Reviews written by registered user
mike-3842

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21 reviews in total 
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Deadpool (2016)
16 out of 38 people found the following review useful:
Not for everyone, despite the high scores, 15 February 2016

Rather than tell you whether I liked this movie or not, I'll try to tell you what to expect, and you can make up your own mind if you want to see it.

Story-wise it's really not that interesting: Punk gets super-powers but because of how he acquired them he holds a huge grudge against the person responsible for giving them to him. Revenge ensues.

This is the introduction of a new Super-character, Deadpool, from the Marvel Universe. There's plenty of action, much of it gratuitous and with ridiculously violent and cruel one sided slaughter scenes of people with no super powers.

The most entertaining action of course is when adversaries are evenly matched, and whilst there is plenty of this too, the villains are ultimately hopelessly outgunned and that puts a cap on the potential for a nail-biting climax.

The dialogue: Deadpool wise-cracks his way through the 108 minutes. Sometimes he's genuinely funny, but mostly he talks fast to keep things from slowing down. There are plenty of laugh out loud moments, and equally there were others that were just embarrassing in their vulgarity.

What makes this film different is that Deadpool knows he's in a movie and takes time out to joke with the audience. It's an interesting move for such a high budget film and generally it worked out pretty well.

The target audience is undoubtedly male, from 16 to 25. Teens are going to love it but there's probably not enough story there for everyone else and it's just too violent for anyone under 16.

This is a movie of our time, violent with a wayward moral compass. Heros are out of style and instead we are treated to a dose of narcissism. This doesn't mean the film is unwatchable, but don't expect to leave the cinema uplifted and inspired.

John Wick (2014)
7 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
Shoot 'Em Up without the panache, 2 December 2014
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you've seen Shoot 'Em Up you'll know exactly what this movie should have been. That was a relentless rip-roaring and most importantly, humorous jaunt from beginning to end. Mr Smith was an accidental hero pitted against impossible odds, and he out gunned them with a lot of bullets, flair and sometimes even with just a carrot.

That was Mr Smith. Mr Wick is an ex-gangster with a chip on his shoulder. He's a man who kills people not with carrots but with a pencil. He is no hero; he's just the Boogeyman out for revenge and he doesn't care who gets hurt.

Mr Smith saved a baby and bought down an evil congressman and a wicked corporation. Mr Wick kills 150 people without remorse because a punk killed his dog. He doesn't rescue anyone except himself, and ironically (although it's doubtful the film makers realized it) after having spent the whole movie avenging the loss of his dog he steals somebody else's. This was doubtless a director's attempt to assign some meaning to the end of what was really a pointless story.

Sorry Keanu, going to have to give this one the thumbs down. A story really does matter.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
For the money spent an amazing achievement, 4 May 2014
8/10

I understand the first episode cost just 40 thousand dollars. If you read the other reviews you can get an idea of how well the set and atmosphere were recreated.

But you want to know the full truth and not just the sugar coated version, so here is the rest:

I felt the story needed more energy and whilst it attempted to reproduce the moral tales of the 60s the lesson came across as superficial (I rolled my eyes at the end). You could also detect the absence of consulting scientists in the vetting of the script. There's some action outside the space ship that seems to have no bearing on the story. It was not tied in well, or at all actually, and just seemed to be an excuse to use the special effects.

The actors should be admired stepping into such big shoes. In some cases it didn't really work. The voices are what I noticed most. The original Spock spoke an octave lower than his modern day surrogate. There was also an obvious age difference in Kirk and McCoy which was hard to ignore.

If this was an original Star Trek episode it would have been a weaker one. Currently on Youtube about 3% of voters are giving it the thumbs down which is quite high I think for such a noble effort and it reflects the small but significant misjudgments and deficiencies which permeate the episode. I am sure these niggles will be ironed out in future as the team becomes more experienced and more free to experiment with new ideas and do it their own way. The first ever episode of Star Trek was equally awkward and look where that led :)

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
For the money spent an amazing achievement, 1 May 2014
8/10

I understand this episode cost just 40 thousand dollars. If you read the other reviews you can get an idea of how well the set and atmosphere were recreated.

