Bruce Davey

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Stonehearst Asylum Review


Very Good

An arch approach makes this bonkers thriller rather enjoyable, even if it never quite cracks the surface. The story comes from the Edgar Allan Poe story The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether, written in 1845, so director Brad Anderson (The Call) has fashioned the movie as bit of riotous Victorian mental institution nuttiness. Cue the mad-eyed acting, gothic production design and ludicrously batty plot. But if you take it for what it is, it's pretty entertaining.

It takes place in December 1999, as the new century is about to dawn and young doctor Edward (Jim Sturgess) arrives at Stonehearst Lunatic Asylum in a freakishly isolated corner of England. Instantly smitten with the inmate Eliza (Kate Beckinsale), Edward struggles to concentrate on the tasks given to him by his sinister boss Silas (Ben Kingsley), while being constantly watched over by the glowering groundsman Mickey Finn (David Thewlis). Silas' revolutionary system of treatment involves indulging the patients in their specific delusions, which has created a deranged sense of community in the sprawling hospital. Then one night stumbling around in the darkness, Edward discovers a group of people locked in prison cells in the basement, and their leader Benjamin (Michael Caine) claims to be the true head doctor. Yes, the inmates have taken over the asylum!

This premise allows the cast to indulge in a variety of hilariously shifty performances, hamming up every scene with constant innuendo. There isn't anyone in this place who looks remotely sane. Sturgess is fine as the dull Edward, while Beckinsale keeps her character's madness just out of sight, so both of them pale in this colourful company. Kingsley and Caine camp it up marvellously, while Thewlis adds a strong sense of menace and Sophie Kennedy Clark almost steals the film as an amusingly sex-mad virginal nurse. It's also worth watching the background players, as each has a ball his or her brand of craziness.

Continue reading: Stonehearst Asylum Review

187 Review


OK
Stand and Deliver with attitude. And not much else. If you learn anything from 187 it should be this: Don't become a teacher. And if you chain your dog up outside, make sure the chain is shorter than the distance to the fence.

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Payback Review


Excellent
"Nobody likes a monkey on their back. I had three. I was going to have to lighten the load"

Its dialogue like that that makes Payback the first great film of 1999. Everybody likes to watch jerks on screen. They walk around with a cockiness and lack of respect for anything and everyone that you can't help but love to watch them. In this movie, I think everybody falls into this category.

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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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Braveheart Review


Excellent
Mel Gibson deserves a lot more credit than I've been giving him. A few years ago, no one could have conceived that the action star could pull off the lead role in a dazzling, epic, historical adventure-thriller-romance, let alone direct it. But he does, making Braveheart a vastly entertaining and powerful film.

Gibson plays Scottish hero William Wallace, a Scotsman with simple roots who finds himself thrust into a role as leader of the Scottish revolt against England in the late 13th century. After the despicable King Edward the Longshanks (Edward I) decrees that English nobles will have the right to sexual relations with all newly-wed Scottish women, the revolution is set in motion. Wallace takes up the cause, only to find himself facing incredible odds against a superior English army and fighting Scottish nobles who want to negotiate peace instead of fight. In fact, it's the nobles who turn out to be the bigger obstacle.

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We Were Soldiers Review


Good
Post September 11 cinema has seen its share of war movies designed to evoke and sustain a sense of American patriotism. In the last few months, we've re-visited the war in Kosovo (Behind Enemy Lines), the war in Somalia (Black Hawk Down), and most recently, World War II (Hart's War). We Were Soldiers is the latest in the onslaught, a story based on the true accounts of the first bloody battle of the Vietnam War. With so many war films recently released, We Were Soldiers has a difficult task as it tries to ride the patriotism express.

We Were Soldiers is based on the book We Were Soldiers Once...And Young written by Lieutenant Colonel Harold Moore and Joseph L. Galloway, the only journalist willing to go into the front lines to capture a first hand account of the war. In the film, Mel Gibson plays Harold Moore, a down-to-earth officer who is responsible for leading a group of innocent, naive young men into the area of Vietnam known as "The Valley of Death." But not soon after Lt. Col. Moore and his troops touch down, their position is compromised and they find themselves outnumbered almost 5 to 1. The American soldiers engage in a deadly battle for control of the area.

Continue reading: We Were Soldiers Review

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Bruce Davey Movies

Stonehearst Asylum Movie Review

Stonehearst Asylum Movie Review

An arch approach makes this bonkers thriller rather enjoyable, even if it never quite cracks...

Payback Movie Review

Payback Movie Review

"Nobody likes a monkey on their back. I had three. I was going...

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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...

We Were Soldiers Movie Review

We Were Soldiers Movie Review

Post September 11 cinema has seen its share of war movies designed to evoke and...

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