Reviews written by registered user
mcnpauls

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26 reviews in total 
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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Sanest UFO documentary ever, 10 July 2009
10/10

Nick Cook is a leading aerospace journalist with a particular interest in secret military "black projects". He brings a lucid eye to the subject of UFos and concentrates on the view that they may well be man-made flying craft with a history stretching back to the famous "Foo Fighters" of World war 2.

During the course of the show, he also visits the Weceslas Mine in Poland with its discoverer, Igor Witkowski. Cook's best-selling non-fiction book "The Hunt for Zero Point" contains a fascinating chapter on Witkowski's claims that this mine hosted an ultra-top secret SS research project during the second world war that was looking into anti-gravity and exotic physics.

My one criticism of this documentary is that it crams in so many fascinating ideas that deserve to be covered in greater depth. Cook definitely has the material for a whole series, and I'd love to see him do a whole episode on Foo Fighters, another on the Nazi Bell project, etc.

Victory (1996)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Strangely forgotten, ambitious film, 31 May 2009
8/10

My wife and I finally got around to watching this R1 purchase we made a couple of years back of an ambitious film that sank without trace in both cinemas and on DVD.

Has anyone seen it? It really is worth seeking out. My better half thought it was excellent, and while I'm just too much of a fan of Conrad in general and this novel in particular to share her view, I definitely enjoyed it.

Willem Dafoe and Irene Jacob are actors who always leave me cold, but Sam Neill and Rufus Sewell (whom I cannot abide normally) are both great as the villains. The production detail is flawless in conveying Indonesia just before the First World War, and the scenery and photography is beautiful. particularly effective is the island where Dafoe's character lives as a recluse with its tropical villa and abandoned wharf and coal mine. The score, too, is very strong.

There's rather too much narration (from the always excellent Bill Paterson, though) and Simon Callow gives a performance that is hammy even by his standards, but, mercifully, is hardly in it.

Richard Lester and Harold Pinter were developing a version of this in the 1980s, which was never made.

Ashanti (1979)
3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Poor, yet not as bad as Caine says, 19 November 2006
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw this recently with my wife and discovered it's better than Caine believes, although it's not much cop. Britain's greatest ever screen actor does not seem too interested in this role, which is a pity as he might have elevated it with more conviction in his playing. Rex Harrison seems even less bothered, perhaps unsurprisingly, as his character is very poorly written. William Holden is better, but his screen time is fleeting and, again, his character is not well scripted.

Beverly Johnson is as beautiful a woman as I have ever seen, but is given very little to do, the film might have gained a great deal by concentrating more on her story. Ustinov steals the show, but basically by playing a comic character quite out of keeping with the film's serious tone. The music is poor and Omar Sharif makes one of his many pointless cameos (his career has been based on this for decades now).

Richard Fleischer has to be blamed for not directing this more effectively, he was an infuriatingly unpredictable film director, and this is one of his weaker movies.

9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
One of the finest BBC children's serials ever, 12 January 2006

I saw this both times when it was shown - when I was around 10 - and it started a lifelong devotion to John Buchan. As a working class Scottish kid, I could barely believe that I was watching a brilliant historical adventure story that featured heroes who came from my background and who weren't much older than me. All of the lads in my class at school loved it, too. The magnificent performance by the young actor who played Dougal, the leader of the Gorbals Diehards, still stays with me as a superb performance by a boy actor, and he captures much of the warrior-leader genius of the character from the novel.

The old guy who plays Dickson McCunn was also brilliant, too, as the elderly, mild-mannered retired grocer who discovers he's actually a hero. The memory of the final scene of the six Diehards saluting him as he drives past them still brings a lump to the throat and a tear to the eye.

Finally, David Wood as Sir Archibald Roylance is another great portrayal of a Buchan hero. (Wood was also the greatest ever Gollum - forget Jackson's LOTR in "The Hobbit" as adapted by "Jackanory".

I wish this would come out on DVD or be repeated so my own sons can see it.

3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Massively disappointing conspiracy thriller, 1 August 2005
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

With an absolutely amazing cast and crew, this might have been a classic. Instead it is a repetitive paraphrasing of all the conspiracy theories extant in 1979 about the JFK assassination grafted, rather pointlessly, on to a vaguely incoherent plot about the murder of fictitious president Kegan in 1960. Many superb character actors are wasted as they are either not given enough to do - Sterling Hayden or Eli Wallach, for instance, or they are asked to go rather luridly over the top - John Huston. Jeff Bridges and Anthony Perkins do manage to acquit themselves very well, in their very different ways, though.

