A Delicate Balance

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

(dir. Tony Richardson) (1973) One Friday night a tense little New England family receives a surprise visit from a couple of old friends. It seems they were at home and suddenly ‘became frightened’ for no apparent reason. So they decide to move in with their oldest friends, opening up some old, and some still warmly moist, scars, testing the limits and concept of true friendship. More delectable, drunken, hate-filled east coast dummy-spits from Edward Albee. The Varnished Culture always draws the cat’s attention to what might happen to him if he ever “doesn’t like us anymore”.

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Dead Man

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

(dir. Jim Jarmusch) (1996) Johnny Depp rides again, or should it be sails, into the sunset, only this time, weird works. [As Depp Indian films go, this is as good as The Lone Ranger is execrable…]

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Civilisation

(by Kenneth Clark) Really a compilation of scripts for a television series, this book, much ridiculed and parodied over the years (remember Monty Python’s “Are you civilised? Have you been civilised recently?”), is a wonderful, personal, informed view of humankind and culture from classical times to the then present (1968). Elegiac, nostalgic, pessimistic; almost everything in the arts since has borne out Clark’s view that “we can destroy ourselves by cynicism* and disillusion, just as effectively as bombs.” [* A cynic being a “man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.” – Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s…

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Chinatown

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

(dir. Roman Polanski) (1974) Superior latter-day film noir, replete with sophisticated non-plot (something about diverting public water for private purposes), has Faye Dunaway getting away with scenery-chewing, due no doubt to difficulties with character (‘She’s my daughter! She’s my sister! She’s my daughter…’).

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Brother’s Keeper

November 3, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | CRIME, Documentary, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(dir. J. Berlinger & J. Sinofsky) (1992) A great, ambling account of a yokel murder case. One of the Ward boys (farmers with arrested development, putting it mildly) ups and dies; the State thinks one of the other Ward boys dun it.  Film-makers get an extra half-star for inhaling near the Ward boys. Note to DA’s pathologist and the defence attorney: never appear on film again.  It’s all a little exploitative, but unmissible all the same.

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