Reviews written by registered user
Pseudo-geordie boy

10 reviews in total 
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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Trite, boring story around a few long, harsh sex scenes., 13 June 2002

Spoilers I suppose… So yeah I guess you could say I didn't like it. It had some good moments but they were few and far between, and I'm not sure if I was supposed to laugh as much as I did when all the main characters kept dying, sorry but I found them funny. Son: You hate me don't you? Dad: yeah I hate you: always have. Son: I always loved you… then he shoots himself, sorry and all but this is very very funny. Admittedly I was the only one laughing in the cinema, but that's irrelevant, isn't it? Woman loses husband in electric chair, fat son gets run over (he's fat therefore lets mock him, fat kids great for comedy: not a good idea though) and then he dies and Halle Berry cries a lot; and with lots of crying comes an Oscar; if she were retarded in some way too then well she'd probably be acclaimed as the greatest actor ever to live. And Billy Bob, well he's okay as ever, though in this one it's like he's still in The Man Who Wasn't There Mode; which should be a good thing but it's just dull: just not the Coen's I suppose. Plus and this bit really amused me but you know he can't be that racist since he likes chocolate ice cream and black coffee. Please shoot me now if this is acclaimed as the best film of the year. For me this was a not very good continuation of Dancer in the Dark.

Anyway, I can't be bothered saying anything more about this film, disappointing in the end, (and the middle and beginning too) but hey it doesn't really matter, does it.

A wicked, wicked film: I loved it!, 30 October 2001

There is a major, major plot hole in this film: still a great film though. However, if you think about it the reason the Battle Royale law is introduced is to curb youth rebellion and truancy; yet if all the kids skive off school no one will be able to take part in the bloodthirst so the law becomes essentially useless. So rebel kids! Bunk off school. It's the only way to survive. But just a little point really. As it is though this is still a great film: all the deaths are hilarious, but then I am sadistic! I laughed all the way through, you will too: though I'm still not sure if it is actually supposed to be as funny as I found it. The more violent the deaths the funnier they were to me; the scene in the lighthouse is perhaps the funniest thing in the world! Just classic paranoia: how I laughed!!

It is easily as good as the American indie film `Series 7: The Contenders' which is pretty similar in content, though that's a parody of American tv and Big Brother style shows in general: still have to kill everyone else to survive though. The real difference between this film and Series 7 is this depicts young adults as opposed to adults, plus there are 40 in this and six in Series 7. From that you'd think there is less scope for character and stuff due to so many more people but I found the conceit of portraying school kids instead of adults genius as they all know each other, have fully formed attachments and so killing your friends to survive is much more shocking than killing strangers to win a gameshow as in Series 7. And that holds its punch as it means betraying friends to survive: friends they've known and loved for most of their lives. Think about: could you?

This film isn't perfect though, the end is very poor: the last ten minutes make no sense, but you'll see what I mean when you see it. Series 7 at least has a twist as well as an amusing ending; this just annoyed and disappointed me. It's also a little too long, but that's perhaps due to the end not being very good, drying up and dragging along. More could have been made of the psycho-woman character too (I forget her name:Mitsuko i think), she was cool. But other than that it is a good film. So go see it. Me? I'm waiting for `Ichi The Killer', promises to be even more bloody and violent: Japanese films are so cool! Don't even get me started on Odishon!!!!

Together (2000)
19 out of 26 people found the following review useful:
Anyone feel like meditation?, 30 July 2001

Together is a good film. It has no plot to speak of, but hey plots are overrated anyway, especially as most of them have so many holes it's impossible to make sense; Together bypasses this by not having one. But instead what we have is a beautifully observed and a very subtle intelligent comedy. Together (initially ironic) follows the discordant inhabitants of a hippie commune in the mid-seventies. It begins with them all literally jumping for joy at the news of Franco's death: so yeah they have their beliefs, where much of the comedy is derived coming as we do from an apathetic cynical new-millennium perspective. Well I laughed: an example; one of the children is called Tet after the Tet offensive during Vietnam!!. And there's the free love, the radical politics, and the ostracisation towards them by their neighbours. All the clichés, but clichés do happen: and as with Show Me Love the writer/director Lukas Moodysson manages to somehow freshen and make them no longer clichéd at all: a very good skill he has.