But you want to know the full truth and not just the sugar coated version, so here is the rest:

I felt the story needed more energy and whilst it attempted to reproduce the moral tales of the 60s the lesson came across as superficial (I rolled my eyes at the end). You could also detect the absence of consulting scientists in the vetting of the script. There's some action outside the space ship that seems to have no bearing on the story. It was not tied in well, or at all actually, and just seemed to be an excuse to use the special effects.

The actors should be admired stepping into such big shoes. In some cases it didn't really work. The voices are what I noticed most. The original Spock spoke an octave lower than his modern day surrogate. There was also an obvious age difference in Kirk and McCoy which was hard to ignore.

If this was an original Star Trek episode it would have been a weaker one. Currently on Youtube about 3% of voters are giving it the thumbs down which is quite high I think for such a noble effort and it reflects the small but significant misjudgments and deficiencies which permeate the episode. I am sure these niggles will be ironed out in future as the team becomes more experienced and more free to experiment with new ideas and do it their own way. The first ever episode of Star Trek was equally awkward and look where that led :)

10 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
There should be a warning on this kind of film, 3 January 2014
3/10

I watched this because it was billed as a comedy by IMDb. Recently I have noticed a trend for movies to be about absolutely nothing. Greenberg with Ben Stiller was one such disappointment. It was a mind numbing character study and it reminded me of Prince Avalanche inasmuch as I sat through the whole film waiting for something to happen and nothing ever did. At some point it just ended and I felt like an idiot for sitting through it.

I'm a simple guy who likes his entertainment straightforward. I want to be taken away from reality for 90 minutes as I have enough of it already in my real life. Movies which just give us more of reality need to be clearly marked as such.

Rant over.

8 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Computer Graphics Go a Step Too Far, 1 July 2013
5/10

I have loved comic book characters since I was 7 years old. I collected every kind of comic book possible and I still have them all, 37 years later. I was delighted when Marvel decided to get into the movie making business. The time was right and computer effects were cheap enough to create stunning movies which could be faithful to the stories they were reliving.

And stunning they were, in true comic book style, as they concentrated on character development which is all important in this kind of story.

An unfortunate trend has begun in the last year or two. Because anything is possible in CGI the movie makers attempt to make bigger and bigger spectacles, relying on the crutch of physically impossible action sequences, tumbling buildings and explosions to keep momentum going. This was very evident in Iron Man 3 which I disliked, and it's plain to see again in Man of Steel. The few attempts to evoke emotions from the audience were back-slappingly funny (Kevin Costner, you know what I am talking about).

About 3/4 of the way through, I realized I was thoroughly bored with the commotion and I yearned for some humour and plot development. It was obvious none would be forthcoming. I am afraid despite the high scores people are giving this film, it's a real dud.

I hope this recent trend to appeal to the lowest common denominator ends soon and that movie makers go back to what really gets people talking about a movie: the story.

Taken 2 (2012)
Unintentionally Hilarious, 12 October 2012
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I think most of us were pretty impressed with Taken. It had tense non- stop action and there was a perfect rationale for everything which was happening. It took place in the lair of the Albanian Mafia who were firmly installed in Paris, and where it was perfectly believable that there could be 100 bad guys to mow down. Brian Mills would stop at nothing to save his daughter.

Not so in Taken 2. It takes place in Istanbul where the bad guys have gone to find Mills to get revenge for what he did to them in the first film. In Taken 2 The Albanians don't have an established local operation and they seemingly come from nowhere in unlimited numbers every time Mills guns a few more down.

But what is worse, (or better if you find goofs amusing) about this film is that it is so bad that it's funny. I really cannot believe Luc Besson put his name on this. Mills ALWAYS does things the hardest way possible. I mean sometimes you are just thinking "damn it man call an ambulance, or the police. Your ex wife is dying on the floor and all you have to do is make a call". Others you are thinking "he's trapped and calling from a mobile phone. It's easy for the police to triangulate the signal and find him, but no, he has his daughter set off grenades one after the other in the middle of Istanbul so he can tell her how to find him by listening where the explosions are coming from". There is even a moment where the bad guys pile his ex wife into a van and he is literally 10 metres away and doesn't bother to make chase. Not that he has anything else to do....

Mills has an uncanny knack of walking the streets with no idea of where he is going and suddenly stumbling back onto the trail completely by accident.

