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131 reviews in total 
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Knowing (2009)
1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Knowing (it sucks) and warning you to avoid, 10 April 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

***This review contains spoilers *** Oh dear, where to start? Okay, for a movie obsessed with numbers, here's three you need to know: 1.12 - or rather 1hr 12 mins - the time at which this promising movie goes off the rails with an annoying twist straight out of The Forgotten and countless other poor sci-fi flicks. For a man who works at MIT, it's obvious our moping hero doesn't recognise a plot device that was used in Close Encounters back in the late seventies. Hmm, a series of random numbers. Ooh, they're all dates when disasters happen and the number of casualties. Ooh, but what are these unaccounted for numbers? Could they be co-ordinates? How about yes Nicolas Cage? Yes, they are and yes i saw the same plot device used when i was 10 years old in Close Encounters. Knowing isn't a bad film for that first 72 minutes. The plot unfolds nicely and the premise is good. Cage is okay, not great and it ticks over nicely. But as that shark looks into view at the 72min mark i found myself getting angry as the inevitable twist loomed its large, ugly head - then the movie jumped said shark. And from that point on it just got worse. Remember that annoyed feeling you may have felt at the end of Contact when Jodie Foster lands on an alien planet and it looks like something from a holiday advert (aka a complete sell out?) That's mild compared to the hideous mess of a resolution at the end of Knowing. And that last half hour of AI, with the rubbish aliens? Also as bad here, complete with a spaceship that still looks like CGI artwork pitched to the producers, complete with stupid floaty contraptions that are utterly pointless (even a fantasy film has to have some logic). As for the protracted ending in which Cage emotes to his son for what seems like days, well that's 10 minutes of my life i'll never get back. I've seen some bad films in my time but Knowing ranks up there with Rancid Aluminium as one of the worst. Three words: avoid, avoid, avoid.

Avatar (2009)
4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Believe the hype, 20 December 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

James Cameron has always been a visionary director, since he burst onto an unsuspecting world with The Terminator in 1984. At $6million, that movie was anticipated by almost nobody; the big film of that Orwellian year was Dune - at $40million, the most expensive film ever made. Fast forward to 2009, a Cameron returns from more than a decade in the film-making wilderness to deliver his most expensive, ambitious film yet. It's rare for any movie to live up to they hype these days, and at a cost of $300million, the critics were sharpening their quills to stab at the self proclaimed king of the world. Comparisons to Ferngully and Halo were rife, but Avatar quickly buries those small minded, trite jibes; this is the real deal, and every penny of its price tag is up there on the big screen. The 3d is as immersive as you'd hope from any big screen blockbuster which requests grown men and women sit in chilly cinemas looking like refugees from the golden era of the 1950s - aka rather ridiculous. James Cameron's script might not be the most polished in the world, but on a comic book, teenage level it works wonders, and it's hard not to be gripped by some of the best action scenes committed to celluloid. Will it make it's money back? Only time will tell. However, for one 41-year-old who has grown up loving most of Cameron's work, the fact i could quite happily sit through the movie again a couple of hours after watching it suggests it will make a pile of cash from repeat business. Do yourself a favour, get to the biggest cinema screening it with a pair of 3d glasses, sit back and enjoy the ride. For once you can believe the hype.

The Mist (2007)
1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A masterpiece, 13 September 2009

***The following contains spoilers *** Great horror films are few and far between thanks to the fact many lazy film-makers stick to the tried and tested routine of unstoppable serial killers and rarely address more original ideas. Thankfully, writer/director Frank Darabont is a far more intelligent director who wisely returned to the rich source material of Stephen King for this stunning classic. Shot at breakneck speed on a modest budget, his movie features a terrific ensemble cast, a great script and nail-biting scenes. Luckily the weakest visual effects sequence, involving a tentacle in a supermarket loading bay, doesn't get in the way of the rest of the drama, and once that is out the way, the rest is a sheer roller-coaster ride. Much has been written about the ending, so i won't repeat it here. But just to say for a film-maker to opt for such a brave ending knowing it will affect box office takings takes some guts. Long after all those bleak horror movies with a happy ending have faded from the memory, The Mist will linger as a tribute to its incredible cast and crew. 10/10.

5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
An outstanding piece of work, 20 September 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is easily one of the best sitcoms of the 21st century. Penned by Craig Cash and Phil Mealey, the ensemble cast do wonders with the script, and even though Eddie (Mark Benton) hammers a gag home to the point of annoyance, the effect doesn't detract from the series. The first run was beautifully handled by director Adrian Shergold, and while the second didn't boast the same gorgeous photography, Craig Cash ensured it was as rib tickling and as poignant. The rest of the cast are wonderful. Christine Bottomley is a ray of sunshine, while John Henshaw gives a sublime performance as her adoptive dad. Although there was no Christmas special or a third series, at least fans were left wanting more instead of wishing cast and crew hadn't milked the format dry. To the regiment! You'll wish you were there.

