Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Well I used to be the one of them. But one fateful night I couldn't sleep and I turned the TV on i nthe early hours to find an Italian film - Il Postino (the Postman) had just started. I would have turned over, but the remote was not to hand. So I started watching and within a few minutes I'd forgotten I was reading subtitles and I was absorbed into a whole new wonderfull world of movies.
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
One of the most overrated films of all time
I had an idea! My wife and I would make a jar with all of the classic films in we wanted to watch and we would draw one out a week and watch it. The first film that was drawn out of that jar was 'Requiem for a Dream'. "Great." I said "I've wanted to watch that for ages. I love the theme tune."
Little did I know then, that the theme tune is by far the best thing about this movie. I'm not going to go on too much because it has already taken too much time from me. But this is a warning to all film lovers out there. Heed my advice and listen well... DO NOT WATCH THIS FILM.
So with the warning issued I will try to explain a little before I close this page and never think about this terrible film again. There are plenty of films that are bad. There are plenty of films that are stupid. But Requiem for a Dream is like a handsome rogue that turns up at a party who tells great stories and looks for all the world on the outside that he has everything. But within he is an empty shell. The film maker believes his film is intelligent and original and visionary. But in reality it is just horrid, convoluted, strange, stupid, ignorant agonisingly plodding and at times just damn right rage inducing.
I don't know how we made it through to the end, but it was an epic chore and we did skip 'yet another one of those stupid fantasy scenes with the bloody TV.
But, at last, like a tortuous trek through the desert, we got to the dismal, depressing and convoluted ending. I looked at the wife and she looked at me and I said "That is the worst film I have ever seen."
The wife concurred.
The jar went in the bin, as we couldn't bring ourselves to even draw another name.
So DO NOT WATCH THIS FILM. You have been warned. Without being too offensive I feel many people who like this film are just trying to see what isn't really there and feel it is an 'intelligent film'. It isn't, it's just a bucket full of stale urine.
The Imposter (2012)
A great documentary on a bizarre story
A testament to this great documentary is the fact that I could stop thinking about it all night after watching it and quickly became convinced that I knew what happened. This is more a 'what I think happened' than an actual review as such. But I felt compelled to write it.
I became convinced that sometime around the day of Nicholas' disappearance he was either murdered or accidentally killed by his older brother. He was probably then driven to a local woodland/wilderness and buried. I also believe he later confessed to the mother, and whatever happened he probably embellished the story to make it seem a total accident. Of course as the family themselves readily said, there's no real evidence. This is unless a body is found which is unlikely as the older brother is now dead.
Of course, I have little to go on other than a gut feeling but here's my reason's.
At the start of the documentary two things initially caused my ears to prick up and didn't sit right with me. Firstly, that the last person to speak to Nicholas was his older brother, on the phone, who told him he wouldn't wake his mother up and he'd have to walk home. I remember hearing this and thinking that the older brother must be devastated after knowing that. But later when I found out more about the brother I thought that this phone call was just a weak bluff and probably never happened.
The mother never flew to Spain. Apparently this was due to health reasons and they didn't go into that but if my son was found under these circumstances then you try and stop me from taking the first plane out there to him. Unless of course I knew he was already dead and there was no point.
The fact that the sister went out there alone is testament to me that she probably didn't know her brother was dead. She may have her suspicions, but wanted to believe they weren't true. Of all the family, although she appears the most ignorant at times, saying things like 'Spain isn't that like the other side of the country?' She also appears to be the one who actually still hopeful Nicholas might still be alive.
The fact that nobody says 'What a minute that's not Nicholas!' is also pretty condemning. They all seem to wait for someone else to say and when nobody does, they just go with it despite the obvious differences and the fact that Nicholas is now half Algerian. The only person who seems to question it? The older brother who knew it wasn't him. But he doesn't make a fuss.
I can't take Bourdin's word for much as he is a prolific liar but he certainly is a pragmatic man and by the end he seems pretty convinced that the family or some of the family killed Nicholas and he just wants to get Hell out of there.
Later an FBI agent speaks to the sister and convinces her not to meet Nicholas as the airport when he arrives back in Texas. She seems to agree at the time, but later she turns up anyway. I think this is because in the time between, the mother twisted her and convinced her that the FBI was lying to her.
