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Rich B

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285 reviews in total 
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322 out of 404 people found the following review useful:
Wonderful, beautiful to watch, all in all, incredible., 21 November 2004
10/10

WOW! What a movie. I can honestly say this is in my top ten movies of all time, how do Pixar continue to out do themselves at every movie release?

The Incredibles is a fantastic story, wonderfully scripted and with the most stunning animation you have ever seen, it provides a perfectly rounded story with plenty of action, laughs and (almost) tears.

Basically, this is a story of a man encountering a mid life crisis and leaping headlong into it without a care or a thought for his family, proving exceedingly selfish and failing to see the good in his life. Meanwhile the wife is left to try and look after the family. Really, that's the story. Now, what Pixar have done is drop in the idea that the parents are Superheroes, banned from being Super many years previously by the Government and the people, trying to live a normal life. Add to the mix that some of their children have inherited their own powers and that the Super villains are planning a comeback, and you have this wonderful movie.

I can't begin to convey how wonderful the animation is, it's perfect. I mean you'll always be looking at it knowing it's animation, but when the story takes you along you'll suddenly realize you're still watching animation. The subtle difference is that you forget, and there are parts (for instance when the father is cheering his son during the race) that you actually think it is real. The effects for water, fire (two of the hardest things to recreate in animation) and lava are wonderful to watch and caught me drawing a breath when I first saw them.

The characters and acting are wonderful, and you will find yourself caring about them as real people. At some points I could feel a big swallow coming up and a wavering adams apple, obviously due to the food earlier, nothing to do with the movie.

I often find that movies aren't paced well, that they either have too long or too short an introduction to the characters, or the events that lead up to the pivotal point of the movie are unbalanced against the climax, all sorts of combinations. Not here, this move is perfect and well balanced, the story takes you along just when you are ready, and there were no points where I wished we could move on, or something could happen quicker. My only frustration were at the kids, and this was only because they were behaving exactly as real kids would.

It was interesting to see the comparisons and links to other famous Superheroes through comic-lore. Definitely with nods to The Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer and huge nods to The Watchmen. My only concern is that there is so much similarity to The Watchmen that those who haven't read the graphic novel will be saying "That's the Incredibles movie" when Watchmen finally comes to fruition.

The short film showing before this was wonderful in itself, and had the audience laughing out loud loads. Excellent, and once again, outdoes every short that they've produced before. Boundin' was beautifully animated and wonderfully told. Guaranteed to bring a huge big smile to your face.

All in all I think this movie is perfect and truly incredible.

140 out of 170 people found the following review useful:
A wonderful film that should be watched again and again., 13 September 2002
10/10

This is one of the best films of all time, without a doubt. I challenge anyone to watch this film and not be touched, if you can, you have no heart!

James Stewart is one of my favourite actors, and in this film he acts so naturally you even forget he's an actor playing a part, you really believe his story. You're pulled on a roller coaster of emotions throughout this film, and by no means is this a light hearted look at life, as many believe. This is not a rose tinted look at the wonderful life we have, this is a dark, downtrodden start to a film where the lead character is about to commit suicide.

However, it is a beautiful film, and is one of the few that you can watch again and again and walk away with the same glowing feeling as you did when you first watched it.

132 out of 183 people found the following review useful:
Excellent movie and brilliantly crafted entertainment with a superb casting, 24 December 2004
10/10

I remember seeing this movie when I was young, and it may well have been in the cinema with my Father, I can't quite remember (if he does, then please post the answer), anyway I do remember seeing it and being thoroughly entertained and that feeling of excitement and total fun staying with me to this very day as that is the feeling that the movie conjures up whenever I think of it.

I think a part of that is down to the fact it's a complete retake on the old serial movies combined with obvious comic book style, and that is just perfect for kids and appeals to them no end, or rather it did then! So it was with excitement that I opened my presents on my birthday and found the boxset for the Indiana Jones Trilogy, and with even more excitement when I finally watched the first in the trilogy, Raiders of the lost Ark.

It was just as I remembered, fun, excitement, wise cracks, a tiny splattering of romance but with a manliness that kids would allow, and lots of stunts and action. It's a superb movie and captures that style of serials, adventure stories and comic books perfectly, how I know that for sure is only through repeats since I wasn't alive during those times.