Coming from the position of being a very big fan of Lukas' first and better film Show Me Love/ Fucking Åmål it's easy to see the similarities between the two. The similarities are what make Together less impressive, that and the story is less interesting: it's not dull but there are just too many characters, it's hard to connect with any one of them. I've seen Show Me Love perhaps too many times, what keeps me coming back again and again is that I really connect with and love the main characters, it's like they are versions of who I once was. Additionally, there are essentially only two of them for Lukas to focus on, whereas with Together there are at least ten. I don't think it's the age thing either as I'm closer to those in Together than Show Me Love (depressingly). There are just too many characters and he can't focus on them all, the film is essentially a snapshot of their lives over the space of a turbulent few weeks. Similar to Show Me Love, only with the same duration: Together needed to be longer. However at the close it does all come together, you begin to feel for the characters. You come to understand and witness some growth in them: they lose some of their radicalism and begin to actually like each other becoming more synergistic as the staunchly dogmatic members leave for more idealistic communes or the Baader Meinhof! I think the point is that the remaining characters may be similar to me, I may have found a connection only there is no time to show this as they only get a few moments of focus each.

There are also some annoying directorial techniques (the same ones as in Show Me Love) like the fast-zoom to close-up where sometimes a static shot would have been better, I hoped he'd learnt to use it sparingly but obviously he loves it too much to ever part. But this is a tiny point, the biggest drawback is that I can see all the characters from Show Me Love transposed onto this film; different ages, different settings but essentially the same: it's like we're watching the parents of the kids in his earlier film. It's not enough to annoy me, but it does detract, it's what makes this film only a nine rather than the definite ten that Show Me Love deserves. Finally, I hope Lukas will make a film better than Show Me Love so he'll not have it like a millstone, but first he has to find different voices for his characters. I hope everything he does will not be compared to that film, but it is a very good film indeed. However, Together, as it stands, is just too similar not to compare it with his earlier film.

After seeing Together I left the cinema smiling and, if nothing else, it managed to make me sing ABBA's SOS all the way home, and I hate ABBA, being a man and all! And I'm still deciding about seeing it again, so it is a good film and I did enjoy it, the difference being that I wanted to see Show Me Love again immediately and then over and over and over: and do. Maybe after a second viewing I'll feel something more for the characters? I'll let you know!

2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Merci Pour la Chocolat. No thanks, I'll stick to coffee: DOH!, 11 July 2001

This film is so bad it's actually a comedy in disguise. The acting's good: there the one good point over already. But the script and the plot and the direction are just so clichéd and trite and hysterically bad. An example: A daughter and her boyfriend are at lunch with her mother and her mother's friend. Shall we see a film? Asks the boyfriend. Okay what's on? I'll just look in the paper. No I'll look says the mother's friend: oh hang on that's that man Polonski; you know the one, the one who had a son born the same time as your daughter and there was almost a mix up at the hospital. Oh please: the first of many. He's a pianist and so is the daughter: who looks so much like his wife. Go on jemmy in another contrived plot in there go on you know you want to: and so the writer and/ or director does: and again and again and again: the end is obvious, and so so funny: the way the daughter works out what's going on is just pathetic. Every scene is not so much signposted for you but advertised on billboards on the way to the cinema they're so obvious. Apparently subtlety isn't a bad thing, unless you're Claude Chabrol that is.

I hated this film: yet enjoyed laughing at it: and judging by those around me in the cinema I wasn't alone in that at all: there were a lot of laughs and unintentional funny moments. Oh yeah the music's good too: if you love piano music as I do, but the same song over and over and over again: I know why, teaching a piece to the daughter and all, but why all the time? Play something else. Do not see this film. Unless you want to see Isabelle Huppert sleep-act and still win an award: the other actresses must have been the worst in the world. Don't get me wrong she is an excellent actress but she didn't deserve to win an award for this trite piece of clichéd French introspective rubbish. I've seen an earlier film by the same director: the one with a young Virginie Ledoyen in La Cérémonie, and that's even worse and apparently his best. He gets great casts and fails to give them anything of any merit, or so it seems. I don't think I'll be seeing any more by him in the near future, or the distant future or ever. Truly truly awful. Go see The Piano again: better music, better script, better acting, better plot: better film.

