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

A Collection of 1340 Movie Reviews Written by Richard Cross

Latest Movie Review: Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler (1922)

Dr Mabuse: The Gambler (1922) Movie Review

Criminal masterminds have come a long way since the dark days of 1922.   More often than not, they operate from spacious lairs hidden away on the sea bed or in a volcano or on top of a mountain, but back then they operated out of slightly shabby parlours with net curtains but no wardrobes for their outfits, just a collection of garment rails.   And while today’s master of disguise might have a changing room set aside for fashioning their transformations, back in 1922 all the diabolical Dr Mabuse (Rudolf Klein-Rogge – Die Nibelungen: Siegfried, Metropolis) had was a cluttered desk on which three forlorn wigs sit on their stands amongst the artist’s paraphernalia. (Read more)


2011-2014 Movie Reviews

2001 - 2010 Movie Reviews

Dawn Rider (2012) Movie Review Splice (2009) Movie Review

Dawn Rider is actually pretty good, although it won’t please moviegoers brought up on a diet of relentless pace and action.   It’s a slow movie that takes its time to establish relationships and motives, even though it sometimes doesn’t know where to go with them.   There’s a character called Ben McClure (Ben Cotton) whom Mason befriends and who also falls for Alice, who mostly hangs around the fringes of the story and whom we know from early on will betray Mason and then regret betraying him and try to make amends. (Read more)

With Vincenzo Natali’s Splice, the Frankenstein legend is given a high-tech makeover, while thudding into every predictable plot-line you can think of.  We get two Frankensteins for our money here: genetic engineers Clive Nicoli and Elsa Kast. Elsa’s one of those independently-minded women which means that she’s a real pain in the backside who ignores other people’s opinions if they conflict with her own, and who, in real life, would be unable to maintain a relationship for more than three months with any man in possession of appendages that swing. (Read more)  

 Dawn Rider (2012)

Splice (2009)

1991 - 2000 Movie Reviews

Things to Do in Denver… (1995)

1981 - 1990 Movie Reviews

From Beyond (1986)

Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead (1995) Movie Review From Beyond (1986) 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)

As Gordon has only a cartoonish story and strictly one-dimensional characters to deal with, he takes the sensible decision to focus the movie on the effects.   What makes movies like this so enjoyable is being able to appreciate all the effort that has gone into creating these illusions.  It’s ironic that since advances in technology have made it possible for a computer to create wholly convincing effects that are limited only by the programmers’ imaginations we seem to have grown increasingly indifferent to the fantastic creations they place on the screen. (Read more)

1971 - 1980 Movie Reviews

Motel Hell (1980)

1961 - 1970 Movie Reviews

Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Motel Hell (1980) Movie Review Bonnie and Clyde (1967) Movie Review

Motel Hell creates the kind of scenario that could prove truly chilling if played straight from the viewpoint of a victim, but Connor and screenwriters Robert and Steven-Charles Jaffe play it largely for laughs.   Calhoun and Parsons’ character are semi-comical hayseeds, and their younger brother Bruce (Paul Linke) is a small-town cop only a step or two above the likes of Roscoe P. Coltrane.   There’s even a couple of swingers straight out of some bad sex comedy who provide some ‘light relief’ before being gassed and planted next to all of the Smith’s other victims. (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

Spellbound (1945)

The Ladykillers (1955) Movie Review Spellbound (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)

Neither Bergman nor Peck convince as highly-intelligent psychiatrists, although I suppose Peck doesn’t really have to.   Bergman sometimes wears spectacles to indicate the serious intelligence of her character, but crusty old Dr Brulov probably accurately sums her up when observing that “the mind of a woman in love is operating on the lowest possible intellect.” (I can’t see that line making it into any future remakes, somehow). (Read more)

1931 - 1940 Movie Reviews

You Can’t Take It With You (1938)

1921 - 1930 Movie Reviews

Nanook of the North (1922)

You Can't Take It With You (1938) Movie Review Nanook of the North (1922)

Despite its age, it’s surprising how relevant You Can’t Take It With You remains.   Consider this speech from Alice when Tony mentions that everybody’s afraid to live: “..most people nowadays are run by fear.   Fear of what they eat, fear of what they drink, fear of their jobs, their future, fear of their health… You know what his (Vanderhof’s) pet aversion is?   The people who commercialise on fear, you know they scare you to death so they can sell you something you don’t need.” (Read more)

They lead a transient life, constantly on the move, travelling to wherever there are rumours of possible food.  We see Nanook and a few friends stealing upon an unvigilant group of walruses, and witness the heartbreaking attempts of one of their number to rescue its mate as it flails on the end of Nanook’s harpoon. Unable to start a fire on the packed snow, the men gnaw at the raw meat of their catch with visible relish. (Read more)

1911 - 1920 Movie Reviews

The Mark of Zorro (1920)

1901 - 1910 Movie Reviews

The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906)

The Mark of Zorro (1920) Movie Review The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906)

The title character was played by Douglas Fairbanks, one of United Artists’ founders, and marked a change of direction in his screen career which would see him portray a succession of heroic figures such as Robin Hood, D’Artagnan and The Black Pirate throughout the 1920s.   He was an unlikely action hero in many ways.  With a round, slightly pudgy face he looked more like a hero’s sidekick… (Read more)

Film language had not yet developed to an extent that it was capable of supporting a long film, so while it was a sensation back in 1906, what remains of the film today is curiously dull – and yet also fascinating – and there’s little doubt the whole film, if it existed intact today, would be excruciatingly dull for most people. (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)