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26 reviews in total 
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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Meh..., 1 May 2012

Jeff Garlin plays James, a sad-sack actor who looks for love and a decent job. That's about it. I love Garlin, some of his stand-up is great and I think Curb Your Enthusiasm has gotten better with every season, but this is weak sauce. James is a very stoic man but this stops being endearing about halfway through. He is treated like garbage over and over and over and eventually it just seems masochistic. It doesn't help that the movie seems to be as in love with Sarah Silverman's character as much as James is, when audiences are likely to have the opposite reaction. In her last scene I wanted James to sit on her head until she died, but it's not that sort of movie. Still, it's great to see Garlin play the lead, the supporting cast are way more famous than you'd expect for such a tiny movie (his address book must be stellar), and there are some great lines, so it's worth a look.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Great house, bad movie, 8 April 2012

A young girl moves into a Gothic mansion with her dad and his girlfriend...and a bunch of supernatural creatures who live in the basement. This should have been a lot better than it is but the PLOT HOLES, oh the many, many plot holes. Guillermo del Toro has signed up for about a thousand different projects since Pan's Labyrinth and it really shows. Katie Holmes is a terrible actress, Guy Pearce is usually great but not here, and the kid is OK considering a lot of her behavior makes no sense whatsoever. You hear creepy voices and scuttling noises in a dark room: what do you do? Here on Earth you'd hit the lights pronto but these characters have decided to take the title literally and flail about in the in the gloom like idiots. Every second scene has you rolling your eyes at something stupid. The overall design (sets, art direction) are well done and the special effects were pretty good, but I was never scared, nor was I entertained.

The Guard (2011)
52 out of 66 people found the following review useful:
Gleeson makes it great, 25 August 2011

An unorthodox small-town police sergeant (Brendan Gleeson) locks horns with an erudite crew of drug-runners and a bemused FBI agent (Don Cheadle). The Guard, easily one of the best I've seen this year, skilfully blends bleak drama, absurdest comedy and surprising thrills, often within the same scene. John Michael McDonagh hits the ball out of the park with his excellent screenplay and slightly Sergio Leone-esque direction, and the superb cast dig into their frequently outstanding dialogue with relish. But it's Brendan Gleeson who makes this film a small masterpiece. I never thought he could top In Bruges but he is even better here. His character is the biggest smart-alec you've ever seen and Gleeson is a constant delight to watch. I can't think of any other actor who could play this particular role so well. His remarkably subtle facial expressions, the way he uses his physicality, not a single gesture is wasted or superfluous. Daniel Day Lewis couldn't have done better, and that's high praise indeed. A must-see.

Hubble 3D (2010)
13 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Prepare to be dazzled!, 15 October 2010

THIS MOVIE WAS INCREDIBLE. My friends and I walked out of IMAX on such a high that it was though we'd been the ones slaving away in orbit above the Earth, handling inexplicably razor-sharp circuits with our laughably fragile gloves, attached to our shuttle by what looks like a single strand of black wool. Before, I knew that being an astronaut was a dangerous job but now I understand that it's more than that: it's the most dangerous job any person has ever done, ever, in the history of humanity. The list of things that could go wrong at any second could take up a dozen movies but these men and women have nerves of steel. On top of that we get treated to a series of 3D journeys through galaxies that are millions of light years away, places that actually don't exist anymore because the images takes millions of years to reach us. At first I thought Leonardo DiCaprio was over-selling it, but about 45 seconds after we plunged into outer space I realized that he couldn't help himself. Understandably, the excitement and awe in his voice simply cannot be contained. He should get some sort of special narration Oscar because it must have been hard to talk with his jaw hanging down to his knees. There are a couple of boring bits (e.g. shots of a wife strolling down the beach and musing about missing hubby up in orbit) which were probably included only so your head doesn't explode with astonishment and stain the seats. My only genuine gripe is that I was greedy for more of the deep space stuff and it's too short, but there's nothing stopping me from seeing it twice. An absolute must-see.

9 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Send this stinking corpse back to the grave!, 27 December 2007

I saw this at the Melbourne International Film Festival a couple of years ago and expectations were high. Unfortunately, it's terrible instead of terrifying. Unless you enjoy pointless scenes that go on and on and on and on and on this is not the movie for you. Seriously, what the hell was that scene of the wife driving home all about? The camera frames her profile as she drives home listening to a song on the radio for minutes on end. What was that in aid of? It adds nothing to the story and slows down the already-crawling pace. After YET ANOTHER lengthy sequence of her wandering the beach in her bikini we decided that the director must be in love with her. He also thinks the audience are complete morons. We don't need endless scenes of Mrs Zombie pouting to know that being married to the undead sucks. But what really bugs me about Zombie Honeymoon is that it actually DOES have a few OK bits but they'e drowned out because the movie is so slow and boring. Some of the killings are well-handled (though I admit it helped that I was desperate for the characters to die so that it would finally end) and there is one good moment where the wife drowns out some horrible sounds by cranking up the volume on the TV. The husband gives a good performance, but it's not enough.