The set pieces are fantastic, and although some of the wilder end sequences are slightly dated now, it hasn't lost the excitement factor. It's a perfectly crafted movie as well, moving from location to location without any distraction or superfluous scenes, it just feels like it's all there for a reason and that it belongs there.

Harrison Ford is excellent in the role, and I'm inclined to think he was more Indy than he was Solo, but that's a personal opinion. He has many more facial movements and voice inclinations in this early movie than he does nowadays, now he belongs to the moody, quiet school of acting, then he was dynamic, adventurous, strong and as wisecracking as the best of them.

There are some excellent movie making moments in this with George Lucas and Steven Spielberg showing talent galore just oozing out of every pore (where did all that go for Star Wars I to III Mr Lucas?), and they end up making an excellently entertaining movie.

Some could argue that there could be a bit more depth or seriousness to the story, but come on, it's a ripping adventure yarn, you don't need depth. Saving the Ark from the Nazi's, surely that's enough! An excellent movie and great fun too, without a doubt one of my favourite of all time.

71 out of 79 people found the following review useful:
It's a wonderfully written film, with equal acting, to remind us all of falling in love for the first time without all the hurt, mistrust and disbelief in oneself., 18 April 2003
10/10

A wonderful film which made me laugh, cry and heavily identify with the first time I ever saw it. Then, some 13 years later, after buying it on DVD with faded memories, I watched it again and it all came back.

I laughed; I was moved; I cheered inside when things went well for the hero, and I even remembered things about my first love. Especially the shaking with happiness moment (Judith). This film has survived 13 years with me, and it's not all down to my own memories.

John Cusack and Ione Skye give such wonderful performances that are so believable there's not a second that you're thinking of them as actors. Everything they feel and do seems so real. John Mahoney portrays the over protective Father very well, and his understated struggle when he realises this is superbly done.

Cameron Crowe has excelled himself in capturing the feelings and moments that you can so easily identify with to make them just right, and seem so natural.

It's a wonderfully written film, with equal acting, to remind us all of falling in love for the first time without all the hurt, mistrust and disbelief in oneself. It even manages to provide one of the best endings I've ever seen.

86 out of 111 people found the following review useful:
Excellent movie, great script, dialogue and acting with superb DVD coverage, 18 March 2005
9/10

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.

73 out of 86 people found the following review useful:
Superb movie, well directed and a stunning performance from Connelly. Shakespearean Tragedy in a modern setting., 21 October 2005
9/10

Movie It's a great movie, without a doubt, a strong and intelligent offering with some of the strongest and most heartfelt performances I've seen for a long time. Jennifer Connelly is stunning, and I don't just mean in looks, her acting is amazing and is picked up on the audio commentary again and again. One scene early on requires her to shed a single tear while talking quite normally on the phone, as if on queue it drops. You can hardly believe someone could give such a heart wrenchingly emotional and confused performance as this and manage to retain a normal life, watching her you believe that she is in a downward spiral of depression and self destruction. A totally believable and emotionally charged performance.

Ben Kingsley also gives a great performance, although not so outwardly recognisable in emotion, it's only really until you watch the audio commentary and listen to the praise given by the Director and author that you realise how subtle and exacting his performance is. His character is defined by strength, beliefs and pride, and Kingsley gives an excellent performance, Shakespearean in stature.

The film itself is emotionally draining, and you feel you're being taken on that roller-coaster drop along with Connelly's character, but don't for a second think that you shouldn't see it for those reasons, it's a journey that is superbly rewarding as a movie and an education in the miscommunication of people. Particularly people of different cultures.

As the movie progresses and the events step further and further down towards their tragic conclusion, the characters become more and more complex. Starting as simple, pigeon holed characters that you've seen before, they soon become more real and pull you into the movie, wrapping you up in them. They become utterly engaging and you totally disengage from life around you.

There's a strong supporting cast, although the performance from Jonathan Ahdout is not too convincing, those around them are, I think a particular mention is required to Shohreh Aghdashloo who provides an emotional balance for the coldness of Kingsley's character and an emotional mirror to the devastation of Connelly's character.

Two things are mentioned in the audio commentary that I didn't really pick up on until then, but retrospectively you realise these contribute greatly to making it a great movie. The first is the subtlety, there are many images and scenes without words that you don't truly appreciate until a second viewing, or a very careful first one. The second is the way that Kinglsey praises the Director's style of never telling the audience what did happen and is going to happen, events just occur. For instance the breaking of the marriage of Ron Eldard, where there is no explanation given, it's just happened. This has the effect of treating the audience with respect and realising that they have intelligence, and it also makes for an excellent way of keeping the pace of the movie.

