Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Collapse (***)
Ruppert is great value until he gets too emotionally carried away with his insights, introducing a dubious moral tone to the otherwise intriguing diatribes

An Education (*)
laughably amateurish UK production

World's Greatest Dad (**)
the balance between black comedy and drama is never coherently reconciled, and as it proceeds through a series of incongruent implausibilities and painfully self-conscious witticisms, the result is a hammy one-dimensional mess

The Silence (*****)
Bergman masterpiece - devastatingly resonant and meaningfully potent: a surrealism that Lynch can only ever dream about

La Marge (*****)
Borowczyk's most underrated work - possibly owing to the common misinterpretation of the deceptive nature of its plot, a psychosexual journey exploring love after bereavement

Der Liebesschüler (**)
this 1974 curiosity is part sex comedy, and also part Austrian absurdist play thanks to screenplay by Wolfgang Bauer; a real treat for us vintage Sylvia Kristel fans

Jennifer's Body (****)
smart, sexy, delightfully misandrous black comedy with a brilliantly maintained balance between satire and horror - memorable turns by Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried as best female friends; unrated version is a must

Big River Man (**)
Martin Strel, seemingly separated at birth from deadringer Sleazy Christophersen, is a fascinating character: a fat alcoholic swimming-obsesssed madman from Slovenia - unfortunately, this clumsily edited documentary about Strel's Amazon attempt is ruined by his careerist son, who, entrusted to do the filming, can't resist upstaging his dad and superimposing his own weedy environmentalist agenda

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (*)
you get everything you deserve by seeing anything starring Nicolas 'Coppola' Cage, however this is dire by even his legendary hammy standards - Herzog should be feeling thoroughly ashamed of himself

Extract (**)
gentle comedy by Mike Judge that certainly has a few stand-out funny moments, especially where drug-taking is involved; a star has been docked for allowing that wanker Gene Simmons to shoehorn himself a role

The Countess (**)
a film that probably needed to be twice as long to do justice to the subject matter; as it is, despite much to like, there is little chemistry between the protagonists, some silly postmodern sexual stereotyping, and an incoherent narrative that exaggeratedly buys into the Jesuit myths about a Bathory bathing in virgins' blood as an allegory of female vanity, followed by an ending that questions whether what you've just been shown really happened

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