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Gangs of New York (2002)
Irish good, two legs bad
Dull. Unbelievably so. Badly acted, badly scripted, badly plotted, cliched, nonsensical.....
As far as I can tell, the point of the film is that if you're Irish, you are an enlightened, racially tolerant liberal. If not, you're an evil bigot beyond redemption.
Can't beat a good moral, can you? Luckily, my great-grandmother was Irish, so I myself emerge on the side of the Angels.
The Return of Swamp Thing (1989)
Saga of the Swamp Thing
Swamp Thing, now. Swamp Thing was a fairly unremarkable horrorish comic, which went on for a few years quite happily. Then, in 1984, Alan Moore started writing it. And his writing revolutionised comics, there had never been anything this complex and deep before. He went on to write (among other things) the comic "From Hell" which is being made into a movie with Johnny Depp, Ian Holm and Heather Graham, later this year.
Anyway, back to Swamp Thing. A pre-Alan Moore film of it was made, and after he made the comics popular, they decided to make a sequel. Did they use any of his ideas or style? Or did they decide to make a campy, supposedly-funny mess out of it? Well, you decide.
Dont even get me started on the problems with this. The characters look all wrong. They feel all wrong. The plot is messed up. No one here can act. Its NOT FUNNY.
Lets see if I can find something good to say about it....hmm...well, Heather Locklear looks quite nice. And Louis Jordan wants to be Vincent Price so much, its hard not to feel sorry for him
Altogether, 0/10. I might have enjoyed it more if I hadnt had the comics to compare it to.
Lucky Break (2001)
Spall earns this an extra point and a half
Good....but not great. The main problem with this film is that although all the cast try very hard, its just not *that* funny. A major flaw with a comedy. And there isnt really enough drama to support it either. the basic idea seems to have come from that bit at the end of The Producers where they are running a musical in prison. This film features a group of convicts all planning to escape during the Governors new musical "Nelson - The Musical". It all meanders along very nicely, quite funny in places. Bill Nighy is a plus point to this film, but still doesnt get enough funny bits to do. And although the musical is meant to be laughably bad, it mostly just seems fairly dull.
The one truly brilliant performance here comes from Timothy Spall. His character gets very little time on screen, and yet, due to his acting, you find out more about him than any of the leads. Unfortunatly, his subplot is rapidly glossed over, hiding a lot of the serious point the film tries to make.
So, see this if you have nothing better to do, it won't waste your time. But, if you really want to see an edgy British prison comedy, watch an episode of Porridge. If you want to see a comedy featuring an appalingly bad musical, see The Producers. If you want to see an amazing acting performance, see, oh, anything else with Timothy Spall in. Perfect Strangers is a good place to start, although he doesnt actually feature that strongly in that either. Still, look him up, you wont regret it.
This truly is a dire, catastrophic mess of a wonderful original. WHY do they have to remake things like this at all? And then castrate them, turning something great into bland pap? The thing that depresses me most of all is that several of the reviewers on here seem to be unaware that the James Stewart original even exists. Pathetic.
What a lot of miserable, po-faced funless people there are on IMDB...
I really dont understand all the complaints people had with this film.
Yes, the plot is relatively simple. So what? It didnt matter, Its meant to be a fairy tale.
Yes, there is some romance in it. So what? It worked well and was much more enjoyable than most romance films. And, after all, it is meant to be a fairy tale.
Yes, some of the jokes are a little crude, but nowhere near as many as a lot of reviewers here seem to think. The majority of the jokes are extremely clever and witty. Fairy tales never were as twee and harmless as Disney made them into, earlier versions are full of vulgarity, and even sex.
I dont understand why one reviewer complained that the scottish accent Myers uses is completely out of character for Shrek. How do you know? When was the last time you heard an ogre?
Dear oh dear. This film is just meant to be a funny fairy tale. Why cant people enjoy it for what it is? No, its not as deep as, say, Heavenly Creatures. But do you know why?
Because it isnt meant to be. Dont get me wrong, Im a big fan of sublter, arthouse films too. But this is not a stupid film. As I said before, most of the humour is extremely clever. There really is something for everyone though, even a couple of genuinely exciting action sequences.
If you can find the idea of the Seven Dwarves working in a chain gang funny, or laugh at the songs in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, then you should enjoy this film.
If not, go back to trying to understand Lost Highway.
I have one question for people. I could have sworn that John Cale's version of Hallelujah was used in the film, rather than the slightly different Rufus Wainwright version that appears on the cd. Am I right?
And yes, unlike the rest of the reviewers, I liked the soundtrack.
Why I prefer Spartacus
I found this film to be massively overhyped, and was unbearably derivative, particularly of Spartacus.
