Reviews

28 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
Noah (2014)
2/10
The Bible re-written in a truly awful movie
10 July 2016
Warning: Spoilers
The Bible tells the story of the purging of the world to rid it of evil. The good man Noah is instructed by God to build an ark, which will allow Noah, his wife, their 3 sons and their wives to survive, taking with them 2 of each species of animal.

In their wisdom, screenwriters Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel set out not so much to distort this story but to re-write it. They dispense with the notion that sons Ham and Japeth had wives and replace them on the ark with an evil descendant-king of Cain, so that evil finds its way onto the ark. This allows for an epic battle to the death between Noah and the evil descendant-king towards the film's climax. Noah is portrayed not as a good man but as a warrior, a mass-murderer and as a cruel and ruthless man intent on committing murder in the name of "the Creator". The result is a poor man's "Gladiator on Water".

Given that "the Creator" wants to preserve "good" on the ark, it is a strange twist of fate that Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins), for all intents and purposes a better man than Noah, is not allowed onto the ark but rather perishes in a violent storm along with all the "evil" men. Obviously his goodness is not required for the final epic battle.

The interpretation of "good" is quite a muddle for most of the movie. Noah and his middle son Ham have many shortcomings when it comes to being "good" men. Noah is willing to kill innocent people - as well as a multitude of "bad" people - while Ham is beset by jealousy and revenge to the point of willing to become an accomplice to murder. I found it difficult to feel compassion for either.

The movie also included the introduction of rock monsters who come to Noah's aid, taking the movie squarely into the horror genre. Perhaps fantasy is a better word, because even though they start off as potentially threatening creatures, they eventually come to Noah's aid - and even end up killing most of the film's population before the flood can destroy them.

I watched the entire movie in the mistaken belief that things would improve as it went along. They didn't - and at the end I was left with the feeling that I was glad that I waited until the movie had come to TV because I would have felt cheated paying to see it at a cinema.
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6/10
An interesting movie with historical geographical significance
6 July 2016
The most interesting thing about the Siege of Pinchgut are the numbers of scenes of the City of Sydney and some of its suburbs in the 1950s, which is fascinating to review nearly 60 years later.

The story involves an escaped criminal (Aldo Ray), who protests his innocence, and the 3 men who have helped him escape from custody. They attempt a nighttime escape by boat through Sydney Harbour but are forced aground on Pinchgut Island - now much better known as Fort Denison - where they hold hostage the caretaker and his family.

The movie has quite an interesting plot and the acting is quite good. It does fall apart a little towards the end as the plot descends into melodrama and the key question of Ray's innocence or guilt is never resolved.

The interest for me as a child of the 50s in Sydney was seeing scenes of various Sydney locations as they were in my childhood.

Despite being made by the British studio Ealing and containing a number of British actors, the movie was evidently made with the American market in mind. Not only was the star, Aldo Ray, speaking with an American accent but American spelling was used. In one scene a newspaper headline read "Harbor", which is the American spelling. The British and Australian spelling is "Harbour".

Despite its shortcomings, most notably falling into absurdity towards the end, a weak climax and some unresolved issues, the movie held my interest throughout and I can recommend it especially to older Australians for the historical value of the geographical scenes.
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Wee Geordie (1955)
8/10
Entertaining, heart-warming, delightful
20 December 2013
I watched Wee Geordie out of curiosity but found so much more than that. The story centres around a small rural Scottish boy who was teased and ridiculed at school because of his small stature and who took growth tablets to aid his physical development. He grows into a fine specimen of a man, tall and strong. His strength ultimately leads to him becoming a hammer thrower and representing Britain at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.

The film is entertaining throughout. Bill Travers (of Born Free fame) is convincing and engaging as the grown Geordie Mac Taggart and Alastair Sims is a fine laird.

