Reviews written by registered user
masonx

Page 1 of 3:[1] [2] [3] [Next]
29 reviews in total 
Index | Alphabetical | Chronological | Useful

xXx (2002)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
disappointing, 2 October 2002
1/10

I am prepared to give Vin Diesel the benefit of the doubt as far as his acting abilities. It is incredible that he once auditioned for the part of the transvestite in Flawless. A part eventually played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. However if he expects to be the new Arnold Schwarzenegger perhaps he should wait for another vehicle than this overblown over hyped artless piece of moviemaking. I walked out before the end -expecting something better. save your dollars folks.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
What entertainment is all about., 15 January 2002
10/10

On the odd occasion I visit the cinema to pay their exorbitant prices for several reasons. To be entertained.To escape from a familiar world to an unknown dimension. To be diverted from the usual mundane cares of earning a living, etc etc. LOTR did this for me in no uncertain terms. I say this unequivocably despite the fact of having been filmed in this lovely land of ours-the NZ landscape never looked so beautiful. Enough has been said about the acting the script the costumes & scenery and I will not belabour the point.But it has been gratifying to read all these positive reviews for a nz made film which has obviously left its mark on so many viewers at this the dawn of the 21st century.Only time will tell if it will live up to those remarks in posterity and not just the box office.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
In-house at the White House, 12 January 2001

I feel deprived somewhat that I only got in to this series midway through the opening season. To all seasoned political watchers I recommend it for its almost authentic portrayal of the highs and lows of running a large country. It is not excellent per se, but it is very good. The characters are not cardboard cutouts but eminently watchable and well researched-no doubt it helps to have a few ex-WH staffers on the writing team. Martin Sheen stated in an interview that his role as President Jed Barlett is a mixture of Clinton Carter and George Bush and I concur. His character is not a saint but one gets the feel that here is a decent man with a passion for a job he loves but dosent necessarily like doing. There is a scene where he receives his twice weekly intelligence briefings, a necessary task no doubt but for the president a soporific trial. The dramas that unfold in the series range from the trivia of organising a state dinner to the moral and ethical dilemmas of staying an execution or authorising a bombing in Iraq. I would doubt that the real scenarios portrayed week by week are so encountered by the real WH staff. They'd be run of their feet for one thing. But one does get the drift of how decisions are reached, the chain of command, the coddling up to congress and the public at large, and of course the power play and influence peddling, the continual spin doctoring of public opinion, and of course the perrenially cynical but necessary WH press corps so ably managed by the press secretary CJ Cregg. What a gal. She is my favorite cast member. Thoroughly professional at her task yet still vulnerable in so many ways, she yearns for a personal life albeit in the arms of Danny Concannon a hard nosed reporter who definitely has a soft spot for her. I reckon Rob Lowe can also be forgiven his past transgressions for a fine portrayal as deputy CD, though whoever wrote in his characters ongoing relationship with a high class call girl must have did so with tongue in cheek. Lowes comments on the subject have yet to be recorded. More praise for him and his acting skills. I could write a few more lines here about all the other actors and characters but enough has been said on that score by others methinks, and with more insight. Suffice it for me to leave it there and wish the makers of the series well. I look forward to more evenings of, at least for an hour giving in to some very watchable television.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
The definitive version, 19 November 2000

This is probably the best version of Shakespeares tale of doomed young love on film. Besides it leaves Baz Luhrmans rendition in the dust. What was the man thinking of?? Director Zefirelli gives it the same treatment as Taming of the Shrew, with lots of authentic settings and opulent costumes not to mention a superb cast led by a talented Olivia Hussey and a never seen again Leonard Whiting. Just loved the masked ball scene, what better place to meet the girl of your dreams. This is also the film that started Michael York on his career. he plays cousin Tybalt with a splendid malevolence as does Natasha Parry as Lady Capulet. What young girl wouldnt want to get away from a parent like that. For many of my age group at that time, this was our first taste of the Bards work. It amazed us then as it still does today that many issues of 500 years ago havent really changed much, although Shakespeare manages to cleverly disguise such issues behind the cloak of humour and wit. Not all of Zefirellis productions were as successful as this early work but it must surely stand out as one of his best.

