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15 reviews in total 
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Chef (2014)
8 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Nothing new, 25 June 2014

I can't help but think a lot of favours were called in to make this. Robert Downey Jnr was of course brilliant, but he appears in a single scene for 5 minutes, and I had no idea why he'd help the ex husband of his ex wife. Dustin Hoffman doesn't appear after the 1st 15 minutes. Ditto his early love interest, Scarlett Johansson.

No surprises in this road trip, estranged dad spends time with his son movie. And everything ends wonderful in the last reel, for no apparent reason.

But yet again we have a Hollywood film where a gorgeous woman is in love with a fat guy. How many films have there been when the fat girl has a gorgeous guy? (OK, so I'm watching Taxi at the moment. Queen Latiffia excepted).

Even Shallow Hal had Gwynneth Paltrow pretending to be fat.

There are worse ways to spend an afternoon, but overall I was left with the feeling I#d seen it before. Great for food porn, but not foe anything else.

Noah (2014)
6 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Seemed to go on for 40 days and 40 nights, 7 April 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There are some top-notch actors in this, and their performances were on the whole very good. What let it down was the ridiculous plot and script. It felt more like Lord of the Rings 4 than anything else. Fallen angels (though they didn't seem to be able to decide if they were good or bad) were nothing less than Ents, minus the leaves. Even their voice sounded like Treebeard. The world, pre-flood, appeared to have dragon-dogs, greyhounds covered in scales and other mythical creatures.

Ray Winstone struggled to get any depth from the 2 dimensional leader of the orks - sorry, I mean king of the men, as they burnt trees in order to forge weapons to fight the vegan Noah family.

Russell Crowe did well to portray a man tortured to the point of insanity by his obsession and devotion to The Creator, even if the writers threw in bits of Abraham and Lot into his character. I felt let down, though, when after nearly murdering his grandchildren, driving his son out of the family and abandoning his wife to get drunk in a cave, all he had to do was come back and hold his wife's hand to be immediately forgiven and loved again.

In summary, splendid acting, awful plot and execution.

4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Unoriginal, 28 August 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Er Indoors made me watch City of Bones. First off I am aware that I am not part of the target demographic, being an adult, male and with a partner. I've also not read the books, but a film should stand on its own regardless of whether you've read the book/played the game/eaten the cereal.

The plot revolves around good versus evil, and a young girl trying to decide which of the boys totally in love with her she should go for. One's a vampire, the other a semi-mythical being. Sound familiar? It's Twilight ripping off Star Wars. I love you. Oh, but ew, you're my sister. Luke, Jon, whatever your name is, I am your father. If you defeat me, I shall become more powerful than you can ever imagine. Oh, I'm torn, I love the vampire and I love the, um, angel thingy. Werewolves vs vampires, yeah. Let's fight with sabres. Pause for two minute lead up to kiss.

I swear to God watching that drivel I could feel the acne returning. Not worth watching if you're over fourteen or male.

Byzantium (2012)
115 out of 145 people found the following review useful:
Please, Hollywood, take note..., 7 June 2013

... This is how to make a vampire film.

I find it difficult to fault this film. The plot is intelligent and engaging. No one is entirely black or white. The heroes are flawed and complicated, the villains, for the most part, have motivation and even sympathy. I found myself rooting for the murderous, vampiric prostitute as much for the innocent girl trapped into releasing those tired of life.

It's really two films, one set 200 hundred years ago, one in the present time, with many of the same characters and the same location, Hastings, once a fishing village, now a tired seaside resort.

The actors are very good, particularly the leads. As a resident of SE England, I recognised many of the locations. The ending was perhaps a little predictable, but still satisfying.

Don't go see this if you like your vampires to sparkle, but if you liked Let The Right One In and gritty drama, go watch it.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
JawDropping, 6 February 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film is ballet, racked up to the nth degree. It follows the search by a young woman for an aerialist with whom she has fallen in love at first sight. As such, the plot is basic in the extreme, but that's not the point. The point is to wonder at the feats and the showmanship that defies belief.

The film consists of a series of montages as gymnasts perform feats of such power, skill, courage and beautiful grace that I found it literally incredible. At times I found it hard to believe that what they were doing was physically possible. For example, two female trapeze artists swing high above the ground. One dives headlong, and they catch each other with their feet, the one held upside-down by the feet of the other. Amazing enough if they had carefully positioned themselves so, but do do it as one fell had me questioning how that was physically possible.

The set pieces were balletic, even when dancers contorted themselves into eye-watering positions. Each move appeared fluid and effortless, even though beyond the range of any normal person.

I also enjoy the mechanicals, equipment and props that all added to the effect without detracting. A yurt, for example, transforms into a flying machine, the wings acting as naturally as a bird's, but operated by two of the cast, in plain view but somehow invisible at the same time.

The action was very, very clever, but the vision had me wondering what sort of experimental drugs the designers were on. It is a truly surreal experience.

For once, I enjoyed the 3D. It was well done and actually enhanced the experience.

My one criticism is that, although only 91 minutes, it seemed longer. Some of the set pieces tended to drag on. The vertical fight scene, for instance, whilst a very clever idea and well executed, began to drag after a few minutes. I would have preferred some of the scenes to be shorter, with a wider variety of acts and scenes, but that said, it was well worth the money and time to see.

