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Product Reviews

170 (58% helpful)

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  1.  Rotten Raj tale


    Wincingly bad wannabe adaptation of The Letter by W. Somerset Maughan with Hurt as the philanderer in an undisclosed East Asian plantation getting involved with a bored housewife. Bowker is just dreadful as the so-called femme fatale, ridiculously miscast, while the overwrought music gets totally overpowering and cloying after a while.

  2.  Great cast meh film


    Dark Shadows was a cult daytime TV show in the 1960s that fans Depp and Burton have resurrected. And they certainly seem to be having fun with the property, with Depp laying it on thick as an arcane vampire who finds himself awakened in the bewildering world of the 1970s. There, he re-encounters his arch-nemesis, a horny witch played with crazed glee by the delectable Green. Some good period jokes and some fantastic production design are somewhat mitigated by a complete disinterest in plot and an underused cast.

  3.  The birth of the epic


    Yes, this may be the first genuine epic for the cinema, a big, bold and expensive account of the American Civil War and its aftermath. And yes, despite its rather primitive film-making, you can still see some then-trailblazing techniques that are now common place today. But the film is way too long, not inherently all that interesting and its now notorious depiction of negroes (white actors in blackface) and celebration of the Ku Klux Klan make it decidedly uncomfortable viewing.

  4.  Surprisingly endurable


    So if you want to make a big budget vehicle for the Three Stooges then it is not the worst idea in the world to do a reinterpretation of the classic fairy tale, substituting the dwarfs for the three clowns. It kind of works, and thanks to veteran cameraman Leon Shamroy, it looks impressive. Casting Olympic ice-skater Carol Heiss as a Snow White who is very prone to cavorting around on skates surprisingly is not a terrible move either, though Stroll as her Prince Charming is no help whatsoever. The kids should enjoy it.

  5.  Pretty glorious


    A tale that needed to be told about the first black regiment that was assembled during the American Civil War is told in some style but has a couple of holes that stop it from attaining true classic status. One is the blank space at the centre where the lead should be; Broderick is simply too lightweight an actor to pull this off. Then there is the odd feeling that some of the battle sequences are just Civil War re-enactment groups, they look a little low budget. That aside, the film looks spectacular, the black actors are, to a man, outstanding, the angelic James Horner score is truly inspiring and it achieves its desired powerful effect in its closing moments.

  6.  Lush Hemingway adaptation


    Bearing only a passing resemblance to the Hemingway novel, and turning an anti-war treatise into a lush romance complete with noble deathbed scene, A Farewell to Arms is nevertheless fascinating. It affords you the chance to witness the mastery of the medium from director Frank Borzage, revel in the Oscar-winning lush cinematography, and enjoy the star-laden pairing of the beauteous Cooper and Hayes, both here really finding their feet with the new sound medium. And the camera just eats them up, which helps get past some of the more dated elements.

  7.  Hole lot of fun


    Previous Dante films that have played in the scary movie field have been leavened with a dark humour (Gremlins, The Burbs). This one plays a bit more seriously, a horror movie for kids, so no gore and a few lightweight scares when two children discover a trapdoor in the basement of their new home which has some nasty surprises for them in store. It is kind of fun especially when it gets a bit Twilight Zone-ish towards the end, though it is hardly original.

  8.  Hop off


    Shamefully trying to turn the Easter Bunny into a pseudo-Santa, complete with his own sleigh (!), there is nothing about this kiddie comedy in which the Easter bunny runs off to become a drummer in L.A. and teams up with a slacker that you have not seen before or can anticipate. The animation of the rabbits is fairly perfunctory but youngsters might enjoy its slapstick and colourfulness. The rest of us will just find it lazy.

  9.  Queen Ravenna and the Special Effects


    The classic fairy tale reimagined as a grungy Lord of the Rings Lite adventure has some good points. It looks amazing, the CGI work is remarkably seamless, the costumes by Colleen Atwood are truly something to behold and Theron is fantastic as the evil queen. But there are big failings too, such as the dwarfs and Prince William who are all largely superfluous. While Stewart is just wrong as Snow White, her indie sensibilities and apparent boredom with the role creating a black hole at the centre of it all.

  10.  Absurdly straight


    You would think that the cinema is the ideal playground for the Theatre of the Absurd, what with camera trickery and special effects. Trouble is, no one thought to tell the director who does a largely straight adaptation of the Ionesco play about urban alienation in which people start turning into rhinoceroses. Not that you see any here. Still, with actors like Wilder, Mostel and Black delivering it all, it is not entirely without merit.