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A Full Tank of Gas Movie Reviews

A Collection of 1177 Movie Reviews Written by Richard Cross

Latest Movie Review: Non-Stop (2014)

Non-Stop (2014) Movie Review

In the wake of 9/11, George W. Bush increased the number of Federal Air Marshals from around 30 to more than 600 to travel incognito on flights over US air space in an attempt to restore public confidence in flying.   If any of those 600 are anything like the two depicted in Jaume Collet-Serra’s tense but contrived thriller Non-Stop they’re not going to put many nervous travellers minds at rest.   One of them is a morose alcoholic on the verge of a mental breakdown, while the other is using the fact that his position doesn’t require him to undergo the same kind of rigorous security checks as the rest of us to smuggle cocaine.   Somehow, I can’t see Non-Stop appearing on American Airlines’ play list anytime soon… (Read more)

2011-2014 Movie Reviews

2001 - 2010 Movie Reviews

After (2012) Movie Review Beneath (2007) Movie Review

Considering Smith was working with a budget reported to be under $700,000, the effects are fairly reasonable.   The monster, when it finally makes an appearance, is something of a hybrid from other movies, but looks convincing enough, and the wall of fog behind which Ana and Freddy are trapped is quite effective. Unfortunately, there isn’t really that much story here, even for a movie that lasts only 90 minutes, and some of the flashbacks in particular are padded out with unnecessary detail. (Read more)

Although Richet’s version stays reasonably close to Carpenter’s it has to be said that the Detroit police force don’t exactly come out of Assault on Precinct 13 with much credit.   There are only a handful of honest cops in the entire picture, while Duvall has a small army of men at his command, and I couldn’t help wondering at the chances of every man in an entire unit being corrupt.   Their operations with Bishop must have been hauling millions every month to keep all those crooked cops happy for so long. (Read more)

 After (2012)

Beneath (2007)

1991 - 2000 Movie Reviews

Things to Do in Denver… (1995)

1981 - 1990 Movie Reviews

The Fan (1982)

Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead (1995) Movie Review The Fan (1982) 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)

Hugely controversial in Germany upon its release in 1982, Der Fan is something of a precursor to Takashi Miike’s Audition – although where the Japanese filmmaker’s work won plaudits, Schmidt’s was pilloried by the critics.   It’s more art house than grind house, despite its reputation, and for an hour or so, its to be is slow and dream-like, reflecting the romantic preoccupations of its teen protagonist.  (Read more)

1971 - 1980 Movie Reviews

Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter (1974)

1961 - 1970 Movie Reviews

House of 1000 Dolls (1967)

Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter (1974) Movie Review The Wild Bunch (1969) 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)

Vincent Price and Martha Hyer are supposed to be the leads but they have only supporting roles, and that’s a real shame where Price is concerned because he at least brings some life to the proceedings despite delivering a fairly subdued performance.   Although Hyer’s performance doesn’t compare to Price’s, her mad bouffant hair-do is a marvel of tonsorial architecture.   Seriously – the amount of hairspray she must have used in order to keep it in place probably shortened the life of our planet by a couple of years… (Read more)

1951 - 1960 Movie Reviews

The Man Who Watched Trains Go By (1952)

1941 - 1950 Movie Reviews

Strange Illusion (1945)

The Man Who Watch Trains go By (1952) Movie Review Strange Illusion (1945) Movie Review

Those who lead lives of quiet desperation have proven to be a fertile source of material for Noir filmmakers. Walter Neff, the hapless insurance salesman from Double Indemnity, is perhaps the most famous example, but the genre is littered with them.   One of those that has been all but forgotten is Kees Popinga, played with some style by veteran actor Claude Rains in Harold French’s The Man Who Watched Trains Go By (known as The Paris Express in the States), an adaptation of a novel by Belgian crime writer Georges Simenon. (Read more)

If the plot of Edgar G. Ulmer’s low-budget thriller Strange Illusion seems either far-fetched or familiar it’s because it lifts the plot of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and transplants it to (then) modern-day America.   Not that Shakespeare receives any credit, mind you; the screenplay is credited to Adele Comandini, working from an ‘original story’ by Austrian writer and composer Fritz Rotter.   Hmmm… Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, methinks. (Read more)

1931 - 1940 Movie Reviews

Shall We Dance (1937)

1921 - 1930 Movie Reviews

The End of St. Petersburg (1927)

Shall We Dance (1937) Movie Review The End of St. Petersburg (1927)

It seems that the plot of a lot of the Astaire/Rogers movies was based on misunderstandings, and to be honest, the formula starts wearing a little thin after a while, and as the partnership matured, the movies relied more and more on the charisma and dancing skills of its leads to drag along the dead weight of the plot. (Read more)   

The End of St. Petersburg, directed by the legendary Vselevod Pudovkin, was made to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the 1917 revolution, so you know what that means.   Sure enough, we get the usual raggedy peasant women trudging around their ramshackle village with shoulders slumped and heads bowed, or their ruddy-faced menfolk sitting down in the fields to eat dirt sandwiches.  These images are contrasted with the feeding frenzy of fat and greedy traders milling around in their bowler hats and yelling excitedly as they gaze at one another through their pince-nez. (Read more)

1911 - 1920 Movie Reviews

Harakiri (1919)

1901 - 1910 Movie Reviews

The Adventures of Dollie (1908)

House of 1000 Dolls (1967) The Adventures of Dollie (1908)

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Harakiri is the set design which is rather elaborate for the era, but given the mediocre quality of all other areas of the movie, that isn’t really saying a lot.   The acting is poor, which is as much down to Lang’s direction as to any deficiencies on the parts of the actors; everyone moves very slowly and deliberately and, with the exception of Dagover, over-emphasises every emotion. (Read more)

The acting is of the 'exaggerated gesture' school,with hands flung into the air and bosoms clutched, and most scenes last too long which means the excitement that might have been generated in audiences of a century ago fails to materialise today. Griffith's (and perhaps the era's) racist leanings are clear in his depiction of the gypsies.… (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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