Chimpomatic

News

Reviews

Articles

Surveillance

Scarface

Shapeless pacing and shoddy production values make for one of the most over-rated film school favorites.

Halliwell says: Absurdly brutalized version of the above, with detailed violence and a superabundance of foul language. Scarface has now become an emigre Cuban, and the film seems to want to make a political statement.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

20th Feb 2012

Read more 2 star reviews

Search

Reds

Portentous historical epic from Warren Beatty. Ambitious in scale and production, it sadly fails to get going.

Halliwell says: Interminably long but full of quality, this immensely detailed work was a most unlikely project to succeed in the eighties, but its very strangeness enabled it to break even.**


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

21st Jan 2012

Read more 3 star reviews

The Good The Bad And The Ugly

Newly extended scenes only highlight how good every scene is in this masterful western.

Halliwell says: Intermittently lively, very violent and interminably drawn out western with a number of rather hilarious stylistic touches.*


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

19th Jan 2012

Read more 5 star reviews

Betrayed

Detailed, absorbing thriller from Costas Garvas, as Debra Winger goes undercover with the KKK.

Halliwell says: Heavygoing piece with Something to Say, but not much to watch.*


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

3rd Jan 2012

Read more 4 star reviews

Tootsie

Still great 80s drag comedy w Dustin Hoffman scoring a soap job in heels. Bonus: Bill Murray as his flatmate.

Halliwell says: As with Genevieve and Whisky Galore, an unlikely comedy subject makes an instant classic. It's all in the handling.**


#Screened
#Film
#chimp71
#Halliwell

3rd Jan 2012

Read more 4 star reviews

Thelma and Louise

Stylish feminist road movie that saw a return to form for Ridley Scott. Feminists might disagree.

Halliwell says: Timely, exuberant and off-beat feminist road movie that manages to say something interesting about the relationship between the sexes.***


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

18th Dec 2011

Read more 4 star reviews

The Bicycle Thief

Italian neo-realist classic, as area man struggles to find work and the necessary tools to do it.

Halliwell says: The epitome of Italian neo-realism, the slight human drama is developed so that it has all the force of King Lear, and both the acting and the backgrounds are vividly compelling.***


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

14th Dec 2011

Read more 4 star reviews

The Driver

Moody, but flat and dull original car chase movie with Ryan O'Neal. More influential than it is good.

Halliwell says: Noisy melodrama, very proficient in the screeching tyro department but extremely empty as a character.*


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

11th Dec 2011

Read more 2.5 star reviews

At Close Range

Well handled, tense 80s angst classic, with Penn(s), Walken and Glover amongst the rogues gallery.

Halliwell says: Relentlessly brutal, dispiriting and quite pointless melodrama, even with the saving grace of a factual basis.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

4th Nov 2011

Read more 3.5 star reviews

Aliens

The original grunts-in-space epic still stands ahead of the pack. Classic.

Halliwell says: Frightening but mechanical sequel with none of the half-assed poetry of the original.*


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

15th Sep 2011

Read more 4.5 star reviews

Days of Heaven

Dated, but still majestic slice of 1970's Terrence Malick. Amazing photography and atmosphere.

Halliwell says: Visually a superb slice of period life, let down by obsessively self-important and symbolic drama; also by imperfect sound recording.**


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

2nd Sep 2011

Read more 4 star reviews

Henry V

Dated but assured adaptation from the young Kenneth Branagh. Highlighted by the rain of the English Longbow.

Halliwell says: A darker film than Olivier's, with which it can stand comparison, stressing the brutality of war.***


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

6th Aug 2011

Read more 4 star reviews

Platoon

Brilliant rites of passage movie that still stands as the definitive depiction of the war in Vietnam.

Halliwell says: Not badly done in the style of Bataan (plus brutality and gore). One would have thought it too late to do it at all, but the American public made it a box-office hit.**


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

24th Jul 2011

Read more 4.5 star reviews

Shanghai Express

Total class from 1932. The camera loves Marlene Dietrich & Anna May Wong in this trainbound romance.

Halliwell says: Superbly pictorial melodrama which set the pattern for innumerable train movies to come, though none matched its deft quality and few sketched in their own characters so neatly. Plot and dialogue are silent style, but refreshingly so.***


#Screened
#Film
#chimp71
#Halliwell

19th Jun 2011

Read more 4 star reviews

The Terminator

Well-paced suspenseful original as Arnie's relentless cyborg hunts its target, spawning a franchise.