12 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
voices from the ground, 27 June 2000

Laura, a woman in her late 50's just recovering from a sojourn in a mental hospital returns home to her estate in the temporary care of her son and his wife. A rather dubious couple to say the least. While walking in the grounds one morning she hears or thinks she hears groaning sounds emanating from the ground and tries to raise the alarm. Unsurprisingly when help arrives the voice is no longer evident and so the seeds of doubt are raised about her sanity. Caught this one on the box very early one morning and scared me enough to have a really lousy sleep. De Havilland is in her element here as the recovering patient and gives her character enough credibility to even make the viewer wonder as to her mental state. The black & white photography enhances the suspense of the whole story. Unfortunately not available on dvd or video.

16 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
the spy who p***ed in our soup..., 24 May 2000

British made drama based on a true story of a chance meeting in Moscow in the early 60's between an english actress and a british double agent and soviet spy. Coral Browne was part of a cultural exchange tour in 1961 between Great Britain and the Soviet Union touring and giving performances as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. One night following a performance in a Moscow theatre she is approached by a familiar looking gentleman. The man turns out to be the traitor and double agent Guy Burgess now residing permanently in the USSR. Oddly they strike up a friendship and he offers her the hospitality of his small apartment as well as an insiders view of being an honoured if not trusted but permanent houseguest living in a totalitarian state. It is the height of the cold war and even he is followed and surveilled upon. Life it seems is not all bread and roses in the utopian state and Burgess confides in her an aching home sickness for his homeland and even the simplest pleasures of english life. He particularly bemoans the unavailability of certain luxury items and being a dapper young man in his Cambridge days is at a loss even to find a really good suit behind the entire iron curtain. Coral touched by his predicament offers to help. Enough said.

The collusion of director John Schlesinger and writer Alan Bennett have produced an exceptional drama which won a few BAFTA awards following its release in 1993. The performances are highlighted by Alan Bates sad self deprecating portrayal as Guy Burgess and some effortless acting by Coral Browne who plays herself with aplomb. A bit like John Malkovich playing John Malkovich but with an interesting edge. The story also gives us some interesting vignettes into soviet life. When they find their hotel bath is minus a plug, Coral and a fellow actor in fun complain loudly to the hidden microphones. Five minutes later to their amazement the concierge knocks on their door with a...you guessed it. In the end the drama offers its own conclusion on betrayal and those who practise it. As Coral a loyal englishwoman herself accurately summed up to Burgess with whom she sympathised to some extent. "You p***ed in our soup....and we drank it". In other words whatever my personal friendship for you some sins are unforgiveable. This is the life you have unwittingly chosen for yourself. Enjoy...

Gladiator (2000)
COMMENT No FIVE HUNDRED & FIFTY SOMETHING..., 23 May 2000

One hell of a great movie. What more is there to say, that hasnt been said already by previous comments. I guess everyone was just bored with sinking boats, dinosaurs, lunar landscapes, and car chases. Simple as that...and about time too.

Gladiator (2000)
S P A R T A C U S T W O...veni,vidi,vici..., 6 May 2000

At last a gladiator movie for the fans of that genre and no B-grade one at that...and not an italian film director in sight. Sorry just a Fellini dig there, just couldnt resist. I looked hard for any evidence of another "Caligula" remake but this is a far superior depiction of ancient Rome and none of that unnecessary debauchery either.A muscular Russell Crowe has fun here with a lot of chain-mail(roman internet) tridents, spears, swords the lot. Looking more macho here than he did in "LA Confidential". He plays a good guy called Maximus. A general turned slave turned gladiator and he's out for revenge against...Joaquin Phoenix. Looking all grown up,pumped up and beefed up with god knows what, last seen in "8MM". Joaquin plays a guy with the unlikely name of Commodus(I just kept thinking of a toilet seat) who is just as nasty as nasty can be. Definitely the villain of the year. With all the expected hype this is definitely no sleeper movie. Its just too good to keep quiet for so long. Even if you dont get into the plot which is understandable enough just go for the fighting and the blood and the guts and the gore of which there is a moderate amount. Historically inaccurate though it may be and no doubt purists will howl at this it is extremely watchable not only for the drama in the great circus but the political shenanigans behind the scenes which tells you that nothing much has changed really in that quarter. We are all bored with sci-fi at the moment considering the extrememly disappointing "Phantom Menace" not to mention the doomed from the start "Mission to Mars". Drown you sorrows in this movie and you'll feel so much better afterwards. Salve. Pax Britannica....

