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Burke & Hare (2010) Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis, Isla Fisher, Tom Wilkinson, Jessica Hynes, Tim Curry, Ronnie Corbett. Dir: John Landis.
Two Scots come up with a novel way to fulfil the demand for bodies for surgical dissection. Considering the talent involved, it should be a lot better than it is. Seems reluctant to make comedy out of the deliciously dark subject and settles for familiar gags. Pleasant, but not exceptional.
The Stuff (1985) Michael Moriarty, Garrett Morris, Andrea Marcovicci, Paul Sorvino. Dir: Larry Cohen.
A corporate saboteur investigates a new food craze, which turns out to be more than just addictive. Low budget comedy horror which isn’t that horrific or that funny. The concept is fun, and there’s some enjoyable digs at consumerism. It’s just not particularly memorable for being particularly good or particularly bad.
Source Code (2011) Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright. Dir: Duncan Jones.
A soldier repeatedly relives the last 8 minutes of a man on a bombed train until he can find the bomber. It’s always good to see intelligent sci-fi. Not perfect – the characters aren’t interesting, and some tension is forced – but at 90 mins it’s taut and keeps you invested.
Dr Terror’s House of Horrors (1965) Peter Cushing, Chistopher Lee, Donald Sutherland, Neil McCallum, Alan Freeman, Roy Castle, Michael Gough, Ann Bell. Dir: Freddie Francis.
A Doctor predicts grisly futures for five commuters after giving them a tarot reading. You couldn’t call it scary, but this horror anthology does have great moments of eccentricity and wit, as well as an excellent cast. Lee and Gough’s segment as critic and artist rivals is a highlight.
Z (1969) Jean-Louis Trintignant, Yves Montand, Irene Papas, Jacques Perrin. Dir: Costa Gravas.
An attack on a communist senator leads a prosecutor to discover a government conspiracy. Greek thriller that makes no pretence at being fictional. Has fun sending up the ridiculous double-standards of the suppressors, but this only makes their ruthless actions more devastating. Drags in places, but otherwise very compelling viewing.
Nine (2009) Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cottilard, Penelope Cruz, Judy Dench, Kate Hudson, Nicole Kidman, Sophia Loren. Dir: Rob Marshall.
A director has an identity crisis as he starts work on his ninth film, which has no script. Musical remake of 8½, where everything is spelt out in a big showtune. It’s song, scene, song, scene but seems disconnected and largely frivolous. Considering the talent involved, it’s a real disappointment.
Hannibal Rising (2007) Gaspard Ulliel, Gong Li, Dominic West, Rhys Ifans. Dir: Peter Webber.
How Hannibal Lector went insane and became a cannibalistic killer. Totally unconvincing, not least because Hannibal is mute for the first quarter, and then is suddenly the cultured psycho we know. Script is inept and dialogue becomes steadily more painful. And did you know Hannibal was part samurai? Utter rubbish.