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  • Die Todesstrahlen des Dr. Mabuse

    Die Todesstrahlen des Dr. Mabuse

    ★★★½

    About as bonkers as you'd expect: sharks, scuba-battles, secret safe combinations, mirror rays designed to blow up the moon. Set in a secret mansion on the Maltese coast. Flatulent caper score. Peter van Eyck looking wrinkled - and a little doddering - but suave as ever. Good location shooting.

  • The Bellboy

    The Bellboy

    ★★★★★

    Jerry Lewis, who meant more to me than just about anybody in the cinema, is dead. It will take decades to account for this man's seismic contributions to virtually every popular artistic medium since the Second World War. There's too much to say about this giant and I'm simply too shaken by his death right now to formalise my thoughts any further. Looking at THE BELLBOY -- one of my favourites -- through tears this evening was an overwhelming experience.…

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  • Seven Samurai

    Seven Samurai

    Believe it or not, I had never seen this before tonight when I watched it on the enormous screen in the Piazza in Bologna, which I guess makes it one of my most successful holdouts. Kurosawa, as great as he often was, has never been one of my favourites. He's the paradigmatic director in my unspoken, crackpot theory about perfectionist filmmakers. Were I ever to try and formulate this set of prejudices and hang ups into a clumsy theory—perhaps in…

  • The Ornithologist

    The Ornithologist

    I kept thinking that this should have been directed by John Waters. João Pedro Rodrigues is far too tasteful for any of this to come off; he's a smart filmmaker, but the many provocations only draw attention to the fact that Rodrigues still films everything in good taste art-house tableau—a kind of studied sub-Hitchcock where the actors are pinned down by the weight of the artfully ornamental images, able only to glide sedately around the frame. Perhaps for me the…