Andrew Birkin

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The Final Conflict Review


OK
The third installment in the Omen series -- and popularly referred to as just The Omen III instead of its "official" name -- wraps up the story of Damien Thorn, starting where we expect and finishing up with its logical conclusion. Easily the weakest entry in the trilogy (a fourth was made -- for cable -- but it's widely ignored as non-canon), it's lacks the thrills of the first two entries, but it's still a watchable experience.

Damien is now grown up, and being played by a creepy Sam Neill with such menacing fire that it's a miracle his career recovered to the point where he'd become mostly known for blonde "good guys." Having run Thorn Industries for seven years, Damien uses his powers to coerce the American ambassador to England into committing suicide, then finagles the appointment for himself. Exactly why he needs such a job is never explained, but it does bring the story full circle, as Damien's original dad in The Omen held that very position.

Continue reading: The Final Conflict Review

Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer Review


Bad
Like chugging a $200 bottle of pinot noir while feeding a steady methamphetamine habit, Tom Tykwer's take on Patrick Suskind's perverse classic Perfume takes out all the novel's dark teases and replaces them with his patented conniption-fit editing streaks and flashy color sweeps.

Since birth, Jean-Baptiste Grenouille (newcomer Ben Whishaw) has had a curiously strong sense of smell, bordering on superhuman. Born and continuously dropped-off under bad signs, Jean-Baptiste eventually makes his way to Paris where he becomes the apprentice of Baldini (Dustin Hoffman), an elderly perfumer who was once famous for his flourishing scents. Baldini wants to be able to compete with modern perfumers, but Jean-Baptiste has loftier ambitions. After murdering a young fruit girl, Grenouille becomes obsessed with cultivating the scent of women by any means possible. He leaves Baldini and heads for Grasse, the supposed kingdom of scent, where he encounters Antoine Richis (Alan Rickman) and his fiery, redheaded daughter (Rachel Hurd-Wood). It is here that Grenouille perfects away of capturing the scent of women and begins collecting the 12 women that will compose his ultimate scent... by paying with their lives.

Continue reading: Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer Review

Flame Review


OK
British supergroup Slade is apparently so super that I've never heard of them. A little research reveals, however, that they spawned 17 Top 20 hits in the UK throughout the 1970s, but didn't do much in America until Quiet Riot started covering their intentionally misspelled hits. (Their metal-ish sound is best described as glam rock without any actual glam.)

Alternately referred to as Flame, In Flame, and Slade in Flame, the film follows the band members as they take a fictionalized version of the group, here called "Flame," through a month or so in their lives. They play a show, get arrested, play some more, and eventually rise from obscure club band to megastars, their primary obstacle being a seedy manager. In 85 minutes, we pretty much get the full story of the band, at least as much as is understandable (the sound is awful and the accents are worse). It's straight from the Hard Day's Night school of filmmaking, just with more blood and much uglier stars.

Continue reading: Flame Review

The Messenger: The Story Of Joan Of Arc Review


OK
Milla J., stick to the singing career.

Luc Besson, imaginative mind behind such notable works of art such as The Professional, La Femme Nikita, and The Big Blue, has created such a memorable mess of things with his newest release, The Messenger. A car crash of a movie headed straight for the Days of Heaven territory.

Continue reading: The Messenger: The Story Of Joan Of Arc Review

The Name Of The Rose Review


OK
Franciscan and Benedictine monks are dispatched to a remote monastery to resolve a dispute over doctrine in The Name of the Rose. When William of Baskerville (Sean Connery) and his novice Adso (a very young Christian Slater) arrive, they find the discussions have been stalled by the death of a young, talented scribe. The resident monks are all atwitter, wringing their hands and worrying that the murder is a sign of the apocalypse. Their fervor reaches a fever pitch as more of their brethren begin to turn up dead, describing some choice passages of Revelations. So William fires up his logic, ceaselessly name checks Aristotle and begins to piece together a mystery that involves secret secular knowledge, a labyrinthine library, and a struggle between wild religious superstition and cold reason.

Based on Umberto Eco's dense and demanding bestseller, The Name of the Rose, is basically a love letter to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Unfortunately, the film version never passes up an opportunity to remind us of that fact.

Continue reading: The Name Of The Rose Review

Andrew Birkin

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Andrew Birkin Movies

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer Movie Review

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer Movie Review

Like chugging a $200 bottle of pinot noir while feeding a steady methamphetamine habit, Tom...

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The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc Movie Review

The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc Movie Review

Milla J., stick to the singing career.Luc Besson, imaginative mind behind such notable works of...

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