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Reviews Archive - D


FEATURING:

Daywatch
Death Proof
Despicable Me
Doctor Zhivago
Dogma
Dougal and the Blue Cat
Dr. No
Dr. Strangelove
Duplicity

Daywatch
(2006)

Director Timur Bekmambetov is tremendously talented but, while the script has imagination in spades, it is also frequently narratively incoherent (and gets bogged down in stuff that's just not that interesting; the whole scene at the party).

***


Death Proof
(2007)

Tarantino at his self-indulgent worst. The man who rediscovered Travolta now introduces us to Zoe Bell, a stuntwoman who cannot act for toffee. 

The first half is aimless, meandering and worst of all boring. It seems to be there so Quentin can “prove” to us he can write for women. Rather than, y’know constructing a solid story. Even the car chases aren't all that. The more time goes by, the more I think Roger Avary should be getting a lot more credit for Pulp Fiction than he does.


*

Despicable Me
(2010)

Occasionally impressive set pieces, but mostly this is a rather laborious riff on Dr Evil. Except, instead of having a child he adopts three of them. The premise reeks of potential for milking mawkishness and cutsey kids, and true to form it's not shy in that department.

**1/2


Doctor Zhivago
(1965)

As engrossing and beautifully made as you expect from David Lean, but it falls short of his very best work. 

The documentaries on the blu-ray comments on how it was the intention for Zhivago to be a passive character, but it has the counter-mechanism of puncturing some of the film's energy. It's the '60s darlings that really make a mark; Tom Courtney and Julie Christie. Alec Guinness looks like he's auditioning for Grand Moff Tarkin in the framing scenes.


****

Dogma 
(1999)

A sloppy mess, like the faecal creature. Fertile subject matter from which to mine laughs, but ham-fisted and (surprise!) puerile in execution. The Weinsteins got cold feet because it was controversial? They should have got cold feet because it was shit.

*


Dougal and the Blue Cat 
(1970)

The feature length Magic Roundabout that isn't a misbegotten CGI remake, this showcases Eric Thompson's wit and imagination wonderfully. 

Dougal is up against evil Buxton and must endure his friends' rapture with the titular moggy, resist a room full of sugar and take a trip to the Moon. Fenella Fielding's Blue Queen occupies the disused treacle factory at the top of the hill and all manner of strangeness ensues.

*****

Dr No
(1962)

Fairly undercharged first Bond outing, and considerably more entertaining before the titular character makes his entrance. The cold-blooded Connery moments are especially enjoyable (killing Dent). Quarrel's demise is particularly unfair (but so was MacNee's in A View to a Kill) since he's a winning sidekick.

***

Dr Strangelove
(1964)

It’s difficult to find anything new to say about Kubrick’s apocalyptic satire, except that the Russian ambassador is clearly corpsing when Strangelove is struggling with his uncontrollable arm. 

The best scene is probably Muffley's call to the Russian premier, all played on Sellers' reactions. But I love Keenan Wynn's utterly thick Colonel Bat Guano.

*****

Duplicity
(2009)

Nice to see a caper for movie for adults, but for all of the tricksiness with the plotting it's not as clever as it would like to be. 

The twists are fairly transparent, but Gilroy's direction, as with the superior Michael Clayton, is refreshingly crisp and clear in style. The leads are dependable but don’t have the chemistry of the classic couples that Gilroy is hearkening back to.


***1/2

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