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

A Collection of 1335 Movie Reviews Written by Richard Cross

Latest Movie Review: Splice (2009)

Splice (2009) Movie Review

She’s alive!   Yes, indeedy – with Vincenzo Natali’s Splice, the hoary old Frankenstein legend is given a high-tech makeover, hauling its inert body into the 21st Century while thudding into every predictable plot-line you can think of on its journey.  We get two Frankensteins for our money here, though: genetic engineers Clive Nicoli (Adrien Brody) and Elsa Kast (Sarah Polley).   Elsa’s one of those feisty, independently-minded women which, in movie-land, 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)  

2011-2014 Movie Reviews

2001 - 2010 Movie Reviews

Stand Up Guys (2012) Movie Review Zombieland (2009) Movie Review

A movie like Stand Up Guys demands the tender talents of a writer of experience and insight if it’s to negotiate the pitfalls inherent in any story which is told through the actions and words of its characters rather than the developments of a plot, especially when its lead characters are septuagenarians. However, Stand Up Guys was written by Noah Haidle, a thirty-something playwright whose first feature-length screenplay this is. (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)

 Stand Up Guys (2012)

Zombieland (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

The Getaway (1972)

1961 - 1970 Movie Reviews

Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

The Getaway (1972) Movie Review Bonnie and Clyde (1967) Movie Review

Even with a prison haircut, McQueen looks effortlessly cool, handling weapons with practiced ease and seducing the camera the way only he could.   Nobody did that deep-in-thought look better than McQueen, and the camera seems to linger on him as if incapable of tearing itself away.   It’s noticeable that MacGraw receives much less attention, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing seeing as she’s an actress of limited ability. (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

Satan Met a Lady (1936)

1921 - 1930 Movie Reviews

The Play House (1921)

Satan Met a Lady (1936) Movie Review The Play House (1921)

The second of three adaptations of Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon to be released within a decade of one another, Satan Met a Lady is the least well-known of the triumvirate. That’s probably because it really isn’t very good, and makes the strange decision – and big mistake – of beefing up the comedy angle.   I know: you wouldn’t think there was a comedy angle to Dashiell Hammett’s dark tale of murder, greed and deceit, but clearly somebody at Warners thought otherwise. (Read more)

In The Play House, Buster Keaton’s technique is way ahead of anything any other moviemaker would achieve until the advent of computer generated images around seventy years after this movie was made, and survives as a testimony to the comic and technical genius of the man. (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)