Halliwell says: Slick rather nasty but undeniably compelling comic book adventures.*


#Film
#CJ
#Halliwell

17th Jun 2011

Read more 3.5 star reviews

Winter Kills

A star studded bizarro blip on Jeff Bridges CV. Possibly a black comedy. Definitely inexplicable.

Halliwell says: Heavy-going and confusing melodrama with much flashy editing. Despite its cast, it was never satisfactorily released.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

12th Jun 2011

Read more 0.5 star reviews

The Spy Who Came In From The Cold

Compelling Le Carré. R Burton total class. George Smiley cameo: just like Marvel universe .

Halliwell says: The old undercover yarn with all the trimmings of such sixties malaises as death wish, anti-establlishmentism and racial problems. As a yarn, quite gripping till it gets too downbeat, but very harshly photographed.**


#Screened
#Film
#chimp71
#Halliwell

15th May 2011

Read more 4 star reviews

The Manchurian Candidate

60's thriller with Sinatra that has lost much of the edginess it must have had at the time.

Halliwell says: Insanely plotted but brilliantly handled spy thriller, a mixture of Hitchcock, Welles and All The King's Men.***


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

9th May 2011

Read more 3 star reviews

Miller's Crossing

Prototype Coen Brothers flick, showing buckets of promise but lacking their later sophistication.

Halliwell says: Sombre, solidly made thriller, directed with a macabre skill.**


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

29th Mar 2011

Read more 3 star reviews

Lethal Weapon 2

Effective, old school, big-budget action sequel marking the beginning of the slide to action/comedy.

Halliwell says: Extremely violent policier which caters to the Rambo crowd but has enough pizazz to recommend it to most classes.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

6th Mar 2011

Read more 4 star reviews

After Dark, My Sweet

Misfiriing 90's noir, with Jason Patric as a hobo boxer, getting into trouble in a small town.

Halliwell says: Wildly melodramatic thriller with dull performances.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

27th Jan 2011

Read more 2.5 star reviews

The Adventures of Robin Hood

Timeless, spectacular, epic swashbuckler - with beautiful Technicolor cinematography.

Halliwell says: A splendid adventure story, rousingly operatic in treatment, with dashing action highlights, fine comedy balance, and incisive acting all round. Historically notable for its use of early three-colour Technicolor; also for convincingly recreating Britain in California.****


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

2nd Jan 2011

Read more 5 star reviews

The Parallax View

Forgot that I watched this, slow, self important conspiracy classic on Moviedrome in the 80's.

Halliwell says: Stylish, persuasive political thriller with a downbeat ending; the villains win.*


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

16th Oct 2010

Read more 3 star reviews

Rebel Without A Cause

Beautifully shot, acted and directed - Nicolas Ray's masterpiece is still ahead of it's time.

Halliwell says: The first film to suggest that juvenile violence is not necessarily bred in the slums, this somewhat dreary melodrama also catapulted James Dean to stardom as the prototype fifties rebel.**


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

8th Sep 2010

Read more 5 star reviews

Tron

Disney's innovative & original 80s Wizard of Oz, which unfortunately hasnt got any deeper or less dull with age.

Halliwell says: Complicated science fantasy chiefly interesting for its computerized blend of live action and animation, which isn't always successful.*


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

5th Sep 2010

Read more 3 star reviews

The Long Goodbye

Rambling, shambolic Philip Marlowe case from Robert Altman, with shoddy production quality.

Halliwell says: Ugly, boring travesty of a well-respected novel, the apparent intention being to reverse the author's attitudes completely and to substitute dullness and incomprehensibility.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

4th Aug 2010

Read more 2.5 star reviews

The Last Picture Show

Classic Texan coming of age tale, complete with moody photography and great performances.

Halliwell says: Penetrating nostalgia with over-emphasis on sex; the detail is the attraction.***


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

18th Jul 2010

Read more 5 star reviews

Casualties of War

A harrowing subject, rendered in a cliched and dated way - under the long shadow of Platoon.

Halliwell says: Simple minded, melodramatic account of a true incident.*


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

19th Jun 2010

Read more 3 star reviews

Cutter's Way

Confusing, pretentious and wholly inadequate 80's 'detective' movie with Jeff Bridges..

Halliwell says: Heavy-going melodrama which tries very hard to be something more than a thriller, and manages only to imply that the world stinks; so it might as well have stuck to Philip Marlowe.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

26th Mar 2010

Read more 1 star reviews

To Live and Die in LA

Hard for this cliched 80s thriller to stay dark, when it's lit by neon suits. Inc Wang Chung.

