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  • Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold

    Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold

    ★★

    Verdict: Like King Solomon's Mines before it, this immediate sequel is a shameless Raiders/Temple Of Doom knock-off from 'schlock' merchants Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus. And just like its J. Lee Thompson-directed predecessor I found it to be almost impossible to dislike despite myriad failings..... at least up until about the hour mark when our intrepid hero (lovely Richard Chamberlain), his love interest (a pre-fame Sharon Stone), native bodyguard (a 'slumming it' James Earl Jones, clearly only on board for…

  • Punishment Room

    Punishment Room

    ★★★½

    'I do what I want..' (Hiroshi Kawaguchi as Katsumi Shimada)
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    Brief Synopsis: A sociopathic student (Kawaguchi) rails against rigid social norms, causing anxiety for his friends and family.
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    Verdict: Kon Ichikawa's stylish addition to Japan's short-lived mid-'50's 'Sun Tribe' phenomenon in many ways plays - as several other reviewers have noted - like a Japanese version of Nicholas Ray's Rebel Without A Cause, released the previous year. Kawaguchi has the 'James Dean' role; an amoral nihilist who, on…

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  • In a Lonely Place

    In a Lonely Place

    ★★★★★

    5 Reasons why this film is a masterpiece:

    1. It's the best film Nicholas Ray ever made; a noir-tinged drama rendered in dark visuals of exhilarating beauty.

    2. It showcases probably the greatest performance of Bogie's career as the short-fused screenwriter Dix Steele, a character he imbues with a neurotic edge that is frightening in its intensity.

    3. This dialogue: 'I was born when she kissed me. I died when she left me. I lived a few weeks while she loved me'.

    4. Gloria Grahame is in it.

    5. It just 'is', OK?!

  • Le Notti Bianche

    Le Notti Bianche

    ★★★★★

    10 Reasons why I adore Luchino Visconti's Le Notti Bianche:

    1. It's the second radical film interpretation of a Fyodor Dostoyevsky story (in this case his short work White Nights) from the '50's, equal in quality to Akira Kurosawa's tremendous version of The Idiot (1951).

    2. Despite having a CV littered with such masterpieces as Ossessione, La Terra Trema, Senso, Rocco And His Brothers and The Leopard, none of them contains the romantic longing of this picture.

    3. It's entirely…