Simon Bosanquet

Simon Bosanquet

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Cherrybomb Review


OK
With stylish camerawork and editing, the filmmakers liven up what is otherwise a strangely tame look at teen obsessions with sex and drugs. Some strong performances add a sense of angst, but it's never very convincing.

In Belfast, Malachy (Grint) is a responsible young guy working in the Titanic Leisure Centre, where he catches his 16-year-old colleague Donna (Quinn) having an affair with their boss Crilly (Nesbitt). Malachy is as sex-obsessed as the next guy, but his best friend Luke (Sheehan) is trouble: lively, charismatic and danger-loving. And real problems emerge when Malachy falls for Michelle (Nixon), Crilly's maneating daughter. Especially when Luke goes after her as well.

Continue reading: Cherrybomb Review

Splitting Heirs Review


Weak
No really, that is Catherine Zeta-Jones as the wife of Rick Moranis, an ersatz duke across the pond.

It's not as bad as you're probably thinking. Don't get me wrong -- it's as bad as any Fish Called Wanda/King Ralph wannabe/homage can get. But Idle still has some of his Monty Python instincts, and even if he does sing the songs for the film off-key, it honestly could have been a whole lot worse.

Continue reading: Splitting Heirs Review

Afraid Of The Dark Review


Weak
Sure, I guess blind people can be scary to a little kid, but this baffling attempt at using that setup as the premise for a horror film goes utterly nowhere. The problems begin with frame one, with a kid (Ben Keyworth) who lives with cop dad (James Fox) and blind mom (Fanny Ardant), who teaches at a school for the blind. There's some kind of serial killer on the loose (preying on blind people), and it ends up being Lucas -- a budding voyeur -- to try to solve the case. Er, sort of. Wandering and overly symbolic, this is one mess of a film that ends up making little sense at any point along the way.

The Sleeping Dictionary Review


OK
You say colonial epic, I say Alba. No, not Alda, as in Alan Alda. Alba. As in Jessica Alba. In a period piece! The title actually refers to Alba's character: She's a Sarawak (look it up) native, assigned to teach the British imperialist who comes to rule her village how to speak the native tongue. She does this through sleeping with him. You know, figuratively. Faster than you can say "forbidden love," this all turns nasty for all parties. I can't say much for the wandering storyline (which is all too reminiscent of everything from Original Sin to Wide Sargasso Sea), but the cinematography is stellar for a direct-to-DVD movie, and Alba has a really naked back.

Splitting Heirs Review


Weak
No really, that is Catherine Zeta-Jones as the wife of Rick Moranis, an ersatz duke across the pond.

It's not as bad as you're probably thinking. Don't get me wrong -- it's as bad as any Fish Called Wanda/King Ralph wannabe/homage can get. But Idle still has some of his Monty Python instincts, and even if he does sing the songs for the film off-key, it honestly could have been a whole lot worse.

Continue reading: Splitting Heirs Review

Wit Review


OK
Well, it's easy to see why this was a straight-to-cable production and not a theatrical one. The entire running time of the movie is concerned with one character's battle with severe ovarian cancer and the experimental treatment she is given. In fact, Emma Thompson is hairless after about 20 minutes. When she's not endlessly bemoaning the irony of the treatment -- the drugs are killing her, not the cancer -- she's reciting poetry (the character is an English professor). Morbidly depressing and hopeless, which is pretty much Mike Nichols has been obsessed with lately, the movie is staggeringly real but hardly what anyone would call "entertainment." Harrowing.

Ripley's Game Review


Very Good
Did this movie ever come out theatrically? I would have at least thought it would have found its way here on video, but no, I discovered Ripley's Game on IFC, of all places. This follow-up to The Talented Mr. Ripley (no cast or crew involved, but it's based on another Patricia Highsmith book (the third of five) about Tom Ripley) stars John Malkovich in the role of the older Ripley, this time working as a forged art dealer and relatively callous, spare-time murderer. Ripley convinces a dying man (Dougray Scott) to commit a murder for him, after which all hell breaks loose. Malkovich steals the show and director Liliana Cavani (The Night Porter) does a perfectly serviceable job. See also The American Friend -- Malkovich makes a way better Ripley than Dennis Hopper.

Sweet Revenge Review


Weak
Supposedly a black comedy, Sweet Revenge gives us Helena Bonham Carter, Sam Niell, and Kristin Scott Thomas in an asinine homage to Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train, with Carter and Neill playing a "game" to drive a nuisance in each other's life over the edge. The comedy is certainly lost with rare exception here, with much of the film playing out while you sit back in your chair, just waiting for some inevitable spin to make it worthwhile in the end. Too bad, there isn't one.

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Victory Review


Weak
Fairly pedantic and plodding, this period piece, set in 1913 in the Dutch East Indies (ah, I remember the Dutch East Indies...), this film has all the makings of a sultry romance (think The Piano) but never amounts to much more than a watery day-trip.

The convoluted story has a female violinist (Irène Jacob) shanghaied from her indentured servitude by a semi-wealthy island-dweller (Willem Dafoe). Naturally, the woman's owner becomes a bit miffed and sends some goons (including Rufus Sewell and Sam Neill in a rare bad-guy role) after them. Imagine the hijinks!

Continue reading: Victory Review

Onegin Review


Bad
Barry Lyndon meets Doctor Zhivago. And not in a good way.

Russkie aristocat Eugene Onegin (Fiennes) finds himself the unwilling target of Tatiana's (Tyler) love. He rejects her, misunderstandings ensue, duels are fought, tears are wept, everyone is bummed, end of film. Much of Onegin is shot in mute silence, probably an overwrought symbol of some kind I was too lazy to pick up on. The filmmakers are blatant Merchant-Ivory wannabes, and the story of Onegin is so not worth telling that one struggles to stay awake for even a fraction of the running time. Thank God for the lush photography, even if the sound is turned off.

Continue reading: Onegin Review

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Cherrybomb Movie Review

Cherrybomb Movie Review

With stylish camerawork and editing, the filmmakers liven up what is otherwise a strangely tame...

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