Soon after the FBI turn up at the family home and again the mother blocks the investigation literally with her body, lying on the floor of her doorway. She denies this but I'm afraid I don't believe a word she says at this point. Why would she do this? Is this a mother desperate to cling on to a lie that her son isn't dead? Or a mother feeling the net closing around her?
Then we have perhaps the most damning piece of circumstantial evidence which is the phone call made by the older brother two days after Nicholas' disappearance. This seems to me like a clumsy, drug dealers attempt to say 'Hey my brother's still alive and he's trying to break in. I didn't kill him look?' Again this seems very typical behaviour of a drug abuser. Although admittedly it is possible that the crime had nothing to do with the older brother and he was just concerned the finger might be pointed at him because of his reputation.
But then lastly when the FBI finally contact him in a drug rehab facility asking him questions he suddenly goes AWOL and next turns up dead from an overdose. Again it's all circumstantial but it looks to me like he saw the net closing and got out the only way he knew how.
Game of Thrones (2011)
There's no shield surfing here!
No matter how good something is (and no matter how terrible) you always have a small group of people who will disagree with the majority. Even when a show like Game of Thrones comes along there are still people who will inexplicably give it one star reviews. That's just nuts. Myself, I hate generic brainless TV shows like CSI but, being fair I think I would rate CSI Miami five out of ten. It's ridiculous tosh, but it's still has some positive elements to it. One of the fundamental problems with IMDb is people vote in an almost political way by unfairly giving a movie or TV show one star or for that matter ten stars, in an attempt to lower or raise the overall score. I thought of giving Game of thrones a nine because I very rarely ever give anything a ten. But then, despite not being perfect, it is one of the best and possibly most important TV series ever made.
For me the Sopranos is currently the most important TV show of my generation. Not just because it was great, but because every episode had the production values of a high budget movie. It made people realise that TV can not only be as good as a movie, but it can actually be better due the fact that you only spend ninety minutes with the characters of most movies as opposed to perhaps ten hours to the average HBO series. Then there's also the unscrupulous nature of Hollywood and it's grab the cash and run policies. A TV series gives you the time needed for a complex plot to unravel and to actually care about three dimensional and detailed characters as in a book. How many movies have failed to live up to the greatness of a book? I would argue most of them. Cloud Atlas being a recent example of a novel failing to have the same impact on the big screen. Even the Lord of the Rings saga (which I still think are great) look suddenly dated and thin when put side by side with Game of Thrones. Even with the extended editions, Peter Jackson and his team struggled to fit everything in. Despite plenty of positive changes, Lord of the Rings contained plenty of silly Hollywood 'additions'. I'm talking of things like Legolas doing some shield surfing in the battle of Helm's Deep. There's no shield surfing in Game of thrones. If anybody tried to mount a shield and surf it down some steps in battle there would be someone like Sandor Clegane to grimly cut his head off and stick it on a spike for trying to be a smart arse.
So Game of Thrones is important really important. It obviously has a large budget, that whilst not as high as Hollywood blockbuster, is still sufficient to make every episode look movie quality and to bring in an accomplished ensemble cast. You may never have heard of plenty of them. But they can certainly show some of those overpaid Hollywood A-listers a thing or two.
So what's so good? - Well we have a great cast from Sean Bean, Peter Dinklage, Liam Cunnigham, Michelle Fairley, Aiden Gillen, James Cosmo to name but a few. These may not be household names but you will recognise many faces and perhaps all the better for not being pampered A-listers. Sean Bean seems like he was born to play Ned Stark. I said that of him when he played Sharpe. But hey, he plays a grim northerner really well.
- We have great costumes, sets and backdrops which bring the world of Westeros to life in ways I wouldn't have thought possible. One minute we are the miserable frozen north, the next we are in beautiful sunny climes of Kings Landing. - The series sticks close to the books and doesn't deviate for 'a larger audience' or try to simply the complex and deviating plot. There's some simplifying here and there as the plot is so complex and often confusing it requires is when being condensed from such huge novels. - There are no good guys and bad guys, everyone is a shade of grey (Except for queen Cersei She's a wench!) But the story is not the same old generic nonsense that Hollywood, and TV companies around the world churn out again and again and again. This is actually trying to be, you know, different. Further, allies and friends on all sides or unreliable depending which way they the wind is blowing. - Characters develop throughout the story dramatically. It's hard not to go into detail and give away spoilers. But for better or worse all of the characters go through a lot and we feel like we've been through it with them. Just look at Jaime Lanister from series one and then at the end of series three. It looks like a different actor is playing him. - It can have a massive emotional impact of you life! Again, not to reveal any spoilers but there are some dramatic moments. I'm not the kind of person to usually let it bother me. But after some episodes I have felt greatly affected by the events on screen to the characters I have come to like so much. Season three has just ended a couple of weeks ago and I still feel a little emotional looking back at recent events. - There are some legendary characters, quotes, places... the list goes on. The word's of Game of Thrones have officially blasted their way into popular culture. - The soundtrack is brilliant. Ramin Djawadi has produced some of the finest classical music in years.