The Nines (2007)
3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Inspired and worthy of a series, 20 September 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film vanished without a trace in 2007, and given the lack of publicity for the DVD, it's only because i was intrigued by an iTunes trailer i bothered tracking it down. Thank goodness i did because it was well worth a look. Ryan Reynolds gave a terrific performance, and was so good, i had to look hard to check he was playing the second of three characters. The rest of the cast, especially Melissa McCarthy, were superb, and the complex plot kept me hooked until the end. One of those movies that benefits from a second look, but with such a great idea, it would be good to see it stretched out as a TV series. A good soundtrack too. Check it out.

5 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Predictable stethosoap, 28 June 2008

Alas, this is another fast moving, post watershed medical drama that fails to set the pulse racing, despite a couple of racy moments. Paul Nicholls is okay as the leading man and the always excellent Suranne Jones shines in her role (despite a dubious posh accent), but there's nothing new here. With a glorified cameo by James Fox and a host of humdrum supporting characters, it may be a grower as the weeks go by, but based on the pilot episode, you may opt for another episode of Casualty or Holby City instead. Jones fans may want to watch old episodes of Coronation Street or Strictly Confidential to see her on better form. As for Nicholls: he seems sold short by the routine premise. If you have a pile of ironing to do it should pass the time a treat, but those seeking thought provoking drama may be better off giving it a miss.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
About as much fun as piles., 6 March 2008

The most morally bankrupt mess of a movie i've seen in years. Bad characterisation; outrageously poor direction and a stunningly retarded idea of what passes for horror. The Strause brothers may know their way around an effects unit, but their woeful lack of intelligence in the script department defies belief. The fact David Giler gave this a greenlight is also staggering. If Alien and Aliens were the highpoint of the saga, this is a subterranean embarrassment. It featured more plot holes than Swiss Cheese: The Movie and a hospital scene so repulsive it beggars belief. If a friend brings it round on DVD, make sure they pay your electric bill. Avoid it like a skittering facehugger.

22 out of 47 people found the following review useful:
Borez n the Hood, 7 October 2006

Oh dear.

The BBC's much publicised new version of Robin Hood makes the Patrick Bergin movie version look like a masterpiece.

Zero appeal from the eponymous character, a humdrum script, middling action scenes and the revelation that mascara apparently was developed in the era of merry men - well, that's one excuse for having one photogenic character parading around like something from a 2006 fashion mag.

Only Keith Allen as the Sheriff of Nottingham makes this worthwhile.

His deliciously corrupt tyrant adds levity and menace to the rest of the poorly realised scenario.

With David Tennant as Hood and Billie Piper as Maid Marian, this could have worked... oh, and Russell T Davies scripting would have helped as well. In other words, get the Dr Who crew on board and it may work.

As is stands, this is a big disappointment.

Whoever swiped the original episodes may have been doing the world a favour.

A shame they didn't pinch the apparently re-shot bits as well.

Hopefully things will improve as the weeks go by.

In the meantime, catch the Michael Praed/Jason Connery series to see how this should have been done.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Patchy but engaging, 1 April 2006

Whether you're a fan of the series which inspired it or not, there's no denying this is a patchy piece of work. But in the best possible sense. Keen to get away from the trappings of old sitcoms which made an uneasy transition to the big screen, Messrs Pemberton, Dyson, Shearmsith and Gatiss have gone down a different road, addressing the problems of dealing with their success along with adding other creations and, inevitably, rehashing some of their best-loved characters. It's a pity they didn't stick to just a more consistent League of Gents movie because as inventive as including themselves in the screenplay is, it weakens the finished movie. Well worth renting though.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Surprisingly good, 8 May 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Saturday night, the TV is awful so i popped this on expecting a movie as bad as it sounded. Never read the Marvel comic which inspired it but revenge thrillers can be a hit and miss affair at the best of times, especially when you can see the plot trajectory a mile off. However,one of the main things going for it was Jonathan Hensleigh. The talented scriptwriter had delivered some inspired work on Die Hard With A Vengeance and Armageddon and with Gale Anne Hurd producing, you know you're in for something a little more polished than your average no brainer flick. As a director and screenwriter, Hensleigh is a formidable force who did wonders with the $33million budget. Tom Jane is excellent as the eponymous hero, Frank Castle, seeking revenge after his family are wiped out by a ganglord (John Travolta). Laura Harring, the sexy protagonist from Mulholland Dr. is sadly wasted as his sultry wife, while an almost unrecognisable Samantha Mathis plays Castle's ill-fated spouse and then Rebecca Romijn Stamos pops up as the down on her luck tenant who falls for her hunky neighbour. While the first chunk feels like Mad Max revisited - wholesome law enforcer turned into a shell of a man after the death of his wife and son - the middle features a pointless comedy fight scene between Castle and a pumped up Russian villain. The third act is rather good, despite some sadistic scenes - if i never see a weedy supporting character having his piercings ripped out with pliers i'll be a happy bloke. A good looking nod to Sergio Leone and Don Siegel with an above average score. Not the greatest movie ever made and despite the obligatory Marvel shot of the hero explaining his future in a voice over at the end, i for one wouldn't mind seeing more adventures with Castle.

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