In the early part of the film, a narrator solemnly intones Eliot-like observations about the decline of England, post-industrial anomie, growing up in the Midland suburbs, or whatever. He rages against the upper class, the bureaucracies, or who knows what. Maybe The Last of England is supposed to be a comment about Thatcher (after decades of socialism, the British Left somehow managed to blame Thatcher for rampant unemployment and poverty). But it's hard to infer anything from endless, out-of-focus looped footage of demolished buildings and dancing drag queens. The title's right, though. If this film is any indication, the country that produced the Industrial Revolution, Newton, Darwin and Shakespeare is barely registering a cultural pulse.
Continue reading: The Last Of England Review
FearDotCom is easily in the running for worst film of the year. The whole mess is a painfully dull ripoff of much better films - namely Poltergeist, Videodrome, and 8MM (okay, so that one's not much better). Full of grotesque imagery of sadistic tortures and killings and a plethora of asinine characters and pathetic attempts at acting, FearDotCom is a prime example of just how bad a bad movie can be.
Continue reading: Feardotcom Review
Watching these cinematic treats is nothing short of delicious. Since revenge is a dish best served cold, it seems appropriate that the grand dame of these films takes place in the bleak midwinter of 1183, when the royal family has gathered for the Christmas holidays.
Continue reading: The Lion In Winter Review
I'm a big fan of an emerging film genre I call the historical what-if story. "Shakespeare In Love" is the most well-known example of these yarns that skirt around the shadowy edges of known fact to create a fanciful fiction featuring a well-known figure. Others include the current, brilliant "The Cat's Meow," about a murder on William Randolph Hearst's yacht, and "Dick," a great 1999 comedy which presupposed that the Watergate scandal's Deep Throat was actually two ditzy teenage girls who overheard Richard Nixon's conspiracies while working as dog-walkers for the presidential pooch.
"The Emperor's New Clothes" takes a similar approach to the last days of Napoleon Bonaparte. As you may know, history proper records that after his defeat at Waterloo, the distinguished French general and pompous self-declared emperor died in exile under British guard in 1821. But this latest gem of this entertaining genre imagines the diminutive duce escaping back to Paris with grandiose plans to reclaim the throne, only to get waylaid into a more humble life as a middle-class fruit merchant.
Driven by a fantastic dual performance from Ian Holm as both Napoleon and the peasant look-alike who takes his place on the prison island of St. Helena, the film is funny, insightfully human and a delightful lark for history buffs without actually requiring much prerequisite knowledge.
Continue reading: The Emperor's New Clothes Review