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nicholas.rhodes

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390 reviews in total 
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0 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Difficult to feel much emotion, 3 August 2007
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Caught this one by accident on the TV here ; although the ending was about as satisfying as could be, it was difficult to feel any real emotion. Looking at it from the moral point of view, the Bible, which is the ultimate moral authority, teaches us that homosexuality is wrong, so wrong it is and the matter cannot be up for discussion. That said, the question is " how far should the punishment go " or "should it go as far as depriving a mother of her child if she is homosexual". This will obviously depend on each family involved so there is no hard and fast rule but what absolutely blew me was ... if she was a homosexual, how on earth could she have had a child ??? (Assuming the birth was not due to rape ). As I missed the first few minutes of the film, I have no way of knowing this - but if no rape is involved, this would be a major plot flaw. Jody's mother is acting in what she perceives to be the best interests of the child - what is worrying is that the child would appear to have been referring to it's mother's partner as "daddy" - very dangerous as a child needs to be brought up in a family unit of male father and female mother. Children brought up with a mother and no father, a father and no mother or worse,two fathers or two mothers are bound to suffer a disadvantage in their perception of the family unit and it is up to the adults to act in a responsible matter once they have decided to procreate. Homosexuals will obviously view the film in a different light as they will put the emphasis on the love the mother has for the child, and suggest that the sexual relationship of the "parents" is secondary if not irrelevant. They will be able to feel the emotions of the mother and will be indignant at the attitude of the grandmother - and that is quite understandeable. The character of the little boy is not that well developed and unfortunately we don't really know what he thinks - he is more an innocent victim of the bickering. But, to return to my title, it is difficult to feel real emotion, given the immoral context and one can only regret the plight of the child to have been caught up in this through no fault of his own. As I feel that society is becoming more and more immoral, not only through homosexuality but also through corruption, violence, paedophilia, lies, greed ....it is necessary to take stock of and protest against this every time it occurs - albeit in the course of a film. The bible tells us not to judge others on a personal level but nevertheless to make known one's views on different moral issues with vehemence...and that's where the fine line has to be drawn !!

9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Absolutely Hilarious because of the Actors, 31 July 2007
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A series currently shown fairly regularly on French Television about a police inspector who uses a nun to help him resolve crimes. Because of the actors ( Dominique Lavanant as the nun and Martin Lamotte as the Inspector ) this series is a light hearted and really a good laugh. Indeed these two actors are funny at the worst of times so I leave you to imagine what they are like on a good day. Of course this series has no pretensions other than to amuse in a lighthearted way but the unlikely juxtaposition of the religious and the police does produce some hilarious moments. The series is as far as I know available on DVD here in France and has encountered a certain amount of success with the general public.

Monsieur Léon (2006) (TV)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Slow start, more emotions during second half, 31 July 2007
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film was shown yesterday Monday July 30th 2007 as a result of Michel Serrault's death earlier on that day. Serrault had been in a series of films where he was playing with younger generation actors, notably in "Le Papillon" with Claire Bouaniche and "Une Hirondelle A Fait le Printemps" with Mathilde Saignier. Monsieur Leon is a similar sort of film but with totally different subject matter. Set in the 1940's in occupied southwestern France - I assume Bordeaux. A young lady from Paris is working for the resistance movement and is sent to the south. Her husband, an aviator has already been killed in action. She therefore leaves Paris with her little son and whilst she is engaged in resistance activities, the son must stay with his paternal grandfather ( Serrault ) who is a doctor by trade and lives in the Bordeaux Area. He lives alone but has a housekeeper. Because he is often seen with the occupant Germans, tending and nursing them, most of the village take him to be a collabo(rateur), i.e. a French citizen working with the Nazi occupiers. The little boy is disgusted at this and whilst having to remain alone with his grandfather whilst his Mum is elsewhere, has a problem communicating with him as he is so shocked by what he sees. But, things are not quite as they seem and although Serrault, exteriorily is hob-nobbing with the Germans, he is in fact working with the underground, helping to hide and evacuate Jewish families etc etc. However the boy's ostensible dislike for his grandfather does in fact help to "offset" the covert activities of the latter with regard to the Germans and enables him to remain above suspicion. The first part of the film is fairly flat and uninteresting, and depicts situations already seen in countless other films...however in the second half, things hot up and resistance members are captured by the Germans...Serrault is obliged to help his daughter-in-law and grandson to escape, thereby revealing his true identity to the Germans .. I confess to enjoying this and will readily buy it when it comes out on DVD. The fact that a child is involved in this sort of story inevitably produces increased emotions. For some strange reason during the last ten years of so, France has produced a spate of World War II films as if there was a sudden feeling of wanting to "evacuate" past guilt relating to collaboration with the Germans.

