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The Girl Next Door (2007)
I watched this movie on DVD late at night and I was chilled. It is difficult to watch. There is horror. There is violence which is more inferred than glorified. The victims are children. So are the perpetrators.
Like all good horror movies the script moves slowly but inexorably away from a world of normality to one when people stop to act rationally. And for that reason the story made me squeamish. I kept thinking when will the scriptwriter provide the twist to return the world back to what it really is. I also thought back to the events of my own childhood. I was a child in the era in which the film is set.
As kids, we got into some scrapes. We had lots of time to have fun and we arranged our own activities. We did bad things from time to time and yes, we were occasionally cruel. Weaker and vulnerable kids did get picked on. It was easier to hide your own weaknesses by allowing the misfit to be bullied than to end up being the victim. But we always had limits. We were good kids searching for the boundaries of acceptable behavior. In group mode the ones who overdid the anti- social behavior were eventually shunned or rebuked by others in the "gang". We never went too far. In this story, however, the kids sense of justice and understanding of what is acceptable is distorted by the mother, Ruth, who is excellently portrayed in the film, who is bitter, twisted, evil and vicious. Her distorted mind and actions encourage to her sons when she should be the person to keep them in check.
It was interesting to reflect on the group mentality among children. I think I will have to re- read Lord of the Flies.
Winter Passing (2005)
Dreary and dull
Oh gosh. How boring; how slow. This film has too many characters, hence the plot is hard to fathom. I sat waiting for something to happen. Anything to lift the pace above the turgid dirge which surrounded everything.. No suspense. No mystery. No laughter. No joy.
I must take issue with those reviewers who praised Zoey Deschanel and her acting abilities. I disagree that she performed well. This lady cannot act. She delivers lines as if she is reading them. Her tone is a monotonous drawl. Her timing is awful. She consistently speaks as soon as the other actor finishes. The idea that she can come up with such pithy and witty comments without pausing to reflect on the statements made by others is not credible. And what a terrible whiny accent she has. She could learn a lot from the other lead female actor, Amelia Warner, who puts feeling, sincerity and intelligence into the role of Shelley.
I watched it till the end but it totally failed to hold my attention or win my interest.
Tropical Snow (1988)
Not a bad effort
This was not a bad effort to put together a moral tale on drug trafficking. The movie focuses on the mules - in this case it is two impoverished kids from Columbia whose desperation to start a new life in America leads them into the clutches of the traffickers. The film is low budget and contains few surprises in its story line. However it requires little concentration and is typical rainy Sunday afternoon TV fare.
What makes it fun to watch is the stunning Madeleine Stowe. She is supremely gorgeous and is totally convincing with her Latin accent and her portrayal of her character.
A creditable mention for David Carradine. Less wooden than usual he oozes evil.
This movie had potential. Speedy script: Class actors: competent crew; but somehow missed out. Half way through it became predictable. The denouement was hackneyed. There were enough bright moments to make it watchable through to the end but it is not a film I would ever watch again if I were given the choice. Nor is it one that either of the two Michael's will be remembered for.
For me the freshest thing to come out of this film was the performance of the female lead Judith Godreche. Attractive and sparkling she earns the sympathy of the viewer which is something that the characters portrayed by Messrs. Caine and Keaton fail to do.
Our Friends in the North (1996)
This is good gripping stuff which will hold your attention. Realistic characters and storylines based on real life North East scandals are fun to watch.
Eccleston is great. Mckee carries it through. David Bradley is the mortar which holds the series together.
All Forgotten (2001)
This film is very strange. It looks picturesque. It moves at the pace of a snail. It mimics great Russian epics such as "War and Peace", but no-one will take credit for the screenplay. Who wrote the story? Is it an original screenplay?
Kirsten Dunst is a Russian Princess who collects a crowd of fawning sycophantic admirers who salivate over her every motion and jostle with each other for her favours. Nick Stall is the youngest and fawns the hardest. He discovers that his Dad is the one who is sampling the ladies intimate delights and tragedy looms. There is never any explicit revelation of exactly what everyone is doing and no confrontation or conflict. Consequently there is no excitement and the story struggles to hold the viewers attention.
The period, incidentally, is mid 19th century Russia at the time of the Crimean War and not Britain as stated in the plot outline. Don't blame the British just because the film is slow and boring!
Stahl looks such a twit in his ensign's uniform with a hat that is seven sizes too big.
Head Over Heels (2001)
This movie is just dreadful. It is an insult to the viewers intelligence to serve up rubbish like this. The plot is contrived and beggars belief. The performances are wooden. The characters are cliched and unbelievable.
Someone thought that it would be funny to put four stone-faced, ball-breaking models together in New York and have a real working girl share their appartment. She has a crush on the neighbour that she sees from their window. Yes, an unoriginal idea. We've had that flogged to death in sitcoms eg "Friends" and in dramas eg "Rear Window. Anyway she likes him and he likes her but he doesn't know she likes him and she doesn't ... yes - that's it. Of course he is not what he seems. He is really a good guy under cover and then they ... boring boring.
The script is not funny. The plot is tired. The characters are sickening. Everyone connected with this movie should retire and never work again. Please don't waste my time by showing me this dreadful stuff!
Purely Belter (2000)
We laughed and laughed and laughed.
This film was fun. Not magical. Not wonderful. Just all out fun. The tale is feasible and true to life. What makes the comedy so special is that it depicts that rare quality of people being able to laugh at themselves. The people in the film don't take life too seriously. Neither should you when you watch this movie. Just enjoy it and laugh and laugh and laugh like we did.
Super Gran (1985)
Wonderful, silly and fun
If you have the ability to remain seven years old despite the advance of age you will love Supergran. It was naive. It was wacky. And it was simplistic. My mum WAS Supergran in the eyes of her grandchildren. They thought of her as magic just as the Gran in the title was.
Dirty Little Secret (1998)
Bland but watchable.
I saw this on HBO and found it uninspiring and bland. It is the story of a kidnapping of an adopted child ostensibly for money but in reality ... yes, you guessed it ... by the real mother. The characters are credible although they are very plastic and the is a neat little twist to the plot which rewarded my perseverance in watching to the end. All in all this is as entertaining as a pizza but is certainly no gourmet meal.