Ken Russell

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Mr Nice Review

The life of notorious drug smuggler Howard Marks hits the big screen in a lively, fiercely well-made biopic that never condemns drugs as its story spirals through the decades. It also features Ifans' best-ever performance.

Born in a rugby-mad Welsh mining town, Howard Marks (Ifans) knew he didn't fit in and proved it by getting into Oxford against the odds. There he immediately falls into the early-1960s brainy/druggy crowd, dealing marijuana but never anything harder. Despite efforts to go straight, he continually returns to trafficking, arguing that it's not a crime to break an immoral law. But his associations with a notorious IRA terrorist (Thewlis) and a rule-bending Indian businessman (Djalili) attract the attentions of a tenacious American agent (Tosar).

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Mr. Nice Trailer

In the 1970's Howard Marks was one of the biggest weed smugglers in the world but the Welshman from the small town of Kenfig never indented to become such a major player in the industry. In the beginning Marks started out as a relatively minor drug dealer, supplying small amounts of dope but as his connections began to grow more opportunities became available.

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The Music Lovers Review

If you like Tchaikovsky, now's your chance to see him do just about everything except compose music. Through the twin filters of Ken Russell and the year 1970, The Music Lovers is a smashmouth look at Tchaikovsky's (Richard Chamberlain) life and loves and, in keeping with the filmed story of most composers, his descent into gibbering madness. Swan Lake it ain't, unless that lake was filled with blood and on fire.

Lair of the White Worm Review

Ultra-cheesy low-budget horror flick give us Amanda Donohoe, Hugh Grant, and, well, a really big worm. Donohoe vamps it up as the last acolyte of an ancient pagan snake-god religion in this ridiculous excuse for a movie, notable mainly for Grant's appearance as a researcher of sorts who gets caught up in the goings-on when a giant snake skull is dug up.

It's silly -- in fact, it's unbelievably silly -- to the point where some of the film's more absurd one-liners might make you giggle. Sure there are points where it gets awful: the hoedown where a hillbilly band sings a song about the legendary worm that once terrorized the area (complete with people in a snake costume which Grant slices in half) is a lowlight. The "special effects" -- which use cardboard overlays under which actual action takes place -- are worthy of the 1950s.

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Aria Review

Every decade or so, those wacky independents try this stunt -- getting a bunch of Big Name Directors together to make a collaborative movie. Invariably, it sucks (see Lumiere and Company), but rarely does it suck so hard as it does in Aria.

The conceit this time: Each director takes a piece of classical music and sets it to film -- mostly without dialogue and invariably without any sense whatsoever.

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Ken Russell

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