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United 93 (2006)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
filmed in real time with a grainy contrast and close, fast moving hand held direction, which encapsulates the realism of the overwhelmingly tense ordeal., 21 June 2006

United 93 Director/Writer: Paul Greengrass Running time: 111 minutes Certificate: 15 Amazing! What a film. United 93 uproots you from amongst the cinema audience and plants you, heart and soul, into a passenger seat on the only hijacked flight which failed to hit its target on September 11th 2001.

The film is shot in very much documentary style, filmed in real time with a grainy contrast and close, fast moving hand held direction, which encapsulates the realism of the overwhelmingly tense ordeal. Many of the military and air ground staff were actually played by real employees, none of the actors where known stars and the simplicity of the story telling all contributed to this feel of reality, which was perfect for a film that endeavoured to re-create one this centuries most astonishing disasters.

The story is very simple. We are taken into the normal working day of the National Air Traffic Control Centre and a section of the Military. Once we are familiarised with each department and their function, the drama begins. The Twin Towers are attacked. As the first plane explodes into the side of the building, the hijackers on flight 93 begin their reign of terror. By the time the Pentagon is attacked, the hostages realise that they are not being held for ransom and neither will they be returning home. Amidst the tears of fear and the heartbreaking phone calls to loved ones, fuelled by the utmost courage and bravery, the passengers on flight 93 of United Airlines of America decide that they will not be idle front row spectators to the destruction of the White house.

The patient build up of this film can easily be mistaken for a slow and boring beginning. But the British Writer/Director takes his time in familiarising the audience with certain terminology and characters, whilst slowly winding the coil of this film until the level of tension built up, could bind galaxies and leaves you biting through nail, finger, bone and marrow. And when the coil is released, we are caught in an emotionally charged, whirlwind of a 3rd act which leaves you frozen at the edge of your seat, with tears poised on the edge of your eyelids. Fantastic.

Best scene: As the first plane hits its target and the time to attack beckons for the terrorists on flight 93, the suspense created leaves you shaking.

Brick (2005)
3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
teenage drug pedalling, love, betrayal and adolescent angst and portrayed in an ultra cool, Mafioso, Film Noir style, 19 June 2006

Brick: Film noir meets California high school teenagers in this extremely creative and stylish 'Bugsy Malone' with an edge. With dashes of Cagney, Bogart and 1940's style detective work throughout, 'Brick' takes the concepts of teenage drug pedalling, love, betrayal and adolescent angst and portrays the story in an ultra cool, Mafioso, Film Noir style which allows you to smile, never to laugh and demands that you take it seriously. The protagonist, Brendan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is quite plain and almost too simple to begin with, but despite his geeky glasses and curtains hair style, his quick witted dialogue, stubborn persistence and implausible ability to take a good old fashioned beating, he begins to grow on you as the film continues to impress.

Brendan's high school love, Laura (Nora Zehetner) has left him for the cooler dope smoking outcasts of the school whom he despises. She'd been missing for a few days before calling Brendan sounding scared out of her wits. With the assistance of his fellow four eyed friend, 'The Brain', Brendan begins to pick up the trial but she soon turns up dead. Through a series of beatings and far fetched schemes, Brendan works his way to the top of the teenage criminal list and confronts 'The Pin' (Lucas Haas), a teenage 'Keyser Soze' who wears a black cloak, walks with a cane and operate in the basement of his mums house! Through The Pin and his muscle, Tugger (Noah Fleiss), Brendan finds out that Laura went missing due to a stolen 'Brick' of pure heroin, which when returned was no longer pure and killed one of The Pin's top men. As Brendan gets drawn deeper in and the effects of the severe beating he'd received begin to take their toll, a turf war breaks out between The Pin and his estranged muscle Tugger, which has Brendan caught in the middle. In realising who really set up his dead love, Brendan risks his life playing all the characters off of each other to draw out the culprit, bring this madness to an end and get back to class before he's given detention.

The premise is simple but the story complex, especially as every character and high school peer group are spoken of in code and names and explanations are spat out with the speed and vintage of a Tommy gun. Although some of the roles are overacted and the ending a little obvious, these discrepancies don't tarnish the cool air of style and creativity this ingenious piece is wrapped in.

Best Scene: When Brendan is being 'shaken down' by his principal, (Richard Roundtree), in true dodgy Private Eye Vs dodgy Cop 'Maltese Falcon' style.

Despites it's flaws, this Brick doesn't sink. A must see.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Bullet blazing action bonanza, 19 June 2006

Mission Impossible 3: Wow! An adrenaline packed, bullet blazing action bonanza. The third of the MI films surpasses it's predecessors with dazzling velocity. Cruise does what he does best; run from bad guys (really fast), scream, cry and save the beautiful brunette. Although the plot is very simple and has a few holes, the explosive action and audacious stunts are enough to dazzle you into satisfaction.