7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
An excellent film that should be seen more widely than it will be., 11 July 2001

This film is rather fine. From the very first scene I loved it, and fell instantly in love with Delphine; the star and the best reason to see and savour this film. Maud Forget, who plays her, exudes such sensitivity it is really hard not to love her. Delphine is a shy young thing who sits at the back of the class, never speaking as that would be just too scary, next to her male friend who secretly loves her: although that much is obvious from the very first scene; so only really secret in that she doesn't know or is just too young to see it. Then she befriends the new girl to her class and her life changes completely. And this meeting is the key to the film, as Olivia essentially releases her from a self-imposed inhibited personality. And whereas before she was just a very beautiful girl now she becomes alive and moves so incredibly fast from what she was she can't believe it's the same person, and then she meets Laurent.

Laurent is a cutie: really, and it's easy to see why she falls for him: beautiful and charming and the relationship that moves the film from coming-of-age triteness to an unsettling emotional tour de force. It's so much more. It's about how much we should and/ or do sacrifice for love, and then we realise that Laurent isn't as cute as he appears: in fact he is an unfeeling emotionally manipulative user. He wants to escape France and go to Jamaica (which in English has a very amusing pun over the whole film!!) and the only way he can think of getting some money is to persuade her into prostitution: which isn't advised to anyone out there thinking of a career change! But hey if that's what you want to do then who am I to say.

So, without giving too much away the film is very good indeed. You sit for the first three-quarters wondering when this prostitution thing will come, and perhaps like how I did wonder if the description of it was wrong: as it takes so long to come. But this is the key to its greatness as by the time it eventually does you're thinking how she could descend into it when she is such a young cute thing. And when it does you're so much involved with the film you can't help but love her even more and just wonder how if at all it's going to be sorted. Go and see it if you ever get the chance, it will make you feel like falling in love. Preferably not with Laurent but with someone as utterly beautiful and as charming as Maud Forget: but hey that really would be asking for too much. There are too many Laurents and not enough Delphines. Who is a wonderful young actress, and one to look out for: she will be great, if not already. Anna Paquin anyone? In fact the whole cast is excellent. So all in all a very very good film. A perfect soundtrack too.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
The incredibly beautiful story of two girls in love., 9 July 2001

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've seen Show Me Love many many times as the video has finally been released in the UK. It's been a long time coming; the wait has made it all the more delicious too. At the cinema it's very good: on the small screen and with repeat viewing it's open to all sorts of subtexts that maybe you miss at the cinema, and it's still as good: if not better as I can see it all the time whenever I feel like it, which is very very often. And so onto my opinion. First if you get the chance you have to see this film, I like depressing films as a rule, but this is so uplifting that even I had a smile as I left the cinema and promptly saw it again the next day and felt the same warm feeling you get when something genuinely charming enters your life, like for no reason remembering the first kiss that leads onto other things.

So the film: you all know it's about two girls who fall in love: one, Agnes, is so charming you just want to hug her, all the time: never let her go, the other is the brash Elin who grows on you. It really is a matter of taste who the star of the film is: either Rebecca Liljeberg or Alexandra Dahlström, they jointly and deservedly won the award for best actress at the Swedish Oscars. For me it's Agnes: but then she's a lot like me, only beautiful. And that's the beauty of it: it will remind you so very much of being 15-16. It has the drunken party where nothing is said of any interest by people you secretly despise and see everyday, the bitchy alienation against those who on't fit in for whatever reason and the need to hurt others to make you feel good, the impotent focusless rage and the arguing with your parents for no reason other than you hate them. The twist is that it's about homosexuality. Which makes being a teenager even harder to get through.

So, Agnes is the relatively ‘out' alienated-youth who's only friend at school is wheelchair-bound and who is as alienated as her; though for different reasons. It's more they put up with each other as there is no one else to sit with at lunchtime than actual friendship. Elin is the antithesis of Agnes (love's crazy like that, hey!) she's brash, popular but despises her friends' superficiality, narrow-mindedness and spitefulness, she is misunderstood and has a reputation: undeserving as they always tend to be and as she so brilliantly puts it `Zero times zero, that's how much I care'. Agnes loves Elin, Elin doesn't know she exists. The film is about how they meet; find things in common, like their feelings for each other, and, well, the end is obvious, but it still makes you think that maybe, just maybe, you too will find that special person who'll make you talk rubbish and love you for it. You won't of course but the walk home from the cinema is incredibly serene nonetheless!

