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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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Sovsem propashchiy (1973)

Nearly all film versions of Twain's Huckleberry Finn have to excise a portion of the novel to avoid being overlong. This version gives only a passing nod to the Grangerford-Shepherdson feud, and omits the whole of the Evasion Sequence (roughly the last quarter of the novel). This last omission is not as terrible as one might think, since Twain's ending for his novel has divided critics, with many seeing it as unsatisfactory, or at least as on a lower level of inspiration to the preceding narrative. The removal of the novel's ending does, however, make the movie's conclusion a bit of a non-conclusion, with nothing really resolved. But as a 'riff' on the original novel (which every film adaptation is anyway) this is still a gorgeous and unique version, very much worth seeing, and Madyanov makes an enchanting and photogenic Huck (even if he is a little too young and a little too well-fed for Twain's Huck!).

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
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Space Camp (1986)

Nauseating characters and a cliché ridden narrative do little for this movie. Add to that a plot which requires you not just to suspend disbelief, but sledgehammer it to death (NASA is willing to have kids sit in a space shuttle whilst testing its engines, a robot who's sufficiently intelligent to become friends with a human, and manipulate NASA's computers, but who does not realise that by sending a small child into space he is placing his life in grave jeopardy). The film has occasional moments of humour (Tate Donovan as Kate Capshaw walks past: "Great boosters!" - this would probably be censored out as 'sexual harrassment' or 'inappropriate' speech nowadays, such is the prudishness of our times). But otherwise there is very little to recommend this hopeless nonsense.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed Star 2 / 10
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Spelen of sterven (1990)

One of the most intense portrayals of introversion and social isolation ever committed to film. What a brilliant actor Geert Hunaerts was in this. An absolute classic.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 10 / 10
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Spring and Autumn (1972-1976)

Gentle comedy, a lot better than I expected, with some nice interaction between Jimmy Jewel and Charlie Hawkins.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 8 / 10
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Spy (2011-2012)

Sharp, witty, fast paced, this is not deep and meaningful; it is a pure bauble of delight, nothing more, nothing less. Jude Wright is fantastic.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
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The Squid and the Whale (2005)

A wry comedy, highly accomplished, with a witty script, nicely paced, and superbly acted by all the main performers. I loved all the characters. I feel that Frank's (Owen Kline's) spreading his bodily secretions around is a reasonable and legitimate protest against his lousy situation! He was certainly the most lovable of the characters. His father is a conceited and self-centred intellectual whom Frank's older brother Walt (Jesse Eisenberg) idolises and unwisely seeks to emulate. There seems less resolution at the end for Frank than for Walt, perhaps because Frank had a more realistic grasp of things in the first place, whereas Walt unfairly placed the entirety of the blame for his parents' separation on his long-suffering mother. Was that supposed to be a masturbation scene in the library? The most unconvincing masturbation scene in any movie I have ever watched. [See Geert Hunaerts in "Crazy Love" (1987) or Victor Porfírio in "Eu Me Lembro" (2005) for examples of how to do it properly!]

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 7 / 10
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Sto dney do prikaza (1991)

Despite the pervasive bleakness, this is a kind of hymn to masculinity, showing camaraderie and tenderness between men and presenting the male body as an object of aesthetic appreciation. In any case, it's very beautiful.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 10 / 10
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Strýta (2012)

The basic concept is surely by now a little hackneyed, but the cinematography (or is that just the Icelandic landscape?) is undeniably magnificent.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 7 / 10
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Stutter (2016)

Yes, another filmmaker who should have looked up the word "cliché" in the dictionary before setting to work. There's even the obligatory stereotype 'bully', and, of course, the uplifting ending. All rather yawnsome. Garratt Rinnert is quite good as Benjamin.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 4 / 10
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Svampe (1990)

A delightful Norwegian fantasy. Martin Bliksrud has an elfin charm, and is utterly wonderful in the title role of this extraordinary, dreamlike film. Recommended.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 10 / 10
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Sweeney Todd (2006)

