Reviews written by registered user

7 reviews in total 
Index | Alphabetical | Chronological | Useful

Zombieland (2009)
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Great movie, without much of a story, 27 November 2009

Like most other people here on IMDb and elsewhere, I think Zombieland is a great movie. An enjoyable movie. But where was the story?

The reasons for the zombie plague are not well explored, they are well hinted at though. The time-line is not explained. The reason for the survivors to have survived is not explained. Nothing is explained... everything must be taken at face value in this movie. All of the plot elements are borrowed wholesale from the Zombie genre, so there is no real reason to explore them further.

What we are left with is an undeniably funny, and enjoyable piece of Zombie fluff. A film that takes place within the well established Zombie-apocalypse universe without challenging our expectations in any way. Except for THAT sequence in the middle, whereby the unexpected appearance of a comedy great lifts the movie from unremarkable to near classic status.

The characters play with the well established stereotypes, both conforming to them and then occasionally usurping them for comic effect. In the end, it's a light morality tail about the value of the nuclear family even under the most extreme of circumstances, and it manages to be vaguely heartwarming.

I can understand this movie getting good scores. I recommend anyone with a tolerance for Zombie comedy to watch it (though it's a dark comedy - no Sean of the Dead here) but the 8+ score surprises me somewhat. That places it up there with the movie greats, and it really doesn't belong there. I gave it a seven, it deserves to settle at 7.3.

14 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
Trite, 9 June 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a film with a message. Unfortunately that message - fair-trade coffee is good, advertising is stupid, having cystic fibrosis sucks - is incredibly trite.

Beyond that, the film is desperately uneven. Taryn Manning is partly kooky and charming, partly emotionally stunted. All grown up, Freddy Prinze could pass for a Baldwin brother, and despite his obvious talents, he can only work with the lines he's given... and they aren't great.

There's not enough here to make us empathise with these characters. And the film needs you to do that. The tender moments aren't tender enough, the funny ones are barely funny at all. The film has its meagre charms, but the dialogue is stilted in places, unbelievable in others.

The end of the movie is so formulaic it would be funny. But it's just not funny. And yet it still fails to convince you that the protagonists have a plan. It's a film with a heart and I so wanted it to fly, but it doesn't have the dialogue or the story to make that heart beat strong.

In Bruges (2008)
2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Dark, Dark, Dark, 25 April 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

They're all here. The Big issues. I refer not to some huge pile of copies of the shabby magazine the UK homeless use to fund their narcotic predilections, but to the weighty literary themes: death, love, honour, friendship, sacrifice and (possibly) redemption.

All this wrapped in a shroud of the darkest black humour, and topped with a comedy bad guy. Comedy baddest guy, actually, because all the main speaking parts in this movie, except for one, are "bad guys" when measured by the traditional moral yardstick. We have hit men, drug dealers, petty thieves, prostitutes and casual racist "midgets", all in the undeniably picturesque setting of Bruges... it's in Belgium.

Colin Farrell, who I had previously thought to have the killer combination of good looks and bad acting, delivers an excellent comedic performance with impeccable timing. But it is Brendan Gleeson as his friend and partner in crime who steals the show. Ralph Fiennes steps out of typecast to deliver a chillingly surreal yet down-to-earth cock-er-ney gangster in a Will Self plays Bill Sykes manner.

Other comments and the forums ask "how did it end". And for me, it ends like it ends - what you choose to believe happens next is up to you. But it doesn't feel unresolved.

Sunshine (2007)
17 out of 38 people found the following review useful:
Just wrong, 9 April 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When I saw the trailer for this movie, I was excited. It appeared to be a "proper" science fiction movie, the kind we haven't had since the seventies - in the style of Silent Running, 2001 or even dear old Alien. The part where the computer tells Capa that there's an unidentified individual on the ship had all the makings of a tense psychological cat-and-mouse game. Instead, we got what seemed to be an inexplicable tacked-on psycho-on-board ending.

After 28-Days Later, I was expecting the Boyle/Garland duo to deliver another perfectly constructed genre movie. They did Zombie so well, surely they could do space-drama too. But instead they dropped the ball and delivered something interminably dull, where the tension and drama derived from a series of blunders that seemed to drive the storyline. The characters were merely reactive in all their actions, meaning that none took the role of 'hero' and with it our interest and our sympathy.

The movie fails to give any context to the mission, and without believing that earth is dying I found it hard to care that it supposedly was. In fact, when they finally showed us the earth, it looked like a paradise to the snowboarder in me. Not dying, just white.

The premise that a few tons of fissile material could re-ignite a dying star is spurious at best. But that wasn't the point, Sunshine is not really a movie about saving the planet - although that motive is woven into the tale, ostensibly to give it some point. It's a study in sanity... which might have been interesting, if it hadn't been so boring.