7 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
I wanted to shower after this, 29 December 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Released within days of the Sandy Hook massacre, this opens with the apparent random shooting of innocent people by a lone gunman in a car park. At the very best, that's tasteless in the extreme. The 'hero', Jack Reacher, then sets about beating up and killing bad guys. Shooting is too good for one, so he throws aside his automatic rifle and stamps the man to death. The film ends with him executing a crippled, unarmed man. I'm no prude, and like an action film as good as the next man, but the theme of this film played down to the very worst of American culture. It celebrates violent death. At one point Reacher tells the bad guy he's no hero, and I have to agree with him. He's a psychotic killer, although, of course, he only kills bad guys.

This is quite aside from the ridiculous miscasting of Cruise in the role. At one point the detective asks a receptionist if anyone is staying there who could kill a girl with one punch. She singles out Cruise's room. Why? He may be a fine actor, but does he really look like someone who can kill with a single blow? I feel dirty for having sat throw this.

Love Bite (2012)
15 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
It Sucks, 15 November 2012

This is a British Comedy Horror film. I know this, because the poster said it was, but if you are looking for another Sean of the Dead, look elsewhere. I saw it in Birmingham, where there was doubt on the night whether they would show it at all. In the event, about 10 sat through it.

In a rainy, rundown seaside town four teenage boys are desperate for sex, and understandably no local girl or tourist will touch the crude, foul-mouthed boys with a barge pole. Their hunt for sex becomes all the more desperate as a werewolf starts picking off the virgins of either sex each full moon.

Enter sexy and mysterious foreign tourist, who takes a shine to one of the boys, but every full moon rejects him and disappears, only to be welcomed back with open arms when she deigns to show up again.

The 'humour' is mainly based around the boys using sauce bottle as phallic toys and the normally wonderful Timothy Spall creeping around in funny clothes and pulling funny faces. I'd guessed the identity of the werewolf early on, even though they try and build up the suspense and mystery.

It's rated as a fifteen, but I can't see anyone over 13 actually finding this funny. It doesn't bite, it sucks. It could suck lemons through a garden hose. Avoid.

Ted (2012)
43 out of 87 people found the following review useful:
Much funnier than I expected, 2 August 2012

I don't normally like this sort of film, being a middle-aged, middle-class Englishman, but being stuck in a distant city with an evening to kill, I thought, why not? I found myself pleasantly surprised. On a scale where anything with Will Ferrell being 1 and Big Bang Theory being 10, this easily ranks 9. The humour is universal enough to travel across the Atlantic, and in between the gags there are real questions about what makes a man more than just a big kid, and how much does love over-rule loyalty.

The CGI and the actors' eye-lines are faultless, the use of stuffed toys and graphics not always being obvious. I loved many of the gags, and being of a certain age, I so identified with the Flash Gordon motif running through the film.

And it is such an original idea. What if a teddy bear really did come alive? The contradiction of Ted's childish appearance with a thirty-something jaded, crude personality gave an added punch to the humour, and Ted himself was not just a cartoon, but showed real pathos and feeling, even though he was a womanising dope-head.

I loved it, and may even try to persuade 'Er Indoors to come see it with me a second time when I get home.

Red Lights (2012)
60 out of 98 people found the following review useful:
An intelligent mystery, 21 June 2012

I wasn't sure what to expect from the trailers. Gore and horror aren't my thing, unless it's done well, and so few are these days. However, I was pleasantly surprised. This has less to do with the supernatural and more to do with belief systems in a modern world.

The story focuses upon two scientist professors that fill in the time between classes by investigating and exposing psychic frauds, be they petulant schoolgirls or venal evangelists. So when Murphy presses to investigate a famous mystic, why is Weaver so reluctant to agree? Is De Niro gifted with extraordinary powers, or a clever con artist? The atmosphere becomes more menacing and oppressive as the film progresses, leaving me wondering whether Murphy was becoming paranoid, or whether De Niro really was targeting him. The end, though not exactly the Sixth Sense ending some are proclaiming, was certainly unexpected.

Great acting from the leads, as you would expect. Great dialogue. Not much in the way of action, nor thankfully schlock horror, but the tension mounted throughout the film. A clever and satisfying film.

Cosmopolis (2012)
119 out of 173 people found the following review useful:
Pretentious and self indulgent, 21 June 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Let me nail my colours to the mast. I don't like car chase, big explosion, CGI obsessed films. On occasion I even like art house films (last night I watched and enjoyed The Man Who Fell To Earth). But this film was simply two hours of pseudo-intellectual reverie on the meaning of life. I attend the cinema on average twice a week. I cannot recall a film where so many people got up and walked out. Even those that braved it to the end (and I was so close to leaving myself) discussed amongst themselves afterwards why they'd wasted their time.

The dialogue was stilted and unnatural. No fault of the actors, it was the writing. The plot (not that this was ever intended to be a plot-driven film) is subtly drip-fed, hinted at, which i quite liked. There were moments of dark humour, such as when Eric converses with a female employ, all the while wincing and straining as at the other end a doctor gives him a rectal exam. These lifted my score to a three.

That aside, avoid this film. Spend two hours talking to a drugged out philosophy student instead. It will make more sense and be more entertaining.

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