Well, I really liked it. I like the fact that Fielding is as melancholic as Sweeney Todd - a sort of mirror image of him, as it were. The movie is rather relentlessly grim, but it is indisputably atmospheric, and I think it is an interesting project to try to make a completely 'serious' version of the classic horror story. Oh, and I like the handsome, elegant boy [caps 3-8 in the BA Gallery] who delivers Mrs. Lovett's pies to Todd near the beginning.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 8 / 10
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Swimming Upstream (2003)

Geoffrey Rush is superb as the martinet father battling with alcoholism. Some of the directorial effects, in certain scenes, draw attention to themselves in ways that distract from what's happening in the scene. The ending of the movie is pure cringeworthy cliché, as Tony recalls a series of feelgood slogans uttered by the characters at various points in the previous 90 minutes, followed by his emerging from the water punching the air in triumph! The boy actors who play the Fingleton brothers for the first 23 minutes are very likable. The story is very much told from the point of view of Tony, and he is made out as very much the hero of the piece, with virtually all the other characters flawed in one way or another. I can't help feeling that it would all look very different if told from the point of view of John (Tony's brother), or of any of the other characters, for that matter.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 6 / 10
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Taken (2002)

This series boasts some normally superb young actors, but even they seem a little flat in this drama. I was quite irritated by the constant intrusion of the girl narrator (Allie) with her pearls of fatuous cod philosophy and meaningless New Age tripe. At one point, she informs us that people do evil things only because they are afraid. Oh really? The Holocaust? It was a cry for help, darlings! It really goes to show how utterly shallow the Hollywood set are. Worse, Allie turns out to be the whole point of the aliens' breeding programme. That's right. All they wanted was a human-alien hybrid with a personality bypass, whose scintillating conversation is an uninterrupted flow of nauseating pseudo-profound psychobabble. (This apparently being the next step in the evolution of life.) Oh, and she has magical powers - though it takes her 'a lot of energy' to 'manifest' them. Yawn! The opening few episodes were intriguing (if you subtract Allie's narration), but it leads finally to banality on an epic scale. A huge disappointment.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed Star 2 / 10
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Tango Argentino (1992)

Just stunning. Nikola (Nikola Zarkovic) has a father, mother and sister, all of whom seem self-absorbed and make little effort to relate to him. But he finds an emotional connection with the generation above his parents', and in return receives the love and affection he needs. The sheer beauty of this film is what really stands out. An emotionally truthful film about the ability of people to find meaning in their lives through tenderness and care for others, and the need to break down the barriers between people and between generations. The film also affirms the dignity of the elderly and the intrinsic worth of human life (in contrast to attitudes in the west, where society tends to view the elderly as a 'burden'). Nikola Zarkovic is just an extraordinarily wonderful and sensitive actor, an absolute joy to watch. Highly recommended.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 10 / 10
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Tarzan's Desert Mystery (1943)

This was the one which veered into fantasy horror, with man-eating plants, prehistoric lizard-like monsters, and giant spiders...and - believe it or not - it works! The shot of Boy (Johnny Sheffield) caught in the web of the giant spider, with the spider slowly approaching (and with Nancy Kelly somewhat ineffectually trying to free him), burnt itself into my memory as a kid. A very exciting Tarzan film, and a must-see for all Johnny Sheffield devotees. Highly recommended.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 8 / 10
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Tayna zheleznoy dveri (1970)

A charming, whimsical morality tale. Recommended.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 8 / 10
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Teeth (2018)

Oh, I don't know. It's nicely acted, and surprisingly grisly. I rather liked it!

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 7 / 10
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Le Temps du loup (2003)

A bleakly realistic masterpiece.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
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There Will Be Blood (2007)

I love this film. Daniel Plainview is a spiritual void, but of course he'll never realise that himself. Some have criticised the finale, but I rather like it - there had to be a final confrontation between Eli and Daniel - the former a little desperate, the latter completely unhinged - and naturally the more insane character ends up on top! Dillon Freasier is just wonderful - he's been rightly described as a "quiet, magnetic, intelligent presence" in the film - a boy one can't help but love and want to protect. To give this film anything less than 10 stars would seem churlish and quibbling.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 10 / 10
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Threads (1984)

I actually watched this when it was originally transmitted in 1984. Since then, I've watched it two more times, and each time I've needed a couple of days simply to recover my equilibrium after viewing it - that's how good it is.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 10 / 10
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