UNITED 93. (2006) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.

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UNITED 93. (2006) WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY PAUL GREENGRASS.
STARRING CHEYENNE JACKSON, CHRISTIAN CLEMENSON, DAVID ALAN BASCHE, PETER HERMANN AND BEN SLINEY AS HIMSELF.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

‘Let’s roll…’

What with all the extensive news coverage of Queen Elizabeth’s recent untimely(!) death at the age of one hundred and forty-seven, I actually forgot about this year’s anniversary of 9/11 until the day itself.

I’ll be kind and I won’t tell you again about how I was breaking up with a long-term boyfriend at that time and I equated the collapse of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre with the breakdown of the relationship. Hey, whaddya know, it just slipped out there for about the millionth time…!

Anyway,once I remembered what day it was, I settled down and watched UNITED 93 on Netflix. It’s an excellent and very moving docudrama thriller movie written and directed by…

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TOD BROWNING’S ‘FREAKS.’ (1932) REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

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FREAKS. (1932) PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY TOD BROWNING. BASED ON THE SHORT STORY, ‘SPURS,’ BY TOD ROBBINS.
STARRING WALLACE FORD, LEILA HYAMS, OLGA BACLANOVA, HENRY VICTOR, ROSCOE ATES, HARRY EARLES AND DAISY EARLES.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This pre-Code horror drama film is so unbelievably beautiful, but was deemed deeply disturbing and controversial on its release and was even banned in various countries for a long time, although it enjoys a huge cult following now and the title of perhaps one of the best films ever made.

Director Tod Browning, whose biggest credits besides FREAKS are the 1931 version of DRACULA starring Bela Lugosi and the 1927 ‘lost’ film, LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT starring Lon Chaney, was so fascinated by circus and carnival life that he ran away to join a travelling circus at the tender age of sixteen. FREAKS is set in a travelling sideshow in which so-called ‘normal’…

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WORST ROOMMATE EVER. (2022) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

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WORST ROOMMATE EVER. (2022) A NETFLIX TRUE CRIME DOCU-SERIES DIRECTED BY DOMINI HOFMANN.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

I’d been avoiding this American true crime docu-series as I didn’t think it looked much cop, excuse the pun, but it’s actually a really good, gripping watch about some of the most awful people you could ever possibly imagine moving into your house or flat and living with you as your roommate.

The first of the episodes concerns Dorothea Puente, a sweet-looking little old lady granny-type-figure from Sacramento, but don’t be fooled by the pinnies that she wears, lol. Underneath the mauve eyeshadow and the shampoo and set, Puente was a stone-cold serial killer.

She murdered several of the lonely, elderly tenants who rented rooms in her boarding house in the ‘Eighties and buried their remains in her back garden, like a sort of transatlantic Fred and Rose West. Why did she…

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LEGEND. (2015) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

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LEGEND. (2015) WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY BRIAN HELGELAND. BASED ON THE BOOK BY JOHN GEORGE PEARSON, THE PROFESSION OF VIOLENCE: THE RISE AND FALL OF THE KRAY TWINS. STARRING TOM HARDY, EMILY BROWNING, DAVID THEWLIS, CHRISTOPHER ECCLESTON, CHAZZ PALMINTERI, TARA FITZGERALD AND TARON EGERTON.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This is my second favourite screen adaptation of this true-life crime story, my favourite being the one with the Spandau Ballet twins in it, the 1990 one. This one has been described as more of a showcase for Tom Hardy in the dual lead roles of Ronnie and Reggie Kray than an accurate depiction of the gangster part of the story of their lives, but maybe that’s why I like it, because Tom Hardy is a bit of all right as Reggie Kray, the non-crazy twin, lol.

The twins were the leading players in London’s criminal underworld of the 1960s, and…

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DOCTOR SLEEP. (2019) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

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DOCTOR SLEEP. (2019) DIRECTED BY MIKE FLANAGAN. SCREENPLAY BY MIKE FLANAGAN.
BASED ON THE 2013 NOVEL, DOCTOR SLEEP, BY STEPHEN KING. ALSO BASED ON THE 1977 NOVEL, THE SHINING, BY STEPHEN KING, AND THE 1980 FILM OF THE SHINING BY STANLEY KUBRICK.
STARRING EWAN MCGREGOR, REBECCA FERGUSON, CARL LUMBLY AND KYLIEGH CURRAN.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

‘Well, hi there…’

Heeeeeeere’s Danny…! (PS, this line doesn’t actually appear in the film, I made it up but you’ll see why…)

It’s been a while now since I read the book DOCTOR SLEEP by horror maestro Stephen King, but I was hugely looking forward to seeing the film version when it came to Netflix. Well, it’s come to Netflix, I’ve seen it and I can now declare it top-notch stuff, lol. Just in case you were hanging on the edge of your seat waiting for my verdict…! It clocks in at a…

