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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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Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981)

There is no doubt that this film seems disappointing, and I was recently trying to think why this is so. I think there are a couple of reasons. First, this is billed as "The Final Conflict" - so by now you would expect Damien to be President of the US, or at the very least Vice-President plotting the murder of the President, and preparing for World War III. But no. Instead he's a rather humble diplomat who gets sent off to sodden old Blighty! - where, incidentally, he spends a considerable portion of his time having rough sex with a journalist and trying to recruit her son as one of his minions, despite the fact that the boy in question is even more powerless than he is! (Actually, the first time I saw this movie I mistakenly thought that the boy, played by Barnaby Holm, was a girl!) Second, there is at least one lengthy scene in a room where he keeps his general clutter (including a fascinating reverse crucifix thing - it's amazing the stuff you can get off ebay), involving a monologue where Damien attempts to justify his evil, and wraps himself in the mantle of victimhood. Oh dear. You know, I really think that if he were Pure Evil he wouldn't bother with the tedious handwringing of "justifying" himself. Perhaps the scene is supposed to invest him with the nobility of Milton's Satan, but he just comes across as a whinger. At the climax of the film, Damien bafflingly goes to some ruins where he is supposedly to find the reborn Christ Child. But what does Damien think the baby is doing there? Does he think that His parents just deposited Him there to be brought up by wolves or something? I'm not sure I understood this. And then (after he finally realises that the whole thing was just a ruse), Damien stamps about calling to Him, saying things like "where are you? Show yourself!"...um, but isn't the reborn Christ at this stage still a baby? At this point I completely lost the plot, but then so did the screenwriter, so it doesn't matter. The best thing about this film was the inadvertent humour of the "assassins", who are clearly incapable of organising a piss-up in a brewery, let alone dispatching the Anti-Christ, and just end up wrapping themselves in burning plastic, etc. Hilarious! In fact, I'm going to give it a 6 for this reason alone!

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 6 / 10
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The Omen (2006)

Strangely lifeless retelling, with lots of dull, greyish colours. The original version is better by far. There really was very little point to this film.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 4 / 10
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Onán (2002)

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
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One Day I'll Become... (2017)

Way better than any of the actual Star Wars prequels. Beautiful cinematography.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
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El Orfanato (2007)

An engaging mystery and a serious, cerebral 'ghost story' with a poignant conclusion.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 8 / 10
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Our Gang (1922)

I really don't know why Hal Roach is not always recognised as the genius he undoubtedly was. From 1922 to 1938 (when he handed the 'Our Gang' format to MGM and the whole thing immediately went downhill) Roach's studios churned out an astonishing stream of masterpieces (169 in all). The sheer inventiveness of these little films is amazing. And this inventiveness was unencumbered by political correctness and the desire (asserted under MGM) to teach the viewers a moral lesson (which always kills art). Boys like Mickey Daniels and Carl ('Alfalfa') Switzer were GIANTS. Their memory and their talent should last as long as the human race.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 10 / 10
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Our Gang Follies of 1938 (1937)

One of my all-time favourite Our Gangs.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 10 / 10
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Our New Errand Boy (1905)

14-year-old Tom is more a force of nature or a mischievous imp than a human being - a sort of amoral boy-deity, who causes mayhem without the slightest sympathy for those he torments. A lesser director would have turned the tables on him at the end in order to deliver a moral lesson. But in this film, he joyfully outwits his pursuers, and we end with him laughing uncontrollably at his victims' misfortune. And the wonderful thing is that we side with the boy, we share in his delight, so that the whole film becomes a celebration of irrepressible vitality. A truly extraordinary work.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 10 / 10
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Our Time (2014)

If one is going to make a half-hour film - even on a micro budget - it is probably best not to make it a string of the most hackneyed clichés imaginable. It is also a good idea not to have two lead characters (Paul and Becky) with a personality bypass. Harrison Sansostri was quite personable as James.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed Star 2 / 10
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P'tit Quinquin (2014)

An oddity, but it definitely grows on you.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 8 / 10
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Padre Padrone (1977)

