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Reviews Written by
Mario "At Mario's Film Cafe" (Lincolnshire)

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Take The Money And Run [1968] [DVD]
Take The Money And Run [1968] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Woody Allen
Price: £4.96

3.0 out of 5 stars Nonplussed in 2015, 27 April 2015
Goes nowhere but that's the point I suppose. Needs the deadpan voiceover to work but that's only funny in tone really, no great jokes. I suppose it's a satire about various things and diverting enough, but the best bits are slapstick and its a kind of bridge between the probably great stand-up routines and the more mature work of the next decade or so where character mattered. There's a kind of nostalgia appeal of course and you have a mild sort of constant smile but there are a few moments where it gets a bit tiresome (the parents for example) and about three where you might titter.

Thieves' Highway [DVD] [1949]
Thieves' Highway [DVD] [1949]
Dvd ~ Richard Conte
Price: £4.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Golden Delicious Wreck on the Highway, 26 April 2015
A vividly realised early Dassin which for 99% of the time is a great, brutal and even frightening film. A brilliant performance by Richard Conte in the controlled method manner along with another subtly nasty one (you really quite like him) from Lee J.Cobb. Valentina Cortesa is as erotically convincing as she could be allowed to be with her 'European' morality. The story is good, the comedy passages come from character rather than 'tacked on light relief' and the support is strong. Cinematography is very good, and there are some very impressive and telling moments and, apart from the very end (you'll see why), it has the courage of its convictions - studio impositions intrude. A 12 cert. for 1949 is still, surprisingly, about right. Who'd have thought you could earn so much from a few apples?

Singin' in the Rain [DVD] [2002]
Singin' in the Rain [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Gene Kelly
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Dancing King, 26 April 2015
If like me you have spent 50 + years avoiding watching it, best do so soon. This is a totally unique and brilliantly photographed joy from start to finish. The dance sequences are breathtaking, and Donald O'Connor is a superb foil and in many ways a match for Kelly. Debbie Reynolds is also a revelation. If there are criticisms, they involve perhaps two: the songs apart from the obvious one are possibly not that memorable though they are perfectly adequate to accompany the Terpsichorean fireworks; and whilst I know it's a 'joke', the laughing at the Jean Hagen character's 'dumb Brooklyn' accent strikes me as unnecessarily prejudicial. why does she have to be characterised as undeserving primarily because of the way she articulates? Just a slight gripe at the snobbishness which is unworthy of the rest of the film.

Dr. Crippen (Classic Horror Collection) [DVD]
Dr. Crippen (Classic Horror Collection) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Donald Pleasence
Price: £5.75

4.0 out of 5 stars The Great Coral!, 21 April 2015
Not a horror movie despite the way the name has echoed down the century as a Victorian gas-lit fiend. Properly done as a quirky love story about a man who never experienced love - he could have been T.S.Eliot. Quiet and restrained film with (Nicholas Roeg as cameraman) unpretentious believability and faithfulness. A good film. Very good performances with the fantastic Coral Browne.

Night And The City [1950] [DVD]
Night And The City [1950] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Richard Widmark
Offered by A2Z Entertains
Price: £8.05

5.0 out of 5 stars London With Some Resemblance to Dickens so Mr Jaggers Seems at Home!, 20 April 2015
A very interesting and rather outré film in most respects. Also here a fascinating set of extras, one of which outlines the reasons for and examines the differences between, the two versions of the film. It seems much more intense than many of the more run-of-the-mill pure US noirs though here we have a top-line US cast and a grouping of contemporaneous British grotesques including dwarves and weird old women. It's axiomatic to say this is Widmark's greatest performance and it's certainly powerful, has great range and just enough humanity to make him sympathetic. There's also a kind of post-war existential angst which fits with the European sensibilities of the time. Francis L.Sullivan is great as are the Greek wrestlers, indeed the wrestling scene climax before the film's further climax is remarkable for conveying the 'body' violence so often avoided when a pistol 'knocks down' a baddie which is often as convincing as a sword under a Shakespearean armpit. It's also so much more convincing than the modern 'replication' of blood and bone destruction that some take delight in. You really feel the old man is knackered. The cinematography in this print is very well restored and don't you just appreciate Googie Withers' abilities as a film actress? Gene Tierney's part is the weakness, but as the documentary makes clear, it was more fleshed out and nuanced in the British version. BFI quality.