Picture Presented: The picture is crisp and sharp, a superb use of lighting in the movie moving from the bright opening beginning of the story it darkens through time to the bleak and dismal closing scenes. The light is always warm and inviting, with any artificial light looking sterile, and the darker shots bleak and dismal. Some of the time lapse shots between scenes are beautiful.

Audio Presented: The audio is very good, although there is nothing to really take advantage of a surrounding speaker system, the sound is kept sparse and atmospheric, with an extremely subtle and limited soundtrack it gives everything to the movie and never distracts.

Extras Presented: What strikes you about this DVD are the beautiful animated menus, black and white shots from through the movie fill the background giving you the feeling of mystery and indeed sadness.

The Deleted Scenes are good, although alongside they have a dull and very annoying commentary. Rather than talking about the scene and giving some insights you are treated to noises of laughter, snorting and approval interspersed with over the top bouts of backslapping. Awful, before it's over you're dreading the onset of the audio commentary. The Behind the Scenes is good, but nothing new.

The Photo Gallery is very well done as it's not a gallery at all, it's a featurette that is filled with stills between interviews with people talking about actors, characters and key scenes. It's a very engaging way of creating a gallery. Another huge extra is the Shohreh Aghdashloo Audition, it's truly amazing to see this actress work through some very emotionally harrowing scenes one after the other right in front of your eyes, it gives you a superb grounding in what it really means to be an actor and auditioning. With this performance it's hardly surprising she gained the role.

Finally there is the Audio Commentary, and after the pathetic commentary on the deleted scenes I was really concerned. However the backslapping was slightly subdued for the full commentary, still very evident but much more bearable due to the amount of information that was given about the story, filming and the actors themselves. Combining Kingsley, Vadim Perelman and Andre Dubus III, you are treated to a really wide view from story conception through development, filming, acting and ultimately post production. I really enjoyed this insightful commentary, although bordering on the crawling at parts, it gave you a lot more about the movie and the story. It also provides an interesting look at the actors and their methods.

Overall The movie is superb and firmly fixes itself in the realms of classic tragedy. The acting from both leads is stunning, particularly Connelly, and the supporting cast provide strong backing. Powerful, emotional and at times quite harrowing, this is superb entertainment and a movie deserving far more recognition than it did, again particularly for Connelly.

The Dark (2005)
70 out of 87 people found the following review useful:
Stock scare horror for the first half, then a somewhat confused but clever psychological horror the second half., 30 August 2005
6/10

Sean Bean is such a lost talent, he's a great actor and never seems to be given a decent or lead role. Even in Lord of the Rings he was cast as the turncoat. So I was excited to hear that he was the lead man in this movie, although not the lead it was a good step. Plus it was a British film and a horror. These things all combined to make me think that this was a movie to see.

Both Bean and Maria Bello are very convincing in the movie. Bean plays the straight up man who is confused by the happenings around him and just wants to make the family happy again, he plays a super convincing Father. Bello gives a great performance as she is called upon to be a trying mother, confused, insane, panicked and totally distraught. Not that much of a range really! The interplay between these two actors is very good, and when Bean has scenes with the daughter, he's just superb.

Something that becomes quite annoying through the first half of the movie are the deliberate scare tactics used by the Director, they are exceedingly formulaic and you know when they are coming and even when the shock comes. Still, all credit to them, you still leap out of your chair even knowing when a scare is coming. The formula is pretty constant through the first half, slow music, a long single scene, slow movement and no action, usually in the darkness, then a few fast cuts together accompanied by a loud sound and a raise in the music tempo, and there you have the scare. During the screening people were leaping like mad! After a while following this formula the film does turn around on itself and become something different. It's here that it becomes a lot more psychological and indeed, clever. There was a big feeling in this half of Event Horizon, particularly the flashbacks to being strapped in the chair, fast, multiple cuts of horror.

However during the latter half it also becomes confusing and very weird, yet I wish the whole movie had been like this. It could have abandoned its standard scare tactics and concentrated on the plot in the latter half, and this would have provided for a much more psychologically scary movie.