I thought that the movie might be based on fact (a la Chariots of Fire) but a review of the Hammer Throw results at the Melbourne Olympics reveals it as a work of fiction. No matter! It does not change the fact that the movie is a delight to watch.

The scenes of the final throw of the competition are captivating. Some competitors thrive on crowd support, others wilt under it. Geordie was a crowd favourite, thanks to his involvement in saving a man trapped under a car, but his nerves betray him under that pressure. When he shuts out the crowd and imagines his sweetheart back in the hills of Scotland - at the same time that she whispers into her wireless back home - a little piece of cinema magic is created.

There was some licence taken with the location. When Geordie is shown arriving in Melbourne by ship, there are 2 scenes of Sydney Harbour. But that is immaterial to the enjoyment of the film.

It is definitely worth the investment of your time and attention.
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4/10
Disappointing
12 December 2013
Let me say at the outset that I am at odds with the majority of critics and IMDb reviewers to date in that I thought that American Hustle was an ordinary movie. It's not that I didn't want to enjoy it. I really like Christian Bale and Amy Adams, I think that Jennifer Lawrence is destined to become the best actress of her generation and I like Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner and Robert de Niro. From a cast level, I wanted it to succeed.

Perhaps my mistake was in viewing it as a drama. True, there were some humorous lines but I thought that essentially the movie aimed at the dramatic, with some violent scenes adding weight to that view. Now I find out from the Golden Globe nominations that it was a musical or comedy. (The soundtrack was good, so maybe the nominators have viewed it as a musical??)

Seriously, though, I was expecting more action. I thought that the movie was too long and some scenes were far too tedious, and as a result I became bored. In addition, I didn't much care what happened to any of the seedy characters, which added to my level of apathy.

I am out of step with the majority, as I have admitted, but I felt that the alternative view deserved to be aired.
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4/10
A Collection of Stories with Little or No Redemption
26 November 2013
I approached this movie with optimism, having read several glowing reviews. However, I came away disappointed. The main plot involves an eccentric - and bad-tempered - millionaire who is so dissatisfied with his relatives and work associates that, rather than will his money to any of them, he decides to give it away in million-dollar amounts to strangers picked from the city directory.

The remainder of the movie is made up of 8 short stories involving each of the recipients. The problem that I have with the movie is that, with the exception of the final story, the recipients are a group of lowlife persons who simply waste the money. Charlie Ruggles plays a henpecked husband and a meek and clumsy china salesman who uses his fortune smashing up his employer's china shop out of spite, knowing that he can afford to pay for the damage. Wynne Gibson (strangely uncredited) plays a prostitute who uses the money to book into the best room in a swank hotel. George Raft plays a forger who is unable to cash the check because the law is after him and therefore it becomes worthless. Alison Skipworth and W C Fields play two ex-vaudevilleans who hate road hogs and spend their fortune on a fleet of cars for the sole purpose of causing road crashes. An uncredited actor plays a condemned man who cannot use his check to save himself. In a bizarre, wordless piece, Charles Laughton plays a clerk who travels through a series of doors for the sole purpose of blowing a raspberry to his employer. In a more entertaining piece Gary Cooper, Jack Oakie and Roscoe Karns play boisterous marines who spend more time in the guard house than on the parade ground and who dismiss the check as an April Fools prank and sign it away for $10 cash. None of these stories appears to have any redemptive value and I was left with the impression that the money would have been no worse spent on the millionaire's relatives and employees.

The final - and longest - story redeemed the movie to a small degree. May Robson plays a dissatisfied and oppressed inmate of an old ladies' home. She at least puts her money to a good cause to improve her lot and that of her fellow inmates.

Her good fortune and good heart has a flow-on effect on the millionaire, who at the beginning of the film could "go at any time." Throughout the movie, as he delivers the checks personally, he seems quite well and hearty enough and by the end of the movie he looks as though he could live forever, even though he still acts like a cranky old buffoon towards his employees.

