Peter Vaughan

Peter Vaughan

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Albatross Review


Good
Beautifully filmed and acted, but lacking a central perspective, this gentle comedy-drama has some nice points to make about freeing ourselves from the things in the past that weigh us down (the hint is in the title). But the lively characters would have been more involving with some focus to the narrative.

Jonathan and Joa (Koch and Ormond) constantly bicker as they run their seaside B&B, mainly because they have failed careers as an author and actress, respectively. Meanwhile, daughter Beth (Jones) is preparing for her Oxford entrance interview. Enter a new cleaner, 17-year-old Emilia (Brown Findlay), who befriends Beth and shows her that there's more to life than studying. But Emilia's relentless flirting also distracts Jonathan from his writing. And as the potential for trouble rises, everyone will need to realise that who they are has nothing to do with their pasts.

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Is Anybody There? Trailer


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Death At A Funeral Review


Very Good
Frank Oz, better known as the voice of Yoda and Miss Piggy, has settled into the director's chair quite frequently in his career, even dabbling in comedy on occasion. At the helm of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, he paired Steve Martin and Michael Caine to comedic effect, ditto Martin and Eddie Murphy in Bowfinger. Death at a Funeral sees him working without stars, but the comedy doesn't really seem to suffer.

The film begins with a very funny gag involving the opening of a casket, not the easiest moment in life from which to wring humor. With it, we are introduced to Daniel (Matthew MacFayden), who is about to bury his father. With the aid of his wife Jane (Keeley Hawes) he must accommodate a gaggle of guests pre-loaded with neuroses.

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Brazil Review


Essential
Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) is a civil servant Dilbert at the Ministry of Information. He's a low level office grunt typing his way through a lifetime of meaningless papers in a retro-future totalitarian state. His one escape from his dreary life is his dreams. Bursting with vivid colors, Sam's visions see him with armored wings rising into the bright sky above the cold city. There, in the firmament, Sam battles with Darkness to free a blonde beauty (Kim Greist) imprisoned in a floating cage.

Unfortunately, there are no happy endings for dreamers in this alternate world. Sam always awakens to his mind-numbing existence, only plugging away in a system that rewards only blandness, appeasing his socialite mother (addicted to face lifts) whose only wish is to see her meek son move his way up a corporate ladder to nowhere.

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Les Misérables Review


Very Good
Believe it or not, this is the nineteenth adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic novel--and likely the last to star Claire Danes. I've never read it and I've bever seen the play, but it's a good enough flick, I suppose. The tale of Jean Valjean, a paroled criminal who tries to make a new life for himself, and Javert, the obsessed inspector who's always one step behind him, is a good one. But it flags in the third act, only to revive itself for a killer ending.

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Time Bandits Review


Extraordinary
History belongs to the victors, and Terry Gilliam takes his rightful ownership of Western history in this timeless romp through the ages. Writer and director of some of Monty Python's most enduring and foolish productions, Gilliam reaches the top of his form with Time Bandits.

Young Kevin (Craig Warnock) is a history buff trapped in the household of his shallow, materialistic parents. While they sit mindlessly in front of the television, absorbed in an insanely morbid game show, Kevin explores his history books enthusiastically, fantasizing about a more meaningful world than the one in which he lives. But when his parents finally send him to bed, his world gets a lot more interesting.

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An Ideal Husband Review


OK
Get ready from Romance... British style.

The Victorians were well known for keeping a stiff upper lip about everything, and their romance was absolutely no exception. Their entire world was constructed around subtlety, and, in tune with that, the one word that can be used to describe An Ideal Husband is subtle.

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The Mother Review


Weak
I feel as if I've seen The Mother at least five times since 2001. A woman, ranging in age from 40 to 70, discovers that her life, for lack of a better word, sucks. Through some event ranging from the random (meeting a stranger on a street) to the life-altering (husband dies), our heroine gains her independence and finds bottomless passion, even love.

Watching The Mother, it's obvious that director Roger Michell and writer Hanif Kureishi, spent a little too much time watching Unfaithful or Bread and Tulips. They offer few original points in their own movie, and express autumnal passion at the expense of common sense. Really, The Mother is as exploitative and flashy as any big-budget summer blockbuster. The only difference is that this movie probably isn't part of a Happy Meal deal.

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The Remains Of The Day Review


Excellent
What a heartbreaker. Looking back on The Remains of the Day after seven years, I find I have a new appreciation for the film. What I once felt was a hollow look at servants in pre-WWII rural England, oblivious to the world around them, devoid of any real emotion, I now see in a different light. A closer look shows all the deep and heartfelt emotion just under the surface of Anthony Hopkins, underrewarded in one of the finest roles of his career. James Fox also shines as a Nazi semi-sympathetic aristocrat who "just wants peace," and Emma Thompson dazzles as the only real backbone in the bunch. Also look for good yet smallish turns from Christopher Reeve, Ben Chaplin, and Hugh Grant.

Straw Dogs Review


Extraordinary
The movies you love best aren't always the ones whose ideas you agree with. D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation is easy to admire for its technical innovation but easy to despise for its virulent racism; the Nazi hagiography Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will has similar pleasures - and problems. Sam Peckinpah's 1971 masterpiece Straw Dogs isn't as overtly problematic as those films. It's not viciously racist, nor does it glorify totalitarianism. But it's messy stuff all the same. The surface violence that made it famous in 1971 looks more or less timid now, but the deep cynicism at the core of the movie - this is a world where intelligence is suspect, murder equals redemption, and rape is almost tolerable - is still chilling.

Dustin Hoffman plays the hero, David Sumner, and at first he seems to be continuing in the string of nebbishy neurotic roles he took previously in The Graduate and Midnight Cowboy. A mild-mannered American college professor, he's arrived in western England with his wife Amy (a brave and brilliant Susan George) so he can have peace and quiet to work on his "astral mathematics." The small town, full of sad stone houses and often cloaked in fog, is where Amy grew up, and she's almost immediately stalked by a passel of alcoholic locals. The film's first five minutes has some virtuosic foreshadowing in it, giving us shots of David and Amy carrying a large and intimidating "mantrap" (basically a man-sized bear trap); tight shots of thuggish locals like Charlie (Del Henney) getting too close to the pair; a shot of Amy's sweatered chest, noticeably bra-less, which will become an important plot point later. Subtly and quickly, Peckinpah announces his three themes: sex, intimidation, and violence. It's gonna be interesting, but it's not gonna be easy to get through.

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Peter Vaughan Movies

Albatross Movie Review

Albatross Movie Review

Beautifully filmed and acted, but lacking a central perspective, this gentle comedy-drama has some nice...

Is Anybody There? Trailer

Is Anybody There? Trailer

Watch the trailer for Is Anybody There? Edward is a young boy who lives with...

Les Misérables Movie Review

Les Misérables Movie Review

Believe it or not, this is the nineteenth adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic novel--and likely...

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An Ideal Husband Movie Review

An Ideal Husband Movie Review

Get ready from Romance... British style.The Victorians were well known for keeping a stiff upper...

The Mother Movie Review

The Mother Movie Review

I feel as if I've seen The Mother at least five times since 2001. A...

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