There's a particular moment near the end of the movie when a door closes in front of the lead, and your emotions are totally with the character at this point. Confusion for a few seconds and then a slow building understanding. It's a very good moment.

Still, however clever the entire ending is, I still felt it lacked clarity and subtlety. Dropping the scare formula of the first half would have brought a much better movie, and getting rid of the premise of scary sheep would have helped too. Perhaps it's a British thing, but sheep are not in the least bit scary, in fact coming from a Northern Scottish town sheep are considered far from scary. It just seemed to be a plot device that was struggling not to be absurd.

That said, you'll still leap, you'll still be scared, and when the film finishes you'll still like the conclusion.

118 out of 186 people found the following review useful:
A very stylish, tense film, truly a suspense-thriller-horror, 3 May 2005
9/10

Oh my god. Without a doubt I have not been affected by a movie this much since watching the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre when I was well under age and the movie was certainly more than dodgy. I couldn't sleep after watching that and was very uneasy, multiplied a gazillion times by the imagination of a kid. This certainly had a similar affect on me, it scared me and horrified me, it even surprised me more than any other movie has of late.

If you have any preconception about foreign cinema being weaker to Hollywood then you have hardly spent enough time watching foreign cinema and too much time engrossed in poor romantic flicks with Clooney et al. You really need to get out and grab some of that Japanese, Spanish and French cinema action. It's easily had and there's a lot to it, far better movies...anyway, I find myself digressing again.

From the outset this movie pitches itself as a hard horror, it isn't going to pull any punches and it's going to show you like it is, harrowing and horrific. That said, the story then turns to a slower pace and you find that it's mixing the suspenseful thriller in with the moments of full on horror, and it's done so well. Too well in fact, and watching the psychotic at work is sometimes shocking.

It rides a fine line between schlock horror and suspense horror, it manages to combine the two without falling into a complete gore flick. It is gory mind you, very gory. I was eating a couple of biscuits during the movie and I stopped until it was finished, even then I wasn't sure.

That's where this movies strength lies, it really pushes the boundaries of between those two types of movies but keeps its feet firmly in the suspense, and tension area. The film is exceedingly tense, and it's raised slowly to begin with, but creeps up at every set piece, and it's not long before the shocking and surprising final set piece is upon you. That in itself is terrifying, and as it unfolded on me I was stunned.

Part of me thinks that this movie could have done much better without all the horror, but I'm not sure that the film would have carried on the tension and suspense alone, it's the very presence of the horror that adds to and heightens the pressure.

A very stylish, tense film, truly a suspense-thriller-horror to be proud of from the French. Please Hollywood, don't remake it.

51 out of 55 people found the following review useful:
Wonderful movie with a stunning performance from Connery, 26 December 2004
10/10

I'd heard a little about this movie before and entered into watching it merely expecting to see another of Sean Connery's typical Connery performances. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with that, he is a very good actor, but he always plays himself. Other than that, I had no inclination what the story was about so there was surprise from the outset seeing that the movie was starring Busta Rhymes and was set in the Bronx.

How surprised I was as this gentle and perfectly paced tale brings together two people who share a common love for writing, one is a faded writer who once had success, and the other is a new talent who faces so many obstacles in his path to let his talent shine.

There are similarities to other films such as Dead Poets Society, but what captures the viewer and their imagination is the restraint and the simplicity. There are no great acts or contrived emotionally charged plot twists, this is real and it's character driven. You believe in the characters, the acting is so natural and understated you are easily drawn into the movie and the characters lives, and it's hard to break free. Choices and actions are small, compassionate, and you can relate them to real life.

The relationship between Forrester (Connery) and Jamal (Rob Brown) is superbly played with Brown holding back perfectly until the scene where his restraint fails, and Connery giving one of the most emotive and complex performances I have ever seen. His performance is simply stunning and totally off of the Connery mould. Watching his face as he struggles with demons long past was extraordinary.

Overall the story is very well written, and doesn't fail to pull you along with the emotional journey and yet never hit the twee button. You can feel the passion that Connery has for writing, and see the complexity of emotions as he wants to help the boy but gets pulled back by hidden problems. Problems which slowly reveal themselves and get shared and dealt with in the most natural of ways, again never falling foul of an emotion overload.

It's warm, uplifting and an inspiring story and I recommend it to anyone. I really can't be vocal enough about the stunning performance by Connery, and the matching performance by Brown. Even Rhymes shows that he has talent.