Spartacus, on he other hand, is one of my all time favourite films. And given the immense similarities, I should have at least found Gladiator ntertaining. And I figured out why I didnt today - characters. Gladiator has none. Maximus the Gladiator is deliberately played by Crowe as a walking Zombie throughout the film, the Emperor is barking mad, and only Oliver Reed's part has any sort of substance, and even then is a carbon-copy of Peter Ustinov in Spartacus.
And speaking of carbon-copies, the emperor bears a strong resemblance to John Hurt as Caligula in the classic tv series I, Claudius (incidentally, Derek Jacobi, Claudius in that series, crops up in a small role here). However, Hurt's character had far more depth and believabilitly, and most importantly, was better played.
None of the other characters here really got anything to do, so that rules them out as well.
At least the emperor was fairly enjoyable to watch. Joaquim Phoenix has a lot of potential, he should go far.
And another thing. The score was dreadful. God knows why it sold so well. And God knows how come this film got so any Oscars. Russell Crowe as best actor? How difficult is it to look grim and stand still a lot? Dear oh dear.
The best scene was the opening battle. That, at least, was brilliantly filmed and very powerful. If only the rest could have lived up to it.
If you liked this, you should vastly prefer Spartacus and I, Claudius. If you havent seen this, dont bother and watch those instead.
The Distinguished Gentleman (1992)
You may think that, I couldn't possibly comment...
Normally, I dont like Eddie Murphy films. This is a definite exception. He is not as over the top as in a lot of his roles, and carries it off with charm and substance, a little like Will Smith does now.
The plot (concerning a con man who decides theres more money to be made in politics) is for the most part hilarious, but seriously falls down into schmaltz once he starts developing a conscience.
Also, it is not as scathing about the American political system as it could be, giving out the impression that apart from a few bad apples, the majority of politicians do have the publics best interests at heart.
Anyone who enjoyed this should try and check out the English tv series "Yes, Minister". It is written by the director of this film (Jonathan Lynn) and is really much more effective in dealing with the British political system. Another british series along these lines is "House of Cards" and its follow ups, which really pulls no punches at all. And stars Ian Richardson. What more could you possibly want?
Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999)
Almost very good
Ill make it clear straight away, I enjoyed this film a lot. Its a good attempt at making a very black comedy in a Spinal Tap stlye documentary style, and nearly succeeds.
There are loads of very funny and often surprisingly subtle moments, and the depiction of the town as a whole has an almost Kurt Vonnegut feel to it. Many of the supporting characters are hilarious, for instance "John Dough", who isnt interested in looking at young girls, honest.
However, it neither succeeds in either its mockumentary or black comedy form, too often defaulting to an ordianry teen comedy movie style. The actors, especially Alley, overact far too much to carry it off succesfully. What made Spinal Tap and its ilk so successful was the deadpan way in which it was played.
And now my real problem with the film. Theres not much I find distasteful, the Jesus dance was a highlight of the film for me, but I thought the way the anorexic former winner was shown was just sick and offensive. Whoever wrote it clearly has no understanding of anorexia or its effects (or causes) at all. It really is quite pathetic and spoils the whole movie.
The Man Who Would Be King (1975)
Almost a very good film
This film seems to have everything, great camerawork, an interesting and clever plot, a great chemistry between Michael Caine and Sean Connery, its funny, its sad, its exciting, its touching...
So why do you get the feeling that it doesnt quite work? I think the problem is that it doesnt quite know what it wants to be, either an action comedy romp (Butch and Sundance go to India, as one reviewer on here described it), or a serious and quite dark psychological exploration of the idea of suddenly acheiving absolute power. It falls between two stools, and as a result is not as good as it could have been if they had taken one treatment or the other to its full extent. What we are left with feels like the mutant offspring of Heart of Darkness and It Aint 'Alf Hot, Mum (a British comedy tv show set in India). If you liked the darker side of this, I suggest you read Heart of Darkness, and if you prefered the action, Butch Cassidy or The Sting would be a good choice. Caine and Connery clearly had a great time making this film, its just a pity the viewers cant quite share it. Still, it looks wonderful.
Breakfast of Champions (1999)
So very disappointing
This had such potential, it started out well, being reasonably close to the letter and spirit of the book, but rapidly descended. Its obvious that the script orignially stuck much closer to the book but has been substantailly rewritten, for instance, at one point Bruce Willis' secretary apologises for saying "Some people would swallow anything". This makes no sense at all, unless you know that in the book his wife had comitted suicide by swallowing drain cleaner. In this movier, shes still alive. And dont even get me started on what happened to the ending. Dear oh dear. Albert Finney is terribly miscast, and the whole thing drags terribly.
However, a few days after I saw this, I saw Magnolia. A vastly better film in all respects, and a far better film of the novel Breakfast Of Champions. If you liked the book, see this instead.