Reviews written by registered user
Robin Kelly

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33 reviews in total 
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23 out of 33 people found the following review useful:
Funny, 27 February 2004

All I expect from a comedy is that it's funny and that's what this film is. Funny.

OK, so ideally in addition there would have been some emotional resonance to counter and complement the comedy and the character arcs wouldn't just, sort of, limp to a hasty conclusion but I laughed throughout and so maybe that's being too picky.

People have compared this to the Carry On films and I hope Humphries is suitably horrified rather than flattered. The Carry On films severely lacked the depth, honesty and courage that Sex Lives of the Potato Men displays. I'd go as far to say Sex Lives of the Potato Men is a spot-on satire on recreational sex and the mores of the new millennium; where the seeking of new experiences is deemed more important than true intimacy and relationships.

It is bizarre that by simply holding a mirror up and reflecting our society as it exists, Humphries has been villified in the media.

I would strongly advise not to let middle-class metropolitan reviewers or the sexphobic moral minority or jealous bitter would-be film-makers put you off, see it for yourself and make your own mind up.

1 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Awful, 23 June 2001

The idea is to have something interesting happening in the first ten minutes to keep the audience hooked. Late Night Shopping manages to avoid interest for much longer than that. When we do get to a point, it is so monumentally moronic that I kept thinking I must have misunderstood it. But I didn't.

Sean tells the story of an Osaka landlord who rented the same apartment to two people at the same time who worked different shifts and so didn't realise they were sharing. His friend asks "But what about the weekends?" Sean doesn't have an adequate explanation. Sean then tells the story of his own similar problem, which is that he isn't sure his girlfriend is still living at home as he works during the night and she works during the day so they never see each other. This has been going on for three weeks. But his friend doesn't ask: "Yes, but as I said before, what about the weekends? You must see her then. It doesn't make sense. What are you going on about, Sean? Are you on medication or something?" But let's be generous and assume that they both work seven days a week.

We see Sean checking to see if the soap and towels have been used. (In fact, bizarrely, he starts to carry the soap around with him.) But what about his girlfriend's conditioner and shampoo, sanpro and moisturiser, toothpaste and toothbrush. Let's go to the kitchen. What about food and drink? Is any missing? Has any been bought? In the bedroom, has the shared bed been made or not? Are her clothes being used and exchanged for clean ones? Is the laundry basket fuller? In the toilet, is the seat up or down? I mean, good grief!

And to cap it all Paul arranges to leave work early to see if his girlfriend is still living at home. Why doesn't he just phone her?

But it gets worse. In the last act although no-one told Vincent where the rest of the group are going he manages to find them. Lenny's love interest and Sean's girlfriend conveniently appear to be best friends and also manage to find the group. There isn't even the slightest attempt to explain any of these extraordinarily unlikely coincidences.

To be fair the dialogue is OK but not nearly good enough to make up for the weak characters or annoyingly lame story.

I heard one of actors interviewed and he promised "no guns, no drugs, no corsets." I thought, "great". But after half-an-hour of tedium I was yelling at the screen: "I want guns! I want drugs! I want corsets!"

It wouldn't have taken much to sort these problems out but on the official website the director boasts that the film wasn't script-edited. That's all you need to know.

4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Good, 20 June 2001

The adage is "write what you know" and so Al-Haggar writes about an Egyptian screenwriter who lived in London. However, he allows his imagination to take Room to Rent in a different bizarre direction to his life story.

Unfortunately his imagination isn't always teamed with logic. I didn't believe any of the story contrivances and the last twist is simply impossible - even if you accept re-incarnation really happens.

And yet strangely I was swept along and never annoyed. This is due to the believable characters, good dialogue and a valiant attempt to avoid cliché.

This isn't at first glance a formula film but Al-Haggar hits all the right structural points at the right times ensuring excellent pacing.

While the plotting is never convincing it is however always entertaining.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
OK, 20 June 2001

There is ostensibly no reason why Born Romantic shouldn't work on the big screen but it seems very much like a small screen film.