The final story of the movie is heart-warming but whether it is enough to warrant sitting through the other stories is in the eye of the beholder. For me, it wasn't quite enough.
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Salute (2008)
10/10
One of the Great Movies of the Year about One of the Greatest Races of All Time
22 July 2008
Matt Norman's moving documentary about his uncle's role in the infamous black power salute after the 200m final in the 1968 Mexico Olympics is compelling viewing. It is the best movie that I have seen in 2008 (and, yes, that includes The Dark Knight and Mamma Mia). Not only that, but I rate it as the best documentary that I have ever seen and possibly the best Australian movie I have seen.

The tragedy is that had it not been for the furore over the salute, this would have been remembered as one of the greatest races of all time. The Gold Medalist, Tommie Smith, smashed the world record. Peter Norman, the Silver Medalist, equalled the old world record in a time that 40 years later (2008) still stands as the Australian record - and amazingly would have won the GOLD MEDAL at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The Bronze Medallist, John Carlos, crossed the line only centimetres behind Norman after being caught only 5m from the line.

Smith and Carlos were sent home in disgrace by the USA Olympic Committee and their athletic careers were ruined. Norman was officially reprimanded by the Australian Olympic Committee - even though he didn't "salute" - and was overlooked for the 1972 Munich Olympics even though he had run the qualifying time many times and was ranked 5th in the world.

The movie shows the race quite a few times - a bonus for sports fans - but this movie is more about human rights than the race itself. It features extensive interviews with Smith, Norman and Carlos and shows a lot of footage from the 60s (warning: some of it is quite "grainy"). For sports fans and for those interested in the development of the human rights movement worldwide, but primarily in the USA, Australia and Mexico, Salute is compelling viewing.

A world class movie about a world class race and the unfortunate events that ensued.
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Footy Legends (2006)
8/10
A genuine Australian, feel-good movie
28 July 2006
Footy Legends is a curious film in that it is the first movie about rugby league to make a genuine impact. It is funny, it is moving and it features plenty of rugby league action, plus a wealth of league legends, including Matty Johns, Mario Fenech, Brett Kenny, Cliff Lyons, Gary Larson, Rod Wishart, Brad Clyde and others.

The star of the movie is Anh Do, who is also involved in the writing and production. His performance is exceptional, demonstrating an impressive array of emotions through facial expressions and body language. Here is a young man who can make a big impact on the Australian movie scene, particularly if he can continue to contribute to quality scripts.

The other impressive qualities of the movie are tight editing and a wonderful music score. Many Aussie movies lose impact by overplaying scenes and thus losing momentum. Footy Legends avoids this trap by keeping each scene to a length that says what needs to be said, then moves on. This is good editing and a feature of Khoa Do's directorial debut in a fictional feature film.

The music score ideally supports the settings and suits the pace and intentions of the movie.

Quality Australian actors Claudia Karvan and Peter Phelps add depth to the movie, but it is Anh Do's performance which stands out. Hopefully this will be the start of a long career for this talented performer.

Whether the movie has enough diversity to appeal to overseas markets remains to be seen, but it has the right blend of comedy, pathos and "feel-good" to suggest that it will capture the attention and interest of Australian audiences. I hope so, because it deserves a wide audience.
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Eight Below (2006)
9/10
Not just a good movie, a superb movie
22 May 2006
My wife doesn't often go to the cinema, so when she wanted to see Eight Below, I willingly took her along, expecting an enjoyable, feel-good movie. What we saw went well beyond our expectations. The movie was not just good, it was superb.

First of all, the cinematography was excellent, the best I've seen since The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. It is certainly worthy of Oscar consideration. The stark beauty of the ice and snow and the chilling hazards of Antarctic storms were portrayed most effectively.

The animals were marvellous. The movie demonstrated not only the beauty of these wonderful Anatarctic dogs, but also beautifully captured their individual personalities. The "villainous" leopard seal was also realistically portrayed.

