Reviews written by registered user
|285 reviews in total|
I was biased to this movie from the announcement of production. I mean
a film that is touted not as a remake, but as being influenced by the
original and truly wonderful Italian Job, immediately struck me as
another idiotic Hollywood idea. My feelings were twisted even more when
I heard that the heist in the new movie was happening in LA, so what
was with the title? You've pretty much guessed that at this point I
thought very little of the movie, had I known Donald Sutherland was in
it then some of my respect may have been won back, but I didn't.
In the interests of my movie reviews, I was determined to see it, after all even if it was awful it needed to be seen. So I rented the DVD and began to watch. I was surprised. To be fair Sutherland carries all of the movie he's in, and Mark Wahlberg struggles to get anything near acting while he's on screen with him, his mumbling monotone voice fumbling embarrassingly through their scenes. It's only until Sutherland is off screen that Wahlberg begins to gather some acting talent back.
However most of the cast still seem like they're walking through it. Even Edward Norton seems to tackle this with a half hearted gesture. To be honest there are two people who really stand out in this movie, and that's Jason Statham and, believe it or not, Seth Green. They're both lively and watchable characters. The others appear flat and emotionless.
That's not to say it's an enjoyable movie, in the entertainment sense it's quite fun. Some of the heist moves are set up well, and the stunts are particularly good, mainly because of the effort put in by the behind the scenes team to make them all as real as possible and try to avoid any special effects.
I'm not a big fan of Michael Chrichton, oh I know this will get me hit
with titles of books, movies and TV shows and "what about this one"
pleas, but something always sticks in my throat about him. He wrote
Westworld, the story of a pleasure park where the man made attractions
go wild and rebel against their human captors. Do I have to go on?
Sounds like the sequel, and the Jurassic Park movies? Sure he's done
different things since, but that really stuck with me and bugged me to
the point of not watching his movies or reading his books.
It would be great at this point to say I've been turned since watching this movie, but I can't. Not that the movie is the same story, there are similar moralities to it, but that it's not that great. The story is clumsy and character decisions are weak, a large part of it is very much stock plot and whatever could be deemed as new and inventive just seems to plod along and doesn't really have the depth to it.
What I did like was the editing. Skipping back and forth between the times was well done, and just at the right moments to add tension, but everything just seemed destined to happen. When you should have been sitting wondering what they were going to do and how, you already knew or had a fair idea, and it just seemed to happen.
The big battle scene was incredibly well done, and along with the sound editing made for some mighty seat leaping moments. Yet I keep coming back to the bad points, and I can't get past them.
Billy Connolly was awful in this, and that's strange because he's been so good in other movies. Some of the other casting was flat and uninspiring, with Neal McDonough playing the same character he did in Boomtown. However, Gerard Butler was good, and I'm not just saying that, he was. Well, he made the best of what he had. His screaming line at the end of the battle with his realisation of the obvious (what we had known since the beginning) was a laugh and seemed very heartfelt.
I knew I was guaranteed excitement and explosions with Bruce Willis
involved in a war\action flick, but I wasn't prepared for his
outstanding performance, a huge strong cast alongside him and a
punishing film which highlights the pain and genocide that Africa
struggles with year after year.
Antoine Fuqua directs in epic style, with fantastic backdrops, big camera sweeps and hugely powerful scenes. He shows again that he can more than ably deliver the quality and cinematic style that he did with Training Day. The movie is powerful and compelling and beautifully filmed.
Willis had hold of this story from 1995 and it seems a passionate piece for him, and I find that quite amazing that not only can he give it up so easily to a new Director, but that he also produces such a restrained and controlled performance. This really shows his maturity as an actor and producer.
It's in front of the screen that he really excels though, his performance in the earlier part of the movie reflects a controlled and strong soldier. Possibly his best movie to date. The actors around him in his squad are a perfect pick, apart from a slight tendency to facially overact from Eamonn Walker, they exude the qualities of a close knit team of professional soldiers. The authenticity is not just with their interaction together but also with their equipment, their use of weapons and tactics, nothing happens throughout the movie to make you doubt who they are portraying.
