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Brilliant Failure Reviews

Brilliant Failure: Celebrity (Woody Allen, 1998)

The lengths people go to when seeking fame and fortune has been a prime target for many comedians, not least Woody Allen. Celebrity (1998) gives a broad and characteristically cynical take on the lives of the rich and famous, as well as the not-yet-rich and the not-quite-famous-enough, undoubtedly drawing on the director’s own long Hollywood career. […]

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Brilliant Failure Reviews

Brilliant Failure: Lord of the Rings (Ralph Bakshi, 1978)

It could be argued that the majority of Ralph Bakshi’s career encompasses the phrase ‘Brilliant Failure’, with his offbeat adult animations rarely reaching their true potential yet still remaining interesting enough to captivate a more forgiving and liberal audience. Bakshi’s ambitious adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings still stands out as his […]

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Brilliant Failure Reviews

Brilliant Failure: Zabriskie Point (Michelangelo Antonioni 1968)

In 1968 Michelangelo Antonioni was hot property. He’d captured the Carnaby Street cool of late 60s London in Blow Up and turned a tidy profit for MGM in the process. The studio wanted the second film of his three-picture deal to be made in America in an attempt to snare the youth market and take advantage of […]

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Brilliant Failure Reviews

Brilliant Failure: Silent Running (Douglas Trumbull, 1972)

Coming soon after his work as special effects supervisor on 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Douglas Trumbull’s Silent Running is his own take on the same space-bound genre. While it has its fans among sci-fi circles, the film was criticised by many for the blunt sentimentality of its story and ecological message. It never achieved […]

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Brilliant Failure Reviews

Brilliant Failure: Where The Wild Things Are (Spike Jonze, 2009)

Following the recent death of Maurice Sendak, Spike Jonze’ 2009 film of his seminal children’s book Where The Wild Things Are has been back in public discussion and consciousness and it’s proved a fascinating illustration of how death can shift commentary on works of art. The film is still fresh in the memory and so […]

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Brilliant Failure Reviews

Brilliant Failure: Death Watch (Bertrand Tavernier, 1980)

Had the stars aligned slightly differently, we might currently talk of Bertrand Tavernier’s Death Watch in the same breath as A Clockwork Orange and Blade Runner, as one of the classics of modern cinema: a fearless and disturbing analysis of a modern society in which the desire for privacy is not so much seen as […]

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Brilliant Failure Reviews

Brilliant Failure: First Snow (Mark Fergus, 2006)

Mark Fergus’ debut feature First Snow initially appears to have much in common with Christopher Nolan’s breakthrough success Memento (2000): both are neo-noirs with Guy Pearce in the lead role, while the central protagonist in each film becomes increasingly unstable due to never having quite enough knowledge to make sense of his predicament. First Snow, […]

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Brilliant Failure Reviews

Brilliant Failure: The Reflecting Skin (Philip Ridley 1990)

If making a film was like baking a cake one would reasonably expect art school polymath Philip Ridley’s 1990 directorial debut The Reflecting Skin, with its combination of fine ingredients, to have turned out like the grandest Viennese sacher torte. So how come it looks and tastes like a Greggs jam doughnut? Actually that’s a […]

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Brilliant Failure Reviews

Brilliant Failure: The Minus Man (Hampton Fancher, 1999)

An oddly memorable late-addition to the serial killer cycle of the 1990s, The Minus Man has maintained curiosity value beyond its brief theatrical release largely due to being the only directorial credit to date for Blade Runner (1982) screenwriter Hampton Fancher. It also boasts a solid cast led by an actor who would become a […]