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Watermelon (2003) (TV)
29 out of 38 people found the following review useful:
Calling all fans of the novel, 2 September 2003

I'll be brief.

I'm a huge Marian Keyes fan. I'd read her grocery list if she'd let me. I own everything she's got in print and I love them all (especially her collection of journalism, Under The Duvet - I suggest you get it if you're reading this), and read them over and over again.

Watermelon is one of my favourites. (well, that and Lucy Sullivan and Sushi for Beginners) The book is hilarious, touching, and unsentimental despite the subject matter. The TV adaptation shares these things in common with the book: 1. The protagonist is called Claire. 2. The love interests are Adam and James. 3. Claire has a baby.

That's it. That's all they have in common. The TV has a completely different ending, and a completely different plot.

THOSE WHO HAVE READ THE BOOK AND LOVED IT: For Christ's sake don't watch this. It's beyond awful and will make you sad for the "real" Claire Walsh. (Not to mention Rachel and Maggie from Rachel's Holiday and Angels by association)

THOSE WHO HAVE SEEN THE TV ADAPTATION AND HATED IT: Please, please, PLEASE read the book. It's beyond fantastic and very very funny. It will reaffirm your faith in humanity, which has probably been destroyed after watching this piece of trash.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Pulling power of Nicholson vs. Repelling power of Sandler, 9 June 2003

OK. I love Jack Nicholson movies. I loathe Adam Sandler movies. This put me at something of a dilemma, as you can imagine, when I felt like going to the movies this weekend.

Well, as it happens, Adam Sandler is more annoying than in the Wedding Singer, but less annoying than Big Daddy, Little Nicky, and Billy Madison put together. Which is good.

Nicholson is his usual addictive self. Which is also good. He can also pull off the comedy (once you've seen it, just think "Wildebeest!"), which is to be expected (he's not the coolest man in the world for nothing).

Marisa Tomei is very good, as are the cameos of Heather Graham, John C Reilly and Woody Harrelson (all high points). Ex-Mayor Giuliani's (sp?) turn as the standard Rob Schneider "You can do it, Adam!" character is pretty funny too, but since it requires a knowledge of Adam Sandler movies (which I don't have, I hasten to add - I've just read a lot of film magazines!!) to get it, it's not the best joke in the movie.

All in all, it's not as good as your top Nicholson movies like One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Batman, A Few Good Men etc, but it's pretty damn good for Sandler (The Wedding Singer and Punch-Drunk Love level at least). Rent it one night - it's not really worth buying.

Cop Land (1997)
Potentially great..., 24 March 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

...but then so are many things. Robert De Niro! Harvey Keitel! Stallone does serious! Add to that a solid support cast of people like Ray Liotta, Michael Rapaport, Annabella Sciorra, and Janeane Garofalo, and you'd think you'd have a great movie. Sadly, this movie is not great. It is a lot of things, but great is not one of them.

MINI SPOILERS: The script is poor, the direction is shoddy, and the actors seem to muddle through the film not understanding their characters at all. Why did Liotta burn down his house? Why did they crowbar in the romantic subplot between Sciorra and Stallone? Why did they need to have so many peripheral characters who were half developed (eg. Joey Randone, Keitel's character's wife) when they could have cut them and developed the main characters some more? And why oh WHY did they bother hiring Robert De Niro and then sticking him in what amounts to a bit part?! He's got maybe 20 lines max!

The ending, where we see everything from Stallone's deafened point of view, was cleverly done, but for me, it was too little too late. Since Mangold is also responsible for the good, but highly overrated Girl, Interrupted, and the really quite awful Kate and Leopald, it's not surprising Cop Land is a disappointment.

Midsummer Night's Dream? Really? (baby spoilers), 20 January 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

To be short - I am exactly the audience that this film is aimed at (daft teenaged girl) and I found it pretty pitiful.