So, if you've made it all the way here, well done and thanks for reading. Now, Seven Hells, go and watch Game of Thrones for the night is dark and full of terrors.
We want the Thracian's out of our flat... Ah, now you're being Thracist!
If that joke in the summary makes you chuckle then you're going to love Plebs.
I guess I might be in a rare camp being both a fan of the Inbetweeners and of Roman history but when I spied this I knew I had to watch it. Not only does it capture the day to day life of Roman lower classes brilliantly (aside from the deliberately dodgy accents). but it's funny and entertaining in it's own right.
The main trio are all really good and we see them going about their daily lives whilst doing their best to get laid and climb the social ladder and failing miserably at both.
But as much as Will McKenzie steals the show in the Inbetweeners it's Grumio, who steals the show here. Almost every time he's on screen it's stupidly funny. He doesn't even have to open his mouth, he just has one of those faces and his stupid bowl head. But that accent of his is awesome.
It's only had one season so far, so it's still early days. It's landed a bit under the mainstream radar so I fear a second season might not land. But hopefully if it does a fan base will develop and we could be in a for an awesome comedy series.
A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)
An insult to the original Die Hard
Remember the first Die Hard? Our hero is pitted against a bunch of well armed terrorists with bare feet, a vest and a pistol. How does he overcome them? Well he doesn't just walk downstairs and kill everyone and blow stuff up in ten minutes without any hint of real suspense or threat. This film is just one pointless action scene after another. An explosion here, an over the top car chase there. Some shooting followed by more explosions and a few lines of dialogue.
This isn't really a sequel as such its just a continuation of the franchise with Bruce Willis being the only link. The fact that its a 12a tells you all you need to know about the integrity of the film. This is a pure cash in!
A Walk to Remember (2002)
A hidden Gem wrapped up in a shiny shiny wrapper
Okay so I originally downloaded this movie for my wife and I was reluctant to watch it with her but hey, a man's gotta watch a chick flick from time to time.
It starts off poorly, in an almost TV movie manner. I was bored from the onset. Rich kids in a majestic sea side town moaning about their life doesn't exactly get me to sympathise with them. But everything changed the moment Mandy Moore came on screen. I'm not the kind of person to have any idea who she was before the movie. But as soon as she walked on screen she lifted the movie up and I cared about her character. Then gradually the relationship between Jamie and Brandon begins to develop in a kind of love hate way. Shane West does a decent job as the troubled, slightly wild boy youth, but again it's Mandy Moore who steals the show as a woman who is pretty much every man's dream. She pulls a face that makes her look so vulnerable, you just want to put your arm around her. She is beautiful as a girl without make-up and dressed in plain clothes and she is smart, sassy and fiery, with just an edge of weakness. You really feel that she's not really acting and it' the real, young and vulnerable girl there on screen.
There are a few tear jerking moments towards the end and one in particular always gets me (Bizzarely I've watched it three times now). Brandon finally makes up with his dad and they hug and he finally breaks down in his father's arms. I don't know why, but I can't hold back the tears at this point.
That said I've given the film and 8 and not a 9 because there is a TV movie feel to some of the film and I can't help but cringe during some of the singing moments. Obviously they have only been put in as Mandy is a singer and this is probably contractual. I would let this pass, as she does a decent job, particularly in the school play scene. But it's dubbed singing. She's not singing live on set with the raw voice you would get from that. She's singing in a studio afterwards and it's really obvious and overly polished and she even resorts to a few of the modern pop note dragging tactics which remind me, for a few moments that she's not Mandy Moore and not Jamie the school girl. Which breaks the spell of the movie a little.
The other slight issue I have is the one of religion. The film is pro-Chistianity, and despite the fact that Brandon seems to remain and Atheist throughout, it almost suggests that Jamie is only the person she is because of her faith and not because she just a smart, good person. The Christianity isn't pushed too much, but it still tarnishes the film a little.
