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Reviews by diogenes

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345 reviews/ratings - 18 pages (20 reviews/ratings per page)

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The Human Comedy (1943)

Saroyan's novel was a mixture of humorous vignettes on the one hand, and endless homilies delivered by the adults to Homer (and occassionally even to Ulysses), on the other - homilies which are packed with a lot of woolly uplift, and contain lines such as 'love is immortal, hate dies every minute' that are essentially meaningless. Unfortunately, this film has chosen to go mainly with the latter aspect of Saroyan's story. The raid on the apricot tree has mercifully been included (a superb performance by Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer - who is definitely the best thing in this movie, despite being denied a credit). But it is a pity that we don't get (for example) Ulysses caught in the animal trap. Saroyan's novel was hardly a masterpiece, with its cast of two-dimensional, goody-two-shoes characters, but by placing its emphasis on the already excessive sentimentality of the novel, and cutting back on the humorous content, the film becomes something of a two-hour endurance test. Perhaps still worth watching for the two or three good scenes. Mickey Rooney does his best as always with the material he's given. Jackie Jenkins is a charmer in the scenes in which he appears.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 4 / 10
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Hvalfjörður (2013)

Wonderful.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
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I Could Go On Singing (1963)

I like the story, and I like Gregory Phillips as Matt. Were boys really that exquisitely courteous and charming in the early 60s? I suppose many of them really were. I can't say that I'm a fan of Ms. Garland's singing, though. She really belts 'em out, doesn't she? I'm sure she could 'Go On Singing' - but I rather wish she wouldn't!

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 7 / 10
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I Killer (2012)

An astonishingly silly short film, leading up to an absurd and contrived plot twist, and capped with some pseudo-profound poppycock.

Don't Bother My Movie Rating: Red StarRed Star 2 / 10
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I Want to Be Famous (1976)

Really superb, emotionally nuanced, portrait of an introverted boyhood.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
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Ilo Ilo (2013)

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
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Incarnate (2016)

Silly and boring.

Don't Bother My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed Star 3 / 10
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Invaders from Mars (1953)

What YoungArthur said. Beautiful and unique movie. A classic.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
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It Came from the Sky (1999)

Kevin Zegers gives a creditable performance as Andy, in this somewhat earnest, feelgood movie about Andy's parents battling with their guilt and grief over the brain-damage caused to their son by a swimming pool accident. If movies about shouty adults working through 'relationship issues' is your thing, then this film might be for you!

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 5 / 10
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It Couldn't Happen Here (1987)

Pop music, with the irritating 'catchiness' of its simple melodies, the endless cliché of its lyrics, and the self-aggrandisement of its 'stars', only sometimes rises to the level of art. The Pet Shop Boys, however, have always been somewhat exceptional, with emotionally nuanced songs and thoughtful lyrics that actually mean something. Through its striking imagery and obsession with time this film creates a nostalgic, elegiac mood, that fits the Boys' songs like a glove.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
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Jak dostat tatínka do polepsovny (1978)

Tomás Holý is his usual bright, cheeky, appealing self in this entertaining comedy.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 8 / 10
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James and the Giant Peach (1996)

You know, there are very few cinematic pleasures to compare with watching Miriam Margolyes and Joanna Lumley playing a pair of wicked aunts. Having said that, the animated sequence, for me, though technically impressive, was perhaps not as engaging as the segments with actual human actors. Paul Terry was great, and sung "My Name Is James" very beautifully.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 7 / 10
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Jaws (1975)

This film is technically accomplished, but I feel that the fact that it is Spielberg has led people to overlook one very important fact about this film, namely that it is REALLY, REALLY HORRIBLE. It focuses on people being tortured and killed in gruesome ways and lingers on their deaths, their faces, their screams of death, etc., as in the opening scene where the young woman is killed, and the death of Quint at the end. The latter gave me nightmares for years, but then I'm a sensitive soul! The characters are memorable if a little stereotyped, though why do they keep talking over each other? It has its moments, but overall it is not really my personal cup of char.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 5 / 10
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Je suis le seigneur du château (1989)

A riveting tale of jealousy, hatred and unspoken desire between two boys thrown together by their parents' courtship. What is interesting is that, in comparison with the novel on which this story is based, the relationship between the two boys is imbued with much more of a homoerotic or 'homo-affective' subtext. The acting of the two boys is outstanding, and the film is without doubt a masterpiece.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
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Jeepers Creepers 2 (2003)

The opening scene with Billy (Shaun Fleming) was great, a masterclass in clever and suspenseful horror. Unfortunately, this was also the high point of the movie. My favourite character was the gorgeously butch female bus driver - so why on earth was she dispatched so quickly? Her departure left a busload of annoying late teens competing with each other in machismo and stupidity, their equally annoying girlfriends, and a creature that spent most of its time licking bus windows (not very hygienic! - clearly the Creeper isn't worried by germs) and generally faffing around rather than just getting on with it and making a hearty, nourishing meal of the lot of them. Yawn!

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 4 / 10
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Jonny Briggs (1985-1987)

It certainly grows on you. I like Albert, Jonny's gracefully lank eldest brother.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 7 / 10
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Jossy's Giants (1986-1987)

The series contains a surprising amount of feminism, and the character of Tracey spends all her time hectoring the boys, which isn't entirely pleasant. Nevertheless, the show is quite entertaining, though perhaps not something you are likely to feel the need to watch more than once. One never really gets a sense of the team's progress, of their struggling gradually to success from match to match, since episodes tend to concentrate on something tangential to the team's career. I like the theme tune, though!

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 6 / 10
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Junges Licht (2016)

This movie is based on the novel by Ralf Rothmann, which it follows very closely (the novel has been translated into English as "Young Light"). The cinematography in this movie is stunning. Somehow, even industrial pollution is made to look beautiful! Oscar Brose plays the 12 year old boy Julian, who lives with his younger sister, an emotionally unstable mother who regularly beats him, and a father whom he loves deeply and idolizes. This is in many ways a classic 'coming-of-age' movie, showing the trajectory of the protagonist as he slowly begins to perceive the hypocrisies and weaknesses of the adults around him, and finally learms to assert himself against the adult world. The adult characters in this story are presented as ordinary, credible, morally compromised human beings. None of them are demonised as such - not even Julian's mother - and I think this is important. I should perhaps remark that Oscar Brose is absolutely brilliant as Julian, a remarkably sensitive performer. All in all, I think this is one of the few occasions where the film is actually better than the novel.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
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Just Pals (1920)

A sentimental tale of two hobos - one a man, the other a young boy - who become inseparable. The adult hobo, Bim (Buck Jones), repeatedly insists on doing the right thing, but discovers each time that no good deed ever goes unpunished by the 'virtuous' townsfolk. Of course, eventually the townsfolk see the error of their ways, but not before nearly lynching poor Bim. The relation between Bim and Bill (Georgie Stone) is very nicely portrayed.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 8 / 10
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Just William (1994-1995)

What really makes this production is Oliver Rokison, who turns out an astonishingly fine performance as William. Highly recommended.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 8 / 10
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