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Showing posts from June 17, 2012

Review: My Cousin Rachel

Set in 19th Century England, Richard Burton plays a young man who has grown up idolising his guardian John Sutton (making the most of a brief role), who years later sends Burton letters indicating that his new wife Rachel (Olivia De Havilland- wonderfully ambiguous in a role Greta Garbo and Vivien Leigh thankfully turned down), whom he romanced in Italy, is trying to poison him. But upon meeting his ‘cousin’ Rachel back home (after the old man’s eventual death), he becomes intensely infatuated with her. Surely she can’t be a heartless gold-digging black widow? Ronald Squire is perfectly able, as wise counsel to Burton.


Brilliantly moody, expertly acted, 1952 Gothic melodrama from director Henry Koster (“Harvey”, “The Virgin Queen”) deserves to be just as well-known as (and in my view, moreso than) Hitchock’s overrated “Rebecca”, both being film versions of Daphne Du Maurier Gothic mysteries. This one’s got the superbly brooding and intense Burton, outstanding in his first Hollywood ou…

Review: Van Diemen’s Land

Taking a different approach to the true story of Alexander Pierce than the horror flick “Dying Breed”, this film is by and large a straight account of the so-called ‘cannibal convict’. Set in 1822 in winter, eight convicts including the quietly intense Pierce (Oscar Redding) and Robert Greenhill (Arthur Angel), escape a penal colony from what was then called Van Diemen’s Land (now known as Tasmania, Australia). The convicts (Irish, Scottish, and English among them) face both the increasingly and unrelentingly harsh conditions, the fear of recapture, and the onset of starvation. Needless to say, the men, desperate to survive at all costs, start to turn on each other, in ways you just don’t want to think about! Mmmmm, who’s hungry?

Unsettling 2009 true account from first-time feature-length film director Jonathan auf der Heide (who apparently previously delved into the subject in a short film) is certainly a very commendable and quite effective Australian film that is unlike any convict…

Review: Philadelphia

Hot-shot lawyer Tom Hanks is fired by his large firm apparently for a misplaced account. Hanks believes it is because his superiors found out that he has AIDS. He goes to Denzel Washington, an ambulance chaser who hates gays (which Hanks happens to be), but takes the case to sue the firm anyway. Jason Robards Jr. is the head honcho, a typical back-slapping, cigar-smoking type, and his partners are played by Robert Ridgely and Ron Vawter. Joanne Woodward is Hanks’ supportive mother, Antonio Banderas his partner, Mary Steenburgen the somewhat half-hearted opposing attorney (she looks uncomfortable in the role, and only partly because it suits the character if you ask me), Tracey Walter an insensitive librarian, Charles Napier a fair-minded judge, and Anna Deavere Smith has an amusing small turn as a sympathetic employee whose attire earns ire from the bigwigs, for being ‘too ethnic’.


Powerful and entertaining 1993 Jonathan Demme (“Silence of the Lambs”) mixture of AIDS awareness flick a…