He storms the US embassy instead of just walking up to the door and asking to come in. Once he is inside he calls a friend in high places who diffuses the situation. But why doesn't he just call this guy instead of driving at high speed through a bunch of soldiers with machine guns - with his daughter at the wheel of the car I might add!

Oh and the kill scenes are just too funny. There is a moment where Mills pushes a baddie nonchalantly in the face and he dies instantly. I laughed out loud at that moment. It was really priceless.

I highly enjoyed this film because it gave me many laughs, but I am 99% sure that it was not supposed to be that way. It's just a sloppy lazy sequel. Best have a few beers before you watch :)))

Looper (2012)
28 out of 66 people found the following review useful:
On Second Thought - Not So Great, 28 September 2012
7/10

Of course when you sit down with the popcorn to watch a movie about time travel you should be prepared for the time paradoxes and contradictions. In Looper they come in spades but unfortunately in this case they really don't make even a little sense

A quick summary of what the film is about: In the far future it is impossible to criminally dispose of bodies so the mob instead beams them back 30 years where "Loopers", in league with the future Mafia shoot them dead and crimate the remains. To tie up loose ends these Loopers themselves are also terminated in the same way by their younger selves, 30 years after they retire. This all goes swimmingly until a retiree escapes after being beamed into the past. Chaos ensues...

I have to say as I watched the movie unfold I enjoyed it. There was a good balance of action and drama and it was unpredictable enough to keep me on the edge of my seat.

However, now I am home I am thinking more about what nonsense the end actually was, (yes, a time paradox) and worse than that I also realize there is not one character in the film I liked. This makes it difficult to rave about later on.

Looper currently has a very high IMDb rating. I think over time it will come down to less rarefied altitude as it certainly doesn't deserve to be listed among the all time classics.

All that said, it's great fun, so don't let my tepid review stop you from seeing it. Make up your own mind. It's certainly worth watching if you are a sci-fi fan.

12 out of 23 people found the following review useful:
Not just another monkey movie!, 7 August 2011
7/10

After the trailer piqued my interest I was expecting quite a different plot to the original "Apes", and now it's over I can say I was not disappointed.

In the original story humans travel though space to a planet inhabited by intelligent monkeys. This plot was fine for schoolboy comics but it really required a leap of faith for the cinema goers. The latest tale gives a more plausible (though still quite ridiculous) explanation for the monkeys' rise to master their own destiny: Their intelligence was boosted accidentally by medication.

OK, it sounds a bit lame but the film is actually very good on many levels. The stars (monkeys) all have personalities, even without the ability to speak. There are many scenes where I felt genuinely bad about the way they were treated. The modern digital imaging is just incredible - I really couldn't tell what I was watching was computer generated, and the expressions on their faces are better acted than their supporting human cast!

The story starts off slowly but even then it's never boring. Things really get rolling about halfway though, and it's an action movie after all....so the climax comes with plenty of thrills as the alpha males (human and ape) contend for dominance in a shoot out like you have never seen before.

Although this wasn't the most rip-roaring movie I have seen this year, it was by far the most original. Full marks for the plot, and high marks for the testosterone (you could almost smell it)! Loved it. If you are a big kid, go watch it, you'll love it too. If you liked Tree of Life then I am afraid this is not one for you!

1734 out of 2807 people found the following review useful:
Thank god it's over... Definitely not for everybody., 28 May 2011
1/10

I don't expect the majority of viewers to agree with me as it already has a decent rating, but if you searched for people who hated this film then I suspect you will probably dislike it, and I am going to spare you the unfortunate experience I had of going to see it.

Just to state my preferences and for your orientation, I have enjoyed many of the artistic offerings from the IMDb top recommendations, but I prefer my fare more straightforward.

I'll just fly in the face of protocol now and say I had no clue what this film was about. I wanted to leave after 20 minutes but my girlfriend insisted to stay to the end to see what the point was. Other people did leave in the middle of the film and there was a lot of fidgeting going on in the cinema. For the first time in my life I dozed off for a few minutes in a cinema.

There is no plot - only a stream of images following two boys through their childhood and also a flashback to the the creation of the earth. The cinematography was quite impressive but the overall result was oh-so-dull. I am sure there was a point but I just could not be bothered to try to understand it.

Apologies to aficionados. I don't mean to be derogatory about this film. I only want to save some people from sitting through it who would not like it.


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