Movies – J

Jabberwocky (1977)

Inspired by the Lewis Carroll poem, Terry Gilliam's debut feature is an uneven mix of medieval tomfoolery and crude Monty Python humour. Fellow Python Michael Palin plays the humble peasant hero who, to prove his worth and win the hand of a fair maiden, sets out to kill the fearsome "manxome foe". The production design(...)

Jack (1996)

In Big (1988), Tom Hanks played a boy in the body of a man. This comedy drama repeats the trick by casting Robin Williams as a ten-year-old who looks like a 40-year-old, thanks to an ageing disorder that has made his body mature at an incredible rate. Diane Lane and Brian Kerwin give subtle performances as(...)

Jack Frost (1997)

With no pretension to anything other than the basest Z-movie thrills, this tale of a wise-cracking homicidal snowman is not to be confused with the Michael Keaton-starring shit-hurricane of schmaltz released the following year. Jack Frost sees a psychopathic maniac return to his old hunting ground to continue his killing spree. Accidentally transformed into a snowman on(...)

Jackie Brown (1997)

Jackie Brown (1997)

  "AK-47. The very best there is. When you absolutely, positively got to kill every motherfucker in the room, accept no substitutes". Imaginatively dragging Elmore Leonard's bestseller Rum Punch into his own postmodern universe peppered with quirky dialogue and cinematic references, director Quentin Tarantino makes this re-energised crime thriller a homage to, and an updating(...)

Jailhouse Rock (1957)

This is Elvis Presley's glorious third movie, after Love Me Tender (1956) and Loving You (1957), when the snarl and talent were, for once, harnessed to a suitable plot under the experienced direction of MGM veteran Richard Thorpe. Presley plays Vince Everett, a young truck driver sent to prison for accidentally killing a man in a fistfight.(...)

Jason and The Argonauts (1963)

Jason and The Argonauts (1963)

Three million dollars were spent on Jason and the Argonauts, mainly on the 'Dynamation 90' special effects created by Ray Harryhausen - and it was not difficult to see where the money went. This lively and imaginative re-telling of the Greek myth begins with a siege and slaughter by the power-mad Acastus, who kills the entire(...)

Jaws (1975)

Martha’s Vineyard, off the coast of Massachusetts, summertime. Breaking away from a hippie beach party, a young woman flirtatiously dashes along the sand, a new friend in amorous pursuit. "Where are we going?" he asks. "Swimming," comes the reply. Night is falling, moonlight sparkles on the surface of the sea, and a leviathan killer waits(...)

Jaws 2 (1978)

Three years after those infamous shark attacks, another great white swims into police chief Martin Brody's Amity resort town in this shameless sequel that's a pale imitation of the classic original. Director Jeannot Szwarc tries to ape Steven Spielberg's imaginative style, but the suspense comes unglued because the film floats in all-too-familiar waters. You just(...)

Jaws 3-D (1983)

Called Jaws III for television and stripped of the one gimmick (3-D) that made it - arguably - acceptable in theatres, this hapless opus stands as a testament to the law of diminishing returns. Sheriff Brody's sons are working at a new marine park, where a captive infant great white shark is being groomed as(...)

Jaws: The Revenge (1987)

Amity has not suffered a shark attack in years, but the fears of widow Ellen Brody (Lorraine Gary) resurface when her younger son is suddenly killed. Believing the entire family is somehow threatened, she flies to the Bahamas to warn her marine biologist son, Michael (Lance Guest), of the danger. Meanwhile, also heading for the(...)

Jazz Singer, The (1980)

Neil Diamond made his 'acting' debut as a cantor's son who just wants to sing. While Diamond had been one of the best pop singers of the 60s, he sank to a self-aggrandising low in yet another remake of the historic first talkie movie ever (but the scene with him in blackface still must be(...)

Je T’Aime, Je T’Aime (1968)

Returning to the subjects of lapsing time and unreliable memory that had informed all his earlier features, Alain Resnais harnessed that old sci-fi standby, the time machine, to bring an extra dimension to this intriguing study of lost happiness, despair and death. Unfortunately, as the suicide survivor dispatched to retrace his past, Claude Rich struggles(...)

Jerk, The (1979)

Adopting behaviour patterns reminiscent of Jerry Lewis in his heyday, comedian Steve Martin bulldozed his way through The Jerk, an uneven comedy whose hit-and-miss approach to the material nonetheless yielded more laughs than groans. Martin played the adopted son of black parents (Mabel King and Richard Ward) who, upon finally learning of his parental situation, leaves(...)

Jerry Maguire (1996)

"You had me at 'Hello'" After a sudden realisation of his moral vacuousness as a sports agent in charge of 72 clients, Jerry Maguire writes a memo to the rest of the company giving them a few home truths and suggesting a more caring way of working. He is promptly given the sack and sets out(...)

Jesus Christ Superstar (1973)

Director Norman Jewison took the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice rock opera out to Israeli desert locations to film an unconventional movie musical version of the last seven days of Christ's life on Earth. Unfortunately the film never really found a satisfactory style to match the driving energy of the music. Ted Neeley played a petulant,(...)

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