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Vantage Point

The Vault of Horror
The Verdict
The Visitor
Vantage Point
(2008)

Enjoyable enough 24-lite fare, but the little girl crossing the street had me in derisory hysterics. What self-respecting terrorist swerves to avoid hitting a child? He should be ashamed of himself. And given the endless car chase, the geography of the area did seem to be bizarrely circular. I need a map.

***
The Vault of Horror
(1973)

Ginger-bearded Tom Baker stars in the best sequence, and sports an unbelievably shocking yellow corduroy suit. When he's running around on location I kept seeing Doctor Who’s City of Death before my eyes. Terry-Thomas' anal retentive comes a close second, while the Masseys are solid in the stylish opener that's only spoiled by some comedy fangs (the restaurant sequence is superb, nevertheless).

***


The Verdict
(1982)

A raw, ravaged performance by Paul Newman, a cracking script by David Mamet, and assured understated direction by Sidney Lumet. This is the kind of film that would now feature a motivational montage song halfway through (Erin Brokovich, anyone?) but this avoids any of the easy traps of the courtroom drama (although Mamet's original script ended before the verdict was announced).

****1/2


The Visitor
(2007)

Richard Jenkins deserved his Oscar nomination, giving a wonderful performance as a college professor going through the motions who finds himself sparked back into some sort of life when he discovers an illegal immigrant couple living in his New York flat. 

The biggest compliment I can give this is that it never once feels like it’s taking a "Hollywood" route or a going for easy emotional manipulation. Thomas McCarthy's a fine actor, and probably an even better writer/director.

****

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