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1408. (2007) A BRILLIANT STEPHEN KING ADAPTATION REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

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1408. (2007) DIRECTED BY MIKAEL HAFSTROM. BASED ON THE SHORT STORY BY STEPHEN KING.
STARRING JOHN CUSACK, SAMUEL L. JACKSON, TONY SHALHOUB, MARY MCCORMACK AND JASMINE JESSICA ANTHONY.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

I don’t normally dig John Cusack too much, but he’s really good in this better-than-average Stephen King movie adaptation. Based on his short story, which you can find in the 2002 collection, EVERYTHING’S EVENTUAL, it has John Cusack as Mike Enslin, a writer who once wrote a very good book with feeling and humanity, but who now writes these sort of guide books to America’s haunted places.

He visits them, cynically and rudely dismisses their claims to be haunted, and then pens niche books about them. How does a sceptical non-believer in other worlds or the other side write books about haunted hotels, castles, churches and other places, when he doesn’t even believe in ghosts or…

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BLOW. (2001) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

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BLOW. (2001) DIRECTED BY TED DEMME. BASED ON THE 1993 BOOK BY BRUCE PORTER: BLOW: HOW A SMALL-TOWN BOY MADE $100 MILLION WITH THE MEDELLIN COCAINE CARTEL AND LOST IT ALL.
STARRING JOHNNY DEPP, PENELOPE CRUZ, FRANKA POTENTE, ETHAN SUPLEE, PAUL REUBENS, JORDI MOLLA, CLIFF CURTIS, BOBCAT GOLDTHWAITE, LOLA GLAUDINI, RACHEL GRIFFITHS AND RAY LIOTTA.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This portrayal of drug-taking and drug-dealing is nearly as sexy and glamorous as that achieved by Brian De Palma’s SCARFACE (1983). The format and narrative voice-overs are reminiscent of GOODFELLAS, and that movie’s lead actor, Ray Liotta, is here in person, not as the criminal this time but as the criminal’s Dad.

Now Ray Liotta himself is playing the over-worked ’50s/60s Pops who’s trying- and failing- to inculcate a certain values system, his own, into his son, but his son doesn’t even want to know. All the son sees is…

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SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET. (2007) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

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SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET. (2007) DIRECTED BY TIM BURTON.
BASED ON SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET, THE MUSICAL, BY STEPHEN SONDHEIM AND HUGH WHEELER.
STARRING JOHHNY DEPP, HELENA BONHAM CARTER, ALAN RICKMAN, TIMOTHY SPALL AND SACHA BARON COHEN.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

I only saw this film for the first time recently, and was blown away by it, even though I’d been expecting to find it annoying after hearing that there was singing in it, lol. But the singing is fantastic, and so is pretty much everything else about this film based on a musical that in turn was based on a Victorian legend.

It’s the legend of the titular Sweeney Todd, the barber of old London who slits his customers’ throats and trapdoor-s the corpses deep down below into his girlfriend’s pie shop, where the flesh is baked into some…

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IT’S A SIN. (2021) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

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IT’S A SIN. (2021) A FIVE-PART DRAMA MINISERIES WRITTEN AND CREATED BY RUSSELL T. DAVIES.
STARRING OLLY ALEXANDER, LYDIA WEST, OMARI DOUGLAS, CALLUM SCOTT HOWELLS, KEELEY HAWES, SHAUN DOOLEY, STEPHEN FRY AND TRACEY ANN OBERMAN.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

Wow. I binge-watched this drama series in one night on Netflix, as it was so good there was no question of my leaving any of it unwatched till the following night. It’s the story of a group of young people, four or five gay men and a woman, sharing a house and a life in London from 1981 to 1991.

It’s the era that encompasses the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in Britain, and the series shows us how the five young people are affected by the epidemic and how they cope with it when it affects them, either directly or indirectly, either personally or through a friend.

Olly Alexander…

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THE GREAT GATSBY. (2013) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

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THE GREAT GATSBY. (2013) BASED ON THE BOOK BY F. SCOTT FITZGERALD. DIRECTED AND CO-WRITTEN BY BAZ LUHRMANN.
STARRING LEONARDO DICAPRIO, TOBEY MAGUIRE, CAREY MULLIGAN, JOEL EDGERTON, ISLA FISHER AND ELIZABETH DEBICKI.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

I’m not a huge fan of Baz Luhrmann’s work, and I think I would have liked this glitzy Hollywood movie a bit more if it had been directed by someone else, someone who valued a bit of realism and substance over lavish and at times overwhelming style.

I hated the modern musical soundtrack as well. I love genuine ‘Twenties music and dancers doing the Charleston in sync and at top speed, so the whole soundtrack simply didn’t do it for me. Sorry, but it just didn’t, lol.

The story I liked, but then the story is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most celebrated and iconic novel, often regarded as the Great American Novel. It’s very…

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