3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
To Be Avoided, 27 July 2007
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I do not criticize the film for having been made ; indeed the subject matter is most original therefore the Director must be commended on an artistic level for having produced it. But really, cinema is here to make us dream and fell good. With this film you CANNOT feel good, there is so much hate and evil that it is frankly disgusting. I am sure that situations such as the one depicted in the film actually do exist in real life - that is enough, and painful as it is, without having to see them re-enacted during a film. I see people describing this as a black comedy but regrettably find nothing comic about the work at all. I do enjoy true black comedy about death, cripples et alia but here there is not an iota of anything vaguely comic. Though tribute must be paid to the main actors for their magnificent performances. However the film has left me with a negative prejudice about Kathleen Turner, who, to me at least, inspired more hatred than Michael Douglas. Indeed the film has the dangerous singularity of inspiring hatred and is far from resembling anything comic

Good story - Mixed results, 22 July 2007
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I thought that the story serving as a basis for this film was a good one if a little contrived. I also thought that bringing the race issue into it was unnecessary and gave the impression the author was being one sided. The question I ask is : could the film have been made, would it have had any success if the colours had been reversed, i.e. small white girl raped by two black men, white father kills black men in anger, white man acquitted because the crime of rape was so horrible. I am sincerely not sure that such a film could have been made, due to Political Correctness which has infested the USA which means that any type of film dealing with the racial issue will automatically portray the bad guys as white and the good guys as black, or if indeed there is a bad black guy, there will always be another good one to contrast with this. So the race issue would have been best left out of this because as we all know, no race is free from killers and loonies and rapists. The more interesting question is whether you can take the law into your own hands to resolve a problem which you think at the time the justice system will not be able to resolve for you. This is the interesting part of the film and I would for one side with Matthew McConaughey whom I thought gave the most convincing performance in the film, although I do reproach many of his dialogue as being incomprehensible ( bad diction - strong and slurred accent ). The same goes for Samuel Jackson. Kevin Spacey, though, was brilliant and clearly audible in the role of the unrelenting procureur. On the other hand I was extremely annoyed by bleeding heart liberal Sandra Bullock ranting on against the death penalty and wondered what the point of having her in the film was. The more I see this woman in films, the less I like here - here characters are shallow and lack depth. She was out of place in this film, and apart from miraculously uncovering information about the state physician, contributed little to the proceedings. At least she was taught a lesson by the KKK, whose intervention on other levels seemed very violent and unpleasant - but I would have preferred the whole "race" aspect - KKK and all - to have been absent from the film. I am not sure in what period the film is set, and don't know how active the KKK is today. Anyway, these problems were dealt with far better in the film Mississippi Burning with Gene Hackman which was a great film. My main beef, though, remains the quality of the dialogues and the intelligibility of the speech which really was below par. I liked the happy ending and was pleased to see Matthew McConaughey and his family visiting Samuel Jackson.

8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Beautifully filmed though little known, 22 July 2007
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you watch this film with care, you will see that every shot has been perfectly crafted. The deep blue skies and reddish rock colour go perfectly with the steely blue eyes and yellowish skin of Richard Widmark. Even the colour of his tunic blends in with the rest. The cameraman here must have been a real genius as every shot is perfect.Great attention seems to have been paid to the color of the sky, the position of the sun and even the shots in "contre-jour" come out perfectly - in short, a real FEAST for the eyes. This film has only recently been made available on DVD in the USA and is of course absent from Europe, though we have plenty of other, and many inferior quality Westerns available on DVD....this should have been one of the first to come out...but this was not to be the case. Plot-wise the film is quite enthralling, and it's interesting to note the change in attitude of the people with time towards Widmark, from suspicion and hate towards gratitude and love by the end. The other actors give reasonable performances but of course in this film, Widmark steals the show, just as he did in "No Way Out". The scenes with the Indians, smoke signals etc are awesome and very colourful. Also the soundtrack is very good, I even thought it was Dimitri Tiomkin who had composed it, but I was wrong. When I saw the film initially, I was fearing some ghastly sad ending, thinking that Widmark would inevitably come a cropper, but fortunately, love rules OK and all turns out right ! Phew ! This is a film that every true Western-lover should have on the shelves of his/her DVDthèque.

"Tribe" (1999)
Above all, paradisiac but with plot holes !, 20 July 2007
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I discovered this film recently on French TV under the title "Les Rescapés du Pacifique". It's quite a long affair, around three hours. The most striking thing is the sets used. Beautiful, unspoiled beaches, palm trees, clear turquoise seas obviously photographed through polarizing filters, clear deep blue skies, it makes one think of Polynesia though nothing in the credits gives any indication as to the whereabouts. I had never heard of any of the actors involved and on checking IMDb find that they are all Australian, therefore little known on this side of the planet. The plot line was watcheable but there were several plot holes and one gets the impression that the protagonists were more intent on staying on the island than actually trying to get away from it. They all seem as well extremely well dressed, clean, and well nourished, all of which seems a little exaggerated given that they were living in primitive conditions on an island. A certain number of people are killed during the course of the film, which gives a rather black tone to it, and to be fair, this contrasts alarmingly with the gorgeous exotic sets. Certainly worth viewing for the visual pleasure it exudes, the film is nevertheless less interesting on a plot basis, though the soundtrack is not unpleasant either.