5 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Man of sorrows., 1 May 2000

Until Steven Spielberg decides to make a better series this is the best re-enactment we have of the story of Jesus Christ to last us into the new millennium. It is indeed a splendid re-telling. The director has deliberately made no effort here to put his own 'interpretation' on the holy scriptures preferring instead to stick to the written text word for word in which it appears he has adhered to faithfully. From Joseph & Mary's arrival in Bethlehem for the census and then the early years growing up doing his 'fathers' work, those early unforgettable miracles, recruitment of the disciples and ultimately to Calvary and then the climax of the Resurrection.

Zeffirelli makes good use of his stars here giving the benevolent sanhedrin characters, Nicodemus and Joseph of Aramathea to Olivier and James Mason. James Farentino makes a forceful impression as Simon Peter and Anne Bancroft almost reprises her seductress role in the Graduate as Mary Magdalene. Robert Powell, an auburn haired actor has received well deserved praise as the messiah and I would not disagree with them but why it was necessary to cast a blond blue-eyed boy to depict the younger Jesus gives us pause to wonder. The beautiful and authentic filming locations in the sea of Gallilee and the kingdom of Jordan gave an added realism to the holy story. In this country the film has often been repeated on TV during the easter break and for a lapsed christian like myself this is always time for meditation, reflection and inspiration.

13 out of 22 people found the following review useful:
Bertie: the prodigal king..., 29 April 2000

He was known as Bertie in the family and he was the eldest son and heir of Queen Victoria, probably the whitest woman, not to mention the most morally pure to ever sit on the english throne. To everyone else he was the prince of wales. Later he was to be known as King Edward VII, of Great Britain & Ireland, defender of the faith etc etc. This BBC series is a re-enactment of his life and has tried to keep to historical accuracy as much as possible, although anglophile purists may find much to criticise. Due in part to his position poor Bertie was singled out early from his four brothers & four sisters for special treatment. His stern lutheran father Albert the prince consort had arranged a strictly academic upbringing for his eldest son which was totally unsuited to his personality. Albert however neglected to imbue his son with what he needed most at that time, fatherly affection. His mother as she so often did took her cues from her husband and was happy to leave their childrens education in his hands. Consequently following the early death of his father from typhoid Bertie turned his back on academia and swore he would never read another text book. At 20 he married the beautiful danish princess Alexandra of Denmark and was to father 5 children by her. Initially it was a happy marriage but soon Berties short attention span and wandering eye caused him to seek respite in the arms of other woman. Most notably among them Lily Langtry, Agnes Keyser, Alice Keppel and Daisy Brook. What his wife thought of these friendships can only be guessed at and she can not have been unaware of these liaisons. The prince of wales for reasons of decency and protocol made a point of only aligning himself with married women most of whom he would introduce to his wife. Divorced ladies were out of bounds and forbidden even in the royal presence. It was to say the least an ambiguous set of rules. His liaisons were an open secret and discretion was the watchword for members of his household. Royalty then was treated with more respect than it is now. Bertie was as immoral in many respects as his mother was amoral to the whole of the british empire. But despite these major flaws in his character he proved a hardworking and popular monarch for the short period that he reigned. At a time when relations with France & England were at their lowest ebb he toured there and his presence in Paris at such a turbulent time helped to initiate the diplomatic accords known as "the entente cordiale". Following death in 1911 he was sincerely mourned by his subjects and as his private secretary Frederick Ponsonby eulogised at his funeral,,,"we will all miss this wayward popular and in the end humane sovereign"

For me a thoroughly absorbing biographical portrayal of this very interesting personality. Timothy West, despite a close resemblance to Edward failed to capture his jovial character and avuncular personality so often remarked about in the contemporary diaries of the time. A shame really because then the series would have been doubly watchable. Helen Ryan although not quite capturing the famous beauty of Queen Alexandra does an adequate job as Bertie's long suffering wife. At Bertie's deathbed it was Alexandra who in a gracious gesture summoned several of the kings closest friends to say their final farewells to him. Francesca Annis also stands out here in her role as Lily Langtry a part she was to repeat in another tv series depicting one of the most famous of english courtesans of the time. Overall I give this a 7/10. Unfortunately not out on video or DVD.


Page 1 of 3:[1] [2] [3] [Next]