I could talk about this film all day: but spoilers prevent too much! There are however lots of nice touches; one of which makes you listen to Foreigner's eighties cheese-fest `I Want To Know What Love Is End' and actually makes you feel glad for it! Don't believe me then, but it's true! Maybe it's just the context of Agnes' dream coming true. The film shows teenage life exactly as it is: great if you enjoy it, seven long years if you don't. Agnes doesn't Elin does: relatively, or as much as it's possible to. The authenticity of the characters: they are all both believable and likeable, the parents aren't just stereotypical as they tend to be in American teen-movies: Agnes' father is particularly good, very compassionate but not intrusive: he waits to listen not to tell: and you can see the genuine love and concern he has for his daughter.

So go and see it as often as you can, fill out the bits that spoilers prevent, learn Swedish if you can't already to understand the bits that weren't subtitled. And just enjoy this little film, it will make you feel young and remember when you fell in love and thought that maybe, just maybe they feel the same: or if they didn't you were confident they were convincible. This film is the time when they did or you were able to convince. I will end with a trite (I apologise in advance!)little thing: Show Me Love; this film certainly did!

After Life (1998)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
This film is both wonderful and very difficult to watch: but in a good way., 29 May 2001

This small and low budget film creeps up on you, like the eventual realisation that the person you truly love is no longer in your life, and this film makes you realise that too! It is set in a kind of half-way house between death and the place you go afterwards. A limbo of sorts. Once in this limbo you have a week to choose a single memory, that is later recreated in film for you to keep, to take with you forever and all the rest of your life vanishes: which as one person who we see choose says what a good idea: to let your life be largely forgotten. The paradox is of course that as you watch this film memories come out of everywhere: passed loves, childhood memories: first day at school, immature early teen moments, regrets. That's why this film is difficult, not for anything in the film but for what you get out of it, and the difficulty you find concentrating on it, memories come from everywhere to interrupt the film and take you away from watching it. This is the first film I have ever seen that has been able to do this all the way through. Like some universal filmed diary; and I've seen this film twice now and it does every time and the same memories too! And if you've seen this and thought well it was all right I suppose, watch it again at a later date and it really does get much much better the second time; I can't wait for the third time I see it it'll probably become the best film I have ever seen.

But the film itself once you've managed to push yet another of your own memories away long enough to actually concentrate on it is full of little wonderful tiny touches that just resonate in you. One particular scene, that gives nothing of the film away, is when an old lady, who has no real memories, chooses the time she used to just sit and watch and feel cherry blossoms brush and fall over her in a park, and once this is filmed you can see such joy in her eyes: and then later she saves some of the blossoms which she in turn gives, in an old plastic bag, to the guy who was in charge of her choice so that he can in turn remember the times spent with his three year old daughter, which he said earlier reminded him of her. The end is also particularly moving when we learn about one of the other workers there who help people decide what memory to keep with them. He is the star of the film without question: his very distant and beautiful screen presence makes the end once you get to know who he is all the more difficult to watch: the knowing that he eventually comes to terms with his life enough to be able move on, and his very simple film(memory) remains with you for a long time afterwards. This film is very slow to begin, but once it grabs you, which it eventually will: even if like me it took until the second time, it stays and makes you wonder long after what memory you would keep. But I guess everyone thinks about that after seeing this. Better make sure that before you die there is something good to choose.

Memento (2000)
249 out of 336 people found the following review useful:
Confusion, uncertainty, and paranoia as an art form: possibly., 25 January 2001

If I told you the entire plot of this film it really wouldn't matter as it is an exquisite paean to the subjectivity of memory and therefore is in itself ambiguous; the ‘truth' of it is up to you. You come out of the cinema questioning yourself, your memories, your truths. Nothing in this film is as it seems, and yet paradoxically everything is as it seems. We see everything through Guy Pearce's characters' (Lenny) eyes, unfortunately he has no short-term memory so cannot form new memories. He would have already forgotten the first sentence of this review. He lives in snapshots of life; his only form of memory is his Polaroid camera, just like in the excellent German film Wintersleepers; also (partly) about a short-term memory disorder.

