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Product Reviews

164 (57% helpful)

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  1.  A 21st century yawn


    An interesting experiment (focussing entirely on just one player during a football match so as to understand his decision making, his skill, his athleticism, indeed his very presence) fails to pan out in practice. For a start, the match in question, a 2005 meet between Real Madrid and Villareal, is not an interesting one, which even resulted in Zidane being sent off. And then of course there is also the problem with the very expressionless quality of Zinedane Zidane, a man who gives precious little away, making it very hard for the audience to become engaged with him. It looks good and the score by Mogwai is hypnotic but this is one football match that would benefit from seeing it from a wider perspective.

  2.  Not much to adore


    What starts off as a mildly interesting study of how the sins of the parents affect the children (a young man regales his class with how his father put his unsuspecting mother on a plane with a bomb) gradually transmutes into a disorganised tale of lies, stalking and soap opera dramatics. Being an Egoyan film, it is cold and clinical and not without intelligence but really this could do with a strong shot of emotion to make it really stand out.

  3.  Untouchable


    This Roger Corman production of the life of the notorious gangster is equal parts crude and equal parts broad. Clearly shot on the cheap on the studio lot, probably its biggest failing is the bug-eyed performance from Ben Gazzara in the lead. Sure, Capone went mad in his last years through syphilis; Gazzara plays him that way from the outset. An undisciplined mess.

  4.  JFK without the histrionics


    Nowhere near as technically deft, this conspiracy thriller posits a lot of the same theories about the Kennedy assassination 18 years before Oliver Stone threw everything he had up on the screen in JFK, his hysterical take on the subject. Where this falters, it is because it is essentially a group of middle aged men sitting around in rooms discussing things which makes it all a little dry. Fortunately, the things they are discussing are fascinating and it spins a believable web. Critically drubbed on release, this is probably well overdue for reassessment.

  5.  Aweigh too long


    A rather stiff and overly formulaic pre-cursor to the much more limber on the town, this finds kelly and sinatra as two sailors who spend their shore leave in la chasing gals, or at least, trying to. Unfortunately it takes them an inordinate amount of time to do so and a lot of it is rather cheesy. However, when it does hit its highlights, it hits them well, notably an eye-popping pastiche of swashbuckling movies, a dynamic piano recital at the hollywood bowl and of course, the most famous moment, a delightful dance between kelly and jerry the cartoon mouse.

  6.  Been there, seen that


    We have been down these underprivileged, crack and bullet ridden urban streets far too many times before for this to make only the barest impact. Having two rappers as the protagonists does not help much either when both are so cardboard stiff. And for a film about music, this one has the limpest soundtrack. Thank God then for Jason Statham and Vondie Curtis-Hall, two performers who do know how to turn it up (and the less said about the street accent Chris Messina employs the better).

  7.  Creepy goings on


    Spanish director Fresnadillo knows how to create a creepy atmosphere, with two children, one in Madrid, one in London, sharing the same nightmare of a faceless man entering their bedroom at night. And he gets to spin a couple of unnerving scenarios out of this faintly silly premise. But as the plot unravels and the pieces start fitting together, it stops being faintly silly and goes for downright silly instead.

  8.  Playacting Italian Style


    A young shopgirl finds herself the star of a popular film and with a new husband who thinks he knows best what her next career move should be. His idea of putting her in a remake of Joan of Arc proves disastrous for all concerned. This rather clever remodelling of the Alexandre Dumas novel updates it to 1950s Italy where it sits rather comfortably within the context of the native film industry. Sadly, for a tale about passion, it is a very cold piece of work and Bose, while looking the part, has as much limitations as an actress as the character she portrays.

  9.  Coming to terms


    Boasting arguably the finest performance from Clooney (he is raw and damaged here), this low-key effort is very much a typical Payne movie in that it eschews plot for character. Fortunately, the characters are fascinating, namely the devastated if a bit distracted husband whose wife is in a coma and the feisty teenage daughter who informs him that she was having an affair behind his back. As long as you do not expect any high drama or action, instead this is mainly comprised of strong character beats, all set in a Hawaii that few of us (except probably the locals) recognise.

  10.  Three hours closer to your death


    Hopkins plays a millionaire who has an appointment with Death, played here by Pitt at his most constipated and displaying little facility for comedy. The film seems more concerned with devising a competition between Pitt and Forlani as to who can be the most beautiful at the expense of telling a story, and you certainly cannot make such a long film using just six main characters. It has some nice moments but they quickly get lost in the bloat.