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Get Smart (2008)
10/10
Can't understand all the negative reviews
1 September 2013
I feel obliged to make a review, just to offset all the critics awarding one star, and saying all the positive reviews are studio stooges. I'm nothing of the sort, and I loved this movie.

I've also never seen the original series - maybe I saw a re-run at some point - so I have no reference point. It's tough to make a contemporary film that is popular with the purists, and if this missed it, fair enough.

Watching the movie right now, I think the aspects I loved about it are that it is generally a fun movie, and the comic bickering. Whether it be between Agent 86 (Steve Carell's Max) and Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway), or Agent 23 and Larabee - there's a continual jibing dialogue laced with dry sarcasm, often quickly descending to a petty level at odds with the supposed importance of the situation. Verbal combat interspersed with gems like "The cone's the shizzle" or "Oh look, a box of kittens, I'll punch Max in the face", make this movie.

I enjoyed this movie as much as I enjoyed Airplane, The Naked Gun, and Austin Powers. Those are also spoofs of genres of films, and they're generally accepted to have worked - perhaps making a remake of a spoof is harder?

Combined with some well-judged slapstick, again reducing these top-tier operatives to a group of children - this is a fun, enjoyable movie. It exudes a warmth that makes me like to think that the cast had fun making it, but even if they didn't, I had fun watching it.
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In Time (2011)
7/10
Worth watching, on balance, I think
16 March 2012
I had In Time on in the background as my in-flight movie while I was doing "stuff" on my laptop, as I felt it was the right level of attention for a film which hadn't really received enough hype or recommendation to be really worthy of my attention.

And that's about right. The film has an interesting concept, and the production spend is good, but it feels like an interesting concept that has been 'dumbed down' and not properly explored, in order to fit into a big-budget action flick.

However, the day later, the more I thought about it, the more the concept grew on me. I realised that while the movie didn't really explore the concept of time as a currency as much as, say, an independent movie might, it did at least present them.... And with them, the underlying social inequalities present in today's society.

If you read the film in this way - as a metaphor for current social and political challenges, such as the fact that billions of people in poverty do live day-to-day, with a bad day meaning death from malnutrition - then it's a powerful film. There are also lots of time- money set piece situations that range from fun to thought-provoking. It's just that this potential underlying message is lost in the screenplay and production style.

On balance - yes, this film is worth watching for those reasons, while the big budget production makes it easy enough to watch, whatever you take away from it.
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Watchmen (2009)
9/10
A Great movie
25 June 2011
I watched this film for the first time without any idea of the plot, or expectations. I was blown away.

There has apparently been some controversy about the grittiness of Watchnmen, portraying heroes capable of more cruelty and injustice than the worst antiheroes in cinema.

However, it takes a brave, and more to the point, incredibly capable director to be able to make an uncompromising and refreshingly different film that is nonetheless big-budget and mainstream, and Zack Snyder proves in Watchmen that he is such a director.

This is not a film to put on the TV while flicking through Facebook or doing odd jobs; it's definitely one to sit down, darken the room, put on the surround sound and absorb every detail, every nuance, every plot point. Because it's excellent.
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8/10
Way better than the average score suggests
22 June 2011
After I watched this film, I tried guessing the IMDb score. I usually guess correctly within 0.4 or so, but was shocked to find Going The Distance scoring so low compared to my expectation of 7.5. Having said that, I had a similar impression of a similar chick flick, The Sweetest Thing, which also averaged mid-6's on IMDb.

This film is definitely funny. Most of the humour is quick-witted banter, which is well-scripted and well-delivered by all the actors. Garett's two buddies are inspired comic choices, as is Erin's sister, played by Christina Applegate (also in The Sweetest Thing).

If, like the two leads, you're young at heart, like stuff which is 'cool', hate cliché's, and have a great sense of humour, then you'll enjoy this film. And while a 'chick flick', men will enjoy the humour too.
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8/10
Cult movie - ignore the rating and watch it
19 June 2010
I discovered this movie as a rental download which my girlfriend asked for, and I grudgingly downloaded it. However, I'm glad I did. It's a chick flick, for sure, but with the kind of offbeat humour and background touches that grace such movies from Naked Gun to Tropic Thunder, Dodgeball, and the like.

It's constructed of observations and truisms which many girls will identify with (apparently), and for the guys, the lead actresses are, for want of a better word, hot.

So, almost uniquely for chick flicks, I loved it, and so did my girlfriend. The writing and director was inspired, and the cast seemed to absolutely love making it. It may not achieve cult status because it's rare for such movies to do so, but it deserves to achieve it.
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5/10
Bean there, done that
11 April 2003
I was really looking forward to this - who wasn't? Rowan Atkinston portrayed an excellent character in the Barclaycard adverts, where the sketches were short and sharply witty - and it was a character and role he played well in Never Say Never Again too.

And... I did laugh, quite a lot, and several times out loud. But I also found myself looking around a bit, patiently waiting for the next gag. Because for each scene, the gag would make itself apparently from half a mile off - so I'd laugh when I saw it coming, and then sit there, and patiently wait for it to build up, and up, then for Johnny English to finally realise how he's messed up, and then to try and extricate himself from the predicament in the most embarrassing way possible. And then on to the next scene.

Just like Bean: The Movie, it suffers from two problems - trying to extend the concept to fill an entire ninety minutes; and trying to pitch something that the US audience will understand. A lot of original gags, but a lot of stuff that Naked Gun fans, or films from a similar genre, will have seen before.

In the end? Don't expect a full 90 minutes of the quality that you'll have experienced from the Barclaycard adverts. But do go to see it, because it's not a bad movie, and because you were planning to go and see it anyway!
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