Leo Mckern

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Massacre In Rome Review


Very Good
The late director George P. Cosmatos had an interesting career in Hollywood. While his films were always slick affairs, full of rich atmosphere and well directed action, they weren't critically acclaimed. Films like Rambo: First Blood Part II, Cobra, and Leviathan did fairly well at the box-office and achieved notable legions of well-meaning fans, but Cosmatos' real skills were evidenced long before these big-budget pec-flexers.

Cosmatos began his career as an assistant director, cutting his teeth on classic pictures like Exodus, Zobra the Greek, and The Day the Fish Came Out. His first film was 1970's interesting, thought hardly stirring, The Beloved (released in the UK as Restless). Massacre in Rome was his second feature film and one that combines his earlier, moodier work with an action-film sensibility.

Continue reading: Massacre In Rome Review

Ladyhawke Review


Very Good
Setting aside the hamfisted Alan Parsons score and Rutger Hauer's equally hammy performance, Ladyhawke is a fine little fantasy based on a timeless tale. A curse has caused Hauer and his lover (Michelle Pfeiffer) to never cross paths -- he turns into a wolf at night, she turns into a hawk by day. Matthew Broderick -- who redeems the film completely for any of its datedness -- plays the thief who aids the pair in exacting revenge on an evil bishop (John Wood, reunited with Broderick from WarGames). Moody and quite dark, this is a great movie for a sleepy Sunday afternoon.

Alice In Wonderland (1966) Review


OK
It doesn't take the Ravi Shankar soundtrack to cue you that this version of Alice in Wonderland -- just an hour long, shot for the BBC -- hails from the 1960s. Taking the story's thinly veiled drug metaphors to their ultra-serious limit, the movie has a bit of a Cheech and Chong feeling to it, and the star power of John Gielgud, Peter Sellers, and Peter Cook (among many others) conspire to ensure that Alice (Anne-Marie Mallik) doesn't even got top billing. This was one of the first of director Jonathan Miller's numerous BBC teleplays, and his greenness is apparent -- it's neither kid-friendly (the actors don't wear animal costumes, they just allude to them) nor particularly clever, coming across in the end like a kind of Alice's Greatest Hits. Finally, I know it was 1966 television, but Alice just never works in black and white. It's like The Wizard of Oz without the yellow brick road.
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