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Product Reviews

166 (57% helpful)

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  1.  Not the worst but certainly not good


    Hailed as the worst movie ever made, the fact is there are quite a few other films out there that are probably worse. This at least has the advantage of being so completely incompetent in all areas that it is actually very funny. Chief of these is probably the replacement of the deceased Lugosi with a much taller actor who keeps his cape over his face but the flying saucers on wires and the general level of atrocious acting are pretty darn hilarious too. The plot about alien visitors resurrecting the dead (well, three of them) to make us atone for the creation of the atomic bomb is as bonkers as everything else.

  2.  Are they or aren't they?


    A visiting art historian is driven around the Italian countryside by a woman who admires his work. As the day progresses, they start enacting a game where they play combative husband and wife. Or is it the other way round? This film from Iranian director Kiarostami keeps us guessing but gives us a thoughtful contemplation of what is real and what is not in both art and relationships. Well played by its two leads (opera singer Shimell acquits himself very well in his film debut), the film meanders to a non-conclusion but at least gives due reverence to the lovely Italian landscapes.

  3.  Reasonably tempting


    Light years ahead of the similar and very bland The Jacksons An American Dream, this has the same problems as most mini-series biopics in that it hurtles through all the events of the characters lives at breakneck speed, offering up only a cursory glimpse of what life was like for the troubled Motown band. But where it scores is that it is not afraid to tackle some of the grittier aspects of the story (suicide, affairs, drugs, etc.) and mainly because director Allan Arkush knows that the music is the real star and gives it plenty of showcasing.

  4.  A bleak landscape


    From a stylistic point of view, this finds Antonioni occupying a new space, utilising colour to an extraordinary degree, still within the confines of his love of architecture. But narratively it is as dishevelled as the mental state of the heroine, as she descends into a breakdown and turns to a visiting engineer for a brief affair as some sort of rescue. The film leaps chaotically from one scenario to another, and while Vitti gives her all as the unstable woman, Harris looks completely uncomfortable.

  5.  House of Cards


    While some of the execution is a little on the basic side and some of the performances unnecessarily overwrought, this political mini-series is worth catching solely for the deliciously unctuous portrayal of master tactician, Francis Urquhart, from Ian Richardson. With his icily polite demeanour, not many figure out that underneath it all rages an all-consuming desire to get to the top and that he will do anything to achieve that ambition. Such is the force of his fourth-wall breaking characterisation that not else about this relatively lacklustre production much registers.

  6.  Another pictorial essay


    First came London, then Robinson in Space and now, 15 years later, comes the third instalment. Same as before, virtually still images of life in current day Britain, set to a drily sarcastic monologue. With the passing of Paul Scofield, the narrative duties are taken up by Redgrave and tackles the banking crisis as its subject. Not much progression from the previous instalments but still mildly intriguing.

  7.  That sinking feeling


    Yes, someone actually greenlit the expenditure of over $200 million to make a film based on the board game. And yes, there is a scene where the heroes (the US navy) actually plot their actions using co-ordinates. While the special effects of an alien invasion at sea are pretty spiffy and director Berg handles the mayhem in a coherent fashion considering he is essentially making a Michael Bay movie, the characterisations are equal parts implausible and ludicrous and the ultimate descent into God Bless the USA jingoism makes one yearn for Team America.

  8.  Blame it on the screenplay


    If your dream is to see a no-holds-barred account of the Jacksons, then you are looking in the wrong place. This is a strictly vanilla piece, produced by members of the family that only merely touches on some of the more interesting aspects of the story, namely the hint of paternal abuse and the struggles that Michael endured. At least with the family backing, we get the real music but we also get every showbiz biopic cliche ever invented.

  9.  South African powerplay


    With South Africa a powderkeg of potential violence, a hotbed of toxic apartheid politics and enmeshed in a brutal war in Angola, the whole of the southern African continent was about to go up in flames. Fortunately for all concerned, a French-Algerian businessman was beavering away in the background, brokering all sorts of deals and helping to defuse the situation, ultimately leading to the release of Nelson Mandela from prison. While the film might overplay the role of Jean-Yves Ollivier, this is still a fascinating peek behind the scenes at a volatile slice of history.

  10.  More Italian navelgazing


    Third in a putative trilogy of alienation following LAvventura and La Notte finds Antonioni in angst-laden form as he contemplates the bleakness of life in the modern age. Vitti breaks up with one man and slides almost immediately into an affair with brash stockbroker Delon. Plotwise, that is it, and while there is a certain amount of satisfaction in watching two of the most beauteous faces of the 60s in action, it is not the most interesting of tales. But wait for the last 10 minutes, a near abstract series of images that piercingly gazes at what goes on around us, the most fascinating part of the film.