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All reviews - Movies (89) - TV Shows (1)

Public hangman #1

Posted : 10 years, 9 months ago on 6 March 2007 04:14 (A review of Pierrepoint - The Last Hangman)

Most Brits are familiar with the names Ruth Ellis, Derek Bentley, Timothy Evans, John Christie and Lord Haw Haw. We know of their trials and their eventual fate at the gallows. What is not so well publicised is that they all met their maker at the hands of the same man. His was the last voice they heard and the last pair of eyes they looked into. That man was Albert Pierrepoint.

Timothy Spall's performance is brilliant as he conveys the way that Pierrepoint moves from being utterly confident and comfortable in his role as Public Hangman Number One to being progressively disturbed and disillusioned.

You might feel that a film focused on such a bleak subject matter is not for you, but Pierrepoint is drama at its utmost best. It's style and imagery remind me so much of Mike Leigh's 'Vera Drake' but this film even though originally meant for TV only surpasses it in terms of substance and story.

My only gripe is that it's not entirely historically correct, it skips over the years too fast. Alberts career progression from assistant to hangman was actually much slower.

Nonetheless Pierrepoint is a fantastic film, I urge you all to grab the DVD.


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The Bette & Joan Show

Posted : 10 years, 9 months ago on 4 March 2007 04:46 (A review of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?)

Pros
A psychological thriller that remains chilling even after all these years. Features two superior performances by Davis and Crawford who 's rivalry off screen was almost as bitter. They don't make them like this anymore.


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Nines below zero

Posted : 10 years, 9 months ago on 28 February 2007 09:42 (A review of Rollin' with the Nines)

I'm not the kind to complain about gratuitous violence in a film, If you are then Rollin' With The Nines is not for you. In actual fact it's not for me either, by midway point I'm wishing there was a little more gratuitous violence only this time directed at the cast and crew. There is no excuse for acting this wooden. The actors employed as cops are laughable, at times it feels like they're reading their lines from cue cards, and they probably are. This pile of trash was awarded a BAFTA nomination? The film-makers can't even get their research right. One scene features a Police Captain. Since when did the British Police system recognise the rank of Captain? How a film can get through production to a release with a mistake like that is beyond me. Don't waste your time or money on this film, no matter how many times you see press relating it to Lock Stock, Snatch etc.


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A compelling watch

Posted : 10 years, 9 months ago on 25 February 2007 02:17 (A review of Girl, Interrupted)

A brilliant exploration into the boundaries of reality set within an all-girl mental ward. Packed full of emotion and compelling performances. For my money Ryder, Jolie and Murphy all hit their career best with this film. However, It would be nice if they could prove me wrong.


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Before the Bull Raged

Posted : 10 years, 10 months ago on 22 February 2007 11:14 (A review of What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This?)

What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This? is a 1963 short film that Martin Scorsese created while a student at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. It is a comedic piece about a writer who becomes obsessed with a picture he has on his wall. It's obvious even at this point that Marty is special. What stands out the most here for me is his grip on the use of voice-over narration. Which remains one of his strongest qualities today.

Watch this short film above in its entirety.


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The definitive noir

Posted : 10 years, 10 months ago on 22 February 2007 09:24 (A review of Detour )

The words "film noir" were coined on the back of movies like this. In fact no other film defines the landmark genre better than Detour.

A triumph of talent and inspiration over budget, Detour was made on the cheap by a Poverty Row studio in just six days.

If only Hollywood could shake the notion that the answer to recapturing the glory days means "REMAKE". The industry could learn a lot from this film, and I'm sure quite a few directors and writers have.


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Paddy tears up the screen!

Posted : 10 years, 10 months ago on 22 February 2007 09:01 (A review of Dead Man's Shoes)

Some may think the British film industry is dead, but Dead Man's Shoes stomps all over that theory. A raw and surprisingly affective tale of small town revenge, Shane Meadows film breathes new life into a genre that's riddled with un-originality. Paddy Considine tears up the screen as 'Richard', a former soldier who returns to a Derbyshire town to avenge his retarded brothers tormentors. Every facial expression, every line of dialogue, his body language I believe wholely. The films tag line reads "He's In All Of Us". Paddy's performance will definitely stay with me for a long time to come.

*this reviewm was originally written in 2004.

EDIT: In fact it has. I can safely say Considine is the most talented British actor this side of 70 working today.


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Code 46

Posted : 10 years, 10 months ago on 22 February 2007 08:39 (A review of Code 46)

I have never been a huge fan of science fiction. In general I find the genre big on ideas but lacking in character and substance. I was pleased to see Code 46 got the balance right. Tim Robbins and Samantha Morton combine their talents well to inject some drama into this complex futuristic tale. A lesser pair may not have had the same desired effect.


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Lazy storytelling

Posted : 10 years, 10 months ago on 22 February 2007 08:17 (A review of Kinky Boots)

Predictable and lazy storytelling. Kinky Boots has it's moments, most of them relate to the ever brilliant Chiwetel Eijifor. He deserves better than this.


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Ciao Rocky!

Posted : 10 years, 10 months ago on 22 February 2007 08:12 (A review of Rocky Balboa)

For a film that I initially thought would be doomed from the offset Rocky Balboa really didn't turn out bad. It's a good character study focused on flawed relationships and the issues of self-respect and dignity. Not for one minute does it feel like another excuse for an aged action star to cash-in. And if it's action you prefer then the fight scenes cater too. Beautifully stylised, and much more realistic than before.

In summary 'Rocky Balboa' is perfect closure for this three decade old series. It's not quite on a par with the fighters d├ębut bout, but it easily puts what comes between to shame.


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