The movie follows three different couples and is centred on a Salsa night at a club. The link is a taxi driver who is devoted to his wife.

The movie is nicely and neatly structured with everything being resolved at the end with only the taxi-driver's arc being a bit weak and unconvincing. The dialogue is good and occasionally very witty.

Although this film is well made in every aspect, the three couple's stories are simply not original or interesting enough.

2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Bread bored, 20 June 2001

Watching Bread and Roses is like being in school - you get the lessons but there isn't enough playtime.

Almost every character is either totally bad or totally good and that is totally tedious. Only the lead character's sister shows more than one-dimension as she is torn between solidarity or getting health benefits for her ailing husband. But for some reason it was felt she needed more audience sympathy so the character gets an overlong unconvincing confession about her past.

To liven up the proceedings and presumably allow silly stunts, the union organiser is a "loose cannon" defying the official union line. So you get a bizarre confrontation with building staff as they do lunch where the union organiser takes the food from their plate. I wouldn't have minded but the building staff were employees not bosses and had no power to change the situation. The same scene is replayed later a bit more relevantly in front of people who do have the power to change things.

Laverty is surefooted on the politics but his story-telling and characterisations are lame. I'd rather watch a documentary on the issue.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Cliff hanging, 20 June 2001

The main problem the concept of Vertical Limit had for me was how am I supposed to care about people risking their lives by doing stupid things. I'm sorry but if you decide to climb a mountain when there's safer and more interesting things to do - like seeing a movie - then I really don't care if you fall off and die. But despite being panned by critics the movie hung about my multiplex for weeks meaning it had good word of mouth. What could possibly be good about it that kept the theatre busy? Curiosity got the better of me.

To be honest after about twenty minutes I wanted to walk out. Not because the movie was lame but because I had began to care about the characters so much I didn't want to watch any of them die. The screenwriters had solved the major problem about why should we care by putting us in the shoes of someone who did care who wanted to rescue his sister. Other characters were humanised by being noble or funny or in love.

The rescue mission in itself is one story but within that there are other little stories going on, some majorly significant to the overall picture others personal ones with accelerated arcs. A shortcut to creating characters is to create stereotypes and Robert King and Terry Hayes are a little guilty of this but they gave the characters a fresh enough twist so they still work.

Weak, 12 June 2001

For about twenty minutes this is a good film. Unfortunately the screenwriters decided after this point to veer off in the direction of badly-plotted tedious farce rather than stay on course towards character comedy thriller.

Nothing makes sense after that point. I maintain that a simple plot where things happen for a reason is better than a convoluted plot where things happen for no reason.

Colin's is very well-drawn and believable but all the other characters less so. His mother, for instance, in one scene tells her son to avoid women and in her next scene she tells him to find one. I wouldn't have minded if this was deliberate but it was simply the screenwriter going for the funniest line and not bothering about consistency.

And the idea that any bloke could get into a lesbian-only club by saying they're friends of a regular is just plain daft. I know, I've tried it.

And bank guarantees are kept at the bank. It defeats the object keeping them at home as they won't guarantee much. I know, I've tried it.

And there are many other dubious plot-points to demolish but I couldn't be bothered.

This is the only time I have been to the movie theatre and had the cashier tell me the film was rubbish, lots of people were walking out and don't bother to see it.

Rocky and Bull, 12 June 2001

The first time I saw Rocky and Bullwinkle I thought it was awful but Roger Ebert's review was glowing and Kenneth Longeran won a Writer's Guild award for another movie of his. So I saw it again with an open mind. It was still awful.

I liked the in-jokes like the process used by studios to choose scripts (throw away the intelligent ones). But other in-jokes seemed more designed to cover up bad plotting than give a laugh. For instance there is one exchange querying why they have to go by road to Washington - as time was of the essence - when going by plane would be a bit quicker. The answer is "it's a road movie". No, the answer is "take a bit more time coming up with a more convincing answer". The other example is why Rocky and Bullwinkle are still cartoon but the cartoon baddies take human form. A joke is made of this late on but by then it was far too late.

