Saturday, February 12, 2005

Review - The Fall of the Roman Empire

I’m not completely sure the actual Roman Empire took as long as this movie’s running time to collapse. This golden oldie has at least some in common with the more recent epic Gladiator: both center around the death of Marcus Aurelius and the mis-rule of his son Commodus, and both are ultimately over-wrought costume dramas. However, this one’s a little more political and a lot more drawn-out. Christopher Plummer does an interesting job as Commodus, though especially toward the end he comes across more like Caligula than the bad emperor he’s actually supposed to be playing (which is as much the writer’s fault as it is his). Roman pageants from this era in film history are generally a bit too tame for my taste, but that aside this one isn’t too terrible. Mildly amusing

Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Review – Dirty Harry

If you’re a big fan of rogue-cop-with-his-own-brand-of-justice movies, here’s the one that more-or-less invented the genre. Further recommendation: despite being driven largely by simple-minded clich├ęs, this is still an entertaining picture. Acting and script are both good, to the point when even an old die-hard individual rights advocate like me can’t help but cheer for Inspector Calahan as he takes on a psycho loosely based on the Zodiac serial killer. And on top of all this, there are actually subtleties to be found here, such as Calahan’s personal foibles (including a voyeuristic streak). In the realm of vicious cops versus vicious killers, you could do a lot worse. Worth seeing