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Adam's Eve

Adam's Eve review
A minor short comedy starring Johnny Arthur as a drunk on his stag night who accidentally climbs into the flat of two pretty young women. There are really any laughs, but good use is made of the set and props, and one of the women has incredible legs.

The Line-Up

The Line-Up review
A long-lost short film recently resurrected online, The Line-Up is one of 12 planned crime shorts that failed to materialise - only this one was made. To be honest, on the evidence here the failure to continue with the series was no great loss. While some allowance has to be made for the fact that this was made when sound production was in its infancy, the acting is so poor that it is almost embarrassing to watch, and the production values are extremely low.

Trumpet Island

Trumpet Islqnd review
The version available on Amazon - which might possibly be the only version that now exists - is a 20-minute edited version released for the home movie market in the late 1920s. As such, everything feels a little rushed, and the brevity probably emphasises the contrived nature of the plot in which the hero, who moves to a remote uninhabited island when he realises he can't have the woman he love, literally has her fall out of the sky and virtually into his lap. There's some nice cinematography here, though.

Mabel's Stratagem

Mabel's Stratagem review
A cross-dressing Mabel Normand disguises herself as a (rather comely) man in order to reclaim the job from which she was dismissed by her boss's wife when she found the pair of them canoodling in the office. A simple five-minute comedy from Max Sennett which was probably quite titillating for the time because the wife of Normand's boss takes a shine to her when she's dressed as a man and at one point coaxes him/her into sitting on her lap. Slightly bizarre, then, but not particularly good.

Rosa Leigh

Rosa Leigh review
This one has got first-time director written all over it. Christopher Maggard tries hard to impress by using every visual trick he can think of - again and again and again. And again. The tired old plot sees a group of paranormal investigators visiting an abandoned school in which a young girl and her abusive teacher died, and it has to be said that they're embarrassingly quick to panic when faced with evidence of the paranormal activity they are after. They then spend 62 of the following 72 minutes slowly walking through dimly-lit corridors calling out to one another

Women of Twilight

Women of Twilight review
Creaky British drama set in a boarding house for single mothers that takes its time to get going, but builds up quite a head of steam in its' final act thanks to a wonderfully sinister performance from Freda Jackson as the outwardly benign head of a baby selling racket.

Bunny's Suicide

Bunny's Suicide review
Rotund comedian John Bunny decides to commit suicide after rowing with wife (and longtime screen partner) Flora Finch in this slight Vitagraph short. By the time she and half the town have found him, however, he's had a change of heart and fashioned a swing out of the rope with which he was planning to hang himself. About as funny as it sounds, really.

A Vitagraph Romance

A Vitagraph Romance review
An inconsequential tale of young lovers eloping to escape the disapproval of her father that would be instantly forgettable if it wasn't for the fact that much of the action takes place in Vitagraph Studios. This means we get a rare chance to see such pioneering executives as J. Stuart Blackton, A. E. Smith and William Rock playing themselves. Florence Turner, one of cinema's first movie stars, also appears as herslf, while real-life father and daughter Edward Kimball and Clara Kimball Young play on-screen father and daughter.

The Prospector

The Prospector review
Even for an era in which filmmakers were still coming to terms with creating coherent narratives, the story here is poor, with a successful prospector marrying the daughter of the man who tried to kill him the night before and then generously offering the hand of friendship to his would-be murderer. Can't help thinking she's going to be a widow pretty soon...

Scream 4

Scream 4 review
A belated 4th entry in the Scream franchise which feels as if it's trying to provide a bridge between the older movies (Scream 3 was released 11 years before this) in the way that it mixes three original cast members with a new generation of teens. The opening sequence is terrific, the movie's self-awareness is fun at times, and the kills are suitably bloody, but at nearly two hours it's a touch too long, and the finale (in a hospital which appears to be virtually deserted) is weak


Padre review
An ordinary tale of wronged imprisonment that is partly redeemed by the fact that it chooses not to follow the usual path of the protagonist seeking revenge for wrongs suffered, and greatly enhanced by an impressively staged climactic blaze and rescue from a collapsing staircase which is (as far as I'm aware) quite unlike anything filmed up to that point.

How I Live Now

How I Live Now review
A competent but problematic tale of love in a time of war told from a teen perspective. Ronan is excellent in the role of Daisy, an American girl who falls for her cousin during an idyllic summer in Britain that is disrupted by the outbreak of war, but her character starts out as intensely dislikeable and never really recovers, and the backdrop of the war against which the romance is played out is so sketchily portrayed that its vagaries become a major distraction. And, yes, sexual relations between cousins is legal in Britain.

Blue Demon y Zovek en La invasión de los muertos

Invasion of the Dead review
Although director Rene Cardona claimed he was inspired by Siegel's Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the plot is stolen from Plan 9 from Outer Space, which is coincidentally close to where the quality of this Mexploitation resides. And yet this daft tale of aliens resurrecting the dead to aid them in their plans for world domination is strangely entertaining. The ill-fated escape artist Zovek, who died during filming, punches zombies with a belt around his forehead as he saves the lovely Christa Linder from their clutches, while the luchador Blue Demon (called in to provide extra footage after Zovek's demise) talks incessantly in his boiler room lair and finds his comic relief sidekick as annoying as we do. Clumsy, almost inept, but strangely endearing.