Then there were the human actors. I have not seen Paul Walker before. That is my loss. He portrayed surprising depth of sincerity, commitment and emotion in the lead role. Moon Bloodgood was delightful and Jason Biggs, although occasionally slightly irritating (as his role required) was effective as the comedy relief.

In the first, "getting-to-know-the-characters" phase of the movie, I thought, "This is pretty good". The second phase of the movie - the trip to Melbourne Mountain and the return journey - provided some exciting scenes which elevated the movie into the "very good" category. But it was the third and main phase of the movie - the fight by the dogs for survival in the wild and the tortured mind of Paul Walker's character as he tried desperately to return for them - that elevated this movie into the "superb" category. Once you really "got" that he didn't regard the dogs as animals but as members of his crew that the depth of his commitment introduced real emotion.

This is a movie that I will see again and be just as moved. Well worth your time in every aspect. In fact, SUPERB.
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Oyster Farmer (2004)
7/10
Quirky but Quite Good
7 November 2005
Oyster Farmer is a curious Australian movie in that its production values are more impressive than the story itself. First and foremost, the music throughout the movie is brilliant in that it suits the movie perfectly. The cinematography is likewise first class - the aerial scenes of the Hawkesbury River in particular are stunning. Also, the editing is tight and keeps the movie from bogging down - the editor and director deserve commendation for keeping the movie flowing.

The story itself is quirky and sometimes makes quantum leaps in credibility but, hey, what interesting movie doesn't? The acting is believable and allows you to understand the characters in most cases.

As a simple tale of life in a remote river community, the movie works quite well and deserves its reputation as a significant Australian film. Not great, but quite good.
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Wolf Creek (2005)
6/10
Chilling
6 November 2005
This is a chilling movie which, after a frustratingly slow start, keeps you on the edge of your seat for the second half. The acting by the four main stars is superb. John Jarrett delivers the performance of his career so far and is chillingly believable both as a friendly helping hand and as a dangerous psychopath. How he missed a nomination as best actor in the 2005 AFI awards is beyond comprehension and the awards will be devalued as a result of this stunning omission. Cassandra Magrath is also superb in a heroic role and can likewise feel aggrieved at missing a nomination. Kestie Morassi was rewarded with a nomination for her highly emotive performance.

The movie is not without flaws. The action takes a while to build up and, despite some very good cinematography of the scenes in Broome, the first 20 minutes doesn't really hold a great deal of interest. When the 3 backpackers take to the road, the movie gathers momentum and develops more interest, although it doesn't really come alive unless John Jarrett's character enters the scene. His performance drives the best segments of the film.

It is not a film for the squeamish, although much of the violence is implied rather than graphic. The film delivers a great deal of suspense in its second half. It could have been so much better with a more interesting opening. Even so, it is a film worth seeing if you like your share of terror and suspense. One of the better Australian movies of recent years.
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6/10
Good concept; poor 3D
30 September 2005
Robert Rodriguez has managed to duplicate his achievements in Spy Kids 3D: he has written and directed a creative story with excellent special effects but spoilt the process with very poor 3D. The 3D effects themselves are a high standard but the glasses are the old style one-red, one-green eye which don't give a clear image and which reduce almost all of the colour. Lava Girl's hair colour with the glasses off was ideal for the role. However, with the glasses on, which they had to be for the majority of the movie, her hair was almost devoid of colour - very poor effect. Despite the poor 3D colour effects, the movie worked quite well for excitement and action, and is worthwhile seeing.
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Saw (2004)
8/10
Better than Se7en
9 December 2004
I had read that this movie was a poor man's Se7en, so it was a genuine surprise to find that Saw is actually a very good, well-made thriller which keeps the pace moving frighteningly brisk throughout.

The movie begins in darkness and creates a tense mood right from the start. It is a relief when the lights come on and you can gain a sense of the scenario - two men on opposite sides of a room chained by a leg, with a dead body lying in a pool of blood in the centre of the room. Through a series of flashbacks, a little at a time is revealed of the situation they are in and how it came about.

