Reviews written by registered user

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51 reviews in total 
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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Harryhausen's Masterpiece - no question mark, 5 August 2016

Okay, you simply can't rate it by 21st century standards - that would make no sense. Okay, it has a cheeky, cheesy quality that would look bad in today's films, but that's part of its magic. I must have seen thousands of movies since that glorious today in 1963 (or was it 1964, I wasn't into dates at that age) and I've probably forgotten at least ninety-five percent of them, but this one is burned into my memory.

Obviously, Ray Harryhausen is the one reason for its greatness. I'm so glad the DVD came with an interview with the great man. This is one of those films that launched a thousand imitations, but none of them could touch it.

13 out of 31 people found the following review useful:
Must be the most disputed movie of all time, 10 May 2016

I had mixed feelings about the movie, but I have decided to go with an 8 because it is really good once it gets going, and also because of the large number of people who "reviewed" the film without saying anything at all about it. The direction and production values generally are quite strong for an indie film, and the main actors do a very good job. Melissa Joan Hart (playing against her best-known type) and Jesse Metcalfe are excellent in the lead roles, though I think Ernie Hudson was the stand-out performer.

I am not qualified to judge the truthfulness of the accusations at the heart of the film, but they seem to be on par with other anti-Christian judgments that have made it into the news.

As an aside, I think it is very sad when people use a review column to download their own gripes about issues, especially when the issues are extraneous to the film.

Should have been a much better film, 12 February 2016

Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes is a classic, and possibly his best work. This film should have been a great success, with a good cast, and especially with Bradbury himself writing the script from his own novel, but alas, it was not.

Several reviewers have suggested that it should be remade with modern special effects. This may be a good idea, but the effects were generally pretty good for the early '80's, and in my opinion the major problem lies elsewhere.

Ultimately, this is a suspense film with very little suspense. This is particularly obvious in the climactic scenes in the library, which should have dripped with suspense, but actually felt flat. Which presumably points to the director and perhaps the editors.

This is surprising, as Jack Clayton had a fairly high reputation and made some very good movies, but perhaps he was just no good in the suspense genre.

Whatever the reason, this was a reasonably good movie which should have been much better.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A brilliant and horrifying depiction of a hideous disease, 28 May 2013

I find it incredible that such a marvellous documentary should have such an absurdly low rating. Kuru: The Science and the Sorcery is at once a great piece of anthropological documentary, an exciting medical detective story, and a shocking and extremely moving piece of human tragedy. It is difficult to see how it could have been better made. It is also an important piece of medical speculation, given the relevance of the discoveries about kuru to the ongoing problems prompted by the British Government's shocking mismanagement of the "mad cow disease" epidemic and the very real risk that new victims of that sorry incident will continue to come to light.

The "review" by Mr Zigas is very scornful of the fact that his father's work was ignored by the film-makers. I can understand Mr Zigas feeling so hurt by their failure to even mention the doctor's work, but it is usual for documentary producers, working on a limited budget and limited run-time, to cut out anything not directly relevant to their main theme, which in this case was the work of Professor Alpers. It certainly does not imply that they were intending to slight Dr Zigas. It is a great pity that Mr Zigas himself says almost nothing about his father's work and how much he discovered, so the significance of his complaints is difficult to gauge. It is interesting to note that Professor Alpers gave considerable credit to Dr Zigas in his published article "The epidemiology of kuru", so it is most unlikely that he is to blame for the omission.

3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
This movie has not aged well, 2 January 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Watching Temple of Doom again after all these years was probably not a good idea. Apart from the final chase sequence, which is brilliant, I am not quite sure what I saw in this movie in the first place. It starts with a ridiculously over-the-top and quite illogical sequence set in Shanghai, aka Macau (why would a gangster bother to offer Indy a genuine poison antidote when he has no intention of giving it to him? For that matter, if he finds Indy so useful as a supplier of valuable artifacts, why kill him?), followed by one of the most absurd Hollywood clichés ever, when a plane with an empty fuel tank hits a wall and bursts into flame.

After that, it doesn't get much better, with many more clichés and the excruciatingly bad performance by Kate Capshaw (though, to be fair to her, who could possibly perform well with such appalling lines?) Then the grotesque absurdity of a man pulling out another man's heart with his bare hand (apparently without encountering a ribcage on the way) and the heartless victim continuing to scream for a couple of minutes before being lowered into a cliché burning pit.

The only reason I kept watching was knowing that the chase sequence was coming up - and even that wasn't as good as I remembered.

Bruiser (2000)
3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Has Romero really fallen this far?, 6 October 2005

This has to be one of the worst movies ever made; I know that's a cliché, but I can't remember a more pointless, stupid film than this. The story is just dumb. The dialogue is appalling. The direction is, at best, erratic. The only notable performance is Peter Stormare's, and that is only memorable because it is so absurdly over-the-top. Any possible credibility the movie would have had went out the window when we were expected to believe that a magazine could be even published, let alone successful, with this idiot in charge. The Living Dead movies are horror classics because they show originality, intelligence and directorial flair, as well as being genuinely scary - all qualities that are conspicuously absent from Bruiser.

