Film Reviews by MH

Welcome to MH's film reviews page. MH has written 4 reviews and rated 489 films.

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Dr. Strangelove

Peter Sellers does everything but the kitchen sink

(Edit) 25/01/2016

Peter Sellers carries more roles in this film than some slackers could count.

This along with Barry Lyndon are my favourite Kubrick pair of films. Making good use of classical music it has a nice opening sequence and is relaxing and is darkly funny from start to finish.

Yes the effects may be a little dated but we get to see "Voice of Vader" James Earl Jones in his first main supporting role even if Slim Pickens steals the show as daddy war bucks. Really this is a half a dozen set film and has a relatively cheap feel now, but like Blackadder II and beyond it punches above its weight.

The main blink and you'll miss it plot development is about Flouridation, male menopause and the disenfranchise of old generals. But there is food for thought too as the Nazi's willingness to please no one but themselves triumphs over monogamy at the end.

Shame they never included food fight scene in the war room. I'm sure that would have been great!

PS Dr Strangelove is based upon John von Neumann and Werhner von Braun; a pair of Mephistophelean side kicks if ever there were any!

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The Ninth Gate

If you are into either the occult or rare book collecting this should spin your wheels.

(Edit) 25/01/2016

Adapted from a Spanish best seller this relatively quirky, quite different thriller holds its own very well and in my opinion is one of Depp's finer films up there with Donny Brasco.

Controversial director Polanski is likely to divide the opinion of most even before they sit down to watch, but this confirms that he is familiar with hermetic imagery and given his brush with The Manson followers and involvement with would be illuminists and the fall out that followed, provides a backdrop that should get you wondering even if you haven't seen the downright creepy "Eye of the Devil" hasn't ruffled your " fact follows fiction" detective gum shoes.

Depp plays an amoral bookseller who becomes wrapped up in an ever extending chase after a famed Satanic book. Polanski's wife stars as "The Girl", we never find out who, or even what, she is; that she is another of Polanski's good looking blond Frenchies should suffice.

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Romanzo Criminale

Saying you didn't like this film would be a crime; actually, no, you would be criminal.

(Edit) 25/01/2016

I introduced an Italian friend to this title when he didn't even know who the Banda della Magliana was. He does now.

When I first watched it I couldn't figure out who killed one of the most compelling characters in the film on the church steps at the end. It was just so out of the blue and didn't make sense. It took a further four watchings before it clicked; and when you have got it you will have learned a lot about criminality and the real world too. It's just a system, as they say in the bonus feature, the criminal at some point become soft; at that point they relinquish their position to the next fierce man off the streets. It's not just that there are so many characters, but that there are are so many well drawn characters and so involving too. This film is more an inside out viewing of the main criminal characters; they are as they see themselves - equally capable of "heroism" or of cowardice.

The "Anno di plombi" - 'years of lead' are long gone in Italy but the nefarious NGOs still have their talons in both crime and terrorism in mainland Europe; the Strategy of tension has just rolled along on a world tour, no lessons learned.

If you're going to watch it keep check of all the character's introduction and memorise them at the beginning when Ice comes out of jail,

Don't get Gemmito confused with Ciro, and watch out for Dandi repeating himself.

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Fight Club

A must see of noughties viewing

(Edit) 25/01/2016

Probably Edward Norton's finest film in which he loses his mind and regains it (well kind of) by the end of the film.

This was the killer script that supposedly everyone in Hollywood fought for, one so good even a low ball director could have been guaranteed a winner outcome from material as strong as this, and replete with memorable one liners. If Pitt provides the female eye candy, it is Norton's engaging portrayal as a descendent from a long line of hunter gathers living in a bland, trite consumer reality that is the soul of this film. Fighting this problem, the madness of group behaviour and achieving goals whilst being beaten up are the backdrop for some of the most surprising action that one could expect to watch.

The A*B*C car reclaims decision making process and soap making were the highlight of my first watching.

So......"Listen up, maggots. You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else."

Whether the inserted stills are appropriate or not is in the land of arty types and remains probably its only annoying trait.

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