There are some similarities to Se7en in that the movie concerns a serial killer who selects his victims with a macabre purpose. In this context, Saw compares favourably with Se7en and sheds more blood more graphically. This in itself does not make it a better movie, but it sustains its dark mood throughout as it continues to build up tension with a series of twists. Perhaps the final twist is beyond the pale but then in any movie of this type you need to suspend reality for best effect. And the ending does tie up a loose end that was barely even considered throughout the rest of the movie, that is, whose is the dead body lying in the pool of blood?

If you like your movies fast-paced with plenty of thrills, chills and gore, then this is for you - if you are prepared to suspend logic and go with the flow (of blood). 8/10
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8/10
Rush is Brilliant
7 September 2004
Geoffrey Rush is simply brilliant as the tortured genius that was Peter Sellers. His makeup not only captures a physical similarity to Sellers, but his mannerisms are so close that sometimes you could believe that he is Sellers. But this is only the beginning of his brilliant performance. His take-off of Sellers' many characters is perfect, especially Inspector Clouseau and the Sellers characters from Dr Strangelove. Rush also appears in cameo roles as many other characters in the film, including Sellers' first wife, his mother, Blake Edwards and Stanley Kubrick.

While the movie is a tour-de-force for Rush, there are many other fine performances, particularly from Emily Watson, Charlize Theron, James Bentley, George Cicco, John Lithgow and Stanley Tucci. While the movie itself is brutal and stark in destroying the image of Peter Sellers as a funnyman, it is essentially an actors' movie, centered on characterisation rather than plot. And as an actors' movie, it is one of the best.
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The Last King (2003– )
5/10
Classy production which assumes previous knowledge
30 May 2004
You cannot help but be impressed by the production values of this potentially great BBC series. However, the scenes jump quickly, characters come and go quickly and overall the story is hard to follow unless you read up on the history of the reign of Charles II. Either the editing has been so severe that the continuity has been damaged or the producers have assumed that viewers are fully aware of the history. Either way, a narrative would have helped to fill in the considerable gaps.

That said, the sets are impressive and the acting is first-class. With better continuity, this could have been an impressive tele-movie. In the form that it was presented on TV, it just misses the mark unless you already know your history.
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6/10
A curious movie, worth seeing
20 May 2004
Cherie Nowlan's directorial debut resulted in this curious movie, which is well worth seeing. It features two stories. The primary story involves Guy's (Richard Roxburgh) courtship and marriage to Lizzie (Cate Blanchett). The background story, told in flashback, features Guy's earlier passionate but tempestuous relationship with Jenny (Francis O'Connor).

The movie, released in USA as "The Wedding Party", centres not so much on the wedding itself but on Guy's memories of his relationship with Jenny as various people and situations at the wedding party remind him of his adventures and misadventures with Jenny. The curiosity is that, because of the passionate relationship, the background story is actually more interesting than the primary story.

The message, if indeed there was a message and I read it correctly, is that passionate but stormy relationships are exciting in the short term but can lose their impetus over time, whereas more stable relationships are likely to stand the test of time.

Cherie Nowlan has delivered a classy production in her directorial debut. Why hasn't she done more? Richard Roxburgh, who is virtually on screen the entire movie and who therefore carries the plot, is well cast as a quiet, unassuming fellow who can be obstenate and even nasty when aggravated. His essentially nice guy role is a contrast to his villainous roles in movies such as "Doing Time for Patsy Cline" and "Moulin Rouge". Cate Blanchett's character is slightly superficial but her acting ability, which would the next year catapult her to international stardom and an Oscar nomination for "Elizabeth", is readily apparent. Francis O'Connor has the far juicier role of Jenny and handles it well. Jane Turner performs a nice comic turn in a minor role as the wedding party co-ordinator.

