Jack Macgowran

Jack Macgowran

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How I Won The War Review


Weak
This war farce (about World War II) is just not funny. Even John Lennon in the ultimately ironic role as a soldier in the worst regiment in all of Britain doesn't make much of an impact, and as the movie gets progressively weirder it gets just plain boring, not to mention silly. And rather dumb.

Cul-De-Sac Review


Very Good
Roman Polanski's character study is strange, creepy, and often compelling. The freaky foursome in the film are a pair of criminals on the run and a husband and wife in whose home they uninvitedly take up residence. The criminals (including Lionel Stander, the butler from Hart to Hart) turn the husband (Donald Pleasence) into a snivelling fool, while the wife (Françoise Dorléac) is alternately a vamp and a freaked-out basket case. How they interact -- and how this all ends up -- is devilishly interesting, though it's ultimately not terribly believable.

The Fearless Vampire Killers Review


Very Good
Even when he's at his most serious (The Pianist), his most stately (Tess), his most gruesome (Macbeth), Roman Polanski is a director with a keen, sardonic black wit. The "real" world, for Polanski, is one in which you might find human teeth embedded in the walls, where the neighbors might happen to be Satanists, where Donald Pleasance appears in drag. It's scary, but for Polanski (who lived through unimaginable horrors himself), it's blackly funny, too. And if the material is ostensibly quite heavy, as it is in The Pianist, so much the better. Weren't Nazis a kind of monster after all? How absurd was their rise to power? And how absurd the situations in which his protagonist found himself obliged to live?

Still, there are few declared comedies in Polanski's filmography. The best of these, 1967's The Fearless Vampire Killers (known outside the U.S. as Dance of the Vampires, and the basis of a recent, successful, European stage musical), is newly available on DVD.

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The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen Review


Good

It's been 26 years since "The Exorcist" raised the bar for horror movies, trading more on its chilling psychological effects than its ability to provide cheap spooks.

Because its story of a 12-year-old girl (Linda Blair) possessed by the devil quarries so deeply in the viewer's psyche, it remains more frightening than any teenage slasher flick (save, perhaps, the original "Halloween") -- even if it has become every-so-slightly campy with age.

The newly remastered print being released this month under the idiotic title of "The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen" is padded with cutting room floor footage and souped up with a digitally enhanced soundtrack and sound effects -- much of which actually distracts from the film's classic scariness.

Continue reading: The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen Review

Jack Macgowran

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The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen Movie Review

The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen Movie Review

It's been 26 years since "The Exorcist" raised the bar for horror movies, trading more...

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