2 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Stylish, atmospheric, boring..., 4 October 2007

On its synopsis page the IMDb says this movie is about espionage and kidnapped scientists, but that's all lies. The Ipcress File is REALLY about bores in suits opening doors and walking through them and having monotonal conversations with other bores. One could be forgiven for thinking that the director had some sort of fetish for doors because hardly a minute goes by without someone knocking on a door or closing one behind them. Most of the film takes place in deliberately dreary little offices, so there is nothing to look at, and the characters should have numbers instead of names. It takes almost an hour for the plot to creak into life but by then you'll be too tired to care. About halfway through I desperately needed to see something alive because the actors might as well be reanimated corpses - a pot plant, a pigeon, ANYTHING. At one point Michael Caine goes to the supermarket to buy mushrooms, yet he cruelly sticks to the tinned section. At long last there's a shot of a park (Grass! Trees!) and I thought, "Thank you, oh merciful God". None of this would matter if the script was any good (it isn't). The director is certainly trying hard, what with all the wacky camera angles, and this at least gives it a distinctive look. Otherwise, The Ipcress File is basically an unbearably self-important episode of The Avengers, except without any suspense, wit or charm.

8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
What's so hard to get?, 8 May 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Morvern Caller is often described as impenetrable but I thought it was quite straightforward. It's basically a dramatization of the alienation experienced by a person whose behavior could be considered evil. It surprises me that more people don't mention this when writing about it: Morvern, obviously shattered by the suicide of her partner, spends several days in deep shock before hacking up his corpse in the bath and burying the pieces in the countryside. She then replaces his name with hers on his unpublished manuscript, mails it to a publisher, and uses the money he left for his funeral to take her best friend (the amazing Kathleen McDermott) on a holiday in sunny Spain. What would you think if somebody did this to a person you knew? Would you think they were unhinged by grief, or would you be horrified by their depraved narcissism? Probably a bit of both, which is where Morvern Caller gets interesting. Finger-wagging is conspicuous by its absence. Morvern has a miserable time in Spain. She is unable to connect with the people around her in a meaningful way as her past actions have cut her off from normal interactions with others. Morvern is no empty shell who can shrug off dismembering the only person who loved her (she was raised by a foster parent who has long since died), and she obviously can't tell anyone what she has done. All attempts to escape her past fail and she slowly comes to realize she has doomed herself to a life of isolation, exemplified by the haunting final shots at a train station. Technically Morvern Caller is very beautiful and I found Lynne Ramsay's direction to be hypnotic, although I can see why some people hate this film. Let's face it, you're asking for trouble when you make a movie where the main character pisses all our sympathy away in the first 10 minutes. Samantha Morton was outstanding although her acting is similar to her performance in Under The Skin (a more accessible movie about dealing with death). I'd definitely recommend Morvern Caller (and its Aphex Twin-laden soundtrack) but it's heavy going.

Flashdance (1983)
4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Helps if you like music montages..., 5 May 2006

Flashdance is one of those awful, stupid movies that you actually kind-of enjoy, just because they're so crap. I just watched it on TV & my friend and I were amazed at how dopey it was. It's true that Don Simpson and the other producers came up with the idea of a fairly cheap, lowbrow flick with lots of sweaty bodies to help sell a soundtrack of (admitedly catchy) pop, so Flashdance is an odd sort of pioneer: the first MTV movie. Adrian Lyne started out in advertising and it shows because Flashdance is almost a commercial for itself. You've already decided to watch it but the movie has this weird, panicky undercurrent, as though it's frightened that you might change your mind at any moment. It keeps selling itself to you over and over, all the way through, using slick commercial-style editing and glossy close-ups of jiggling breasts. The story is wafer thin (I honestly can't think of another film I've seen with less plot) and it never makes much sense, but its a very contrived, calculating movie, so it feels consistent. People say it's dated but Flashdance was always rubbish. Viewers in the early 80's knew it was just cheesy T&A but it does work in its own silly fashion. There's soppy romance for the chick-flick crowd and stacks of oily, writhing female bodies for their dates, all set to a pumping disco beat. How could it fail? It helps that the dialogue is pointless, so you can grab a popcorn without missing anything major and, if this sort of thing isn't your cup of tea, you can always laugh at the 'interpretive dance' on display. The scene where a stand-in for Jennifer Beals convulses/'dances' on stage in front of a TV with a fan in it and a face full of white clown make-up had us in stitches. A genuine guilty pleasure.

5 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Might have been scary if it wasn't about nine hours long..., 18 March 2006

Good: the cinematography and art direction. Nice house. OK acting. Bad: the lightweight story and complete absence of tension. God, that script! I know this isn't meant to be Hitchcock but why did it have to be so stupid? Couldn't they have given it a quick polish to clear up all those plot holes and inconsistencies? Thanks to some subtle CGI there are quite a few trick shots (e.g. the camera going through the floor) but I would have gladly traded them all for plot twists I couldn't spot 30 minutes in advance. Only people who jump on a chair when they see a mouse could be scared by the tired 'thrills' dished up here.

10 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
That bloody piano!, 15 December 2005

Come on, is this a joke? How could a grown-up actually enjoy this movie? Surely it was made for teenage girls going through their first unrequited crush? While You Were Sleeping has the sort of plot usually seen in kids TV, where the characters make totally bizarre decisions that appeal to the sensibility of a child of, say, 10 years old. The dialogue gives new meaning to the word insipid and WHAT is with that incessant piano?! Smothering everything with restaurant muzak helps drown out some of the lines but the cure turns out to be even worse than the disease. The cast have been made to be sickeningly cutesy-poo, to be cuter they'd have to sport golden sausage-curls. This movie is just oozing with cynical, carefully calculated schmaltz and it doesn't have any real jokes, just moments where you're supposed to chuckle sympathetically at the heroines antics. It's like watching a film made for kittens, except even kittens would be bored.

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