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Shirley Valentine Review


OK
As a one-woman play, Shirley Valentine wowed them on both sides of the Atlantic, with star Pauline Collins picking up awards and accolades. The film version strives for the same kind of theater-style intimacy, with Collins breaking the fourth wall to chat with the audience just as she did on stage. It doesn't always work, but few other chick flicks have the ability to make middle-aged women laugh and cry as much as this one does.

Pity poor Shirley Valentine-Bradshaw, a blowsy mid-40ish Liverpudlian housewife whose indifferent husband Joe (Bernard Hill) and sullen daughter treat her like hired help. So lonely is Shirley that she frequently talks to her kitchen walls in order to keep some kind of conversation going.

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Educating Rita Review


Good
Educating Rita is a charming but ultimately uninventive Pygmalion-style tale that would go nowhere without sparkling performances by Michael Caine and especially by Julie Walters as a 26-year-old lower-class striver who just wants to make something better of herself... even if all her husband, family, and friends persist in trying to beat her down.

Seeking to complete her education, Rita (whose real name is the more mundane Susan -- she really is trying to reinvent herself) ends up in a university English lit class taught by the dissolute Dr. Frank Bryant (Caine), a drunken professor who goes through the motions with little respect for his subject matter or his students.

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Haunted Review


Good
It's an old-timey ghost story as Aiden Quinn visits a creepy old haunted house at the behest of a crazy old woman who lives there with her two nephews and a niece (played by the lovely Kate Beckinsale).

Just now released on DVD, presumably in the hopes of getting any pop from an interest in Beckinsale thanks to her Pearl Harbor appearance. That's probably not going to do it, but Haunted stands fairly well on its own, a truly creepy slow burn that looks at madness and hints at incest.

Continue reading: Haunted Review

Lewis Gilbert

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