76 out of 106 people found the following review useful:
Great performances from lead and Reeves, funny movie with some good messages, 26 August 2005
7/10

Keanu Reeves is so funny in this movie. He has some superb lines to deliver, and superbly done. I couldn't decide if there was some tongue in cheek writing going on while thinking about his previous roles in Point Break and Matrix, subtle sayings and nuances of the character just made me think of that and laugh. Anyway, that's the first thing that has to be said, he is superb in the movie as Dr. Perry Lyman, the transcendental dentist! A similar mention needs to be given for Benjamin Bratt as Matt Schraam, you'll know him when you see him, who plays a TV Cop entered into drug rehabilitation and is struggling to stay on the straight and narrow. His performance is extremely tongue in cheek...and indeed hand in...well. Let's say that he was willing to have much more than just the mickey taken out of him.

Vince Vaughn also surprised me with a really good performance as Mr. Geary, the teacher in charge of the debating team. From what I've seen of him before he really does back down his performance and play a strong role. I was impressed by his acting, and I really will have to re-evaluate my opinion of his talent after this movie.

Since I'm talking about the talent in the movie I'll keep going and give the biggest and most deserved mention to the lead, Lou Taylor Pucci as Justin Cobb, the teenager who is just starting out on his journey of really growing up, finding girls, himself and a new relationship with his parents, something we've all been through (unless you were finding boys!) around that age and we have all faced with equally different results. It's only in this role that I've ever seen him act, and he does so perfectly convincingly, he doesn't falter at all throughout the movie. On screen he's totally engaging, as many actors far older than him must aspire to, his face just draws your eyes to him and with a subtle and almost meek performance he commands the scenes he enters.

It's interesting when looking at the roles of the parents. For the most part of the movie I thought Vincent D'Onofrio was the weaker part and the lesser actor, however I ended up feeling that this was down to his role and that of the dysfunctional Father who is having severe problems coming to terms with his own life. Likewise I felt that Tilda Swinton was the stronger actor of the two, until the Father gained more scenes, then I felt she was much weaker and her storyline seemed relegated to merely showing us that another of the characters has their own problems, and to introduce us to Matt Schraam, the addicted to anything actor.

At the beginning of the movie we find that Jason has a problem, he sucks his thumb for comfort and the movie shows us in an easy and effective way what he actually feels and hopes for during these moments. The movie is about a few things, but really about the fact that we're all messed up in some way, we all have problems, and we all have to deal with them. It just makes it easier if we open up a little and deal with them together. Through the film it explores this through the idea of addiction, and how some people need to be addicted to something to get them through, from the extreme of the actor to the lead himself who starts out addicted to sucking his thumb.

Another issue brought out of this movie is the idea that drugs are the answer, and that if there is a problem with someone then they immediately should turn to a Doctor and attempt a cure. The idea that a miracle pill is the answer to everything is explored very well in the movie. It's clever actually that many of these issues are sneaked in through the back door (sorry Schraam!), in that there's a light and a humorous angle to many of the scenes yet we're dealing with a big and contentious issue. The moment where Jacob and the parents are sitting in with the Teachers discussing his symptoms and suddenly the answer is the magic pill for Attention Deficit Disorder. These symptoms being, as the mother describes, as vague as easily distracted, fidgeting, etc. In other words, a teenager! That scene is very strong, and at that moment when the Teachers leap you don't know whether to laugh or feel awkward and ashamed that society has turned so easily to drugs being the answer instead of trying to turn to each other, open up a little, and not being so wrapped up in yourselves.

It's filmed really well, and apart from the dream\comforting scenes and the representation of the effects of the ADD drug, you forget that you're watching a camera filming the movie. In fact I can't remember being aware of the shots themselves, which is an excellent thing and means that I turned to the movie and really got pulled in.

Although the ending is a little twee, and it is really a feel good movie, it's the journey that is the important part and what is said on the way. It has an interesting look at how families behave and keeps you wondering where everything is going to turn out. In particular it has a lot to say about addiction, drugs, and both teen and adult angst.

It's a funny movie, with Reeves getting the biggest laughs without a doubt, it's also very serious but given to you in a lighter tone. I'm really glad I went to see this and I was surprised to have liked it so much. It had a lot to say in an easy digestible style, much like the pill for ADD, I'd prescribe this to anyone in a heartbeat.


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