The Hexecutioners

The Hexecutioners review
A murky horror picture in which two young women are despatched to a remote, creepy old house to assist its occupant in a mercy killing. Once there, they find that things are not quite what they seem. Weak and unfocused, with a very slow build to a confusing climax. The lead character will lose most viewers' sympathies early on when she abandons her pet cat in the countryside.

Waiting to Exhale

Waiting to Exhale review
The love lives of four women over the course of one year that ignores almost every other aspect of their lives, consequently reducing them to one-dimensional character sketches, and that would have its' audience believe that all men are a***holes (unless their wife has died, or is in the process of dying). Well-made and acted, but too loosely plotted to engage, and sorely lacking a sense of humour.

Carry on Screaming!

Carry On Screaming review
Classic 'Carry On' comedy that loses much of its lustre when viewed through eyes that are older than 14. Kenneth Williams is fun as the camp, sinister Dr Watt who, with his sexy sister, Valeria (sultry, smokey-voiced Fenella Fielding), is abducting young women and encasing them in wax in order to sell them as mannequins, but Harold H. Corbett and Peter Butterworth as a bungling detective and his sidekick try the patience from their very first scene.


Destry review
An unnecessary but enjoyable enough remake by George Marshall of his own classic 1939 western. Murphy and Blanchard are no Stewart or Dietrich, but they're good enough and they're supported by a colourful cast which includes Thomas Mitchell as the town drunk promoted to sheriff who hires the pacifist title character to clean up his town, Lyle Bettger as the obligatory shady saloon owner, and Edgar Buchanan as the scruffy town mayor in league with Bettger.

Bad Times at the El Royale

Bad Times at the El Royale review
While the situation may (or may not) have been lifted from Tarantino, the style of writing belongs to writer-director Drew Goddard, who creates a small world with only a passing relationship to our own. Five strangers and a hotel clerk meet at the deserted El Royale, and each has a secret that will be exposed on the long, stormy - and ultimately violent - night that follows. It's intriguing - if a little slow - to begin with, but runs out of steam with the arrival of Chris Hemsworth as a Manson-like cult leader with the haziest of agendas. There are some decent twists, though - and one truly terrifying jump scare - and Jeff Bridges steals every scene that he's in.

The Adventures of Lieutenant Petrosino

The Adventures of Lieutenant Petrosino review
Three-part true-life chronicle about the exploits of Lt. Joseph Petrosino, a NY police officer tasked with bringing down the notorious Black Hand gang, who were forerunners of the Mafia in the US. At 45 minutes it's longer than the average movie from this era, but it still feels rushed, with very little detail and a clumsily handled finale.

Circus Kane

Circus Kane review
Balthazar Kane makes a memorable monster in this otherwise routine B-movie horror which sees the usual group of disagreeable characters lured into visiting Kane's remote mansion so that he and his bloodthirsty clowns can pick them off one-by-one in mostly unimaginative ways. Ted Monte's character stands out amongst the interchangeable stereotypes, but otherwise it's all extremely ordinary.

Robinet cycliste

Robinet cycliste review
An entirely pointless Italian comedy (which, to be fair, may be a fragment of a longer version) in which Spanish comic Marcel Perez causes havoc as a drunken cyclist who collides with every obstacle in his path with tiresome predictability.

The Better Man

The Better Man review
Decent morality tale which sees Robert Thornby playing a wanted man with a price on his head who risks his liberty to help the mother of a child in urgent need of a doctor, only to be ambushed on his way to fetch him by the child's neglectful father.

Safety Not Guaranteed

Safety Not Guaranteed review
Essentially a relationship movie disguised as a time-travel adventure, Safety Not Guaranteed is based on a spoof advert that appeared in Backwoods Home magazine back in the 1990s. The ad, reproduced more or less verbatim, offers up an infinite number of creative opportunities, but Derek Connolly's screenplay focuses on what kind of character would place such an ad if it was genuine. Again, plenty of options, but Mark Duplass's eccentric supermarket worker is your stereotypical conspiracy theorist with little to set him apart from others of his type. It's watchable enough, even though the plot occasionally goes AWOL, and it's impossible for Jake Johnson not to steal every scene he's in..

Blinded by the Light

Blinded by the Light review
Even the Boss's greatest hits are unable to elevate this overlong and routine coming-of-age saga. Weak acting, embarrassingly amateurish musical numbers and a guileless left-wing political agenda that has no place in this kind of story all conspire to fatally undermine what might otherwise have been a likeable feel-good flick.

Polidor al club della morte

Polidor al club della morte review
A bizarre little comedy in which Italian comic Polidor dreams he is a member of a morbid club whose members draw cards to see which of them will commit suicide. Naturally, Polidor draws the losing card and is ushered into a room filled with paraphernalia for taking your life. The little comic mugs for all he's worth but struggles to wring many laughs from the grotesque scenario.

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