In this film Lenny takes snapshots to remember who people are, where he now lives, his car, everything. As you can imagine this is perfect for paranoia, suspicion, uncertainty, confusion, and betrayal. And that's exactly what you get in extreme doses. The difference between this film and Wintersleepers however is that Memento is entirely from Lenny's perspective. This therefore creates an imaginative, creatively unsurpassable film. The film begins where it should end, so far so trite, but here's the beauty, we, like Guy Pearce, learn in fragments what's going on. It is therefore perfect for those who love to second guess what's going to happen, who did what, who's doing what and why. The beauty of this film though is that my interpretation could be so different from yours, and neither of us could be sure whose interpretation is the right one; if there is a right one at all. Nothing is certain, nothing is clear. Another beauty of this film is the way it is filmed and edited. Pieces are shown a number of times with no real linear link between them, just like it would be if we ourselves had a memory disorder, and then they are cut up and edited next to things that happen either before or after it. It's just like holding ten different and linearly distinct Polaroids in your hand and having a short-term memory disorder. Excellent.

I'm not even sure if watching it again will make things any less ambiguous, but then who cares? The ambiguity is what makes this a great film, if it wasn't so cut up, or from Lenny's perspective it would be both very short and trite; and lacking in tension, suspense and interest. But as it stands it has all three, isn't trite and says so much about humanity. Oh, and the plot? It really doesn't matter, all you need to know is that everything about this film is indicative of the subjectivity of memory, of our experiences and interpretations of all that happens to us. Nothing will seem as black and white as it did beforehand. It will make you question every memory you have, almost as much as possessing a psychology degree, as I do! So, go and see it: be confused, acknowledge the frailty of all you know to be true, and then imagine the freedom of actually being Lenny, and then the horror of having nothing, nothing but the reliance of a pen and a Polaroid camera to know who you are.

114 out of 152 people found the following review useful:
A film so perfect it hurts to watch., 10 November 2000

This is quite possibly the most moving film I've seen, it ensnares you within the first minute, or Bjork does with her interpretation of the sound of music, which is both hilarious and introduces one of the main themes: the magic of musicals. Not one of my favourite genres (but everyone loves The Sound Of Music, right?) but Lars Von Trier makes you re-evaluate your perception with a gentle loving pastiche of the way for no reason people and things in musicals spontaneously erupt into song, made more credible in this film by implicating a reason for it: Bjork's character is going blind so she hears music in the slightest thing and she, in her mind, sees how moves should be choreographed with the music she hears, reminiscent of her own ‘It's Oh So Quiet' music video. And the best thing about this film is the way Bjork charms you with her portrayal of the nicest person in the world, she will do anything for you if she could. She is essentially an innocent and though this is her weakness you can't help but love her all the more: a sparkling performance from a unique singer in real life.

However from this don't assume that this is a light happy film as there is a dark tragic side also, and this side is full of injustice, agony- and I mean agony-, sorrow- like you'd not believe-, and an intense emotional pull as I've ever felt in a cinema before, and it's this half that propels it from being just a great film to becoming one of the greatest. Its greatness is in telling a simple story of a woman trying to stop her own genetic sight disorder afflicting her son, by working every hour to afford the operation, working heavy machinery despite essentially being virtually blind, its greatness is its ability to inflict upon you the gift of feeling every conceivable emotion you posses and you do, you really do experience so much during this film. But I'll not say too much as my enjoyment of this film increased due to, for a change, not second guessing what would happen but to just let it be, I would say to passively watch but there's nothing passive about this film. It really moves you. It makes you feel alive.

This film should be seen alone, in the quiet when you are all by yourself, but more importantly than that it should be seen: this is more than mere movie this is art this is real this is the greatest film I have ever seen: even better than Casablanca, and Shadowlands, and The Piano.

Turbulence (1991)
4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
great film, 15 September 2000

It has been a very long time since I've seen this film but my memory of it is good seeing as in 1991 when I saw it I loved it sooo very much. The symbolism and the story and the acting were superb. Kelly Marcel was particularly excellent as the surly teenager fighting adult ignorance and misunderstanding of who she is (every teenagers plight: or so it seems). Basically this film echoed my own self-obsessed worries of the time and didn't really change them just made me more aware of them: which was nice. So if you ever get the chance to see this film: if it ever gets repeated (come on channel four!!!) watch it and savour the arty genius of this film. My only worry is that since I've grown up my perception of this film will alter. But all in all not a very big worry to have! Enjoy it if you can, and don't eat mushrooms!