Mother Teresa (2003) (TV)
9 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Could have been so much better, 30 April 2005

Making a film about a religious figure is a perilous enterprise, particularly if the person involved is still alive or recently dead, and even more so when she is one of the outstanding personalities of the twentieth century.

Happily this movie has managed to steer very effectively between the opposing dangers of cynicism and over-the-top enthusiasm which are the hallmarks of most religious movies. They have stuck very firmly to the facts, while allowing the personality of Mother Teresa to shine through, effectively revealing her powerful faith, her amazing strength, her heroic charity and self-sacrifice, but also her moments of doubt, weakness and vulnerability.

There are few really great religious movies. This could have been one of them.

The production is superb, the direction and the acting excellent, and Olivia Hussey does a magnificent job in a very difficult role. What spoils it is the structure: a series of excellent parts which do not really make a very coherent whole. The producers have tried to do too much, to include too many incidents, and as a result the storyline is sadly lacking in continuity.

I see from the IMDb notes that the Italian running time is 180 minutes, almost 40% longer than the English language version. Perhaps the problem lies with the editing, and the longer version does a much better job. All I can say is that they should have opted for doing some bits of Mother Teresa's story extremely well rather than attempting the whole thing and botching it.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
One of the best war films ever., 8 July 2004

I find it hard to believe the incredible amount of hostility to this movie and the many criticisms of it, most of which are either absurdly nit-picking or just plain false.

It is easy to say, with the benefit of hindsight, that America's whole involvement in Vietnam was a huge mistake, but the victory of the North caused a tremendous amount of suffering, unhappiness and loss of freedom, and still does. I'm not going to comment on the politics or history of the war, because obviously a lot of other people know much more about these issues than I do. But as a piece of cinema, and as a comment on war in general, the film is superb.

Certainly the battle scenes were some of the most gruesome ever filmed. Perhaps they were over the top, but surely they are more true than the old movies where everybody died cleanly, with a minimum of pain, and frequently had time to speak their last will and testament before they signed out by closing their eyes.

What I loved was the human dimension. Some critics have complained about the depiction of men having babies just before they go to war and get killed, but the fact is that it happened. After all, these were young men, many of them were married, and it was the time of the baby boom. I loved the intercutting between the battle field and the women back home. Sure it was excessively emotional, but if you can't get emotional about the waste of lives in war, then I think you have a serious problem. It was also great to see them humanise the enemy, particularly in the bit about the man who was killed after writing a letter to his wife or girlfriend. Is this racist? Don't be absurd.

Is it propaganda? Well, it seems that if you disagree with the views expressed in a book or film, it is propaganda, while if you agree, it is honest, probing, important, etc. I certainly didn't agree with all the opinions expressed in We Were Soldiers. I think the policy of sending men to their deaths in order to bring back the bodies of those already dead is insanity, and I don't believe the use of napalm is ever justified. But this movie is not in any sense propaganda. It is possibly unrealistic in the sense that it is dramatised, not documentary, but it is a very honest portrayal of real men and women trying to cope with a real, ghastly situation.

0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
It's all there, 28 February 2004

It is almost amusing to see the attempts to find the hidden subtexts, devious pretexts, cynical motives and religious-political machinations behind this movie, when there has never been a film so transparently open about what it is attempting to do. The key lies in the opening quote from Isaiah: `He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities.' The motive, the passion behind The Passion, is the traditional Christian intent to help people appreciate what Jesus suffered for them and to lead them to repentance for the transgressions and iniquities that made the passion necessary.

To speak of this as the definitive portrayal of the redemption of mankind would probably be to undervalue the massive qualitative difference between this and every previous attempt to depict the life of Christ. Speaking as a believer, I cannot hope to appreciate its impact on unbelievers; I can only speak of its profoundly moving effect on me and on those who saw it with me. It is, both in watching and in retrospect, the most emotionally powerful film I have ever seen.

Some parts of the movie may possibly have been a little overdone – there is actually no way of knowing for sure – but the most-criticised aspect, the scourging, appears to be absolutely true to life. The shroud of Turin, for example, shows blood traces from at least 50 separate strokes of the lash, and there would probably have been many other strokes which did not draw blood. It really was that bad. (And for those who choose to believe that the carbon 14 tests reveal the shroud as a 14th century fake, please try to explain the following: how could a 14th artist manage to create a technology so advanced that every attempt to reproduce it has failed miserably and even 21st century science cannot work out how it was done, a technology so sophisticated that, unlike every picture ever painted, it can produce 3-dimensional images on a computerised image analyser? and why, having invented this unbelievable technology, would the artist use it only once, anonymously, to create an image which would not be properly appreciated until the invention of photography five hundred years in the future?)

As for the absurd accusations of anti-Semitism, there is far more anti-German sentiment in the average World War II movie than anti-Jewish in this one. The script makes a point of showing that Jesus himself did not hold the Jewish leaders totally responsible for what they were doing, and Mel Gibson showed graphically that he held himself personally responsible for the crucifixion by wielding the hammer that smashed the nails into Christ's hands.

14 out of 24 people found the following review useful:
Incredibly disappointing, 18 July 2003

John Baxter is an absolutely brilliant short story writer and apparently a life-long student of films, so I was very interested to see what his only screenplay was like. I simply could not believe that he came up with such a piece of total crap. There is nothing to recommend in this film.

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