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  • Death Wish

    Death Wish

    Removes any trace of satire present in the original (even pointers toward a corrupt bureaucracy), which at least knew it was a fascist fantasy correcting flaws in society's administration. Here, for example, the cops are ineffectual because they're snowed under by the amount of crime, an unexplained plague which needs some Old Testament smiting. It is earnest, simple-minded, gun-toting propaganda, thus dull on most levels apart from the violence and gore. This version of our vigilante is a surgeon instead…

  • Mr. Holmes

    Mr. Holmes

    ★★★

    Reteams director and star of Gods And Monsters for another study of the last days of an aged pop culture icon, except that James Whale was a real person while Sherlock Holmes is not. This adds an intriguing layer of meta-fiction to proceedings which culminates in a scene where Holmes goes to see a fictionalised version of himself at the cinema. The movie he sees is a pastiche of the Basil Rathbone Unversal Sherlock. Condon's recreation of it is slipshod,…

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  • Foreign Correspondent

    Foreign Correspondent

    ★★★★

    With David O Selznick off his back, Hitchcock revels in the Hollywood playground and produces his first blockbuster. It's also, arguably, his most typical adventure thriller until North by Northwest (which is, in some ways, a rehash of this film). It lacks the psychological complexities of Hitchcock's best films (including Rebecca), and even though WWII is on the doorstep, it's less pressing a propaganda piece than The Lady Vanishes, for example, apart from the earnest (and pretty terrific) tacked on…

  • Man's Favorite Sport?

    Man's Favorite Sport?

    ★★★★½

    Paula Prentiss's Abigail is so consumed by Rock Hudson's Roger Willoughby — a fraud but also a sweet, gentle soul — she goes a little nuts. She can't leave him alone, which causes Roger no amount of grief, but it also leads him to become the best version of himself. In other words, she makes an honest man out of him. This is Howard Hawks's most extreme statement concerning the battle of the sexes. At one point, Easy (Maria Perschy),…