Nigel Davey

Military Fatigue

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Review of 'Guerrilla', director Robert Stone

With the end of the Vietnam War and the winding down of the anti-war movement many radicals were left twiddling their thumbs. It was during this time that newspaper heiress Patty Hearst was kidnapped in one of the most bizarre political moments of the 1970s. Robert Stone has made an excellent documentary about these events and the group that carried them out, the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA).

The Few for the Plenty

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Review of 'The Assassination of Richard Nixon', director Niels Mueller

Last year Sean Penn won an Oscar for best actor. His latest film The Assassination of Richard Nixon had no chance of winning him, or any of the other actors involved, an Oscar. On the third week of its release this film was shown on 32 screens across the US (a mainstream film like Meet The Fockers was shown on 3,527). When one considers the plot it is no surprise that distributors shied away from it.

Inner Turmoil Turns Outwards

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Review of 'Le Crime de Monsieur Lange', 'La Grande Illusion' and 'La Bête Humaine', director Jean Renoir

Considered individually, each of these three films is outstanding. Put into the historical context of the rise and fall of the Popular Front government, which existed in France from 1936 to 1938, they become a cinematic talisman for an era of hope and betrayal. Director Jean Renoir embraced the spirit of these times, adopting Communist sympathies and working with the radical left wing theatre company Le Groupe Octobre.

American Dreams and Nightmares

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Review of 'The Terminal', director Steven Spielberg, 'The Alamo', director John Lee Hancock and 'Collateral', director Michael Mann

Most films from Steven Spielberg come served with a large portion of sentimentality. His new one, The Terminal, is no different. Tom Hanks plays Viktor Navorski who, when arriving at JFK airport, New York, finds out there has been a coup in his homeland of Krakozhia. He is declared technically stateless and told by the ambitious homeland security official that to him 'America is closed'. For the next few years he lives in the terminal unable to leave. The film's heart is in the right place - it is sympathetic to Navorski's plight as the unwanted alien.

A Mask of Civilisation

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Review of 'The Fog of War', director Errol Morris

Errol Morris has made a really good documentary based on interviews with Robert McNamara. It is a history lesson for the second half of the 20th century, as well as an insight into the methods and thinking of a member of the ruling class. McNamara did the same job during the Vietnam War that Donald Rumsfeld does today, and was just as hated.

Ketchup and Smokestacks

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Review of "Tokyo Story", director Yasujiro Ozu

The establishment of the DVD format as a replacement for video means we are gradually seeing more classic films released, and not just the usual Hollywood blockbusters. To celebrate the centenary of the birth of Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu, Tartan has released his most famous film, Tokyo Story, coinciding with its theatrical re-release.

More Ken Than Che

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Review of ’Comandante‘, director Oliver Stone

This film is one long interview between US film director Oliver Stone and Fidel Castro, with a few clips and music in between. However, before you start yawning, it is quite entertaining and it is a must-see for anybody who still thinks of Castro as some kind of revolutionary leader.

When Art and Politics Don't Mix

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Review of 'Max', director Menno Meyers

Max' is set in Munich after the defeat of Germany in the First World War. One of the two main protagonists is Max Rothman (John Cusack), a Jewish artist who lost an arm in the war. Now he runs an art gallery and shows the new art that exploded in Germany as a result of the turmoil of defeat. He meets another veteran who, unlike him, is penniless. He too has an interest in art - and reactionary politics. It is struggling artist Adolf Hitler.

Not At Its Peak

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Review of 'Mulholland Drive', director David Lynch

David Lynch's new mystery thriller, Mulholland Drive, was initially conceived as a pilot show for what was intended to be a television series, presumably in the same format as Twin Peaks. It centres on the relationship between two actresses. One is fresh and naive, the all-American type of character which Lynch uses in lots of his work. She is countered by a more established actress who has obviously been scarred by her own experience in the film industry. She is also suffering from amnesia.

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