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      Birmingham Post

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      Rating Title | Year Author Quote
      The Duellists (1977) Michael Billington It is really the record of an ungovernable physical obsession but what gives it its distinction is that it is directed with a real feeling for pictorial effect and for the play of light.
      Posted Nov 21, 2023
      Alien (1979) Terry Grimley In short, it is a film which performs the basic task of nauseating and frightening the audience out of its wits with great style and efficiency.
      Posted Nov 16, 2023
      The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight (1971) Michael Billington Generally the film is full of sound and fury signifying nothing and, looking at some of the mediocre camerawork, one reflects that it's not only the New York gang leaders who apparently can't shoot straight.
      Posted Oct 25, 2023
      They Might Be Giants (1971) Michael Billington The film has been rather brutally cut by Universal so that some of it doesn't even make sense. But I can't believe it would ever have been anything more than a piece of precious whimsy.
      Posted Oct 25, 2023
      The Last Picture Show (1971) Michael Billington It's a movie I like very much; it penetrates the memory for hours afterwards and it leads one to reflect serenely on the joys and miseries of one's own fading youth. Not to be missed.
      Posted Oct 25, 2023
      Payday (1973) Michael Billington It's the least sentimental account I've seen on film of a modern troubadou's existence: and it has a lot more individual style than the week's epic blockbusters.
      Posted Sep 27, 2023
      Blume in Love (1973) Michael Billington The jokes themselves come thick and fast. Underneath its surface wryness the film communicates a genuine sense of loss and of the agony of unrequited love.
      Posted Sep 27, 2023
      Papillon (1973) Michael Billington I must say it left me depressed. The reason is, I think, the film's masochistic delight in pain, degradation and humiliation.
      Posted Sep 27, 2023
      The Exorcist (1973) Michael Billington Although the film has every attention lavished on it, it is much less scarifying than something like Rosemary's Baby, where the grisly happenings did have a sickening plausibility. The Exorcist, however, is simply a superior spook-movie.
      Posted Sep 27, 2023
      White Men Can't Jump (1992) Bob Shelton The film is clever, punchy, quick-tempoed, with some fine scenes of very fast basketball.
      Posted Aug 30, 2023
      When a Man Loves a Woman (1994) Bob Shelton My reaction was divided, half appreciating its serious content and half-reacting against the strong sentimental undertow.
      Posted Aug 28, 2023
      Lone Star (1996) Mike Davies Superbly acted, it's an ambitious, complex, long slow burn that requires your total attention. It's also one of the greatest American movies of the decade.
      Posted Aug 23, 2023
      The Boy Friend (1971) Michael Billington I am less surprised than some of my colleagues that Russell's film of The Boy Friend turns out to be so hugely enjoyable and so packed with cinematic verve.
      Posted Jul 25, 2023
      Macbeth (1971) Michael Billington What I particularly like about it is that it strips away some of the more dubious theatrical traditions and gives the impression that every aspect of the play has been scrupulously re-examined.
      Posted Jul 21, 2023
      The Matrix (1999) Mike Davies By the time you've reached the end of its breathtaking, mind-popping ride, the last thing you'll want to worry your head about is whether it made any sense.
      Posted Jul 13, 2023
      The Daytrippers (1996) Mike Davies Deadpan and extremely funny while also providing moments of intense poignancy, Mottola's screenplay serves up some insightful observations on family and lies we tell ourselves, while finding affection within its heart for all.
      Posted Jun 21, 2023
      Armageddon (1998) Mike Davies Well, of course it's corny, clichéd, macho gung ho flag waving nonsense. This isn't supposed to be Art. What it's supposed to be is popcorn entertainment. With butter. And that's exactly what it is.
      Posted Jun 21, 2023
      Gumshoe (1972) Michael Billington I found Gumshoe, in fact, a totally captivating film. It affectionately parodies the clipped, hammerblow dialogue of the best 'Forties movies while at the same time sustaining one's interest in a typically convoluted piece of Chandleresque plotting.
      Posted May 16, 2023
      Fiddler on the Roof (1971) Michael Billington [Norman Jewison's] trump card, of course, is Topol as the life-loving milkman with the hot line to God. I wouldn't say Topol actually suggests a henpecked Jewish trader very convincingly, but he still has a towering screen presence.
      Posted May 16, 2023
      Heavenly Creatures (1994) Bob Shelton Compulsively watchable.
      Posted May 15, 2023
      Enter the Dragon (1973) Michael Billington I'm usually the last critic to scream about violence; but this film, for all Mr. Lee's choreographed expertise, just left me feeling slightly sick.
      Posted Mar 20, 2023
      Boys on the Side (1995) Bob Shelton Still, this is an adult film that doesn't flinch from contemporary crises. Very watchable.
      Posted Mar 14, 2023
      Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) T.C. Kemp From time to time melody breaks in and the ladies lift heir voices in attempt at song.
      Posted Mar 08, 2023
      Sayonara (1957) Alexander Walker [An] over-coloured, over-long picture...
      Posted Mar 02, 2023
      Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974) Michael Billington Even is the film's charm is a bit narcissistic, it is undeniable. And the girls themselves are delightful.
      Posted Mar 02, 2023
      Godzilla (1998) Tom Dawson Noisy popcorn fun enough, but if size does matter this ultimately comes up short.