However all this is secondary to the story they are pulled into, that of genocide and ethnic cleansing, and the sheer evil and inhumanity of the acts of violence against the people of Africa by the people of Africa. It draws your eyes to the plight that millions of Africans are facing year after year in different countries, and the harrowing individual acts that are carried out for the most pointless of reasons.
There are some moments that lean towards Hollywood but that's all they do, before they go too far and bend the dramatic storyline away from the more believable the scene comes right back on track. In fact there are scenes that are deliberately non-Hollywood, and from what the Director and Willis have said, they wanted to keep it that way.
Overall this movie is excellent. A harrowing, gritty and truthful movie that pulls no punches, with utterly believable and strong performances from Willis and his team, and a fantastic performance by Monica Bellucci, beautiful despite the amount of mud thrown at her.
I'd heard about this movie from somewhere, I think one of my friends
told me about the movie as possibly as an example of good French
cinema, or maybe that's two different stories. Whatever it was it was
recommended to me as a good film and what French cinema is about. On
those recommendations I'll never actively seek out an example of French
cinema again! The film was awful. It's a collection of stories that are
linked in some way, although the links are extremely tenuous, and the
film clips back and forth between them with no apparent reasoning. Each
of the cuts is harsh, unforgiving and unexpected, and you find you have
to take time to re-orientate yourself before you work out where or why.
To be quite frank there's no real understanding of what the movie is about until you listen to the two Director interviews and he explains what it is about. Let me give you that benefit now. It's about how impersonal we have all become, and how we no longer connect with each other between people in the streets, friends, family or generations.
Armed with that knowledge you suddenly understand what it's all about, but to be quite frank, that idea could have been covered with two or three of the scenes on the movie, and covered very well. Looking back on it, once I understood the message, I really did feel like I'd watched scenes of repetition and filling until the key points of the main storyline came through.
I could have done without all the side stories, stuck with the main storyline of the couple going out together and the dysfunctional son living with his grandfather. That story alone would have told what the Director wanted, and much clearer than the mish-mash of scenes and stories that came about. Listening to the Director talk, you almost feel he built the movie around his ideas for the street scene, and the rest is afterthought.
I know, I watched the trailer and I still went, but to be honest I was
expecting just what the trailer offered, excitement, laughs and big
explosions. That's what I mostly got.
It's a fun film, there's a pretty good story overall but the set pieces and situations are just totally unbelievable and so contrived it's almost funny watching them for what can happen next or how daft they can setup the scene.
Still, it's fun. It's all put together with tongue firmly in cheek, and although the jokes and funny moments won't raise more than a giggle, it's good that they've steered away from the total comedy route.
Matthew McConaughey is surprisingly good in the role, relaxed and natural. If the series picks up then he'll have no problem returning to the role, if he wants it. There's a great chemistry in the trio of him, Penélope Cruz and Steve Zahn which comes across on screen well.
Overall it's a great afternoon's entertainment, disengage the brain and have some giggles. If nothing else the locations are impressive.
The first thing that strikes you about this movie is the amazing title
sequence, I don't think I've seen such an exciting and eye-catching
sequence since Bullitt, and that won an award for it's titles. They are
exceptional, freeze frame moments from the action that will soon open
up before you, little parts of the larger situation, all with their own
angle on the situation and with the cameras own angle on them.
Bruce Willis is most definitely back on form here, it's a much more mature and restrained Die Hard, think of that role mixed with Unbreakable and you really do have his acting style here. He gives a good performance throughout, but his best moments are when his family are being threatened and he shows you just how much he really can act. The scene in his car with the van behind is fantastic, and really makes you feel for the character.
Kevin Pollak also stars, giving an all too brief but great performance. These two actors work well together, and the closing scenes are something to hang on for. I've heard talk that this is where the movie is let down, but I can't really agree with that. This is where the movie ramps down the action but brings the story to the head, they seem to forget the main characters motivation until then.