Incredible dialogue, superb acting., 26 July 2005

I liked Before Sunrise a lot. It spoke to me, at the time, of recently remembered times in my youth, when travelling in Europe, I met, and spent time with someone and then parted never to see them again. The important thing is, it spoke to me. Most movies don't. I've never taken part in a mission to deflect a comet from a collision course with Earth. I've never battled zombies while besieged in a deserted shopping mall... you get the picture. Movies are very often about escapism, but Before Sunrise was about real life.

These fond memories of Before Sunrise kept me from seeing Before Sunset for a long time. I didn't want to spoil a happy memory. But now I've seen it, I regret waiting.

Before Sunset is a masterwork, as its IMDb rating (8.4 at time of writing) affirms. The acting is so natural it is impossible at times to believe that Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy are acting. While both of these actors are perfectly acceptable, in these two movies they shine. And the near ten-year gap between the movies brings out a new assuredness and maturity in their performances.

But it is the dialogue that really sets this movies apart, not least because that's all there is really. OK, there is a pleasant meander through the streets of Paris, but the camera rarely wanders from the action. And the action is the words, the expressions and the body language of the two leads. Tarantino is celebrated for his dialogue, but to my ears it is clichéd, bombastic and comic-book in style. Here the dialogue flows like a real conversation, it is almost impossible to believe that it is not really the excited outpourings of re-united lovers. Never do they put a foot wrong, never is it awkward, or forced, or unbelievable.

The movie tells a story of a tentative re-union, each afraid the other will have forgotten their past tryst, each afraid that it will have meant less to the other than to them. Slowly, gently, they discover that each holds it dearly, they also discover that the special connection between them is still there. They recriminate tenderly over past mistakes, and then they reveal the very core of themselves to each other... the gaping chasm of yearning below their seemingly content exterior facades.

If there is a single person in whom this movie does not strike a resonance, I think that person still has some living to do.

12 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Too ireverant... so irrelevant, 15 March 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The original TV series, Starsky and Hutch, revolutionised - in fact, probably invented the buddy-cop genre. It was as hugely popular, possibly more-so than Charlie's Angels in its day, so it was inevitable that after the success of Charlie's Angels, S+H would be next in line for the movie treatment.

But whereas Charlie's Angels was dynamic and plot-driven, with (a good many) knowing references to the original series and its disco-seventies setting it still retained a respect for the Angels. S+H has no respect for the original series... instead of action, it plays it purely for laughs, turning the original streetwise tough-guy cops in to fumbling buffoons.

While the film will undoubtedly be popular, its popularity is unlikely to be with fans of the original series - for two reasons, one is as they approach their forties they are hardly core cinema audience, but mainly because no-one with fond memories of the original series could warm to this irreverent crap.

Snoop Dogg is superb as Huggy Bear, and has the one stand out comedic line in the film. In reflection to our heroes being portrayed as idiots, the originally flaky Huggy is upgraded to a super-fly pimp daddy. [SPOILER ALERT] At the end of the day, it is Huggy who captures the bad guy, as Starsky and Hutch mess up disasterously, and not entirely amusingly.

The final scene, where Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul, make a cameo to hand over the keys of the famous Gran Torino (the REAL star of the movie), merely serves to drive home the fact that S+H2004 is really Starsky and Hutch light. The original actors tower over their modern counterparts both literally, and in terms of screen presence.

Starsky and Hutch is not unwatchable, Stiller and Wilson are likable as ever, but on this occasion, the material lets them down. Without the value of the original series, Starsky and Hutch is about as good a movie as Hollywood Homicide was... and that's no recommendation.

Torque (2004)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Really not that bad, 8 March 2004

How can this movie be (as of March 2004) in the IMDB bottom 100 BELOW Freddy Got Fingered?

Torque is really not that bad. Everyone here seems to be ripping on it on the basis of it having no plot - but next to SWAT, the storyline of Torque is a masterpiece. It has a back story, credible (sort of) character motivation, and a twist in it's tail/tale! OK, it's not a cerebral movie by any stretch of the imagination.

And that's one thing that Torque really does require you to do - stretch your imagination, and suspend your disbelief. But again, everyone is criticising this movie because it put the laws of physics (or at least the observance thereof) on hold - but Crouching Tiger didn't suffer criticism for the same thing.

The bike stunts are hammy and obviously fake, the real bike chases are clearly on dirt bikes with fairings, and the final chase is quite literally unbelievable. But it's a b-movie!

Jaime Pressly is wasted in this movie, she may never be going to win an Oscar - but in Torque she gets to mumble maybe three lines, and poorly written ones at that. But the rest of the actors are pleasing enough, the acting isn't great, but it's really not bad (there goes that phrase again).

Torque is dumb. But it's dumb fun. And it really doesn't deserve the kicking it's getting.