Sunday, October 04, 2009

September Films

1The Thousand Eyes of Dr Mabuse (1960) Dawn Addams, Peter van Eyck, Gert Fröbe, Werner Peters, Wolfgang Preiss. Dir: Fritz Lang

A series of murders link back to a hotel and the long dead criminal mastermind Dr Mabuse. Not as relevant or as striking as Lang’s previous Mabuse movies, but still provides solid and memorable entertainment, although it’s hard to make sense of it.

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In the Loop (2009) Tom Hollander, James Gandolfini, Chris Addison, Peter Capaldi. Dir: Armanda Ianucci.

A dithering minister makes the wrong comment on the radio and ends up a key player in the run up to war. Extremely funny and witty satire which although OTT, has more than a whiff of truth about it. Dialogue and performances both top-notch.

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1984
(1984) John Hurt, Richard Burton, Suzanna Hamilton. Dir: Michael Radford.

In a dystopian future an unexceptional worker rebels, but is crushed by the state. Suitably grimey version of the novel that sticks closely to the text. Hurt is ideal as the sullen looking lead, but characterisation is rather lacking and Smith’s fantasising is a little out of place and confusing.

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The Wrong Man (1956) Henry Fonda, Vera Miles, Anthony Quayle. Dir Alfred Hitchcock

True story of a mild mannered bass player who is wrongly identified as the perpetrator of a number of robberies. Unusually serious and low-key Hitchcock thriller. Vera Miles is excellent and genuinely affecting as the unstable wife but Fonda too restrained and dull as the lead. Not bad, just ok.

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Stranger on the 3rd Floor (1940) Peter Lorre, John McGuire, Elisha Cook Jr. Dir: Boris Ingster

A reporter suffers doubts when his testimony convicts a young criminal, then he himself is wrongly accused of murder. Considered by some to be the first film noir, this is a B movie well above its station. Dream sequence is excellent; it is limited by its resources, but is intriguing viewing.

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The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988) John Neville, Sarah Polley, Eric Idle, Jonathan Pryce, Uma Thurman. Dir: Terry Gilliam

An elderly hero interrupts a play about himself to set the record straight and to resolve the war with the Turks. Brimming with creativity, so much so that it gets bogged down and drags. Hard not to admire, many sequences are dazzling, but it needs to get a move on.

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Public Enemies (2009) Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Coutillard, Billy Crudup. Dir: Micheal Mann.

The historically inaccurate story of John Dillinger. Stylish and generally very entertaining adventure, but it lacks something to set it apart from other films of its type. It may match the period visually, but says little about the times or the impact that Dillinger had upon them.

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Mesrine: Killer Instinct
(2009) Vincent Cassel, Cecile De France, Gerard Depardieu, Gilles Lellouche. Dir: Jean-François Richet.

Part one of a two part biopic following the career of violent criminal Jacques Mesrine. An unglamorous and uncompromising portrayal of a vicious and callous man. It works hard to show him not as a hero, but as a vicious and cold-hearted killer, far from someone who should admired or respected.

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