• The Jackal

    The Jackal

    ★★

    Hollywood continued to spin terrorist redemption and assassin antihero yarns in the run-up to 9/11.

    Major Koslova (Venora) bemoans life as gorgeous with a barely visible scar. Jack Black explodes in a shower of blood. Mulqueen's (Gere) rancid Dublin accent poorly fits his presumed Provisional IRA profile. His boring backstory and gormless acting almost ruin the film. The Jackal himself (Willis), a hyper-prepared nut-storm, drives up the score with brutal cool and fun disguises.

    Watching this thriller did not totally constitute a waste of my time, but it runs too long, and the plot needs work.

  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars

    Star Wars: The Clone Wars

    ★★★

    Despite a few overlong battle scenes, and a kids' TV tone, this movie entertains, and avoids some of the prequels' embarrassing flaws.

  • Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

    Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

    ★★★

    [I watched Labyrinth of Evil fanedit]

    I think this film works, except that Anakin switches sides a little too readily. I love the Emperor.

  • Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

    Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

    ★★½

    [I watched The Approaching Storm fanedit]

    Vastly better than I remembered, but painful in the Anakin scenes, and baggy in the second half.

  • Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

    Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

    ★★★

    [I watched The Cloak of Deception fanedit]

    Too chatty and hokey, but better than everyone says, for sure. The action sequences, music and costumes rule.

  • Return of the Jedi

    Return of the Jedi

    ★★★★★

    More puppets!

  • Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine

    Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine

    ½

    Anyone for a flat, soft-core, Frankenstein / I Dream of Jeannie / Bond spoof screwball comedy? No? It has Vincent Price in it. He goofs as well as he can with a crap script.

    After a cute, stop-motion title sequence, some plot apparently occurs in San Francisco. Several identical, young, white, dark-haired men interact. Excruciatingly, Goldfoot (Price) and Diane (Susan Hart) say 'hontou desu'. Price's evil and spooky mien apparently derive from his ethnic origins as 'a Slav'.

    This film's dull narrative expanse, endless chase ending, terrible ham and femmebot extravaganza have nothing to offer.

  • The Empire Strikes Back

    The Empire Strikes Back

    ★★★★★

    I struggle to imagine wanting more from a film. I guess Han's courting borders on coercive.

  • Star Wars

    Star Wars

    ★★★★½

    I defy you not to enjoy this.

  • The Gangster

    The Gangster

    ★★

    This high camp noir / comedy of errors stars my friend's great aunt as Starr (Belita). It lacks energy.

    Wiles' stagey direction, the cute sets and incongruous blocking resemble a one-act play. Fuch's Low Company adapts to a low-intensity psychological noir with limited action. A few slaps and the hysterical score aside, mild humour and sadness dominate the tone. The haunting eyes of Shubunka (Sullivan), morose more than threatening, provide the most memorable visual element. I enjoyed the comic comeuppance of horny Shorty (Morgan).

    We end with a fitting pair of shots for a pretty film both wet and parched.

  • Spectre

    Spectre

    ★★½

    Though a Moore-esque cartoon of gutless spectacle, Spectre's action, Newman score, slapstick and sex appeal just support its 148-minute heft.

    Bond, demobbed AGAIN and inconsequentially lobotomised, rushes inexplicably into love with Swann (Seydoux) and bed with steaming hot Lucia Sciarra (Bellucci). Fingernail Jaws 'Hinx' (Bautista) gets laughs.

    Superficial criticism of the GCHQ/MI5/SIS merger, Five Eyes network, privatisation and drones reruns lost battles, 2004-13. M and Denbigh's catfight demeans intended gravity. Further escalation of personal stakes gazumps the 'Bond as codename' hypothesis.

    The writing cannot support this narrative scale. Plot and villain fail, despite Blofeld's (Waltz) best efforts.

  • Happy Happy Joy Joy: The Ren & Stimpy Story​

    Happy Happy Joy Joy: The Ren & Stimpy Story​

    ★★½

    Why give abuser, homophobe and bully John K / Kricfalusi a platform? To see daddy issues, charisma and poetic love for this threatened art form obscure the reality of his crimes?

    Note though women, including Elinor Blake, Kelly Armstrong, Libby Simon and Mary Harrington, at the heart of this story. Producer Vanessa Coffey saw potential. Exec Geraldine Laybourne advocated for the show. Lynne Naylor-Reccardi drew the layouts and booby ladies. Robin Byrd patiently recounts her survival of paedophilic exploitation.

    Kricfalusi remains unclear what he did. Probed, he rehearses his measured verbal response. This confused film might fervently have rejected his mythos.