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43 reviews in total 
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Standing Still (2005/II)
5 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Aptly named, 25 November 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

'Standing Still' begins so slowly it took us nearly half an hour to decide that the movie was possibly intended as a comedy rather than a very long cigarette ad. There are also a few chunks of angst thrown in, and one painfully melodramatic reminiscence scene which might have worked if we cared more about the characters. The music is too loud, and the 'twist' at the ending was obvious about five minutes in.

On the plus side, the women are easy on the eye, most of the performances are pretty good, and there are some genuinely funny moments in the last half of the film. It's not half bad... but it's not all the way up to half good, either.

A sentimental replica, 30 June 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There is a wonderful moment in 'Superman II' where General Zod sees the Fortress of Solitude and remarks, "Scruffy. So morbid. A sentimental replica of a planet long since vanished. No style at all!" It would be unfair to say that 'Superman Returns' has no style at all; the cinematography is magnificent, locations are used extremely well, Singer's action scenes are brilliant composed, and special effects have improved enormously in 25 years. Also on the plus side, Kevin Spacey is an excellent Lex Luthor (and gets most of the best lines), and his henchmen in this film are much more interesting and believable than Ned Beatty's Otis. In fact, most of the new material in this film is excellent, particularly the exploration of the relationship between Superman and a (bizarrely young-looking) Lois. The weakest elements come from the sentimental replication of 'Superman: the Movie'.

Recycling the soundtrack... okay. Recycling the title sequence... unnecessarily sentimental. Recycling the late Marlon Brando's overpriced and ponderous Jor-El... been there, slept through that. But a Christopher Reeve lookalike who doesn't display a fraction of Reeve's talent (Reeve's Clark and Superman actually seemed like different people; all Routh manages is a different hairstyle)... bad decision.

Worst of all, though, is the attempt to re-use the silliest parts of the script of 'Superman: The Movie' - Luthor's plan to create a real estate empire, and a solution to this problem which, while not as unbelievable as spinning the Earth backwards to change the past, totally defies the film's tenuous internal logic.

That said (and despite its sometimes heavy-handed religious iconography), 'Superman Returns' is still more entertaining than the original it tries too hard to emulate, and nowhere near as awful as 'Superman IV'. (If I'd been blamed for that one, I probably would have wanted to leave the planet for five years, too.) It's not as much fun as 'Superman II', but now that the filmmakers have gotten the homage out of their system, maybe we can look forward to 'Superman II Returns'.

The Commander (2003) (TV)
18 out of 28 people found the following review useful:
From police procedural to Harlequin romance, 20 June 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What might have been an excellent detective thriller turns to unwatchable slush halfway through because of an utterly ludicrous romance plot.

Burton plays Clare Blake, a policewoman promoted to the top of her profession, despite being so lacking in judgment and self-control that she risks destroying her own career by jumping into bed with a convicted killer who is under investigation for another two murders, then conducting an affair with him in full view of her colleagues, the press, and the public. When a junior officer remarks "I can't believe she'd be so stupid!", my wife and I could only nod our heads in agreement.

The villain, by contrast, is shown as so brilliantly adept at manipulating people that we could only wonder how the prosecutors ever found a jury that would convict him.

We kept watching this farce lurch from plot hole to plot hole while Burton did her best to lend it some undeserved dignity, but by the end we would have needed a forklift to keep suspending our disbelief. Unless you desperately need to see Amanda Burton in her underwear, avoid this one at all costs.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Incredible, but not in a good way., 12 July 2004

If Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was "the first post-content movie", as director Simon West claimed, then this must count as post-post-content. The script is as thin as Lara's wetsuit, but with nothing remotely as interesting inside.

Just as there is no reason to keep watching the first film after the shootout in the garage, there is almost no reason to keep watching this one after she punches the shark. There are no good jokes, the CGI is mostly of video-game quality, the fight scenes are copied from better movies, and the only thing it has to offer as compensation are some impressive monsters, a bundle of cool gadgets, and some pretty scenery - and I don't mean Angelina. Once you've seen her in the bikini and the wetsuit, to quote a much better movie, "you got all you gonna get".

51 out of 83 people found the following review useful:
History as told by the victors, 29 December 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***


While this film has some good moments and strong performances from Samuel Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones (and a disappointing one from Ben Kingsley), I couldn't help but remember the "Chewbacca Defence" from South Park while watching the courtroom scenes: "This makes no sense!".

A marine colonel claims he gave the order to fire on a crowd, killing 83 people and wounding more than 100, ALL of whom were supposedly firing at his people with sub-machine guns and pistols - yet NOBODY else saw these weapons, not even the other marines who were returning fire (except, possibly, the three who died). Supposedly, none of them saw the weapons even AFTER the crowd was mown down.