I'm surprised at some of the comments on this film. Far from being either "surreal" or "unrealistic", it seems to me very earthy and realist. I see no reason for having a moral spasm just because it depicts things as they were. As for the bestiality scene - this was how things were; boys were horny, and the available options were either farmyard animals or each other. I don't suppose the animals suffered more than mild discomfort at most. As for it being 'disgusting', my feelings are the same as Terence, "Homo sum; nil humani alienum mihi puto." In any case, the film definitely scotches any notion of peasant life as a bucolic idyll - the Taviani brothers side more with Marx's "idiocy of rural life". The protagonist's father isn't demonised, though - he is simply an outcome of his own upbringing; if anything is to blame for the brutishness of it all then it's the poverty and insecurity of peasant life. I found the whole film wonderful and enlightening. A definite 'must-see'. (Get the Arrow Academy Taviani blu-ray set whilst it's still available!)

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 10 / 10
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The Paper Lads (1977-1979)

With excellent, thoughtful scripts, superb acting from the whole cast, and plenty of outdoor filming, this was definitely one of the better kids' TV series of the 1970s. My favourite character was Gog, played by Peter Younger. Highly recommended.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
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Pelle der Eroberer (1986)

Absolutely wonderful film of the first volume (“Boyhood”, 1906) of the novel “Pelle the Conqueror”, by the Danish writer Martin Andersen Nexø (1869-1954). Pelle Karlsson (played by Stefan Schrader) emigrates from Sweden to Denmark, with his loving and affectionate father, Lasse (Martin Trettau). The film succeeds in combining social realism (the stark realities of farm life, the poverty and occasional cruelties of the labourers) with a sense of the pastoral. To have seamlessly combined these two aspects is a considerable directorial achievement. Stefan Schrader is utterly superb in the title role.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 10 / 10
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Penrod and Sam (1937)

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 7 / 10
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Penrod and Sam (1931)

Absolutely the best thing about this movie was Billie Lord as the 'sissy' Georgie Bassett - he was great! (Georgie's father - played by Johnny Arthur - was also marvellous.)

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 7 / 10
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A Perfect World (1993)

A superb film. The narrative is somewhat similar to "Martin's Day" (1984). Butch (Kevin Costner) comes to be everything a decent father should be to the boy. He respects the boy's autonomy, is never patronising, never lies to him 'for his own good'. There's a wonderful scene where the boy reveals that he has been made to feel inadequate about the size of a certain part of his anatomy. Butch asks the boy to show him and is able to reassure him that there's nothing wrong with him. In conversation with the boy, he emphasises the boy's abilities, what he can do rather than what he can't do. In consequence of all this, a bond of love begins to develop between them. There's a scene early on in the movie where Butch's partner in escape, Terry, seems to try to molest the boy. However, this doesn't quite fall in with modern mythology, because Terry's character has already been signalled as aggressively heterosexual. The message of the film is thus rather more complex than would be that of a similar film made in today's febrile climate. There's another strand in this film's plot involving Eastwood's character and his relationship to Butch that gives added depth and meaning to the narrative. T.J. Lowther is utterly wonderful in his role as Phillip Perry. Overall, a definite 'must-see'.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
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Le Petit poucet (2001)

A wonderful cinematic realisation of a fairy tale. The French do this kind of thing so well! Highly recommended.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 8 / 10
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Le petit roi (1933)

A great film, with an exceptional performance from Robert Lynen.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 10 / 10
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Pinocchio (2008)

Surprisingly crap. One is always aware that Robbie Kay is 'acting' - he's completely unnatural. The dialogue is in the artificial modern style that has become the fashion with British films and TV programmes generally. Perhaps it is *not* so surprising that a British version of Pinocchio made in the 21st century would be crap.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 4 / 10
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Pit Pony (1999-2000)

I've only seen Season 1 of this series. Very little about pit ponies in it. Quite pleasant after the first few episodes, once the series has got all the pseudo-Celtic cliches out of its system. Willie is a little mature beyond his years. I loved Spider, though. I think he ought to have had a separate spin-off series, 'The Adventures of Spider'.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 7 / 10
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