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A Full Tank of Gas Movie Reviews A Full Tank of Gas Movie Reviews

A Collection of 1321 Movie Reviews Written by Richard Cross

Latest Movie Review: Sunnyside (1919)

Sunnyside (1919) Movie Review

Chaplin himself admitted that Sunnyside was one of his worst films, coming at a time when he was struggling with writer’s block and a messy divorce from Mildred Harris, so it’s not unreasonable for those who review the movie to agree with him.   Actually, if forced to choose, I’d suggest that A Day’s Pleasure is far worse than this movie.   Sunnyside is a strangely uneven affair, but it at least gives the impression that Chaplin was genuinely trying to make something of value, while he was clearly just going through the motions when he made A Day’s Pleasure. (Read more)

2011-2014 Movie Reviews

2001 - 2010 Movie Reviews

Pacific Rim (2013) Movie Review Zombieland (2009) Movie Review

In this modern age of movie-making, there are some cast-iron, guaranteed ways of calculating just how bad a movie is going to be.   The correlation between a movie’s budget and the fame and prestige of its stars is always a reliable indicator.  Pacific Rim’s budget is estimated at $190,000,000 and its biggest name is Idris Elba, who is probably best known to many for his part in the US TV show The Wire, which ended in 2004. (Read more)

The humour in Zombieland is hit-and-miss at best, and poorly integrated with the film’s more dramatic aspects, while the quirky script works too hard at trying to be cool, and the situations faced by its characters have become over-familiar to anyone who’s watched more than a half-dozen or so of these kind of flicks.   The actors try hard, and for the most part they acquit themselves well, with Eisenberg – surely the most un-movie-star-like movie star out there – perfectly cast as the hapless hero. (Read more)

 Pacific Rim (2013)

Zombieland (2009)

1991 - 2000 Movie Reviews

Things to Do in Denver… (1995)

1981 - 1990 Movie Reviews

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)

Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead (1995) Movie Review Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) Movie Review

If ever there was an example of style over substance, Things to Do In Denver When You’re Dead was it.  The movie looks terrific, and the ridiculously handsome Mr. Garcia looks sleek and elegant as the meticulously garbed Jimmy the Saint.   Unfortunately, the story doesn’t really hold up under close scrutiny; screenwriter Scott Rosenberg seems incapable of allowing one character or incident to pass without attempting to inject each with some element of quirkiness. (Read more)

The quality of the writing mostly manages to overcome the plot deficiencies, and is aided immeasurably by the performances of Caine and Martin, who work surprisingly well off one another.   This is partly thanks to director Frank Oz’s success at reining in Martin’s tendency to over-improvise – at times the comedian appears to believe the movie is purely a showcase for those talents. (Read more)

1971 - 1980 Movie Reviews

Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter (1974)

1961 - 1970 Movie Reviews

Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter (1974) Movie Review Bonnie and Clyde (1967) Movie Review

In the title role, German actor Horst Janson fails to make any kind of impression whatsoever.   He looks like James Hunt, but the fact that he has no real muscle definition does nothing to discourage him from wandering around with his top off for half the picture.   It’s a shame the same can’t be said about the luscious Caroline Munro, who for most of the film is given little to do other than gaze admiringly at Kronos’ skinny arms and sunken chest. (Read more)

David Newman and Robert Benton’s original screenplay had Barrow enjoying a bizarre homosexual encounter with the couple’s sidekick, C. W. Moss (Michael J. Pollard).   Thankfully, this departure from the truth was deleted from the shooting script, but was replaced instead by Barrow’s problem making love to Bonnie, which was also fictionalised, and which was presumably included to offer some kind of explanation for why such a likeable man leads an irredeemable life of violent crime. (Read more)

1951 - 1960 Movie Reviews

The Ladykillers (1955)

1941 - 1950 Movie Reviews

A Walk in the Sun (1945)

The Ladykillers (1955) Movie Review A Walk in the Sun (1945) Movie Review

The Ladykillers is the last of the great Ealing comedies from the 1940s and ‘50s and is by far the funniest of them all, even though its humour is of the blackest kind imaginable.    The diverse characters complement one another perfectly, and virtually every cast member plays their part to perfection.   Katie Johnson looks as though a strong wind would blow her over, but she proves to be an indomitable foe for the crooks who earn her wrath. (Read more)

Given that the lot of a combat soldier is supposed to be something like 80% boredom 10% anxiety and 10% sheer terror, A Walk in the Sun provides an accurate reflection of combat conditions in that respect.   The dialogue is a little stylised, but it has a kind of rhythm that commands the viewer’s attention, and its raw depiction of the psychological pressures suffered by a group of American soldiers leaves us in no doubt that, although released in 1945, it was made after the final shot of WWII was fired. (Read more)

1931 - 1940 Movie Reviews

Wuthering Heights (1939)

1921 - 1930 Movie Reviews

Earth (1930)

Wuthering Heights (1939) Movie Review Vampyr (1932)

The idea of true love frustrated by fickle fate is as old as the hills, but Heathcliff and Cathy’s felt new and different.   Theirs was the kind of love of which we normal people can only dream, an all-consuming obsession which coloured every aspect of their lives (and deaths).   Such magnified emotions run the risk of looking absurd if not handled correctly, and it’s true that Olivier’s lines sometimes take him dangerously close to crossing the line that separates honest expression from tiresome verbosity when describing the depths of his love to Cathy every time they meet. (Read more)

Dovzhenko and his cinematographer Daniil Demutski intersperse static contemplations of immobile ruddy peasant faces with romanticised images of the wind playing upon rolling fields of wheat, and of plump fruit straining the boughs on which they grow. Some of the images are really quite striking and are complemented by editing which sometimes expresses the emotions of the characters more succinctly than the characters themselves. (Read more)

1911 - 1920 Movie Reviews

A Day’s Pleasure (1919)

1901 - 1910 Movie Reviews

Le voyage dans la lune (1902)

A Day's Pleasure (1919) Movie Review Le voyage dans la lune (1902)

A Day’s Pleasure is really little more than a series of vignettes, and it’s impossible to shake off the impression that what we’re watching here is just a compilation of poor quality routines that never made it into Chaplin’s earlier shorts.   There is one astonishing moment in which a cop steps back from the running board of Chaplin’s car and straight through an open manhole, but other than that A Day’s Pleasure has very little to recommend. (Read more)

It's unlikely that anyone else used old men with long white beards for their protagonists the way that Melies does here - or that their aliens would be so easily to exterminate: one good whack with a walking stick and they explode in a puff of smoke. (Read more)

1891 - 1900 Movie Reviews

Annabelle Serpentine Dance (1895)

Annabelle Serpentine Dance (1895) Movie Review

The girl in the picture is quite interesting.   Her name was Annabelle Moore, and she was no more than 16 years old when Annabelle Serpentine Dance was filmed, and she went on to become a star with Ziegfeld’s stage extravaganzas in the early years of the twentieth century.   A couple of years after this movie she would cause a minor scandal by revealing that she had been asked to appear nude at a private dinner party. (Read more)   

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