There is a lot to like in this movie. Unfortunately its Australian title - "Thank God He Met Lizzie" - suggests a period piece and does not correctly portray the passion in Guy and Jenny's relationship. The USA title - "The Wedding Party" - similarly misses the mark because Guy and Jenny's relationship is the focal point of the movie - or, is, at least, the most interesting focus of the movie. Title aside, it's a movie worth seeing.
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7/10
This could be the saddest story ever filmed
15 January 2004
This well-made TV movie is a very moving experience. Seeing in graphic detail how a well-adjusted and endearing teenage girl deals with the horrors of persecution as her family is forced into hiding to avoid the Nazi terror cannot fail to engage the heart and mind. It shows Anne before the Nazi invasion of Holland as a bubbling girl eager for education and socialisation. Her indomitable spirit is well portrayed during her family's long months of hiding in the back of a factory in Amsterdam. Her physical deterioration after her capture is shown graphically, as is her will to survive to make her mark upon the world. Ironically, she did make her mark upon the world posthumously through her diary, the most-widely read work of non-fiction in the world after the Bible.

For me, the virtual incarceration of her family in the factory was very sad and thought-provoking. Taken from their normal lives and stripped of all those things they held dear, Anne's family strives to remain positive of better times ahead. How would we fare if required to give up all that we possessed and go into hiding for fear of our lives? A totally depressing thought, and yet that is what happened to Anne and her family.

The later scenes, after the family was captured, humiliated, separated and sent to concentration camps, is simply tragic.

The fine performances of Hannah Taylor-Gordon in the title role and Ben Kingsley as her father, Otto Frank, deserve special mention, although the entire cast was believable. Hannah Taylor-Gordon's performance was a revelation - she conveyed a range of emotions that superbly captured Anne's spirit and also her human weaknesses.

The movie is not without its weaknesses. It is slow at times and could perhaps been improved by tighter editing, although this may have detracted from the accurate portrayal of the tediousness of living concealed behind closed doors for so long a period.

The concentration camp scenes are disturbing and Anne's gradual physical deterioration is depressing. It is not a movie to entertain but one to stir the emotions and the resolve to ensure that this sort of persecution and genocide is never again allowed to happen.

It is also a depressing reminder that it still is happening in various parts of the world.
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7/10
Creative story, poor vision
8 January 2004
Here is a creative story with excellent potential for 3D effects. Action inside a video game certainly allows director Robert Rodrigues to provide some unreal images and to hurtle many objects towards the audience. Throw in some innovative cameos by actors such as George Clooney, Bill Paxton and Elijah Wood (one toddler at my session excitedly called out, "Look, it's Frodo!"), and there was a potential for a truly good movie here.

How sad, then, that it faltered because of cheap 3D glasses which blurred some of the 3D action. With the excellent 3D technology now available at places like Disneyworld (Orlando, Florida) and Sea World (Gold Coast, Australia), I thought that the world of 3D technology had come of age. However, the el cheapo cardboard glasses that were available for Spy Kids 3D were sub-standard and spoiled an otherwise quality movie. To the decision-makers who chose the el cheapo glasses, it was poor vision to provide us with poor vision.