Halliwell says: High-gloss, foul-mouthed, hysterical crime melo, a kind of west coast French Connection.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

8th Feb 2010

Read more 2 star reviews

Cape Fear

Scorcese's 90s tour de force. Menacing and mean, but still a bit stupid in the third act.

Halliwell says: A remake superior to the original, a grimly effective thriller, filled with a sense of brooding menace.***


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

31st Jan 2010

Read more 4 star reviews

Back To The Future II

Underrated, but still awesome - with one of the best cliffhangers ever.

Halliwell says: Extraordinarily raucous, confusingly plotted, poorly performed (rarely have actors aged so unconvincingly) sequel that amounts to little more than a trailer for the third part of the series.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

3rd Jan 2010

Read more 5 star reviews

Coming Home

Superior pre-Oliver Stone Vietnam movie.

Halliwell says: Self-pitying romantic wallow, which must mean more to American audiences than to others. Goodish acting.*


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

1st Jan 2010

Read more 3.5 star reviews

The Birds

Time has made it a classic, but this one's from the skimpy end of the Hitchcock spectrum.

Halliwell says: A curiously absorbing work which begins as light comedy and ends as apocalyptic allegory, this piece of Hitchcockery has no visible point except to tease the audience and provide plenty of opportunity for shock, offbeat humour and special effects (which despite the drumbeating are not quite as good as might be expected). The actors are pawns in the master's hand.***


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

31st Dec 2009

Read more 3 star reviews

Ghostbusters

Dated effects and a flimsy plot held together beautifully by the Bill Murray superglue.

Halliwell says: Crude farce with expensive special effects. It took more money - millions more - than Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, which must say something about the age we live in.*


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

27th Dec 2009

Read more 4 star reviews

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Often underrated, it's still a total classic. Spielberg + Ford at their best.

Halliwell says: Slow-starting adventure romp with much ingenuity and too much brutality and horror. In the US it caused the creation of a new censor certificate: PG(13).*


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

23rd Dec 2009

Read more 5 star reviews

Point Break

Same as it ever was - 72% pure adrenaline.

Halliwell says: Ridiculous thriller, with convoluted and unbelievable plot and a great deal of masculine posturing.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

28th Sep 2009

Read more 3.5 star reviews

Airplane!

As good as ever.

Halliwell says: Arthur Hailey's Flight into Danger and the film Zero Hour which was made from it get the zany parody treatment in this popular movie which is often funny but sometimes merely crude. It rang the box office bell more loudly than most expensive epics of its year.**


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF
#Halliwell

5th Sep 2009

Read more 2 star reviews

Cinderella Man

(dir. Ron Howard)

Washed up fighter James W. Braddock is struggling to keep his family together during the Great Depression, but gets an unlikely shot at the World Title.

Seemingly unsure of whether it wants to be Raging Bull or Rocky, the film's aesthetic lifts heavily, but lacks the punch of the former - while the predictable underdog tale lacks the heart of the latter. Russell Crowe's performance as a hard working honest guy might technically be on the money, but the character is lacking in motivation or passion, making for a pretty flat film.

It seems like everybody involved felt like they were in sure-fire Oscar country here, and Paul Giacametti's performance in particular feels like it was sent in by telegram. He's badly cast as a young-looking training 'veteran' and there's no depth to his character - especially for a role that's usually set to 'powerhouse' (Clint and Morgan Freeman in Million Dollar Baby, Burgess Meredith in Rocky, Joe Pesci in Raging Bull). The script holds few surprises too - the bell rings in the nick of time a couple of times, the dishonest opponent gets the odd punch in after the bell, but unlike the aforementioned Million Dollar Baby, there's little doubt how it's going to end.

The production values and art direction are big and expensive, but when the dust settles all we are left with is a long solid, hard working dust bowl of a movie, not dissimilar to that other dull, depression sports drama - Sea Biscuit.

The old Halliwell's Guide would probably say *.

#Film
#CSF

17th Oct 2007 - Add Comment - Tweet

Read more 2.5 star reviews

Halliwell's

Halliwell's Film Guide has always set the benchmark for good and bad cinema, and Leslie Halliwell's ruthless style is what we try to emulate when writing up our own reviews.

The book is surprisingly absent on the internet - and although a comprehensive website would thrash IMDB's relatively wimpy brown-nosing (A Clockwork Orange - 8.4!!?) it would quickly make the book obselete.

www.lesliehalliwell.com is a good resource though, with some biography about Leslie himself, favourite reviews, modern reviews, a list of some of the promoted and demoted four star films and a comparison of old vs new versions of the guide.

#CSF

12th Dec 2006 - Add Comment - Tweet