The younger actors stand up superbly well to the main cast, and have no problem holding their own. In particular the kids who lead the hostage taking are superb, confused, unsure, but pushed forward by the totally psychopathic Ben Foster, a wonderful performance there.
There is little in the way of traditional Willis action sequences, albeit for the one main hostage ending sequence, but this does little to dull the movie, in fact it strengthens it. Throughout the tension is high, and the fact that you are the only one sharing the secret that Talley is carrying which is his justification builds on the tension and excitement.
An excellent return to form for Willis, and a really good all round thriller. Filled with good actors and emotionally packed characters, it makes for an excellent movie. Willis isn't too old for this kid of movie, he's just not been getting good enough roles.
Much was talked about this movie when it first came out, with the
obvious comparisons made to Mel Gibson's other historical epic
Braveheart, and those made me steer clear of the movie for a good
while, although now I find myself wondering why after seeing it this
It rivals Saving Private Ryan for the realism and gore factor, bringing the devastation and personal pain involved in war right at you without flinching.
Gibson is strong in this role, but plays it at quite a lower key than he did in Braveheart, and it works really well. He really is a great actor, sure you can question some of his decisions and roles, but he can really pull off an emotional scene at both ends of the spectrum, and he has to show them all.
The film certainly shows how harrowing the first assault of the Vietnam war really was, and how utterly pointless it was. It was amazing to see the courage and strength of the young men involved, and then being shown the flip side with the cowardice and idiocy of the suits in charge and their disregard for the lives of the soldiers.
Although the movie concentrates on the US Soldiers it does turn to the Vietnamese Commander and show the similarities between them and their belief and love for their soldiers.
Something that strikes me about many of the US historical movies is their blatant disregard for history, and their total belief in the American way above all else. The US won World War II by themselves, they managed to break the hold of the German Submarines by finding and cracking their code machine and they leapt into action and poured destruction on the Japanese after Pearl Harbour.
None of this is seen in this movie, yes there is a strong American belief, but in this movie it's much more real. The belief is there, but it's from the soldiers who really believe in their Country and what they are fighting for, a feeling that was present in the real world before this war, and has struggled through since.
It is a great war movie, it's also a very moving and harrowing one, showing what the Soldiers went through for their country and how their officials, and indeed their people, failed them.
However it's not all good. The movie seems to have many swift cuts which are suited to the battle scenes, but not in transitions, and it begins to have the feel that there are portions of the movie edited out. This is certainly backed in the continuity of the story and how some crucial background and key scenes just seem to be raced through giving you the barest of information before heading off to another battle.
That really harms the movie for me, and it's a shame because there is so much of this movie which is really, really good.
I really liked X-Men, it was one of the few comic adaptations that
really made it big, and also made it right. So I was keen to see if X2
had managed to carry the successful conversion to the big screen again.
Word of mouth had it that it was good, but I didn't realise just how
The movie is excellent. Truly as a movie fan there's not much I can find wrong with this film, and as a comic fan there's not much I can find wrong with the adaptation. If I were pressed then Cyclops is perhaps too wooden and Storm not quite angry enough, but these are tiny failings, tiny.
The story is very well written and the characters paths pulled together very skillfully. The introduction of Nightcrawler is superbly done, with the first action scene kicking the action and effects into top gear. Alan Cumming plays the character wonderfully, and despite my first thoughts at being such an odd choice, he fills the role perfectly.
Each strand of the story that involves each character begins to pull in different directions, but as the story moves along the strands cross and begin to merge, before all of the characters return to fight the one cause, and the one enemy. What is so different for this movie is the fight as truly moved to humans against X-Men, the war is upon them.
Acting talent abounds here, with Brian Cox, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, and they all manage to lift the performance of even the smallest character. The weakest links are slight blemishes and really require some serious investigation, Cyclops slightly wooden style and the slightly bland performance of Halle Berry who seems to fail to capture the true anger and strength of the Storm character.
Let's be honest though, I am nitpicking, and otherwise this is a truly excellent movie, great entertainment and tension throughout. It's also one of the best comic book adaptations, perhaps even the best to date.