I'm not a grouch, really. I'm prepared to believe any world as long as it is set-up right. Even if the world involves a cartoon moose and flying squirrel wandering around it. Who Framed Roger Rabbit had a similar premise but it was consistent and so became an instant classic.

I admit that the characters in Rocky and Bullwinkle were consistent and good value but that wasn't nearly enough to compensate for such lame story-telling and plotting.

And for God's sake don't tell anyone I saw it twice.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Should be cancelled, 6 June 2001

The competitive reality genre was ripe for a good satire - unfortunately Series 7 isn't it.

The crucial element is that the contenders in real-life choose to be contenders for reasons of greed - for fame or money.

In Series 7 however, the contenders are chosen by some sort of government sponsored lottery draft-pick. They have no choice but to take part and kill or be killed. It might be a good idea but it's nothing to do with the reality genre and has more in common with the Vietnam war. In fact it was written years before Survivor and Big Brother hit our screens.

So all we're left with is an invented game show that isn't a satire of anything. As a game show with the appropriate stings, narration, etc it looks convincing. As a movie, however, it doesn't work.

Assuming you manage to get over wondering how and why this show started seven series ago there's still quite a few logic flaws to hurdle.

It's very difficult to keep a full-length movie going on such a one-note premise and the screenwriter resorts to credulity stretching plotting. For instance all the contenders are given guns but note the times when the contenders don't use guns and ask why. At the mall, it was so a contender could prolong a killing scene. At the hospital it was so my favourite contender could be killed off easily.

Which is another point. Due to the restrictions of the structure we don't get to know the characters too well so we don't care a great deal about them. The worst drawn character flip-flops so much between motivations just to keep the plot going it becomes plain annoying. Making the hero pregnant is clever but it wasn't enough to make me care about her. My favourite contender wasn't the hero but someone who was the underdog and proves to be resourceful and clever under pressure. Which made the aforementioned mistake at the hospital so unbelievable.

If contenders in fear of their lives don't always kill people by the quickest easiest method available then that's just silly. If you create a completely new world with its own rules and then you break your own rules then that's just bad film-making.

Bodywork (2001)
1 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Worst film released in 2000 easily, 6 June 2001

Contains some spoilage

I have never seen a film made from such a bad screenplay. Never. First drafts are often shot in the UK but Bodywork's script isn't nearly competent enough to be called a first draft.

I've tried to make excuses for Gareth Rhys Jones. Perhaps he couldn't afford screenwriting courses or books - or Internet access to get free courses and books on the web. But when it comes down to it there is no excuse.

The script has so many flaws that it would be easier to list what it gets right rather than list all that's wrong. On the plus side the characters are distinctive and the hero undergoes a change. That's it. Unfortunately the characters and the hero's change are still shockingly unrealistic and badly done.

The film is promoted as being about someone being framed for murder. If you wanted to get rid of Virgil would you a) kill Virgil or b) kill an innocent stranger instead and frame Virgil for the murder so he goes to prison? The entire world chooses a) but Rhys Jones chooses b). Just when you're trying to work out why the antagonist would do something like that he's been killed. Does this set the movie off in a radical new direction? Not exactly. He was killed by a new antagonist doing exactly the same thing - killing people to incriminate our hero. (Although revealingly on the official website Rhys Jones calls this new killer a 'protagonist')

When we find out who the baddie is and they're asked why they did it - they say "because I can". That's it. That's the reason. That's how little Rhys Jones cares about his audience.

The one thing that can help save a badly plotted film is the dialogue but even that is beyond awful. It's dull and on-the-nose and sometimes very embarrassing especially in the "white room" - where we flashback from - as the characters talk about their relationship with the hero.

Screenwriting of such low standards doesn't deserve the quality cast it managed to attract and it certainly doesn't deserve an audience. The only people who should see this film are casting agents.

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