      Posted Feb 15, 2023
      Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962) Keith Brace It ought to move, but it doesn't.
      Posted Feb 08, 2023
      The Truman Show (1998) Mike Davies Jim Carrey finally shows he can do serious stuff, marrying comic skills to real human emotion with a revelatory performance guaranteed to make both character and film icons of the 90s.
      Posted Feb 03, 2023
      Live Flesh (1997) Mike Davies Pedro Almodóvar returns to vintage form but displaying a new maturity that doesn't feel the need to parcel everything up with sexual explicitness and garish kitsch melodrama.
      Posted Feb 02, 2023
      Junk Mail (1997) Mike Davies Director Pal Sletaune fuses a blackly comic thriller with an offbeat unsentimental love story, laced with a vein of cruel humor and grim cynicism to first class effect.
      Posted Feb 02, 2023
      The Man Who Knew Too Little (1997) Mike Davies Murray, not playing mean streak for once, is on his best comic form in years, but unfortunately this is a one joke movie and Too Little does not go a long way.
      Posted Feb 02, 2023
      Deep Impact (1998) Mike Davies The sober, subdued approach is a welcome alternative to the usual macho gung ho, but unfortunately suspense too is at a minimum.
      Posted Feb 02, 2023
      Lolita (1997) Mike Davies This is an intelligent, faithful reading, suffused with a heady sense of atmosphere of a post war America that's also losing its innocence. Disturbing certainly, but the worst thing you can say is that it's a bit dramatically dull.
      Posted Feb 02, 2023
      Wild Things (1998) Mike Davies With a glossy look, dialogue and deadpan performances firmly tongue in cheek, and an inspired end credits sequence that fills in the gaps you didn't see, this may not be quite as clever as it thinks it is, but it's not far off.
      Posted Feb 02, 2023
      Diabolique (1955) Birmingham Post Staff Though the film is not up to the standard of Clouzot's previous work, The Wages of Fear, there are some interesting performances, principally from Vera Clouzot as the poor, sickly, terrified wife.
      Posted Jan 26, 2023
      The Big Lebowski (1998) Mike Davies The Coens ladle on their usual attention to detail, off-kilter characters, dazzling visuals and hip dialogue, while underlaying a subtle theme about friendship and being a man. Their best since Barton Fink.
      Posted Jan 24, 2023
      Eve's Bayou (1997) Mike Davies This bittersweet tale of love and loss will touch your heart... offers encouraging proof that, in an era of mindless blockbusters, the art of first-class storytelling is far from dead.
      Posted Jan 09, 2023
      Village of the Damned (1960) Keith Brace The thoughtful, serio-comic book has become a much watered-down, rather mild horror film, as thick with clichés as the Midwich hedges with sukebind.
      Posted Sep 28, 2022
      High Noon (1952) T.C. Kemp High Noon is a good example of its kind. Directed by Fred Zinnemann, it generates a high degree of tension, and Gary Cooper invests the Marshal with a nervous anxiety which is probably more true to life.
      Posted Sep 19, 2022
      Annie Hall (1977) Michael Billington This is a film with heart and brains that is about the passing of true love, about inescapable human solitude and about the clash of two American cultures. One cannot ask for much more from a film than that.
      Posted Aug 25, 2022
      Cry Uncle (1971) Michael Billington Directed, photographed and edited by John G. Avildsen, it is a cheap, nasty little private-eye picture.
      Posted Jun 14, 2022
      Night Watch (1973) Michael Billington This is a film that works because of the ingenuity of its plotting, the atmospheric traditionalism of its direction and the skill of its playing, especially by the artful Miss Taylor.
      Posted Jun 14, 2022
      Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973) Michael Billington Had the film not been mucked about in the cutting-room, I think it might have been Peckinpah's best. As it is, it belongs with Major Dundee as a ruined masterwork. But it still shows a concern with the eternal human themes rare in today's cinema.
      Posted Jun 14, 2022
      Dont Look Back (1967) Michael Billington This is a fascinating cine-verite account of one of [Dylan's] tours. It deals not so much with the concerts themselves as with the whole travelling-circus atmosphere that surrounds the star and with the numerous pressures that are placed upon him.
      Posted May 09, 2022
      Barefoot in the Park (1967) Birmingham Post Staff A delightful film. in which the principals get splendid support from Mildred Natwick and Charles Boyer.
      Posted May 02, 2022
      The Pleasure Principle (1991) Mike Davies This is well acted but despicable tosh which stereotypes women.
      Posted Apr 13, 2022
      Afraid of the Dark (1992) Mike Davies Credibility is the least of the film's problems. With Edward Fox and Fanny Ardent giving astonishingly wooden performances, it’s a clumsy banal work.
      Posted Apr 13, 2022
      Father of the Bride (1991) Mike Davies Despite the cliches, shameless sentimentality and rampant unsubtlety, it’s an engagingly enjoyable comedy tear-jerker.
      Posted Apr 13, 2022
      Mississippi Masala (1991) Mike Davies Despite a tendency to cliche stereotype, Nair opts to satirise with affection rather than malice. While not without sharp and bitter-sweet touches, much of this excellent film is geared towards humour.
      Posted Apr 13, 2022
      Rebecca (1940) T.C. Kemp Alfred Hitchcock has made a first-class job of the production. He decorates the manor of Mandeley with his customary touch of mystery and imagination.
      Posted Mar 24, 2022
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