6 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Pompous Nonsense - verging on the soporific, 7 July 2007
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The price of the DVD of this film which is now available in France, under 2 euros, is some indication of what the film is worth, I'm sorry to say. I remember seeing the film many years ago and wondering what the hell it was all about. A viewing of the DVD recently produced the same effect. The only good points about this film are its catchy theme music and some wide shots as well as the inclusion of Charles Aznavour as a restaurant owner and other well known French actors of the time. The main interest of the film is the premise, which turns out to be a dream, of the sun being unable to shine any more upon the earth, due to its rays being blocked by a new planet in the solar system. I thought this could have been the start of something interesting but the rest of the film is incomprehensible to me. It touches on the themes of extraterrestrials warning the super powers on earth not to make war on each other as they earth is producing energy which they ( the extraterrestrials ) need for their survival and if they ( the extraterrestrials ) are deprived of this energy source, they they will wipe out the human race so as not to have any more trouble. Is this true or just a hoax ? God Knows ? There are various scenes in the film of Michel Piccoli and Evelyne Bouix getting up to strange antics and I don't really get the point of it. Unfortunately, this is typical of Lelouch's style, and one gets the feeling, as usual that in making the film, he his more concerned with making pleasure to himself than to his spectators. It should be stated that this kind of Sci-Fi thriller is not really typical of French cinema and is better left to the Americans who are specialists in films about invaders and invasions. Remains a plethora of well known actors and Charles Aznavour whom we see on numerous occasions digging into tins of caviar !

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Solid production values, not to be scoffed at, 3 July 2007
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Although not generally a fan of turn-of-the-century reconstitutions, I admit to rather enjoying this film because of its plastic beauty, sets, dialogues and choice of actors. I am a great fan of both Jacques Villeret and Cathérine Frot, because they both have curious and instantly recognizeable faces as well as orally attractive accents when they speak. The film, a childhood biography illustrating the incomprehension between a mother and her children, comprises a fair number of scrumptious dialogues, comic situations, and well filmed sets. The theme music too is not unpleasant and blends in well with the events. The "voice-off" technique is used - for me this is very reassuring and puts me straight into the story - in cases where this technique is NOT used, I sometimes waste a certain amount of time around the beginning wondering exactly what is going on and asking questions about the identity of each character. Of course Cathérine Frot, such a nice lady in real life, gives a remarkable performance as a domineering, heartless and vicious mother, especially with her two older children. Jacques Villeret, softer and more gentler does provide her with some support but is not as radical as his ideas. There are comic situations in the film, especially where Jules Sitruk is telling off God for having let his grandma die and asking him not to make the same mistake again and let his mother die asap because he hates her. He also has a thing going about the quantity of chocolate he is nibbling while praying and how much God should be letting him eat. Technical details of the film show that it was in part filmed in the UK, purportedly in the Dorset area, although the novel is set in the Nantes area close to Brittany. Certainly worth a watch, available on DVD in France with French only subtitles, the film will appeal to those who like filmed Novels and period pieces from the beginning of the 20th century onwards.

Show Boat (1951)
15 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Make Believe it's Perfect, 3 July 2007
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I had only recently settled down to watching this one which has just been issued on DVD in France. In a frustrating sense, this film shows that perfection is unattainable ! It has perfect lighting, perfect costumes, perfect music, perfect acting but oh, the plot is just so dull and lacking in substance ! But because of the rest I give it a high-ish rating. It's true, though, the plot is really lacking in spice and substance but this is to a large extent compensated for by a mixture of fantastic sets and great musical performances. Indeed, I am very impressed by the particular attention given to lighting by the cameraman ! It seems they avoided filming at midday and always used early morning or early evening sunlight with long, sharp and distinct shadows with yellowish tones. This plus the splendid technicolor is a feast for the eyes. I would be curious to have known exactly where it was filmed. Was it really the Mississippi river ? I also enjoyed those scenes in the cotton plantations. Musically of course, the film is a masterpiece and though my favourite tune is "Make Believe", I was extremely impressed by the version of Ol Man River sung by the actor William Warfield who must have had one of the most brilliant voices I have ever heard ! I confess to never having heard of this gentleman prior to seeing the film and had imagined the singer to be Paul Robeson. So I checked out WW on the internet and it appears he was a very respected and educated gentleman. To cut a long story short, I was impressed by his mellow voice and by his towering physique. Ava Gardner was too very beautiful and I also enjoyed seeing dear old Agnes Moorhead whom I have always appreciated in films. So despite a weak plot which sometimes failed to keep my attention, this film is a genuine masterpiece on most other levels and deserves viewing at least once, if only for William Warfield's performance of Ol'Man River.


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