Bigger Than Life

November 3, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

cortisone

(dir. Nicholas Ray) (1956) Uber-normal 50s family has life turned on its head when Dad gets hooked on cortisone and starts wearing robes and a crown.  It’s like The Brady Bunch meets Oliver Twist and it fairly crackles.  James Mason’s great performance is almost too big for the film – you want him strait-jacketed only after he stabs everyone in the cast.

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Badlands

November 3, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, CRIME, Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(dir. Terence Malick) (1973) Bleak and stark it may be but there is a fairy tale quality in this sanitized, loose but compelling adaptation of the Starkweather-Fugate crime spree in Nebraska and Wyoming in 1957/8.  Kit (Martin Sheen) and Holly (Sissy Spacek) brilliantly capture the sweetest, stupidest and deadliest couple since Bonnie and Clyde. Holly’s girlish internal monologues are laugh-out-loud, close to the style of Stephen Leacock’s Memoirs of Marie Mushenough. This is Malick’s magum opus.

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Accident

October 21, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(dir. Joseph Losey) (1967) Harold Pinter scripted from the novel by Nicholas Mosley: Dirk Bogarde covets his pupil’s girlfriend but lacks the courage to close in.  Meanwhile his academic pal is already on the case.  Everyone deserves censure and they know it.  Moody, slow, richly complex, misanthropic and not-to-be-missed.

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Withnail & I

Withnail and I

(dir. B. Robinson) (1985) Perfect homage to the strange death of swinging London. Withnail, I and Uncle Monty et al emblematize La Bruyere’s epigram that self-indulgence and severity towards others is the same vice. Looking up from our slim volume of Nigel’s poems, its pages stained with buttery tears from crumpets, we see the sky is beginning to bruise…home lads!  To Vim under the sink and one bar on.  (Look for more killer (and accurate) quotes from the film here). [See “Vivian & I” by Colin Bacon (2010, Quartet Books) for Withnail’s prototype, Vivian Mackerrell. Vivian & I available at Amazon.com]…

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The Young Poisoner’s Handbook

October 14, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, CRIME, Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |
The Young Poisoners Handbook

(dir. Ben Ross) (1995) 1950s Britain never looked so dystopian and between his grotesque family and idiot prison psychiatrists, you find yourself wanting young Graham to keep getting away with it.  Of course, with silly, smug, progressive psychiatrists like Dr Ziegler to let him loose and call him cured, he’s a shoe-in!

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