However, if you can stomach the somewhat nauseating 3D images, hold on to your hat for a wild ride.
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10/10
A Stunning Finale
29 December 2003
Peter Jackson was right: this is the best movie of the series - and that is saying something because The Two Towers was superb. The correct genre for the Lord of the Rings series is horror/fantasy and never before has horror or fantasy been attempted on such a grand scale. The scenery is stunning, the action sequences spectacular, the horror superbly done. There is some humour, a perfectly blended music score and, of course, computer imaging without peer. The character of Gollum/Smeagol is one of the great achievements in cinema history and the battle scenes pure genius. Need I say more: this is one of the cinema's true masterpieces, a stunning finale to a superb series.
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8/10
Good fun with action
11 December 2003
A second viewing of this fine film confirmed my impressions of the first viewing: it is good fun combined with some exciting action, even if the plot is a little contrived. Russell Crowe, as always, is stoic and believable in the lead role and Mary McCormack is delightful as his faithful and supportive wife. There are some funny moments throughout and a heartwarming finale. Not a classic exactly, but well worth seeing more than once.
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6/10
Easy to watch western
10 December 2003
I tuned into this movie one late night when I couldn't sleep, thinking it would be a quick cure for insomnia. Instead I had a pleasant surprise: it wasn't bad. A simple plot, yes, and somewhat far-fetched, but it was entertaining and the action kept right on happening. Tim Holt was an agreeable B-grade western lead and the support cast gave him good support. Not exactly a gem, but a reasonable way to spend an hour on a sleepless night.
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9/10
An Unexpected Gem
22 July 2003
As a huge fan of the original movie (10/10) and a lesser fan of the sequel (8/10), I was reluctant at first to see T3, fearing that a lesser director than James Cameron might provide a disappointing sequel. I was, then, unexpectedly excited and thoroughly pleased that I changed my mind and decided to satisfy my curiosity about this further inevitable chapter in the saga of John Connor. The movie begins with action and special effects, and continues with action and SFX unrelentingly. It kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. The concept of a female terminator worked well, adding sex appeal and the opportunity for some humour amongst the carnage. The original movie still reigns supreme for its originality, but this is a worthy descendant - 9/10.
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7/10
Surprisingly good
10 June 2003
This is a surprisingly good movie about an unpleasant - even nasty - subject. Given that the movie is essentially character driven and takes place mostly within the confines of one room, in lesser hands it could have had the potential to be rather slow. Not so! Because of the rising tension and the inability to read exactly where the story is headed, the movie maintains interest throughout, with very few flat spots. Not the movie for a light family day out. Rather, this is one for fans of the black psychological thriller. And the nudity? It is there for the plot and not for the erotica.
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Dreamcatcher (2003)
8/10
Read the book first
21 April 2003
Dreamcatcher is a quality translation of Stephen King's book, but it doesn't do the book justice. The first half of the movie I found absorbing and generally faithful to the book. However, it looks as if the editor went beserk in the second half and left most of the second half of the story on the cutting-room floor. As a shock horror movie, it worked well, but it left many questions unresolved. A major weakness was the movie interpretation of Duddits, who in the book was a retarded boy with a loving family, four special friends and a psychic gift. Converting him into an alien was pointless and unbelievable. Who thought up that clanger? The movie also failed to capture two other important character developments that the book did so well. First, Roberta Cavell was a devoted mother with a prominent role in the book, whereas her movie appearance was almost inconsequential. Second, the interplay between Owen Underhill and Col Curtis was believably portrayed in the book but the deterioration in their relationship was barely explained to any effect in the movie. As a straight horror movie, Dreamcatcher worked very well if you didn't try and analyse it, but if you want to understand the story and the characters, read the book first.
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The Majestic (2001)
9/10
A gem of a movie
28 September 2002
I can't understand why this film has received some unkind criticism. It is a gem of a movie, even if the ending is a little contrived. There is a wonderfully dramatic performance from Jim Carrey, who has excellent support especially from Laurie Holden, James Whitmore, Martin Landau and David Ogden Stiers (a far cry from his boorish character in M*A*S*H). The film contains a fine balance of drama, romance and pathos, and is another superb effort from director Frank Darabont (The Green Mile, Shawshank Redemption). Well worth seeing, and then seeing again.
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10/10
The Best Version of Les Miserables
23 July 2002
This was the first version of Les Miserables that I saw. I have seen 3 versions since, including the excellent French version with Gerard Depardieu and John Malkovich, but none has the same sheer storytelling power of the 1952 version. Michael Rennie and Robert Newton are superb in their contrasting roles, and the support cast is excellent.
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