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WATCH MOVIES AT HOME: Robert Tanitch reviews 5 movies

THE LAST DUEL (HBO Max). Medieval France 1386. Directed by Ridley Scott. Marguerite (Jodie Comer) says she was raped by Jacques (Alan Driver). He denies it. Marguerite’s husband Jean (Matt Damon) challenges Jacques to a duel which (according to medieval custom) will be judged by God. The person who loses is judged a liar and terrible things are done to their body. If Jean loses, his wife will be cremated. The story is told in three slightly different versions, two too many. The film is too long and wordy. Damon is miscast and Comer is too modern. Driver has the right sense of time. The highlight is the brutal tournament, brilliantly choreographed and edited

DUEL (youtube). A classic road movie. A giant 40-ton gas tanker, a polluted, flammable monster, is chasing a tiny red car driven by a terrified salesman (Dennis Weaver). The insane killer remains faceless all the time. The duel between David and Goliath takes place on a deserted desert road. Directed by 25-year-old Steven Spielberg, the 1971 TV film is a suspenseful thriller, excellently photographed by Jack A Marta.

CAPE FEAR (BBC iPlayer). guilt and retribution. The 1991 Martin Scorcese version. Robert De Niro, cigar-smoking, Bible-quoting, is memorably repulsive as an extremely dangerous man who seeks revenge on the attorney (Nick Nolte, a completely unsympathetic character) who didn’t tell him in front of a 16-year-old received a prison sentence. His seduction of the lawyer’s 15-year-old daughter (Juliette Lewis) is particularly disturbing. The final sequence, aboard a boat on a stormy river, is so over the top it feels like another movie.

IT IS A SIN (Netflix). Promiscuous gay men continued to act irresponsibly and pay a heavy price during the UK’s devastating AIDS crisis in the 1980s. Russell T. Davies (who wrote Queer As Folk) is the author and the gripping screenplay is filled with empathy for the victims who died alone in hospital beds; But Davies is fully aware of her mistakes. He also rages against a government for its incompetent homophobic response. There is a very good cast. Olly Alexander, Omari Douglas and Cullum Scott Howells are the main gays and Lydia West is her best friend. Keeley Hawes is cast as the mother you never wish on anyone.

INNOCENTS IN PARIS (Studio Canal). The cast is led by Alistair Sim, Margaret Rutherford and Claire Bloom. Sounds good; but this very small British comedy from 1953, in which six unrelated Britons, all stereotypes, spend a weekend in the French capital, turns out to be cliche, stilted and unfunny. Their behavior is incredible and totally (mon dieu) sexless. Jimmy Edwards and Ronald Shiner do variety show routines. The funniest performance is that of Agnes Poirier, who spouts a lot of nonsense.

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WATCH MOVIES AT HOME: Robert Tanitch reviews 5 movies

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