In The Soup [DVD]
In The Soup [DVD]
Dvd ~ Steve Buscemi

3.0 out of 5 stars La bouride or Minestrone perhaps?, 16 April 2015
This review is from: In The Soup [DVD] (DVD)
An 'indie' film with pretensions and some humour, Worth your time, but essentially dull despite its attempts to be special. What can you say apart from it's ok? There are moments, I suppose, when it it's funny but only in a quirky sense. Let's agree it's Guinness - an acquired taste. We are glad it exists but the passages in the passages and the moments which showcase human ugliness are not enough to make it'great'.

The Statement [DVD] [2004]
The Statement [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Michael Caine
Price: £3.50

4.0 out of 5 stars His Name is Pierre Brossard, 14 April 2015
This review is from: The Statement [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
In Provence generally, this film rather exploits the locations like Morse does Oxford but with a less twisty plot; it also lets us in on who's doing what pretty much. As always with things related to the Holocaust, there is a sense of whether it should be entertaining. It is done in a professional quiet way with Caine an interesting psychopath desperate for redemption and to excuse himself. The performances, especially Swinton are all a little odd as if they are somehow dubbing themselves. The choice is that everyone speaks English and the younger Caine is recognised by his cockney articulation in the mouth of his youthful imitator. There are touches of Hitchcock which don't in the end develop; a bit of Chabrol; and it's an English language policier with picture postcard views of the South. Not brilliant but not bad and unfussily directed.

Gift Horse [DVD] [1952]
Gift Horse [DVD] [1952]
Dvd ~ Trevor Howard

4.0 out of 5 stars Blighty Still Sailing Just About, 13 April 2015
This review is from: Gift Horse [DVD] [1952] (DVD)
Patchy, but effective stiff-upper-lip drama which avoids too neat an ending or too much loose-end-tying and is dominated by Trevor Howard, as so often is the case in these post-war neglected films, in a dignifiied and nuanced performance whose delight at his relationship with his son cracks his generally scowling or ruminative film persona into fatherly pride. Some impressive scenes at sea are less successfully accompanied by on-shore brawls and love-interests which have not quite stood the test of time in their less convincing stereotypical way. Hugh Williams' smooth commander who has history with Howard is similarly 'compromised' but never unsympathetic despite what we know of their sketched in relationship.

The Walker [DVD] (2007)
The Walker [DVD] (2007)
Dvd ~ Woody Harrelson
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £6.66

3.0 out of 5 stars This Land Ain't Your Land, Woody Realises., 13 April 2015
This review is from: The Walker [DVD] (2007) (DVD)
It's quietly engrossing when Woody is doing his high-status highly-witty portrayal of a gay Washingtonian safe with empty-life women including Lauren Bacall. Lily Tomlin and Kristin Scott-Thomas in this International co-production partly financed from the Isle of Man and directed by partial-outsider Paul Schrader. It has some style (not always convincingly linked to content) and some good (and one or two very bad) script moments. Leisurely and without a proper climax both of which seem to be part of the point that Watergate did nothing to change the way things are in complacent DC. Harrelson walks away with the Mario for a good performance in a mediocre film. His love-interest sub-plot is frankly tedious as is the awful Bryan Ferry on the soundtrack warbling away with his meaningful lyrics.

Porridge - The Movie [DVD] [1979]
Porridge - The Movie [DVD] [1979]
Dvd ~ Ronnie Barker
Price: £4.44

3.0 out of 5 stars Another Football Match Prison Drama, 24 Mar. 2015
Not embarrassing and genial film with grimly lit scenes of bleak Lakeland valleys and dull prison locations and sporadically amusing moments which does a fair cinematic transfer of the near-classic sitcom which ends-up not much more than a longer decent episode of what we remember from the 70s at about 8 pm on a weekday night when Christmas was on the way.

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