The photography is gorgeous, but does not justify an hour and a half of your life, or the price of the DVD purchase.

Ghostwatch (1992) (TV)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Skilled, innovative and effective ghost story reworking, 1 August 2005
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Unfortunately, I never saw this "live" on its original transmission, so I don't really know whether or not I would have been fooled into believing it was genuine. Nevertheless, this really does stand up well as a first class modern re-imagining of a haunted house story. Michael Parkinson, Sarah Greene, Mike Smith and Craig Charles are all very believable as themselves, and so too is the skeptical American physicist. The parapsychologist suffers from some dialogue - albeit not much - that just does not ring true "He's the last of the materialists" for instance. There have been some criticisms of the mother and daughters; I did find the girls rather false, but thought the mother was much more convincing.

Anyway, the question is now whether this is a fine ghost thriller now, even though everyone knows it was a filmed drama. I believe that it most certainly does enthrall the modern, clued up viewer and provides some real chills that take it well beyond the annoyingly dull, juvenile and amateurish antics of "The Blair Witch project".

4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
tasteful romantic and sexy film for couples, 27 March 2005
10/10

If you're after hardcore scenes, this is not your film. If you're looking for exceptionally beautiful women and very handsome men looking fabulous in romantically arousing scenes to watch with your loved one, then get this film now. My wife and I loved it. Susan Featherly comes across as gentle, innocent, real and lovely (with one of the most beautiful noses in the world) as the heroine coming to terms with a more sophisticated lifestyle. The leading man is handsome and distinguished. The supporting actresses Taimie Hannum and Jeannie Millar are absolutely stunning. the maid looks ravishing in her uniform and it would have been great to see more of her. Lovely clothes, sets and photography, beautiful people and nice music make for sexy, subtly exciting viewing.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Superb, subtle and deeply haunting occult drama, 4 October 2004
10/10

Some of the very finest actors in Spain star in this superb gem. It is a genuinely unsettling drama that investigates the effect of matters Satanic on an "ordinary" Catholic parish.

Highly recommended to all fans of "The Name of the Rose" "Crimson Rivers" or "The Exorcist" films - although it's a great deal more believable than any of them.

This film in many ways prefigures the great run of sophisticated Spanish horrors of recent years, like "The Others" "Abre Los Ojos" "Los Sin Nombre" and "Darkness".

Fantaterror fans should also check out films like "Intacto".

12 out of 22 people found the following review useful:
Utterly disappointing, 30 August 2004

I love it when the French turn out enetrtaining blockbusters: Crimson Rivers and Vidoq spring to mind as examples of very good populist entertainment.

This sequel, though, failed for me at almost every level: thee greeat Jean Reno sleepwalks here, not that he has anything to do anyway, and he even seems to be playing a character with a comp`letely different personality to the one he had in the first film.

The direction and editing both suffer from the dreaded diseases of modern action films: lack of narrative clarity and far far far too many quick cuts that simply leave the viewer confused as to what is going on.

The script is weak, but what can we expect from Luc Besson who has not been involved in any even passable film since "Leon" (itself rather over-rated, but with several excellent features)?

Vincent Cassell is sorely missed. The great Christopher Lee is wasted.

The only thing I liked about the film was the use of the Maginot Line (once considered as a possible secret base for Blofeld in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service), but even then the visual atmospherics potentially available were not effectively exploited.

5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Tense and intelligent Brit sf thriller that influenced "X-Files, 27 February 2002
8/10

A superb script by unsung genius Nigel Kneale; very good direction by Val Guest; atmospheric photography; eerie music; several very good acting performances. The only drawbacks are that Brian Donlevy is awful as Quatermass and the special effects at times look a bit laughable.

Most intriguing of all is just how similar "The X_Files" is to this. There are various sites on the internet claiming that the creators of "Files" plagiarised this (and other Nigel Kneale films/TV series).

You can certainly see many remarkable coincidences.

Overall, a highly enjoyable, thought-provoking and influential film.


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