The Yemenis then supposedly came in and removed every weapon, every spent cartridge, and - and this is REALLY ridiculous - every bullet and bullet-hole (the defence lawyer is told that all the shots came from snipers with rifles, and photographs a few bullet holes, but finds nothing to contradict this, throwing grave doubt on the colonel's judgement that the crowd was more dangerous than the snipers).

A videotape (destroyed by the National Security Advisor) shows the crowd shooting, but not one slug from any of those weapons is ever discovered. Were they all firing blanks? And why would the NSA and the ambassador (whose life was saved by the colonel) rather see a war hero executed than an aging ambassador lose his job and the Yemeni government embarrassed? (Maybe if it was Saudi Arabia, or Iraq in the 1980s, but Yemen?)

The court-martial then decides to believe that a videotape that they haven't seen, the existence of which can not be proven, vindicates their officer. Despite the glaring lack of any evidence to support his story and a mass that contradicts it, they acquit him. To believe this, you have to believe that the military will believe EVERYTHING they're told by one of their own, or protect them from the consequences even if they don't. The NSA and the ambassador are then blamed (okay, that's believeable if there was a change of government in between. They're political appointees, after all).

If this had been told RASHOMON style, without us seeing the videotape (or if the tape had been inconclusive), we could choose who to believe. Or if Jones's character had uncovered ANY evidence that supported the colonel's story or contradicted the official version, rather than making it a matter of faith. Instead, it's impossible to believe the film at all.

Delete your mind, 16 May 2003

If you haven't seen THE MATRIX, see it before you see THE MATRIX RELOADED, because they don't explain anything and otherwise the movie would make no sense. Actually, it doesn't make any sense anyway, but at least you'll get to see a watchable action flick before having your intelligence insulted by the worst screenplay I can remember. Ever. Worse than TOMB RAIDER, worse than CHARLIE'S ANGELS, worse than THE AVENGERS. It really is that bad.

The film's fight scenes and car chase make for a pretty good video game, but these highlights are interspersed with ponderous monologues that are more boring than an economics lecture by Stephen Hawking. Add to this Keanu Reeves displaying less acting talent than his sunglasses, and all you have left is spectacular CGI and stunt-work, some nice sets, and lots of fetish wear. Erase your mind beforehand and just enjoy the pretty pictures.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Plan 9 from Martial Arts, 14 April 2003

A masterwork of exploitation and grave robbery worthy of the late Edward D. Wood Jr. Approximately 11 minutes of footage of the late Bruce Lee, including film of his funeral and his body in his coffin, are used to sell a movie about a supposedly dead actor avenging himself after being ‘killed' for not paying protection to organised crime. There's an uncomfortable echo of the death of Brandon Lee when Lee's character ‘dies' after someone replaces a blank in the gun that shoots him for a stunt sequence with a real bullet. If they'd used all the real footage of Lee either before or after this, the film would have made much more sense: instead, they used alleged look-alikes, their faces sometimes hidden by false beards or motorcycle helmets, intercut with close-ups of the real Lee. If you're a martial arts fan, fast-forward to the climactic fight scenes; if you're not, the only possible reasons to see this movie are (i) Colleen Camp's cleavage and (ii) the sheer ghoulish awfulness of this barely animated corpse.

Hackers (1995)
More glitz than bits, 14 April 2003

Hackers is too lightweight to be a good thriller, but it works well if you see it as the hackers do - a series of games. The bet between Crash vs. Burn (ultra-hot Angelina Jolie) isn't very different from the competition between Plague and the younger hackers, except for the stakes. If you ignore the flashy and mostly meaningless computer graphics, you may notice some good in-jokes and a remarkable chemistry between many of the characters – Crash and Plague, Lord Nikon and Cereal Killer, and especially Crash and Burn. Apart from Lorraine Bracco, who seems completely lost, everyone seems to be having an enormous amount of fun: grab a can of Jolt, forget everything you know about programming, and join in the game.

6 out of 23 people found the following review useful:
Literal-minded to the point of stupidity., 18 March 2003

To quote my film tutor, this would have gone on the top of his list of the ten worst Australian films ever made if only he could have think of nine others bad enough to accompany it. It's a ploddingly literal-minded of a symbolism-heavy literary piece by Patrick White, with actors of widely varying levels of talent struggling gamely to deliver unspeakable lines. The result should have been left in the trash can next to the embryo in the last scene.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Comedy falls flat., 16 March 2003

If you're thinking of seeing this alleged comedy because of Amy Yip, prepare to be disappointed. You don't see enough of her - in either the chronological or the anatomical sense - to justify the sitting through the tedious stretches between the few good visual jokes. If you consider 'Sex and Zen' and 'Erotic Ghost Story' the peaks of Hong Kong movie making, this one is barely more than a molehill.

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