this was a delight: cheeky and incisive and dazzlingly fast - one of Guitry's best. His enthusiastic touch elevates what could have been just a creaky old potboiler into something that can probably best be described as an Oscar Wilde bedroom farce.
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The Red Inn (1951)
9/10
A One-Off Gem
7 May 2018
This is a fantastic, and fantastically one-off, creepy little comedy that I'd never even heard of before but now wish everyone could see. A desolate, snow-bound 19th century inn lures passing travellers to their doom until a monk and his apprentice happen by to take shelter for the night.

As another reviewer here pointed out, it's very much cut from the same cloth as Arsenic And Old Lace, Kind Hearts And Coronets or maybe even Murder By Death. If you like any of those, you'll probably find something to like in this too, with the added bonus of all that snow and eerie atmosphere.

It strikes me once again how French cinema was so far ahead of perhaps every other country in the 1950s in terms of freedom of speech and a grown-up worldview. During the years of the Hays Code censorship, Hollywood became forcibly infantilized and incapable of addressing religion, sex and the realities of life in general in any kind of adult manner whatsoever. This movie feels much more like one of Grimm's original fairy tales than the Disney animated version that would have been made in America at the same time.

The subtitles in the copy I saw were very poor, and let down much of the comic delivery. This would be an ideal candidate for a Criterion restoration and release.
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8/10
A Mislaid Classic
3 May 2018
This is a cracking little thriller with so much going for it: a huge and wonderfully detailed period reconstruction of a foggy London neighbourhood (in a studio in California), Bernard Herrman's thunderous score, the still-chilling bonfire night scene and inferno-like ending, and constantly eerie, inventive and propulsive photography that could just as easily have come from Citizen Kane or Strangers On A Train.

It also features one of the best opening scenes I've seen, with the camera swooping up from the cobbled streets, swiftly through an upstairs window and into the eyes of a first person shooter taking someone's life - Hardcore Henry 70 years before its time.

I knew I'd seen Laird Cregar, the lead in the film, before and wondered what became of him later, only to discover that this was in fact his last film, released two months after his death at the age of 31. A soft, hazy and monstrous performance in the lumbering body of a gamma-radiated Oscar Wilde.

The film somehow falls maybe just one small step short of true greatness, and it's hard to say why - perhaps Laird is not likeable or compelling enough, or one is not made to care enough for any of the characters - but certainly it's as good as many of Hitchcock's second-tier films, such as Rope (written by the same author, incidentally) and really deserves to be much better known.
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The Handmaid's Tale (2017– )
2/10
A Feverish Hillary Clinton Voter's Hallucination
3 May 2018
This is only a review of the first episode, as I'm not enough of a self-hating masochist to make it any further, but it's pretty clear it's going to continue in very much the same vein, and for just as long as the makers of the show can possibly drag it out.

The show begins with a car crash, and by the end I was thinking the only way it could redeem itself is if it turns out Elizabeth Moss' character had got knocked on the head and the whole thing was a fevered Hillary Clinton voter's nightmarish hallucination.

I say that because nothing that follows seems to occur in anything like a real world but rather a fantasy rooted exclusively in a 'social justice' hierarchy of victimhood. To quickly understand the premise of the show, all you need to know is this:

White people are bad, black people are good. Men are bad, women are good.

White women therefore are a LITTLE bit bad but - as with Moss' character June - can be made more 'good' by showing her right off the bat in an interracial relationship with a half-black daughter, thus absolving her as much as humanly possible of the sins of whiteness.

It thereby follows that the relative goodness of all male characters can easily be ascertained by the darkness of their pigmentation of their skin, and this is indeed how it turns out to be. Really, all you need to know is: if someone's raping someone or holding a gun, they're a white guy.

It's all so goldurned blatant and obvious that there's no room to get lost in a story, because every event and character in it is just there to hit you over the head with indoctrinating hogwash.

The very fact of this show's existence should be proof that America today is a society as far away from what is here depicted as any society has ever been in the history of the world, but the ideological narrative underpinning this hysterical nightmare cannot actually acknowledge this rather obvious fact, because to do so would remove all purported reasons for that movement's existence and hence cause it to vanish in a puff of smoke.

As others here have noted, there IS a religion in the world that is already treating women like this, and if the makers of the show were even a hundredth as edgy and brave as they think they are, they would be writing about that, instead of concocting fantasies in service of a political ideology whose entire purpose for existence is to sow discord through constantly making free women feel like aggrieved victims and turning the races and sexes against one another.

The Handmaid's Tale is gorgeously shot and its production values are through the roof. But it's nothing more than extremely glossy propaganda for a hate movement, and why would anyone willingly subject themselves to that?
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Westworld (2016– )
4/10
Empty and Exasperating
2 May 2018
One of the biggest problems with the 'Westworld' TV show is that it demands we identify and empathize with lifeless machines, whilst also encouraging us to feel vicarious release in the murder and suffering of our fellow human beings.

Also the 'social justice' morality hierarchy, with white/male/humans being presented as the worst end of the spectrum, in least need of empathy, and black/female/machines as the best.

The only 'positive' characters in the show, the only characters we are supposed to root for, are two female robots (one black and one white) and one black male robot.

If this was just how the cards of this particular story fell, and those characters presented something universal we all could identify with and get behind, it wouldn't be so bad. But the way quite ugly and violent racial and sexual politics are being crowbarred into the story leaves a bad taste in the mouth that it's hard to get past, especially since the end product seems only to be a kind of inarticulate suicidal death wish being offered up as sacrificial atonement for ideologically-derived original sins - first of men and white people, but then ultimately of the whole human race.

It's fair enough to identify with that despair at the human race once in awhile but it's not a nice place to go stay.

Also, it meanders and drags terribly, with no clear or interesting end in sight.

So much promise, so much work, so much loving detail, yet in the end it has nothing to give. Nothing to aspire to, nothing to believe in, nothing to love.
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