Still all in all, if you watch this without being too cynical, get some tissues and enjoy!
The Woman in Black (2012)
A decent return for Hammer but take 2 stars off for the UK version
To start off I'd like to say how annoyed I was to find out that the producers of this movie where so eager to put their greed before art in insisting om making cuts (essentially making the film less scary/threatening) in order to make this a 12A film in the UK. What they failed to see in their blind rush was that certificate probably put off a lot of adults such as me from watching the UK version. I could go on to say that I think certification these days is almost pointless but this is not the place. Take two stars off for the heavily cut UK version.
Fortunately I was lucky enough to see the US version of the is film. I was happy to see a return of Hammer Horror at last and this was a decent, if not great edition to the collection.
It is quite scary and their are a few really good jump out of your seat moments. It's not overly long and the story moves along briskly towards it's end.
The setting in history is a good one (I mean if that had a been a torch our hero was carrying and and not a lantern it would not have had the same effect) and the set design, wadrobe and even the countryside all fit well to a feeling of foreboding horror.
As many other's have pointed out Radcliffe is too young for the part really and his acting skills and his accent are a little clunky at times. Especially when he's the same scene as the excellent Cieran Hinds. Radcliffe obviously brings along a fan base but I hope in future Hammer take a bit more of a risk and perhaps use lesser known actors without baggage.
It's scary but not terrifying, opting for 'jump' moments which can become a bit of a gimmick.
All in all it's a solid 7 movie. I hope future Hammer productions take more risks and stray from this path of safe and certainly profitable productions. Of course they need to make money, but horror films can make money by trying new ideas.
American Horror Story (2011)
An interesting Drama but ultimately flawed
Notice that I refer to this as a drama. That is because there isn't really anything scary about American Horror Story and that's not just me being a macho man. Apart from a few jumps, the only thing that freaked me out was the intro to each episode. The into is probably the best thing about the show. It's really eerie and deliberately makes you feel awkward.
But I gave this thing six stars not two, because there is a reasonable amount of story here and for about half the series of 12 episodes I was eager for more. But then it began to feel laboured, I felt less and less warm to each of the characters and holes started to appear in the plot that you could drive a bus through.
The problem we often have these days post 'Lost' is that writers think they can create a world and a host of events without any explanation to it. If in doubt, just say something like 'In the end, Frank had been dreaming all along' and you can get away with anything. I did like the anthology/ short story style to the series and at times I found myself getting absorbed into the historical stories and the overall idea which I won't give away. But I just stopped caring about any of the characters after six episodes.
It's difficult to say anymore without giving the story away, but personally I won't be investing any more of my time in this. It would have been better as a one hour Twilight Hour episode.
Finally two of the things that bugged me amongst the various 'That doesn't make sense' moments I had was firstly that some of the 'ghosts' bore their wounds from their deaths such as ripped flesh and others (mostly the main cast of ghosts) didn't. This just seemed to be one of them ideas that if it just works better that way visually lets do it that way.
The second annoyance was the over visual polishing of the characters you often see in American drama's. I mean, even in her darkest hours it looked like someone had spent a ridiculous amount of time grooming Vivien's hair and applying make up to her face.
Battle Los Angeles (2011)
Possibly the worst big budget movie of the past decade!
OK so if you are having a few beers with the boys and are looking for something of an action you might get some amusement from this. But the amusement is not intended by the film makers. From the first few minutes we are subjected to our 'hero' saluting the American flag on the car park of the barracks without a hint of humour about it. He's deadly serious. 'America F*&K Yeah' came to mind instantly and this was my first of many laughs at the films expense. The whole thing is written by some sort of American patriotic zealot.
The film has possibly the worst dialogue ever. I mean seriously it so bad I have no idea how this thing ever got made. Who gave these people millions. The script writer should be shot. I'm an amateur writer and I felt embarrassed at the poor quality of the writing.
At one point, after several people have been killed, they have been fighting, running, diving and fighting some more when our hero bends down to tie a little boys shoe lace, proclaiming 'Safety first!'. Everyone in the cinema sighed at this. I'm not sure if it was meant a joke or not, but either way it was just ridiculous.
I don't give low stars easily. I don't believe many films deserve less than four stars as they usually have some redeeming features. I only gave it more than one star because some of the early beach scenes are reasonably well done before the whole thing just falls apart.