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Non-Review Review: Cleopatra

The big budget Cleopatra is renowned as something of a massive contradiction. It was panned mercilessly by critics, and yet picked up four Academy Awards (and five more nominations). It was the most financially successful movie of the year, and yet still turned a fairly substantial loss. It’s one of the last great Hollywood epics, and it almost killed Twentieth Century Fox. So there’s something strangely fitting about the final line, in which it was suggested that the movie’s subject was “the last of so many noble rulers.” In many ways, the film was the last of its kind, but perhaps the most lavish. Perhaps history has been kinder to the production than its initial release was, but it’s still a very flawed film.

I can see Cleo now...

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Non-Review Review: Mongol

I caught this foreign gem playing on Sky Premier today. I’d actually heard quite a bit about it while it was playing at the IFI last year, but most of it was mixed enough that I put off catching it in the cinema. The movie – following the rise of Genghis Khan – is a historical epic of the kind that Hollywood doesn’t really make any more – and I mean that as both a compliment and a criticism. It isn’t as utterly brilliant as those who praise it claim, nor is it as bad as its detractors would have you believe.

A Khan not to messed with...

A Khan not to be messed with...

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