One of the things that really annoyed me though is that I love A Midsummer Night's Dream, and I HATED that they tried to ignore huge parts of that story to fit in with their own parody of it. Kelly fancies Berke, who's in love with his ex Allison still, and she's now going out with Striker. They all get cast in AMND, and for some insane reason they cast Striker as Demetrius and Berke as Lysander. Lysander and Demetrius are both in love with Hermia (Allison) while Helena loves Demetrius from afar, and Hermia only loves Lysander. So why the hell did they make Berke Lysander when they'd set up the whole story for him to end up with Kelly?! Surely starting out with both Striker and Berke in love with Allison, but Allison running off with Striker is a PERFECT set up for both Lysander and Demetrius being in love with Hermia, but Hermia being forced to marry Demetrius by her father?!?!?! In the end, Berke ends up with Kelly just as Demetrius ends up with Helena. So why the hell was Berke playing Lysander?!?!? (and don't even get me started on ignoring the other plots - Oberon and Titania, and the play of Bottom and his friends)

It just makes no sense. The actual story is okay, but there's so little point to the shakespeare sub plot.

Beats the first one hands down (very minor spoilers), 15 November 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When Harry Potter first hit the big time, I really couldn't see what all the fuss was about. When the first film came out, I hid. After a while, I got curious, and bought the books. In about twenty minutes, I knew what all the fuss was about.

Of the four books, Philosopher's Stone is my least favourite, so although I was intrigued to see the first film, I wasn't that shocked when I thought it wasn't handled as well as it could have been - aside from some really choice casting (Alan Rickman, Julie Walters, and Tom Felton stand out) it was decidedly average. However, Chamber of Secrets is my favourite (alongside Prisoner of Azkaban) and so I was very interested to see this film. I re-read the book in preparation, I surfed around reading reviews.

Was I impressed? You betcha.

From the first moment of Harry studying his parent's old photos, to the final scenes of the Hogwarts Great Hall, the film is funny, honest, and entertaining. More importantly, it's a cracking adaptation to boot. All the unimportant parts are cut to get straight to heart of the action (for example, Harry and Ron follow the spiders directly from Hagrid's hut, rather than going back to the castle, seeing them in Herbology etc, which makes a good text, but not a very interesting scene, especially when we want to get them into the Forbidden Forest asap) and ILM do a fantastic job on the special effects - unlike Fluffy from HPATPS, the beastie in CoS is really life-like. (Unlike Fawkes, but nobody's perfect)

Speaking of life-like, unlike poor old Radcliffe who still has his moments of stiffness, Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) is coming along in leaps and bounds. He and Emma Watson (Hermione) are brilliant, and Rupert Grint (Ron) plays the funny man to Harry's straight man very well - I loved the line "Follow the spiders. Why an't it be follow the butterflies?" Mark Williams is spot on as Arthur Weasley, and Julie Walters was every bit as wonderful as I'd been anticipating from PS. Whoever cast her deserves a medal - I can't imagine a better Mrs Weasley if I tried! I was quite perturbed when I found out Bridget Jones' best mate would be taking up the robes of Moaning Myrtle, but Henderson did a great job - you wouldn't guess her true age for a minute. Versatile or what?!

All in all, apart from a VERY cheesy moment at the end with Hagrid, see this movie. If you like the book, you'll LOVE it. If you've never even heard of JK Rowling - dude, you gotta get out more - you'll still think it's brilliant. You don't even need to have seen the first one to understand it (although obviously it helps). Columbus, I salute you. Roll on Azkaban! (Now if only they take my suggestion of Jude Law for Sirius Black...)

Signs (2002)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
There never has been, nor never will be, another film quite like it., 18 September 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

SORT OF SPOILERS... I don't think they are, but you know, I don't want to spoil it for anyone. I've described a couple of scenes vaguely, but I'm pretty sure you won't understand until you see it. So read at your own risk, kinda. :)

I don't post comments very often, but sometimes a film will push me that bit further.

Signs is one of those films...

