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Brilliant Failure Reviews

Brilliant Failure: Altered States (Dir. Ken Russell, 1980)

Few films fail quite so brilliantly as Altered States. Part chin-stroking talk-fest on trippy existentialism among the corduroy-jacketed academia of Harvard, part body-horror tripe of the silliest order, it’s a hallucinogenic broth combining Jung, Darwin and Timothy Leary which manages to be both deep and daft in equal measure. For all its shortcomings it remains […]

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Brilliant Failure Reviews

Brilliant Failure: Toys (Dir. Barry Levinson, 1992)

A relief map of the career of Robin Williams would probably resemble that of a particularly active volcanic mountain range: a few dizzyingly high peaks such as Dead Poets Society (1989) and Good Will Hunting (1997), as well as the early stand-up work, along with some notable foothills like The Fisher King (1991), Mrs Doubtfire […]

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Brilliant Failure Reviews

Brilliant Failure: 2010: The Year We Make Contact (Dir. Peter Hyams, 1984)

With all the timeliness of a significant planetary alignment it seems only fitting to spy Peter Hyams’ 2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984) through the telescope of reappraisal, in what is after all the year in which it was set (if you hadn’t noticed), to see if we can spot any intelligent signs of […]

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Brilliant Failure Reviews

Brilliant Failure: The Prowler (AKA Rosemary’s Killer) (Dir. Joseph Zito, 1981)

I imagine few of those who made The Prowler, and few of those who have seen it, regard it as either brilliant or a failure – and yet it warrants inclusion in this series as much as any movie we have featured. The Prowler (which is available on Region 2 DVD under its alternate title, […]

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Brilliant Failure Reviews

Brilliant Failure: Dust Devil (Richard Stanley, 1992)

According to Richard Stanley, the idea for Dust Devil came to him in a dream whilst studying at Cape Town Film School, and the roots of the project are evident in the vividly realised opening sequence that is mostly free of dialogue and drenched in a feverish atmosphere reminiscent of Dario Argento at his peak. […]

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Brilliant Failure Reviews

Brilliant Failure: Immortal (Ad Vitam) (Enki Bilal, 2004)

Celluloid gospel has it that Fritz Lang was inspired to make Metropolis when he first glimpsed the skyline of New York. Though in reality Lang was well into the planning stages for his dystopia, the skyscrapers and busy highways of New York without a doubt ground the film in reality. Three quarters of a century […]