movie film review | chris tookey
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An A to Z of the World's Deadliest Movie Reviews From Affleck
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Terence Davies
Writer, Director, Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988)
This snapshot album of a film chronicles the fortunes of a family dominated by a near homicidal maniac. Someone told me that this monster of depravity, who sweeps the Christmas dinner off the table on to the floor, punches his wife in the face and wallops the kids for getting caught in an air raid, was actually the director's father. If this is so, and Mr Davies is trying to exorcise this brute from his psyche, then he should see an analyst, and not inflict his therapy on us. For much of the film Davies' camera is locked off, as in the very early days of the Biograph, where the camera stays clamped to its tripod on tbe station plafform, filming miles of empty track before the train finally comes into shot. I believe Mr Davies went to film school - presumably not for long.
(Ken Russell, 1993)
Writer, Director, The House of Mirth (2000)
Terence Davies is a British director much loved by a few critics but largely ignored by the public. One reason is that he is to pace what Eric “the Eel” Moussambani is to Olympic swimming.
(Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
Writer, Director, Of Time and the City (2008)
Rarely have I had to sit through such a relentlessly maudlin drool of cliches and sentiment. Davies has compared this film to Humphrey Jennings’ 1942 masterpiece Listen to Britain. It’s an absurd point of reference. Davies has a tin ear. His voiceover is quaveringly overwrought in the manner of Withnail and I’s drunken Uncle Monty. In spite of being an avowed enemy of modern pop music, he slaps on He Ain’t Heavy by the Hollies over crass images from the Korean War. As a poet of the proletarian past, Davies is no Bill Douglas or Dennis Potter. He has nothing of any profundity to say about time except that it passes... It’s a sham, a risible and almost militantly superficial piece of regional PR that exposes the snobbish and flimsy foundations on which Davies’s bewilderingly inflates reputation rests.
(Sukhdev Sandhu, Daily Telegraph)
Terence Davies has long been a darling of the self-described intelligentsia, so it was inevitable that his documentary about his home city of Liverpool would be hailed as “filmic poetry” and “the most poignant, beautiful, entrancing British film of the year”. The reason it will find virtually no audience among genuinely thinking people is that it manages the weird feat of having nothing important to say about anything. It’s mainly a collection of library footage, with Davies’ lugubrious voice-over contributing disconnected thoughts of remarkably little substance, and even less interest... Davies’ sadly minor talent is for being uniquely dismal, which means that this film is unlikely to appeal to many non-critics, inside or outside Liverpool. Ken Dodd might have done this a whole lot better. He would certainly have kept more people awake.
(Chris Tookey, Daily Mail)
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