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Unmatched visual imagination
There is no doubt of the visual imagination of the director. This is clear and impressive but it is unfortunately not matched by similar moral or narrative abilities.
There is a weak and meandering storyline which seems to twist and turn and random with no direction. It is obvious that there was a disaster with the casting and the story-line reflects this.
The film hints at serious themes : religion, choices and moral dilemmas but delivers none of these. But instead it serves up a mish-mash of visual icons : tarot cards, god and a rock & roll devil, eastern mysticism, a homage to Hitchcock, you name it, it is probably here.
It is like a large bow festooned box of chocolates, with bright colours, shiny papers, crinkly wrappers but lacking sweets.
The Mist (2007)
A scary monster movie, but who are the monsters ?
I though that this film was well done. It is a long time since I went to a horror movie, the recent change in the genre towards torture films has kept me away. The reputation of the team making this film suggested it was worth a shot.
It is excellent. Early on the tension starts to build and fairly early on the monsters are brought into view. The tentacles and the insects are well done scary creations.
However, as it progresses, it becomes cleverer. It develops its own 'Lord of the Flies' feel. Then the truly scary monsters start to appear - fear, loathing, paranoia and despair. By the end your nerves will have been shredded and when you thought it couldn't get worse.. it does
Gone Baby Gone (2007)
The choices we make
This is an excellent film and hopefully it will be widely seen. It certainly deserves a large audience.
Not only is it well made. The direction is very good, the acting first class, and the script is very good at delivering hard moral questions in a realistic setting.
Throughout the film characters have to make difficult choices, often between an easy short-term option and a more hazardous and onerous long-term moral choice. The characters are consistent in how they approach these dilemmas and how they succeed or fail.
It is the kind of film that will make you think and will make you want to talk to others who have seen it. You'll want to know "what would you have done".
Michael Clayton (2007)
Unfortunately missing the mark
There is no doubt a lot of talent behind this film. There is good acting, good direction and at times good dialogue. The script is worthy and involves interesting themes of corruption, guilt and redemption. The big names involved and the trailer will mean a large audience is secured.
However, I feel it ultimately misses the mark. It is not its plodding slowness, nor is it the padding (which trying to be portentous becomes only pretentious), nor is it even the cold, grimy mire that envelopes everything. It is the failure to have any passion or any character that is worth a damn. All are damned from the start and we don't really care.
He Was a Quiet Man (2007)
Clever film with genuine insight
Although this is a fantasy it is a valuable film.
Slater gives an excellent performance of the schizoid loner on the edge and it it becomes possible to genuinely empathise with his lot. Rarely has a character so distorted and distopian managed to maintain some warmth.
The film work is stylish and stunning at times. Simple effects are used with great impact.
A comedy about catastrophe and despair, a romance about alienation, a hero who is past the point of breakdown, a hero who is the victim -- excellent
More gruesome porn
This was really quite an unpleasant film and one that it difficult to recommend at any level.
The characters are very poorly constructed.The villains (or victims) have only enough detail to allow their subsequent destruction He is a child abuser, we can now do whatever depravity we wish. The heroes are unpleasant, egoistic hedonists who can only gain pleasure through suffering. The acting is stiff and stilted. No range of emotions are demonstrated and the acting is reduced to stereotyped visual clichés.
The plot is unbelievable. There is no need for the secret deserted pathology room when they work in a fully equipped department, the gore is unrealistic and the medical puzzles are unfeasible and pointless.
There is no redeeming feature to the film unless it is possibly to justify the film "Funny Games".
One is left feeling the need for a shower; dirty, guilty and disappointed. A film best to avoid.
Rumor Has It... (2005)
Tasteless Comedy of Morals
This is a film to avoid.
It has no real redeeming features. Although it has an all-star cast each and every one fails to raise this film from the floor. There is much face pulling (instead of acting) and the script is very poor being devoid of any humour.
However, this might have been anticipated had they considered the story line - Girl wonders if a man had sex with her mother and grandmother. Wonders if he might be her father - discovers he probably isn't so has sex with him.
It was lucky this coupling was barren, as if she had given birth to a girl we could have had the even more tasteless joke - the man could have her too - four rather than only three generations, what a hoot !
Only recommended as an emetic.
The Wicker Man (2006)
This was simple dreadful. To take an excellent, thoughtful and genuinely scary film and to create this hash from it is blasphemous.
Where it kept to the same lines as the original it was always outshone. On every level it was unable to generate the creepy suspenseful feel of the original. In the original one could believe Summerisle existed, it was on the surface normal, it was what was underneath that menaced. In this version, everything was unreal (and thus unthreatening) from the start.
Where the film deviated from the original it normally debased itself. The gratuitous violence and CGI did nothing to save it.
The acting was uniformly porcine but perhaps we were able to sense the guilt the actors had when they realised what they were doing
Dear Frankie (2004)
This was one of the best films I have seen for many years. The photography is absolutely marvellous; it hardly needs anything else.
The acting is restrained, measured and true. I couldn't get much better than this.
It is true that it is emotionally laden but it is not all sadness, there is also humour, affection, and most importantly hope. If you find it too emotional you can always pretend that smoke got in your eyes.
Isn't the function of a good film to try and draw out emotions ? It is especially rewarding when these are positive and natural rather than base and specious.
An easy 10 out of 10
Too many words
It is a pity that IMDB insist on us using a set number of words for our comments as this comment should just simply be 'Bravo'.
This is a superb film; perfectly acted, wonderfully crafted so that artifice doesn't interfere with content, and a deeply thought provoking parable.
This will presumably win no oscars as it is too far from the mainstream drivel that is produced and requires some use of the brain to enjoy.
This is three hours well spent in anyone's book.
Take the time, immerse youself in this film and wonder why more films can not be like this