Ethan (Tom Cruise) has decided to retire from front line work, taking a job training agents in an attempt to fully normalise his life and escape from the total madness which comes with saving the world every week. He is lured back into field work when one of the agents he trained is captured whilst trying to apprehend a notorious Black Market dealer named Owen Davian (Phillip Seymour Hoffman). Ethan and his team then set out to find Davian themselves. With a very clever scheme they infiltrate the Vatican and kidnap Davian only to be ambushed once they reach American soil. Davian's men have kidnapped Ethan's new wedded wife and tell him that he has forty-eight hours to retrieve 'The Rabbit's foot', a $85 million dollar secrete weapon, and bring it Davian in exchange for his wife. Ethan has to work against the clock and even his own agency in an attempt to save his wife.

The missions are intricate and are executed swiftly. All involved give a good performance, especially Hoffman playing a very convincing Bady. But what really is 'The Rabbit's Foot'? Best scene: When Ethan is launched onto a glass skyscraper and slides down the sides whilst shooting oncoming guards. Great stuff.

If the goal was to surpass the previous two, then they should have called it 'Mission Quite Plausible'. Mission outcome: A complete success.

15 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
The best and the worst of the trilogy, 19 June 2006

X men 3: The best and the worst of the trilogy. The film begins better than the others with a lot of potential and a strong emotional charge, which leads you to believe that the second act will be nail bitingly intriguing and the finale explosive. But as the dreadful storyline, which deviates from the cartoon and comic immensely, unfolds, we are left as bewildered and unsatisfied as a diner who has been able to smell the gourmet meal from the kitchen, but is served 'Jellied eels and a pint'.

I feel that Ratner was a little out of his genre on this one. There was no real character development for any of our mutant heroes, who seemed to just pop in and out of the story whenever a fight scene was to commence, to the point where some of our favourite X men were just cameos. And hardly any of the social, humanitarian issues, which are paramount to the concept of the X men, are delved into.

Jean Grey is found alive, though neither she nor Professor X are able to control her extraordinarily powerful alter ego, The Phoenix. The obvious opportunity doesn't escape Magneto's attention who steps in to make The Phoenix the newest addition to his mutant militants. The government have concocted a 'cure' for the mutant gene and now with The Phoenix on his side, Magneto and his cohorts endeavour to destroy this so called cure, which he believes the government are using to wipe out mutants everywhere. Wolverine defiantly goes after The Phoenix to rescue Jean from her dominance. All the conflicting factors come to a head when Magneto unleashes his evil forces on the government establishment holding the 'cure'. The X men regroup and set out to thwart Magneto. An all out action packed rumble between the military, Magneto's mutants and the X men set up the final showdown.

If you are not a die hard fan of the comic or cartoon you may enjoy certain plot twists, the variety of new and exciting mutants and some of the excellent action scenes, but will feel let down by the anti-climatic ending; overall for a non-fan it's a good watch. For a true fan of the X men, you will be bitterly disappointed at the fact that the film makes no attempt to stay true to its origin. (The opposite being one of the reasons why Spiderman is such a success). This, supposed last, of the X men films substitutes the amazing storyline of morals, ethics and action which Stan Lee weaved together, for a incoherent, unfulfilling sequence of events which would raise bile to the throat of anyone who actually read more than two of the comics or watched any of the cartoons. Also Jugernaught is as bad as he looks! Best scene: When Wolverine is being chased through the woods by a mutant who can produce wooden dangers from his body and throw them with acute accuracy.

Should have been called 'The Y Men', as nothing about this film resembles our comic book heroes, and nobody knows why.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A thriller with no real thrill, 19 June 2006

Da Vinci Code:

Bad! From beginning to end this thriller lacked any real thrill. The characters are paper thin leading us to have no real emotional attachment to them, thus not really caring whether they prevail over their adversaries of the cloth or not. The film seems to rest all of its weight on the shoulders of controversy and conspiracy, but neither have the back for it. The theory was definitely intriguing, but not nearly plausible enough to make us believe it for the duration of the film. Certain character relationships weren't clearly defined, they seemed to defy the clutches of the clergy and the French police all too easily; and the self-mutilating, psychopathic, albino 'Angel of Death'… wasn't really that scary at all. The ending presented a foreseeable anticlimax to which both actors played with a lack of enthusiasm that was apparent throughout.

Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks), a religious symbology expert, is suspected of the murder of a well know historian murdered in the Louvre. Langdon is innocent but is being set up to take the fall for the murder. A team from the French version of the FBI, led by hard core Captain Bezu Fache (Jean Reno), are sent to arrest him. But With the help of Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tattoo), who's the granddaughter of the Historian, they escape and set out to discover the true identity of her grandfather's murderer. Amidst the hail of bullets, car chases and double crossers, their investigation leads them into a mystery of a code encrypted by Da Vinci which reveals a Secret Society within Catholicism who have held a two thousand year old secret; that if discovered would bring the world's largest religion and all its followers to their knees. To piece together this intricate puzzle they travel throughout France, and with the help of Sir Leigh Teabing, they escape the French police and a Catholic assassin to flee to London where they not only discover the murderer of Sophie's Grandfather, they break the Da Vinci Code itself.

Overall, very disappointing. The only saving grace was Ian McKellen's portrayal of Sir Leigh Teabing, an ageing English cripple, obsessed with Da Vinci's supposed conspiracy and all of its secret societies and who drinks his earl grey with lemon; of course.

Best scene: When Sir Leigh Teabing passionately divulges his knowledge of Da Vinci's hidden code and the Secrete Society who have maintained its mystery.