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A Full Tank of Gas Movie Reviews

A Collection of 1166 Movie Reviews Written by Richard Cross

Latest Movie Review: Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead (1995)

Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead (1995) 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, until we begin to feel bombarded.   He also has his characters speak in stylised dialogue that doesn’t really sound too much different from the authentic slang spoken by Scorsese’s mobsters in Goodfellas and Casino.   So why, we can only wonder, did he bother? (Read more)   

2011-2014 Movie Reviews

2001 - 2010 Movie Reviews

Out of the Furnace (2013) Movie Review Beneath (2007) Movie Review

Out of the Furnace is a story of disillusion; a story of steel mills closing because it’s cheaper to buy from China, of soldier’s lives destroyed by stop-loss tours of duty because of spurious claims by their government. Russell Baze is the American everyman, and he’s getting shafted in every imaginable way. The consequences are both inevitable and inescapable, and because Cooper refuses to flinch from them, Out of the Furnace ultimately becomes morose, uncomfortable viewing from which it’s impossible to look away. (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)

 Out of the Furnace (2013)

Beneath (2007)

1991 - 2000 Movie Reviews

Diary of a Serial Killer (1998)

1981 - 1990 Movie Reviews

The Fan (1982)

Diary of a Serial Killer (1998) Movie Review The Fan (1982) Movie Review

The fact that Diary of a Serial Killer has some half-way respectable names amongst its cast list might momentarily blind the unwary into believing they’re about to see a decent movie, but that first sight of Busey sporting thick red lipstick and pearls soon sets us straight, and as Diary of a Serial Killer lurches forward from one plot development to the next it becomes painfully apparent that it’s just going to keep getting worse, and the movie’s tagline - ‘Some things are better never written’ - suddenly acquires an unintended relevance (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

To Catch a Thief (1955)

1941 - 1950 Movie Reviews

Strange Illusion (1945)

To Catch a Thief (1955) Movie Review Strange Illusion (1945) Movie Review

With To Catch a Thief, Alfred Hitchcock once again returned to his favourite theme of an innocent man wrongfully accused and forced to go on the run in order to prove his innocence. But unlike most of his other movies which share the same theme, To Catch a Thief focuses much more on the obligatory romantic entanglement of his protagonist than on the thriller aspects, with the result that it fails to, well, thrill, in the way we might expect from a Hitchcock flick. (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

The Public Enemy (1931)

1921 - 1930 Movie Reviews

The End of St. Petersburg (1927)

The Public Enemy (1931) Movie Review The End of St. Petersburg (1927)

The Public Enemy is inarguably James Cagney’s movie.   He commands every scene he’s in.   A buzzing, high-voltage bundle of energy striding around on the balls of his feet, he delivers his lines at a blistering pace and nails those opposing him with that intense and steely gaze from beneath a heavy brow that shades the cunning intelligence in his eyes.   Even when he stands in the background, observing the interaction of others, he draws us to him simply because we fear that if we look away, if we take our eyes off him for an instant, we will surely miss a moment of unpredictable brilliance. (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

The Twins’ Tea Party (1896)

The Twins' Tea Party (1896)

The Twin's Tea Party is a very simple film shot on a bare set in which two little girls are sat at a table enjoying their tea party. One of the girl's amuses herself by bashing her twin on the head, and you can imagine how that goes down with twin number two. Apparently contrite, twin number one then tries to kiss her sister's head better. As girl-fights at parties go I've gotta say I've seen a lot better… (Read more)