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The Phone (2015)
8/10
Decent thriller covering similar territory to Frequency
2 April 2016
The Phone is a perfectly decent watch. Son Hyun-Joo is the businessman who by going on a drinking session with his work colleagues is unable to stop the brutal murder of his wife. It also happens to be a day when there is extremely unusual solar activity which interferes with mobile phone communication. Fast forward 12 months and Hyun-Joo is beginning to put the pieces of his life back together and return to his job as a lawyer for the first time since his wife's death. Again there is unusual solar activity and on his way to work he apparently receives a phone call from his dead wife; dismissive at first he comes to realise that he is actually speaking to his wife on the day of her death. Hyun-Joo then desperately tries to convince his wife that her life is in danger in the hope of changing the course of events. This also has an impact on events in the present as history is constantly rewritten to take account of every change in the past. It is now not only his wife who is in danger; her killer is also aware that history is in danger of changing. The film moves along at a pace and certainly kept my attention; there are some similarities to the Dennis Quaid / Jim Caviezel film Frequency; not just the explanation for the ability to communicate across time, but also in the way that current events literally change before ones eyes as the past is rewritten. It is a stylish film which i hope gets a chance for some attention outside of Korea. Well worth a watch.
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7/10
Car dealer having to do community service seeks to make a dying boy's wishes come true
28 December 2011
Sentimental but not overly mawkish Christmas drama. Laurence Fox plays wealthy London car dealer Jonathan Donald, whose life revolves around closing the next big deal. Sentenced to 60 hours community service helping a group of disadvantaged special needs children, including a boy with a terminal heart condition, he reappraises the priorities in his life. Good performances from cast, with Jack McMullen as Fast Freddie and Sarah Smart as a dedicated community worker stand out. While this drama will not live long in the memory and has a rather leaden script, it passes the time well enough and is amiable albeit rather gritty fare for Christmas.
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7/10
Good if very uncomfortable viewing
9 July 2002
This drama retraced some of the murders commited by primary care physician Harold Shipman in the Manchester area of the UK in the late 90s. Shipman was convicted of injecting his patients with lethal doses of diamorphine. Despite the highly unusual number of deaths in his practice his actions went unnoticed for a long period of time, and even now the authorities are unsure about the number of people that he may have killed. The film is low key, and does not attemot to provide any insight or reasoning into Shipman's motives, it simply documents the events as recorded in court transcripts. Nevertheless it is a powerful film; James Bolam a stalwart of light comedy in the UK is well cast. The film has caused some controversy here, as it has been shown on television before the inquiries into Shipman have been completed. Relatives of those who died tried to prevent the film been shown at this stage. On balance the events are documented as sensitively as possible; and the drama is good if very very uncomfortable viewing.
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The Lost Son (1999)
8/10
Compelling if at times uncomfortable viewing
26 December 2001
Daniel Auteil gives a commanding performance as a French private investigator working in London following self imposed exile from Paris following the murder of his family. Making ends meet through a combination of blackmail of those involved in extra marital affairs and fees from their partners, Auteil is a weary character with little joy or passion in life, with the exception of football, and his friendship with a fellow French exile, Nathalie a high class prostitute. However when he takes on a case looking for the missing son of a wealthy industrialist, he finds himself embroiled in the sordid world of the child sex trade. A gripping story with good performances all round, especially from Auteil, this film tackles a taboo subject in a sensitive yet realistic fashion. Auteil's unorthodox methods to secure information should fill an audience with revulsion, yet in this situation, they seem entirely appropriate. Excellent if at times uncomfortable viewing.
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The Baby (1973)
6/10
Unusual gothic horror
27 October 2000
This is a strange film, its compelling when watched and the performances are great but ultimately the film disappoints. The ending though does have a genuine twist, which gives previous events a different light. A highly original tale.
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Finding Kelly (2000)
7/10
Good Saturday afternoon viewing for all the family
15 October 2000
Charming movie which offers something for adults as well as children. The story itself is not particularly original but the performances particularly that of Brighton Hertford as the intrepid and precocious sleuth Geneva keep the action moving along nicely. Good Saturday afternoon viewing for all the family.
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7/10
Deals well with a difficult subject
11 October 2000
Death is always a difficult subject to cover in the movies. Even more so when dealing with terminally ill children. Mr Rice's Secret succeeds in covering the issues in a sensitive but not mawkish way. Bowie gives a measured performance as the ancient mystic who befriends a young boy with Hodgkin's disease. The real star though is Bill Switzer, who excels as the boy fearing death who must learn to love life.
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Rome Express (1932)
8/10
Seldom seen gem of a movie.
4 July 2000
Although this film has dated somewhat it remains a classic in it's genre, and surely is the inspiration for other such train based thrillers as Murder on the Orient Express and the Lady Vanishes. Conrad Veidt was never better and is well supported by an illustrious cast. Technically the sound quality in 1932 leaves a little to be desired but this should not detract from a little seen gem of a movie
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7/10
Matt Damon is no Alain Delon
6 March 2000
Beautifully shot remake of Plein Soleil, with Jude Law giving an outstanding performance. Overall however the film is patchy, and looses it's what somewhat in the second half of the film. Matt Damon is no Alain Delon, and substitutes the cold calculating calm of Mr Ripley in Plein Soleil for a vulnerable, sexually repressed character, which doesn't work as well. Ultimately an enjoyable two hours but the original remains more tense and satisfying
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The Waiting Time (1999 TV Movie)
8/10
Cracking post-cold war thriller
5 November 1999
Cracking post cold war thriller set largely in former Eastern Germany. All of cast on top form, especially leads, Thaw and Turner. Climax is satisfying and has an unexpected sting in the tail. Ambivolence of intelligence services in post cold war era is well portrayed.
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9/10
splendid romp - Flynn still cutting the mustard
30 June 1999
Don Juan really was Flynn's last big budget extravaganza, and it really is a sumptous production. If ever any one was born to play Don Juan then it was Flynn. Solid support from Viveca Lindfors, Robert Douglas and Alan Hale. The film is up there with Robin Hood and its a shame that it is not more widely seen today. Enjoy.
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