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Product Reviews

165 (57% helpful)

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  1.  Unintentionally grim


    He may have been one of the great cinematographers but the career of Freddie Francis as a director was dubious at best. This is one of his more notorious examples, an arch quasi-black comedy in which two grown-ups pretend to be children so that they can lure strangers back to their dysfunctional home and kill them. The actors play it large and obviously, the dialogue is often unbearable, the whole thing feels like a bad sitcom. Only in the latter stages when one of the intended victims turns the tables does it lurch into resembling something interesting.

  2.  Argo enjoy yourself


    For 80% of its running time, this is a super-confident joy of a thriller from Affleck. Opening with a crackerjack embassy storming as American diplomats find themselves besieged in 1979 post-revolutionary Tehran, it then goes off on a mad and hilarious tangent as the most improbable plan is cooked up to get 6 US citizens out who are hiding in the Canadian embassy: a fake sci-fi movie production scouting locations in Iran (amazingly this is all true). This part of the film is just great, comfortably in the hands of old pros Arkin and Goodman who are having a ball. A bit of wavering in the middle as the details of the plan are ironed out and then it is all heads down for a balls-to-the-wall closing chapter as the hostages attempt to escape, one of the most sweat-inducing scenes of the year. All in all, though, a great effort from Affleck, even if his own lead performance seems a little distant.

  3.  There is treasure to be found


    This must have been quite the revelation for 1950 audiences: an African adventure actually filmed in exotic Africa instead of a studio backlot. And while sensibilities have changed considerably over the years, particularly in relation to animal cruelty, racial stereotyping and (probably most annoying of all) the drippy character played by Deborah Kerr, this is still a bracingly good yarn. A party sets off to find a missing explorer, encountering all sorts of mishaps along the way, being without a studio hairstylist not being one of them. Gorgeously photographed in beautiful locations, this made a star out of Granger and his inability to wear a shirt.

  4.  X-asperating


    The high school party to end all high school parties, captured in documentary style to make you feel like you are really there. All the mayhem you might expect, ramped up even more to levels that you probably did not, makes for a fairly eye-boggling watch. Pity the protagonists are so obnoxious.

  5.  Attack the cult movie


    Playing like a version of Assault on SW9, this has a great premise of nasty aliens from space being no match for some South London council estate hoodies. And while there are some fun action beats and a pleasing desire to heap on the gore, somehow it does not make the most of its potential. Even at a spry 88 minutes, it still feels like there is a bit of padding.

  6.  An uncomfortable stay


    Motels can be depressing places and this is one depressing film. Two deadbeat brothers try to scrape by but find the law keeps catching up with them after one of them was involved in a fatal hit and run accident. Set in a bleak wintry Reno, this gets by with some excellent performances and some animation sequences depicting the fantasy lives of the brothers. But it is very bleak stuff.

  7.  Not the first and certainly not the last


    Faux documentary charting how a disillusioned spiritualist gets his faith rebooted when he encounters a farmgirl whose possession seems to be the real deal. While Fabian and Bell work hard in their roles (she is especially convincing at the demonic screams) we have seen this countless times before and it really adds nothing new to the genre. Especially with that ludicrous ending.

  8.  A great leap for Lee


    Gorgeous Chinese wuxia epic, a tale of flying swordsmen, martial arts and unrequited love. It is a broad canvas that requires a lot of attention but Lee makes it seem so simple and seductive, with lovely performances from the ladies, exhilarating and rather beautiful action sequences, ravishing photography and a swooningly melancholic and romantic score by Tan Dun.

  9.  Not bad at all


    The fourth Jackass hidden camera movie shakes it up a bit and concentrates solely on the Bad Grandpa character, with Knoxville buried under tons of latex as a randy old git giving his impressionable young grandson all the wrong life lessons. This even has a plot of sorts with the two packing up his recently deceased wife in the trunk of his car and heading off to dump the kid with his good-for-nothing father. Some hilarious pranks ensue (the beauty pageant for children is a total jaw-dropper) with the added surprising bonus of some genuinely affecting moments.

  10.  Bordering on OK


    A reasonable example from the rather tiresome found footage genre, this finds a group of church researchers travelling to a remote church to investigate reports of it being haunted. Pretty good at building up a brooding atmosphere, it sadly blows it all with a really stupid ending.