I'm a big fan of those old religious epics, The Robe, The Ten
Commandments, those old Sunday movies with the real Stars of Hollywood.
Huge stories, huge stars, huge emotion and huge entertainment,
However todays epic religious movie is more about challenging belief, presenting new historical findings, and being controversial. For me that's lost all the passion of the religious epic. Strange I feel this way considering I'm not even religious. However, late night the other week I happened to come across Last Temptation on the Channel 4 Banned Film season, and I gave it a chance.
Good job I did too as it turns out it does retain a lot of that epic feel to it. There's a load of recognisable stars, big acting and huge stories, but still retaining that modern challenging and controversial stance.
Willem Dafoe is simply stunning as Christ, pulling a painfully emotive performance and showing amazing presence when called for. He almost looks like a man possessed, which is perhaps the idea.
Barbara Hershey plays Mary Magdalene who is on screen far too briefly. Harvey Keitel is perhaps the weak link here and doesn't perform well in his role as Judas. There are some quieter moments when he brings through compassion and his love for Christ very well, but when he portrays some stronger emotional feelings it does seem to come through as out of place.
Overall the story is an interesting one, and looking outside of the whole religious aspect, I personally can't see the reason for the upset. It portrays the final temptation that Satan offers to Christ while he dies upon the cross. For someone who doesn't believe, I find that this only strengthens the aspect of the story and lifts the ideals and triumph of the story and of the character of Christ even higher.
It's a well directed movie, and there are some really hard hitting moments, obviously being written and directed by those with a real passion for the subject matter. However it does feel that it leaps about, since this story is just a well visited one there are great leaps in the timeline, and it concentrates on certain acts that are deemed relevant to build to the final temptation. Yet I feel that negatively affects the building of the other characters and the story itself. It's as though it's taken for granted that we know the story and we're only going to be shown the newer, controversial aspects.
When the trailer first came out for this movie I was dead excited, it
was a British film with a different slant on a well visited horror
genre. It had also received some interesting quotes at it's festival
showing, all giving you the impression that it was a good movie.
Then time took over and quotes and reviews dropped it down, then I just never got round to watching it. So when my first copy of the DVD was poor and I stopped watching half way through I was gutted, and had to wait a few days to get a replacement.
The movie is great fun and mixes two genres really well, that of real soldiers mixed up with a bizarre horror premise of Werewolves in Scotland. As they say in the making of, it's a story of Soldiers and Werewolves, not the other way around. So it is that the story starts out looking very realistic and feeling pretty normal, and it's slowly ramped up and pulled slightly sideways scene by scene until it's pretty much madness.
Saying that, the reactions and lines from the characters are all pretty much realistic. There aren't many Hollywood one liners, instead there are quips, swearing and straight denial that you get in real life when people are faced with difficult situations. It all feels like these are real people in a real situation.
The script is excellent for this very fact, but the actors lend a tremendous effort too. Sean Pertwee is a sadly under used talent, and he shows his colours here flying through scenes with the greatest of authority, and he's very well followed through by the rest of the soldier cast who all just seem so natural in their roles. All except for the female of the story who feels very much out of place and awkward, her lines all too unnatural.
The action and editing keeps going, and there are quite a few refreshing moments when traditional horror films would throw something that the characters, but here it doesn't happen. For that it's quite unpredictable and enjoyable. The action just keeps on coming with very few breaks, the Werewolves are unstoppable.
Not only are the unstoppable, they also look great. Big, hairy, scary, there's nothing that looks fake about them and they really do look menacing.
Overall it's a great fun film and the experience on DVD is so much better than so many others I've seen. Plus it's British, quite original, full of movie references and with some great actors.
I have never enjoyed an audio commentary as much as I have with Dog Soldiers. It's hilarious and the guys involved sound like they had such a laugh doing the movie, never mind the commentary.
I've just watched the second audio commentary by the US Producers, and I was surprised again that I've learnt so much more about the movie again. There are so many more hidden references and character\story connections that I'd missed. This truly is the first DVD that I've watched where the audio commentaries are so strong.
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