The basic story of Signs is crop circles, even the ultra-mysterious trailers revealed that much. The first scene in the film leaps straight into ol' Mel (Father Graham Hess) finding the first circles in his fields, and it goes from there. Graham lives with his two kids, Bo (Breslin) and Morgan (Culkin), and his brother Merrill (Phoenix, getting worryingly sexy now). The film is basically about them being a bit confused and scared by the circles, resulting in a climax that, as in all M. Night Shyamalan films, makes you smack your head and go "ohhhh! Now it all makes sense!".

Sounds a bit dull? Well, think again. Like, for example, American Beauty, Signs is one of those films that you know is very very good, you're just, erm, not sure why. (Ask anyone to answer the question "What is American Beauty about?" and watch with amusement as they go "Well, I don't know's about this guy, and his daughter, and his wife, and his next door neighbour, and pot, and life, and death...") Of course, the plot of Signs is difficult to describe more because you don't want to give anything away than because you CAN'T describe it. Even tiny details and idiosynchrosies that appear to just be character development all interweave to form the aforementioned head-smacking ending.

The one remarkable thing I can say about Signs is that I have never ever seen a film before that has made me repeatedly laugh til I cried (think the "helmets", especially when all three are wearing them...) with the most deadpan humour known to man; has made me cry (Graham's final flashback); and has scared the living bejesus out of me (peeking under the pantry door). It was almost Rocky Horroresque in it's audience participant factor; believe me, apart from at the end of Moulin Rouge when everyone sat still for a few seconds, I have never seen English audiences seem to get into the film so much. But tonight you heard people gasp, yell "What the hell are you doing?" and in the case of one particularly annoying woman in the row behind, scream.

People believed in it. And not because run, run, the aliens are chasing Jeff and Will; or because aaah, it's the end of the world, and for some reason this means Bruce saying those immortal words "Dig dig dig, let's chew this iron bitch up!". No, it's because Night is a director who actually gets that nothing, NOTHING on screen will ever be as scary as your imagination. Except that unlike, say, Blair Witch, Night also has this little thing called a "script", which helps with the whole keeping you interested bit.

Well, this review has probably read like a mindless stream of thoughts and movie disses, and if you are still reading, well done. That's because the only thing I can say about Signs boils down to four words:

See it. RIGHT NOW.

(and if you don't laugh, cry, and jump, come round and I'll give you a tenner.)

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Oh my god - so good!, 4 October 2001

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I thought this film sounded okay when I first heard of it, and then I saw the trailer. I decided it sounded a bit heavy going, and so ignored it for the first week of release. Then I saw the trailer again when I went to see something else, and read a brilliant review of it, and so thought again. And I'm so glad I did!

This film is incredible. Nicole sings like an angel, but it's Ewan who's the real surprise - if he made an album, it would probably be ridiculed, but he has a real talent. It's not fair, really - gorgeous, sexy as hell, amazing voice, brilliant actor, and knicker-meltingly sexy Scottish accent to boot! His wife is a bloody lucky woman!

The film has wonderful sets, a fantastic cast, and the songs are brilliant. The original songs, eg. Come What May (a beautiful ballad between Satine and Christian) are spectacular, and the working of modern classics such as Your Song and Roxanne into the fibres of the film is cleverly and expertly done. SEMI SPOILER: At the end, you can't help crying when Satine dies (this is only a bit of a spoiler because Christian says in the first five minutes that she's dead), because the acting is so spectacular, it's like someone you know and love. SPOILER DONE. When it finished, everyone in the cinema sat still for about the first thirty seconds of the credits - something I've never seen happen before, and I go to the cinema on a pretty regular basis. Really, it was kind of funny - the cynical British public, brought to a complete standstill by a film.

That is why if you haven't seen this film, YOU HAVE TO!!!!!!!!! Not to sound too mushy, but it really touches you inside, even moreso than Romeo + Juliet. Roll on Baz Luhrmann's fourth.